So the last episode was all about fan-freaking-tastic character development and dropping and adding up some plot points from the previous episodes and leading up into upcoming ones. This one was all about action, emotional OMG!moments and set-up that I'd say paid off pretty well. I, for one, was pretty durn satisfied. Oh, yes.
As before when they were featured, let's just get them out of the way and start with Elena and Liam. I think (*think* being the key word) that the point of this burgeoning relationship is about bringing Liam into the gang. OK, wait, back up. Let me step behind the scenes first. I have heard some rumblings that there is likely going to be a seventh season after all provided that we get our three main stars (Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley) signed on for another year and that the plan is to set up most of the cast they have now, plus some new characters, minus those three (and potentially others, I presume—but I have no idea who the others would be).
I'm thinking that Liv is almost certainly one of them at this point, Sarah potentially as she is a Salvatore, and… Liam. So Liam is introduced, he's brought into the group via our main character, Elena, right? Right. He's good-looking, smart, friendly. Also, he's got a bit of a back story with money we know from "Welcome to Paradise" that can be explored at some point with some possible mystery there. And this episode shows that he's a good guy* with a good head on his shoulders and he can handle himself in a crisis; he picks up on things, but doesn't go off all half-cocked.
*Yes, I do think he's a good guy now, unless they pull something out later down the road—which with this show is totes possible—but at this point, I do think he's one of the good ones. And I gotta say I did find myself really liking him after this episode. His character hit all the right beats as a genuinely good guy. I liked.
OK, fine, whatever, you may be saying, that's all good and well, but why is the show making him a quasi-love interest for Elena when we all know that as soon as Damon comes back into the picture, Liam is dunzo? That's where the awesome that is Elena Gilbert comes into play. Most characters in this situation would play the avoidance game, and give the guy the brush-off, all awkward and make it clear that the budding romance is a thing of the past and it's best to just keep it there… in the past. Elena, however, doesn't play that way.
It's not Liam's fault, he's a nice guy and she likes him as a person and she'll have to see him in class after all, so she'll want to ease any awkwardness. Therefore, she will go out of her way to try and make it up to him, to let him know that she knows that it's not his fault. She will try and befriend him anew and make things "right" between them. She will also try and make Damon be cool with him (because I'm still so expecting Damon to walk in on Elena and Liam together—although I would so love the show not being predictable like that). Because that's how Elena rolls! Because she's awesome! Yuppers!
What this also accomplishes is it allows the show to set up Liam as sympathetic for viewers. Now we want to see him find some success in the love department since, again, so not his fault that he lost out on Elena because her boyfriend came back from, you know, the dead and all. And on top of the sympathy card, you've got the fact that Liam has now seen the squirreliness of the vampire-healing even if he doesn't quite realize it and he's not stupid, and once Elena is no longer in the cards, so to speak, he likely won't brush aside comments like 'hey, sometimes miracles just happen' and it can't be explained with a 'why does a baby take its first breath?' (excuse me while I roll my eyes). So, long rambling paragraph later, yeah, I think Liam is just being brought into the group via Elena and it's as opposed to Caroline because Caroline, of course, has her own story going on.
You know, the whole 'he's not that into you' Stefan saga. Oh, Caroline. On one hand, I feel for Caroline, I do. When we were introduced to her, she was used to being second-best, everyone always put Elena first, it was such with Bonnie, and Stefan. Damon didn't care about her at all, then of course there was the whole rollercoaster with Matt. Caroline was just never… enough. And then all of a sudden Caroline became the 'it' girl. Tyler was all about her, Matt wanted her back and then Klaus, this all-powerful, practically indestructible being wanted her and would do just about anything for *her* and now?
Well, now she's back to being the girl where the guy is just not that into her. And it doubly sucks because this is a guy who she practically considered her best friend and had barely even admitted to herself that she had any less-than-platonic feelings for. And then on top of that, he's being a total jerk, not returning her calls, making her wish for his even-bigger-jerk of a brother (to her) back from the dead and just all around making her life more miserable than it is right now. It just triply sucks for Caroline. And she doesn't even have *anyone* at all to vent to about it. Then along comes Ivy, her new vampire so-non-bestie. Poor Caroline. I feel for her. I do.
