Rayna regains her life, finds her sword and resumes her search for Stefan who flees with Valerie to locate herbs for Freya’s spell to cloak himself from Rayna. Meanwhile, Rayna saves Matt and Penny from the last of Julian’s vampires in Mystic Falls but is later captured by Damon who tries to find a solution to stop her from killing Stefan. Bonnie returns to the armory where she learns from Enzo that Rayna only contains 8 lives and texts this to Damon prompting him to kill Rayna again. Enzo explains that Rayna’s last life will extinguish all who bare the mark and Damon is forced to keep Rayna alive. After fighting, Rayna is captured by the armory group as Stefan learns that the herbs he’s looking for are finite and stolen from the place he was sent to. Matt is given encouragement from Penny to take control of his town as Damon begins preparations to desecate himself with Elena. Matt threatens Stefan to leave town and he chooses to continue on the road with Valerie after witnessing Caroline and Alaric enjoy their roles as parents to the Gemini twins. Bonnie confronts Damon and laments how him leaving is hurting her but Damon still locks himself away. 3 years later, all events play out to the present where Rayna informs a captured Stefan that she intends to switch the mark to Damon. Stefan refuses to abide as Damon appears and tells him it was his idea.
A lot had to happen to catch everyone up to speed and as such, I found tonight’s episode lack-lustered and full of disappointing segments that built up little to no payoff. Most of our assumed relationships in the future are figured out by the circumstances of the present mostly attributed to Damon and his self-realizations that constantly get him into trouble. Most of our characters were off, handling their own messes and when it came time to bring that back together, there simply was no reason to. Alignments were shifted and off most notably Matt who took entirely too long to finally come to the conclusion that vampires were bad. While not particularly a fan of what transpired tonight, I will say the future could still be looking bright.
Out of the complexity of overlapping themes and a mish-mash of happy and sadly betwixt characters, I think we’re finally caught up to the future. I don’t know if this means we’ll get more explanations with how Rayna escaped the armory again or how Bonnie and Enzo found reason to be together, but if there’s nothing left to tell in that 3 year arc I’d say good. No more wasting time, let’s push forward and see how these three years have further affected the team. Is Matt forever a vampire enemy and is Enzo truly more gentle of a vampire? We’ll see.
The major issues I think best outlined tonight revolve mostly around Rayna and Damon. Not together, mind you, I actually thought their scenes together were more of the positive highlight of the show. Separately they were committed to rationalizing their states of mind and in doing so pushed characters into unrealistic directions, somewhat unintentionally I might add. When Matt and Penny encountered Rayna, Penny is further immersed in more vampire lore prompting her to give Matt the push he needed to expel his vampire friend Stefan from his home. This was nonsense and didn’t need reasoning. Matt has been a bit of a third wheel on this show this season and there’s been more than one occasion when he made up his mind about vampires but this time it’s supposed to stick? I’m surprised Stefan didn’t laugh it off if he weren’t such a broody oak. The idea that he’d care that Matt would expose them is to me a piss-poor excuse to get him to leave on his own. Matt’s ownership with keeping the town safe just isn’t reaching the heights of importance I thought it would.
As for Damon, he’s mucking things up again, this time with Bonnie. His letter to Alaric is a last ditch reminder that he and Alaric are “best” friends. At this point, I haven’t seen any real evidence of their friendship this entire season. Maybe in the past it mattered but Alaric has been so distracted, this gesture of a voice-over goodbye was less than empty, it was pointless. Alaric is seen in the next shot being happy with his kids. Who cares if Damon is going away? Alaric certainly doesn’t. Bonnie is different, but with her its more justified. While I do like how she treated the situation in the end, it still felt forced. She defines friendship differently and even considers him her “best” friend which insinuates that Elena no longer has that position. After what they went through in that prison dimension, how she feels makes sense, but Damon, as always, pushes it off because his feelings for Elena matter more. He doesn’t learn from watching Bonnie’s pain and it’s more than sad, it’s pitiful he can’t learn beyond stating what his issue is.
I have other problems with this episode but I’ll add them into my ending thoughts section.
I did enjoy Damon and Rayna fighting. I was intrigued that Rayna would have had a former vampire lover, something Damon made fun of, but I want to know how that ended up considering her disdain for them all. I have to hand it to Damon for standing his ground against her considering the power level she was currently at.
Damon’s selfish decisions kicks him off the list. Instead I give it to Stefan for how he chose to handle his departure from Caroline. Also, his expression when Damon turned form him spoke mountains more than Damon’s ever-goofy eyebrow-raising expressions he paints when perturbed. And I’m normally unimpressed with Stefan’s performance. I think how Stefan internalized his emotional fatigue was well-presented for once.
I knew they were going to skip over it, but Damon never once mentioned his detachment from Klaus’s bloodline. I know it happened, it shouldn’t matter how close or far away he was from him, they just didn’t bother to mention it and I very much disliked that dismissal of continuity.
Speaking of continuity flaw, while I’m fine with Rayna being dumped outside New Orleans to reform, I find it hard to believe her sword would be left right next to her. She didn’t stay dead in the bayou when Klaus killed her, she found and murdered all but one of the Strix. This means, someone else had to have dragged her body outside and the only person I can remotely imagine it being would be Elijah. Again, very poor use of keeping these plots aligned.
Not a blip on the radar for Mary-Louise and Nora. Not that I truly care what happens to them, but all of the heretics have been written/killed off with the exception of Valerie who couldn’t care less if she was forced to about them. I guess I should be surprised they lasted as long as they did on this season.
Self-desecation can’t be a quickly transforming ability. I have to assume that was a fast-forwarded segment and not something Damon just “turned on” the second he closed the coffin. The amount of restraint he’d had to endure to put himself in that state would be catastrophic to his psyche and I think they just skipped the typical rule set to just get us to the point of his re-awakening.
I think Caroline should have given Stefan more benefit of the doubt. I guess it all depends on whether Stefan got together with Valerie before or after he and Caroline “broke up”. It was always in the cards to give Caroline and Stefan just a few moments of happiness together before all hell broke loose, but at this stage it makes more sense that he and Valerie remains as a couple. Vampires are the worst at emotional commitment sometimes.
6 out of 10. This episode was all over the map. Characters jumped head first into their new roles to quickly wrap up and match up to their future counterparts. Rather than detail more on their gradual shifts we were given some assumed cliffs-notes on how character A became character B. I can’t expect Rayna will be the closing arc to this season but for now I gave to expect it so. Getting Damon into his coffin meant sacrificing relationships and he did so with barely the best of intentions. Nothing felt real beyond Bonnie’s closing conversation to Damon and Stefan’s reaction to Damon leaving. Everything else felt manufactured and quick to the point. Moving forward I’m glad we’re caught up to the future, but there’s also the possibility we’re not. In any case, Rayna holds all the cards as the current villain and it’s time we wrapped up her plot too. If Damon continues to remark how much she looks like Elena, we’re going to have to have a plot that details why. Thanks for reading. TVD will be on break till April 1st.
No more words