The Salvatores divide and conquer to reunite with the women they love all while Alaric confesses to Bonnie his secret with keeping Jo on ice. Stefan and Valerie’s history is revealed as well as Lily’s plan to find Julian, a man with a sordid history. Oscar, the sixth sibling makes his debut and departure in a flash and Lily has a change of heart regarding Caroline’s imprisonment. All this and a few visions still scraping across Bonnie’s mind regarding the phoenix stone along with another portent from the future involving a call from Stefan to Tyler regarding his scar reopening.
This episode was superb. Completely caught me off guard with how well everyone performed tonight including Oscar who nailed his scenes and died in the effort which was the only stupid call this show made tonight. Having said that, near everything worked in favor of telling an awesome story and making me care about characters I really wasn’t sure on. Also, no Nora or Mary Louise, or Enzo this week, so that’s a plus as well. Everything was tightly woven with little fall out save for one or two logistical issues but they’re minor in the grand scheme of this plot line. Let’s get started.
3 years from now, Stefan pours gasoline on his car and a few belongings while telling Tyler on the phone that his scar is open and to warn Caroline. He keeps his journal and burns the rest. In the present, Damon, Alaric, and Bonnie prepare to find Oscar while Stefan plans to sway Lily into believing he and Damon are no longer speaking. Valerie confesses to Caroline about her relationship with Stefan back in the 19th century when they were both still human. Their romantic encounter is short lived as Julian, a man who swayed Lily’s heart forces Valerie to take to the sea with the group going so far as to beat her and kill the child inside her that would have been Stefan’s. Caroline and Stefan are not privy to the last bit but after Stefan shares a few normal moments with Lily, she allows Caroline to leave the house. Meanwhile, Damon and the others find Oscar enjoying his perceived vacation and agrees to help take away Bonnie’s visions. It tips their hand about the phoenix stone and Oscar steals it from Alaric. They eventually capture Oscar and Damon tells Lily to trade him for Elena. Alaric shows Bonnie Jo’s body in the morgue with plans to use the phoenix stone on her and Valerie discovers Oscar through a locator spell. He tells her that he found Julian months ago and intends to trade his freedom for his location. Unwilling to encounter Julian again, Valerie kills Oscar.
There was a lot of good here starting with the story and elements of the flashback. At first this flashback felt very generic and by the book with Stefan losing his virginity to Valerie within a day of meeting her. When Valerie later explains that she intended to return to Stefan but was stopped by Julian and losing the baby was actually pretty heartbreaking. Then the curse of becoming a vampire because she had actually committed suicide but had Lily’s blood from healing her injuries earlier. That’s all some twisted flashback storytelling, with enough context to make me understand just how scarred Valerie really is. She had a free pass with all of that until she went and killed Oscar.
Hands down, thought Oscar was brilliant. His personality quirk from serious to goofy in zero seconds was spot on great. He had motivation, charisma, and knew how to play serious and funny with a balance I hadn’t seen on this show in nearly forever. They condensed a lot for him to portray but what really sold his performance were the serious moments especially how he told Damon that he didn’t use compulsion to make him leave and just convinced him man to man. The way they’re inserting the heretic family into the past with the brothers is actually well done and doesn’t feel very forced. Well done on those segments.
The future segments are still extremely short, but the presentation, the music-style and the breadcrumbs of information are still enough to make me really wonder what this is all about. It’s still strange that we’ll have to sift through an entire season to get anywhere near this condensed plot, but with so much more to go I don’t see this engaging arc slowing down. They’re on a roll here and I hope it can keep going.
They killed Oscar. That’s nearly it. He was leagues above Enzo and Enzo has been forced fed to us for too many episodes, the real Damon doppelganger that I just can’t stand. I suppose it’s possible she didn’t kill him considering her unconventional method to I think kill his heart through his stomach, but I get it. I just don’t have to like it.
Kind of a minor nitpick, but Damon clearly states to Lily that he’ll trade Oscar for Elena but never mentions Caroline. Now, I suppose maybe he got a call from Stefan off screen regarding Caroline’s freedom, but somehow I doubt it. Essentially it’s though his one-track mind forgot about the blonde in the Stefan’s room reading Stefan’s journal wondering if she should be jealous of Stefan’s first girlfriend.
Again, I’m not complaining too hard about this, but when they don’t include certain characters in an episode but their presence is still somewhat apparent, why wouldn’t they just have an actual scene? Case and point, Lily yells out to Nora to remove the barrier spell. Then, I suppose Nora just…does it. Considering the bratty nature of both Nora and Mary Louise, I’d have expect some kind of resistance to this regardless of their loyalty to their “mother.” Or at the very least some kind of ominous scene regarding Mary Louise and or Nora threatening Caroline further. Just seems like an odd way to put them in the episode without actually putting them in the episode.
When Valerie presumably tells Stefan what happened to her in the past. That was utterly brilliant. I completely fell that conversation believing he was actually listening to her. I haven’t been duped like that since The 6th Sense, and it goes to show that Valerie really is three dimensional and is hiding terrible pain and longing for Stefan, something he won’t probably find out until later this season. This unofficial love triangle is something Stefan needs because his relationship with Caroline just isn’t sparking as much as the writers probably think it should.
I’m giving Oscar the Oscar tonight. He did a lot with the short time he had and though I expected him to be really snarky and boorish, he was anything but those things. I’m glad he and Damon were able to reminisce for a that short moment about that time in the civil war. And his witch abilities were super clutch when it mattered. Way to go single-episode dead guy!
This goes without saying but if I’m to gather the pieces correctly, is Julian a vampire or a witch? If he’s a vampire, what’s he doing out in the daylight? Does everyone have a daylight ring in every time period? And where is he? I’m guessing desecated or in torpor somewhere or else Oscar just spied on him and then left of his own accord.
While I don’t know for certain if an autopsy was performed on Jo, I am most certainly sure that whether that happened or not, they wouldn’t just let her wedding ring stay on that deceased finger.
Stefan and Caroline can wear sweaters and hug. There are ways around vervane-flavored skin, they just need to think about side coffin-box.
Regardless with how convincing Alaric can be about missing Jo and wanting her back, I’m not convinced that Bonnie would just go for this, not after saying the word “necromancy”. I know they were both dead, but the power of love should not falter Bonnie’s judgment that this is a bad idea to the Nth degree.
Not to mention, when/if Jo comes back, she’ll have to essentially wear that stone on her neck to stay alive otherwise she’ll keep dying every time it gets knocked off in a scuffle. Maybe there’s more to it to resurrect her than that, but if not, this will be hell for her character.
9 out of 10. Almost a genuinely perfect episode under the banner of TVD. Heroes and villains are both sympathetic and it was the right balance for the right characters interacting. Personally speaking, none of the characters I loathe and despise made it to tonight’s episode and the future tense story telling is still making me guess as to what’s going to happen next. Congrats on the consistency, this is turning into a great season so far. Look forward to the next. Thanks for reading!
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