Sybil helps Bonnie and Caroline enter Damon’s catatonic mind to save him in exchange for the bell while Seline attempts to convince Stefan to force Matt into using the bell and destroy the city for Cade. As Caroline and Bonnie discover within Damon that forgiveness is the key it is Damon himself who must forgive Stefan for all the dark deeds that has happened in their lives. Before Stefan is pulled into this task he compels Matt to ring the bell at 9pm or forgive Damon for killing his sister Vickie which Matt is unable to do. His father attempts to stop Matt but is unwilling to leave or kill him. Stefan arrives and finds Damon inside his mind and returns the forgiveness in less than kind words. Regardless, Damon awakes from his state and stops Matt from hitting the bell its twelve time. Later, Damon apologizes to Matt over Vickie’s death and reveals to Bonnie the contents of the letter he wrote her expressing his reasons for leaving and not wanting to fail her and Elena both. With Stefan captured, Caroline reveals that she will somehow save him. Sybil and Seline meet at a diner and are then greeted by Cade who after hearing the bell ring 11 times has the brief ability to return. He sits with the sirens and promptly lights them both on fire.
There’s no denying that the tenth episode of this season’s TVD is by far the best of the bunch and quite possibly one of the best in recent memory. One brother’s return to the emotional dawn will inevitably give way to the other, but for now, Damon’s returned humanity has been the high-mark I believe the fans have been waiting for thus far. With a mixed bag of cameos and revelations, we’re given a real heartfelt snapshot of what it means to forgive and move on to brighter moments in the lives of our Mystic Falls family. And if we’re extra lucky, the finality of the sirens is in full effect. Cheers to that.
The simple nature with Damon is that he finally dealt with his fears and his guilt over more or less his entire run as a vampire. He’s reached that peak where all that’s left is to finally decide how he’s going to deal with his brother and Elena which will hopefully culminate by this show’s end. The path to reach that enlightened state was built through his friends and allies with the exception of notable absences like Enzo and Alaric who in the past were regarded as his best buddies or near about. Having Bonnie and Caroline experience some emotional reunion within Damon’s mind was icing for them as they met they worked through some slight issues of their own however minute they were. These are the kinds of interpretive nostalgic throwbacks that are actually good writing and don’t feel incredibly forced, with the exception of Tyler who really should have been Lexi, but I’ll get to that later.
Stefan continued to be rather poignantly resourceful in how he dealt with the possible destruction of Mystic Falls. His state of mind seems less guarded around doing what Cade actually wants and just flooding him with souls whether they deserve to die or not. But putting Matt in a strange compelling state over ringing the bell or forgiving Damon was twisted and appropriate to fit within tonight’s main theme. I like the consistency there and Matt’s acceptance that forgiving Damon over Vickie’s death just wasn’t in the cards what-so-ever. Bouncing Stefan around this much wasn’t an optimal approach but I think given where he ended up the path he took was rigorously the right one.
Without Stefan’s humanity, Damon’s speech of forgiveness felt unintentionally hollow. There’s a certain circular logic that comes with each brother facing some fears alone and each one getting to be the bigger character by forgiving the other when they’re at their worst, but here it would have been that much more epic if Stefan had those emotions to share in this guarded reveal instead of mocking it once Damon had finished. We all know this will play out later when Stefan goes through his own last trial to be himself again, but we did get the message as it was meant for us to view it.
When Damon recited his letter to Bonnie, word for word. That was very uplifting to see and Bonnie’s tearful response gave them a much needed break in the tragedy that continues to dominate their lives. It’s been awkward over the years watching Bonnie have strange relationships with people like Jeremy and whatnot, but her friendship with Damon and love for Enzo is finally paying off and makes sense. Good writing and a hell of a long wait to get us finally seeing her deservedly happy.
As much as Damon wrapped up the episode with his fantastical denouement, it was Bonnie who correctly discovered the method that was going to return him back to the realm of humanity. It could have taken a lot longer but she really connected the right dots and later finally understood what Damon said in that letter, helping mend their fragile bond as of late. There was a lot of forgiving going on tonight.
Tyler playing a small role in Damon’s guilt was fine for the short-term fanbase, but realistically, Lexi deserved a spotlight here for what Damon did to her and for who she represented in his life. Surely he still harbors guilt over killing her way back in season one. I only hope that maybe if this nostalgia spell this season continues that we’ll see her one last time before this series draws to a close.
Cade is wrapping up the plot of the sirens, and rightly so. This could transition into some punishment for them and not death, but TVD has been known to make abrupt calls and kill current villains to replace them with the actual main villain, which is finally about time. Cade should also set the record straight with his agenda in the next episode if he can. We need some form of apocalypse here to maximize on the intensity of the final story arc.
One small plot point that wasn’t wrapped up was Caroline’s knowledge that Bonnie wants to use the cure on Enzo. Two things don’t really sit well here, one, why was Sybil able to figure that out based on their situation with merging into Damon’s mind? Something seemed lost there in translation and how would Sybil pick up on such a simple thought like that? And second, is Caroline the bearer of this cure or is she the only one who has an opinion on the matter that it would affect her if Bonnie decided to give it to Enzo? Is it meant for Damon still or who has the most to gain/lose from this situation?
Seeing Vickie again continues to bring an old issue I had with this show in that Vickie was unable to handle her transition as a vampire while Caroline was and even thrived more so than most others when she was originally written as one of the worst type-casted supporting friends to Elena Gilbert. I’ll always be cross over how they handled Vickie because I always felt she deserved to be in the role Caroline is in now. But then Jeremy would have had a much different path as well I imagine. Strange things always amiss.
9 out of 10. When the write music and words hit, this show can sing and bring together a mountain of emotional throwbacks which happened here tonight as Damon came back in heroic style to the side of humanity. One brother down and one to go. Cade has come to tie a few loose ends and with any luck will be our final menace from this point forward. Forgiveness tossed around back and forth, cycling from person to person and showing us that nothing is truly forgotten nor are the sins of our favorite vampires. Damon is finally making right in a way that displays how mature he’s become over the years and I think it’s safe to say that his promise to Bonnie that he’ll never leave again is the truth…until Cade or someone else makes him break all his promises again, but that I leave to the final tales of this franchise. Great, almost perfect episode with the realm of vampire storytelling and with all eyes on Stefan now, we’ll see how he finds his way back like his brother did. Thanks for reading.
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