The wicked wheel turns and burns as Lily stops at nothing to resurrect her old vampire love, Julian while Valerie, Damon, and Stefan attempt to find him first. On the way, the brothers learn that Oscar and Jo are not who they appear to be which puts both Alaric and Bonnie in dangerous waters. Stefan discovers the secret that Valerie has kept for the last two hundred years and in the future, Bonnie is dealing with some post-traumatic stress and is also in love with a very unlikely character.
From start to finish, this was a very well crafted episode. Points for the soul swapping reveal which brought to light Oscar’s strange personality and Jo’s memories not catching up after her resurrection. Stefan’s warmth and compassion toward Valerie plays a larger role here than meets the eye because this will set the tone for how he and Caroline will react toward each other from here on out. Where I think the table flies through the window of sense is when the future reveals Enzo and Bonnie as some strange loving couple. I question everything at this point including her despair and choice of vampire boyfriends, but the plot hasn’t betrayed me yet, so I’ll deal with this drastic change for now. Alaric made a sensible choice to embrace this new Jo and I’ll get into another event that is similar in nature to this one later on. The most understandable element right now is getting to know how humanizing the heretic family is even if they’re demeanor shows nothing but evil intents. Damon always gets a free pass because he’s the top anti-hero of this show, lest we forget he was a full blown villain for almost the entire first season. Interesting things are shaping up. Let’s get started.
In the future, Bonnie is in a group therapy session and laments about choices she’s made and is in tears. She leaves to find Enzo and the two lovingly embrace. In the present, Stefan and Damon track down Valerie who is trying to find Julian. Together they made for an awkward trio as Damon baits the two of them over their past relationship. Meanwhile, Bonnie seeks out Oscar to try and understand how her resurrection spell worked as Alaric attempts to comfort a newly risen Jo. Valerie informs the brothers that the phoenix stone holds various vampire souls and both Oscar and Jo have different souls than their bodies. Oscar attacks Bonnie with hunger and demands the stone because he won’t go back. Enzo is forced to kill Oscar and keeps the stone. At a locked warehouse, the brothers and Valerie find Julian and attempt to burn him but Lily and the family arrive and take Julian back. Before the incident, Valerie reveals to Stefan that she was pregnant and that Julian beat her forcing her to lose the baby. Bonnie tells Alaric that Jo is not the real Jo but he doesn’t quite believe her. Jo had run away not understanding what’s happened to her. Alaric comes to believe Bonnie but chooses to help this new Jo regardless. Later, Lily takes the stone from Enzo and the family infuse Julian with his soul again and are reunited. And Damon swears revenge on Lily after finding out that Lily was responsible for giving Kai the idea to put Elena in a comatose spell.
While I’m not very sympathetic to any of the heretic family except Valerie, I recognize the effort being put here. We understand this show deals in extremes in both good and evil tendencies. People like Damon can be forgiven for a grip of evil deeds while this heretic family is generally more annoying then diabolical. At the same time, Lily is trying to maintain some sense of order and when you see her and Julian embrace with some emotional joy, there’s a small moment where you forget that Julian is a bastard and Lily is emotionally compromised. While I still don’t understand why any of the heretic siblings are on Lily’s side with bringing Julian back for the sake of her happiness it’ll be interesting to see where this goes, because right now this present Julian could have layers like Valerie and Lily. Although I suspect he’ll be some kind of crazy evil which will arguably justify Damon’s revenge considering it’s his driving force right now.
The trials of Stefan’s courtship with Caroline is now officially in murky waters now that he knows what happened to Valerie. He empathizes with her which can and likely will lead to conflicting emotions. Usually Stefan makes the right moral call because he has a pretty good compass in his head, but this time, there’s an older heart at play which has to be the start on how he and Caroline eventually break up. It doesn’t have to get much more complicated than this because the sub-plot works as a drama of one guy having feelings for two girls. Maybe he doesn’t for Valerie now, but what they experienced has a way of coming back because that’s how humans cope. They revert sometimes and maybe it will be an honest lie, maybe it won’t be, but with such a new relationship with Caroline, it stands to reason, Stefan isn’t treating it like he did with Elena. It’s not perfect, and we’ll see why relatively soon.