But, who I feel more for is Stefan. I'm sorry, ya'll, I do. I know that Stefan is being a jerk. I know that Stefan is making pretty much every wrong choice he could possibly be making right now. I get that, totally and completely. I so get that. But… I called it. I so called it. I wrote this in reply to someone after "Welcome to Paradise:"
Stefan is so completely lost and screwed up. Listening to fucking Lexi for 100+ years was a huge part of the reason he is so messed up. Yes, she had good intentions, but she was so very, very wrong in all she taught him. Ugh! And right now he is so steeped in a level of grief that he's not thinking straight, he's lost beyond where even Elena was because unlike Elena, he's beyond denial because he never admitted how deep his love for Damon was. Elena and Damon had gotten to a mostly good place. Stefan and Damon were still fucked up so badly. Yup, so completely lost. Yup, yup, yup.
I do think I nailed Stefan and his emotional state. Because, yeah, Stefan finally admitted that he's just lost without his big brother. Oh, Stefan, my poor boo. And this is why despite all of the so many wrong decisions that he's been making I still have been feeling so much for him. And why as much as I've felt for Caroline, and as much as I was cheering on Enzo for getting on Stefan for giving up on Damon and why I can see Alaric's point of view in this episode, well, I'm still rather annoyed with the lot of them too.
I just feel like none of them are trying hard enough to see Stefan's pain. It's rather similar to how after Damon and Elena broke up last season and everyone was there for Elena, but there was no one there for Damon's pain. I feel similarly for Stefan. Just because he's hiding his pain and shutting down doesn't mean that he's not suffering. The fact that he's acting so un-Stefan-like *should* be a shining, neon clue that Stefan is freaking the ever-loving-fuck out over the loss of his brother and is not handling this well. And instead of trying to be there for Stefan despite how poorly he's handling this, his "friends" are either not there for him or are ignoring his completely out-of0-character behavior and turning on him.
I wrote in my write-up about the premiere the fact that the others, except for Caroline, weren't contacting Stefan to reach out to him, but rather to find out about his progress in bringing Damon back, but hadn't realized the significance of it in regards to the isolation of Stefan and how similar it was to the treatment that Damon would get at times (a lot of times) that would frustrate me. And what happened in this episode really brought that home to roost.
As I said above, I understood where Ric was coming from, but I felt way more for Stefan because when his response to Stefan's "he's my brother" is "he's my best friend," I just can't have this huge amount of sympathy for Ric in response. Damon and Ric had that relationship for a few years but Stefan and Damon had this intense sibling relationship of one hundred and seventy plus years, and unlike, Stefan, Ric has had people there for him.
Yes, you can say that Stefan pushed people away, but with how he's been acting so un-Stefan-like, it's pretty clear that he's not handling this well and could use his so-called friends to be there for him for longer than four months after his brother died and try and help him find himself. They're there for Elena, for Ric, for Caroline, for Jeremy. Yes, Stefan left, but he's there now… stop pushing him away just because he's being a jerk, understand why he's being a jerk. Don't get me wrong, there's a part of me that's happy to see that the Scooby Gang will treat Stefan as crappily as they did Damon when he didn't act according to their guidelines, but it pisses me off just as much because, dangit, Stefan is supposed to be one of their own just as Damon is. Treat the Salvatores better, yo!
It reminds me of Damon telling Stefan in "1912" that he was all he's got and a part of me wonders at the end of the day, will that be how it is? Will they be all the other has? But no, it won't be that, because, I don't include Elena with the others because Elena almost always treated Damon better than anyone else. The only time she didn't was after he killed Jeremy and *that* was certainly understandable. And she's the only one who's treated Stefan well and been understandable about his choices since Damon's death, even thinking that she hates him. Go on with your bad self, Elena Gilbert. Garsh, I love her. And I love the brothers Salvatore. That scene, man, that scene. You all know what I'm talking about.
Do I even need to say anything? No.
But I will anyway because I'm me. Stefan finally admitting to himself that he's lost without Damon. Damon, of course, showing up in the Salvatore crypt. And showing up when Stefan needs him the most. Stefan reaching out to touch him, his eyes shining with unshed tears, wanting to desperately believe that his brother is actually, somehow, miraculously there… and he is. And then he hugged him, but he didn't just hug him, he grabbed him, yanked him, pulled him so fiercely into his arms into such a fervent embrace it was absolutely beautiful. I'm tearing up just thinking about it. Stefan was just clinging to his big brother, and Damon was clapping onto his back and Stefan was crying, practically burying his head into Damon's shoulder and it was just, oh, dear Lord, it was beautiful. Just so beautiful. I cried. Hell yeah, I cried.
