While Enzo and Damon continue killing vampires, Matt discovers through Stefan’s compulsion that he had accidentally killed Penny in the forest near Mystic Falls at night believing her to be a vampire. Stefan had tried to save her but couldn’t and compelled Matt to believe she died in a car wreck. Damon, realizing he can’t kill all the vampires in time to save Bonnie decides to make a deal with Alex to open the vault in exchange for her people to kill the remaining vampires. When Bonnie refuses, Alex reveals she has Caroline and Alaric. Finally committing, Bonnie opens the vault which reveals an ancient force that controls those who enter and turns them into killers. Bonnie locks Alex in her mansion through a spell and accepts she will die. At the cabin, Damon takes Rayna to a secluded location and has a descendant of the tribe that made her perform the spell to transfer her life force. In a twist, Rayna reveals the spell will turn Bonnie into a vampire killer driven to destroy and then kills herself. Bonnie then wakes up, presumably changed.
Outside of the distracting no-nonsense kills in random cities, tonight’s episode had a pure and focused goal which was to find a way to save Bonnie from certain death at the hands of Rayna’s blood virus. The subplot of Penny’s mysterious death closes the book on every flashback we’re likely to see and gives Matt more tragedy to endure having lost so many people in his life. I’d agree with Damon’s assessment on the matter of saving Bonnie at the cost of her hating him forever but as always things don’t always end the way he wants them to and is usually responsible for making things worse. I couldn’t think of a better ending to Bonnie’s fate than to turn her into what Rayna was. After all, killing her would assuredly bring Elena out of her magical coma and we just can’t have that now, can we?
Everything building around Bonnie Bennett had a relatively nice flow, from scene to scene. Granted, the random vampire killings were easily forgettable including the buzzsaw victim, but otherwise this episode stayed on point and told a very fluid story that had a realistic conclusion and brought in a whammy of a change to the dynamic of Bonnie’s life. If she truly is what Rayna was then I might have one or two nitpicks with it, but we’ll see how Bonnie being a witch plays that out. Damon’s desperation made sense although Enzo’s reaction seemed a tad off and was just looking for a reason to expel frustration even though Bonnie was going to be okay.
I’ve always rooted for Matt as a human underdog, someone who always tries his hardest to matter in a world where he has no power. Seeing his moment with proposal to Penny only made her death all the harder for him to experience all over again and though we really didn’t get to see the two blossom as most important relationships on this show it was important that we knew Matt was happy and at some semblance of peace in his life. I also liked that Stefan tried to help Matt cope with the loss although he should have accounted for Matt’s forensic sense to detail the missing pieces in the faked death. All in all it’ll be interesting to see if Matt will be forgotten now or if he still has a major plot to play in the future.
Finding out what was inside the vault was a bit of a disappoint, both in the origin aspect and with what Alex found. It’s clearly witch-like in origin but it sounds a lot like how vampires turn their emotions off and in this case it’s an entity that does it to humans. Whether it fully possesses Alex I’m not sure, but I’m certain something like that will occur. This conflicts a bit with Bonnie’s situation since the two aren’t linked there’s no way to know who or what the final main villain will be. This just felt like a cheap attempt at conjuring an untouchable villain that Damon can’t punch or rip a heart out of. And he certainly won’t do anything to Bonnie, or will he?
When Damon tells Enzo to be with Bonnie or face the consequences that he’s gone through. I don’t know if it was the air or the inflection but Damon’s voice had a bit of cracking in it that really sold his true feelings on the matter, something he doesn’t let out to most people let alone other vampires not named Stefan. Even though they don’t bring it up anymore these two used to be good friends and somewhere along the line they forgot or decided it didn’t matter. Here it felt like a smidge of that old friendship came back in the guise of dealing with grief should Enzo not be with her before she departs. Good scene and good acting from Damon.
It wasn’t much but Stefan really tried to be good-guy-Stefan by helping Damon deal with his grief through compulsion. It wasn’t a class act, but he tried to hold onto the truth until Matt forced his hand. Somehow I feel like Stefan contradicts himself by pretending not to know what Matt was so angry about even when he wasn’t around him, but again that’s to sell the lie and make sure no one else caught on to it. Stefan and Damon take a lot of emotional trauma to keep those they care about in a position to live freely without pain in their lives. Damon is a drama-queen about it, but Stefan has his subtle ways and really tried to do Matt a solid. Which leads us to our first ending thought.
Why didn’t Stefan compel Matt to deal with Penny’s grief? It might have been equally as painful in the long run but if Stefan simply compelled Matt to deal with the loss and move on that might have been ultimately more healthy than troubleshooting a fake death with too many clues that spell otherwise. It’s wrong either way, but at least Matt wouldn’t have made so many angry moves against Stefan during the last year while Rayna was chasing him.
An MMA fighter in Spartanburg? That is pretty funny when you think about it. I was rather expecting more of a tussle and they were in a great place to showcase some serious collateral damage. Aw well, it’s not like we watch for the super-martial-arts on this show, I just think it could have been more epic than simply shoving a face through a tablesaw.
As for Bonnie’s transformation. Not having a phoenix stone or anything of the like, what exactly is going to draw Bonnie into killing every vampire she sees? Rayna actively took out bad vampires but she also fell in love with one, right? She was drawn to all the vampires she captured and unless Bonnie is going to go through a similar process I don’t see her raging on Damon and the vampire gang unless there’s more to the spell than we know.
Also, what is going to prevent Bonnie from using her abilities to change or remove the spell casted on her. It’s probably a whole different set of magic rules, but we really don’t know all the different magic types or if there are any. Certain bloodlines and heretic-like abilities are tied to certain covens but the Bennett line as far as we know isn’t specific to any particular magic type. In any case, she should be strong enough to stop the change herself I think.
I think Alaric’s frustration with Caroline was a little uncalled for. She’s given no real indication that she wants to be with Stefan or even forgive what he’s done. He’s postulating and coming up with conclusions because of his fear of what might happen to them. Ironically, this is what some relationships will do and how some arguments can spawn from a fear of a significant other leaving because of leftover love. I think the scenario is real, it just looks silly because Caroline has no tells that she’s still in love with Stefan aside from the anger itself.
8 out 10. Very solid episode with a coherent plot centered around Bonnie and a nice cliffhanger that continues to put her front and center on the show. Matt’s subplot was tragic but it’s good they finally solved that little mystery. The ancient-dark-evil-wind in the vault was a letdown and I think they need to try a little harder to pull a major villain out of their hat and not make it about possessing Alex and turning her into a soulless killer. If the evil has a good origin story then that’ll save it, but for now I’d rather stick with what’s happening to Bonnie. At this point, Stefan and Caroline getting back together isn’t going to end well for anyone, and Stefan is the only person who doesn’t realize it. Maybe he needs to take a step back and ask himself, why does he need to be with anyone at all? He’s not Damon, he’s not dependant on that kind of fuel. In any case, good episode, and I think the next will be better. Thanks for reading.
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