Enzo isn’t working through this Salvatore mess. There isn’t much in the way of redeeming qualities because his actions are purely and unquestionably selfish. Now we have to put up with this eventual course that puts him in Bonnie’s sights and that just spells eye rolling disaster. What major writing flaw is when Enzo presents Lily with a choice to pick him over the stone and Julian. What baffled me is that they play at this short possibility like she’ll maybe go for the 1% chance and choose him, when she’s waited this long to reunite with Julian. And he actually thought for a minor moment she would pick him. I don’t think he was delusional, I think he really thought she’d do it. What’s more odd is that Enzo just let the resurrection happen without any interference when he seemed pretty bent on helping Valerie put an end to Julian, but I guess he didn’t want to have to put up with Lily’s rage if he was directly involved in Julian’s second demise. Still, he’s not winning any medals for these acts and I’m not even going to speculate how Bonnie falls for him because nothing short of magical nightmares will get her to swoon for that lazy acting vampire.
When Alaric decided to stay with “not” Jo and help her readjust to life in the present tense. This parallels with another couple who went through the same ordeal on another show. And yes, I’m going there once again as I have in the past. This mirrors a major plot-point in the show Angel. Back in season 5 of Angel, Wesley finally gets together with Winifred and then she is taken over by an ancient demon, killing her and turning her into the demon reborn, Illyria. Wesley, though much pain and guilt decides to help Illyria adjust because like Alaric is treating the situation, she looks like the woman he loved and he can’t help but stay attached at the physical appearance because to let go again would be too painful. Alaric won’t let go again, he can’t and I don’t blame him. Whatever vampire soul is inside of Jo isn’t evil or craving blood because Jo’s not a vampire. While we don’t know if the soul in Jo is even female, I’m guessing it doesn’t matter because Alaric has what looks like Jo back in his life. It’s enough for him and I’m certain the consequences will be forthcoming soon. Does this mean “not” Jo is the mother of his children. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
I’m on Valerie’s side this week. She’s very much a victim of both Julian and Lily’s lifestyle which put her in the same boat even after she gave up on life. Her feelings toward Stefan are still very apparent and it was visibly difficult for her to tell him what happened to their child. I don’t think she’s looking for pity, but I do believe she needed him to know so she could heal after so many years. She knows she won’t get Stefan back and for once, she’s not thinking in evil ways. Will it stick? I don’t know, but so far, if she turns from Lily, there’s a chance she can be redeemed as a character.
Julian has the same scar on his chest that Stefan is later seen having in the future. If it’s a stake wound then that means Stefan will eventually be staked and saved somehow. Or maybe it’s not Stefan at all in the future but with a different vampire soul. It’s still a guessing game this early in the season.
Does Jo’s vampire soul remember what happened to her? Did Oscar’s vampire soul either? It seems they have selective memory but they didn’t reveal their original names which I thought was odd. So in that sense, why does Julian get to remember who he is? He hasn’t been shown to be any special kind of powerful vampire and I doubt he’ll have any witch powers moving forward.
Poor Beau. Most witch abilities are prefaced with verbal incantations, making him a rather weak part of the family. That should be offset with him having stronger abilities when it comes to telekinesis and anything where hands get waved around for effect. Just a thought. Granted he did make a few dozen coffins explode, so there’s that.
With all of these small flashfowards I wonder if we’re going to get a single episode that takes place entirely in the future that settles this storyline. I’m not convinced it’s a lasting future. Someone is going to change time in this season. Someone is going to see how bad things got and just go back and change it in the current present, mark my words.
8 out of 10. This season is attempting to create a dynamic where the bad guys/girls have layers just like our heroes and anti-heroes. They love and lose just as much and will go at great lengths to preserve their familial ties. Tonight’s episode continues to showcase this and may bring Valerie onto a new level of sympathetic. Lily is representing blind loyalty which, at the moment isn’t self-destructive, but we don’t truly know what Julian is capable of and until we see how she’ll react to his wrath we don’t know for sure how subservient she really is. Bonnie is doing great things too, but now she’s in love with future Enzo which to me, makes no earthly sense. I’m not on board with that reveal and whatever storyline they concoct to make this a reality, I don’t think it will be very convincing. The dynamic between Caroline, Valerie, and Stefan is getting good and it’s interesting to see the reverse when this show has primarily been about Damon, Stefan, and Elena for so many seasons. This still has the makings of their near best season. Keep the story strong, I say. Thanks for reading!
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