Oh, Stefan, oh, Damon, oh, my Salvatore Brothers, reunited. It only took about 150 years to get here (although, we came close in the '40s) but we finally got from this to this again:
Oh, my boys! *sigh*
I love them so! They made me cry! But they weren't the only ones who made me cry. Bonnie! No! When I realized that she was sending Damon back (forward) without her, I literally cried aloud "Bonnie! Nooooo!" because, Bonnie, noooo! And I was tearing up just like she was. And it just broke my heart that moments before she sent Damon back to 2014 without her in order to get at least one of them through, Damon had been telling her to go through without him. I just love so much that this is where their relationship is now, that they are basically willing to give up the other's happiness and safety for the other's… because that's love. Aww.
I also completely adored the callbacks to their earlier white light moments both for the callback-ness of it, but also for the relationship aspect of it because it completely called into play something that I had talked about before. One of the reasons why I wanted to see Bonnie and Damon as friends is because I felt that Damon needed someone like Bonnie in his life. I wrote in my write-up for "Home," that "I would love to see Damon have a friend who is not sarcastic or snarky" (because, of course, right now his only candidates are really Alaric and Enzo and both are sarcastic and/or snarky).
Well, when Damon threw back that there are a billion other people she'd rather be with line at her, when they'd "died" Bonnie had snarked back at him then "at least a couple of thousand." But now their relationship means something to her; it's real and deeper. She considers Damon a true friend and so in this moment that matters, she gave him a true, non-sarcastic or snarky answer. Because that is who Bonnie is. In the moments that matter, she is sincere and she wears her heart on her sleeve.
When she cares, she wants you to know that and doesn't hide it behind quips and one-liners. She lets you know that you are important and Damon having someone like that as a friend (and not just like the lover that he has in Elena) is wonderful. And, again, exactly what I wanted and Damon needed. (Seriously, the show could *not* have written the Damon and Bonnie friendship better if I had stood over them with kittens and puppies as bribes!)
So, of course, I have faith that Bonnie will come back because this show and its writers are awesome-sauce. And I'm thinking it has something to do with the fact that every day starts over anew in 1994 and so the Ascendant should be brand-spanking new all over again the next day. However, it should also be hidden again wherever Kai has it. Therefore I'm expecting some sort of cat-and-mouse game between Kai and Bonnie because they both need each other to get back/forward to 2014. Bonnie needs the Ascendant from Kai, and Kai needs Bonnie's Bennett blood. Kai probably thinks he can convince/tempt Bonnie to give in because he doesn't know Bonnie like we do. She won't.
However, Damon is in 2014 now and knows that Kai was trapped there by the Gemini Coven and so he will be planning on tracking them down so that he can figure out how to get his witch back! The good thing for Damon is that Enzo and Stefan already know about them. They just have to figure out how to get that coven to work with them because something tells me that Damon Salvatore—and no doubt, Elena and Jeremy Gilbert, and Caroline Forbes—are not going to rest until Bonnie Bennett is brought back to the future, thank you very much. So whether they be liking it or not, somehow, the Gemini Coven is going to be helping. And good for that because there is no way that Bonnie is staying in 1994. Harrumph!
What I am surprisingly not harrumphing about? Well, I guess it's not a surprise since I did say that I was intrigued by Tyler's story in the finale and I haven't bitched about him or talked about him wanting to die so far this season, but prior to the finale this would have been surprising, and whoa! run-on sentence from hell. Anyhoo, I'm really, really liking Tyler's story, and yes, I officially ship Liv and Tyler. I do. I made a tag, I made an icon… I officially ship them.
I really just loved what happened with them in this episode. Heck, I loved what happened with Tyler in this episode. When he hit the guy that Ivy bit (more on Ivy later), I was like 'oh noes! He's going to become a werewolf!' and then, and then, and then! when he blacked out and crashed into the Homecoming maze festivities and all of those people were there and I realized what that meant, well, my jaw dropped! And that was the middle of the freaking episode! This show!! O. M. G! For reals!
I was so feeling for Tyler, and then he called Elena all desperate to get her there so she could save this guy so that he didn't turn and she had to tell him about all of the other people he hit and it was like holy cripes! Thank goodness there was a doctor, a capable med student (Elena, not talking about you!) and a vampire (yeah, that would be you, Elena) on hand to keep all of those injured from becoming dead. Oh, and Liv. Thank goodness for Liv.
When Tyler realized that this guy was going to die and what it meant, accident or not (and, uhm, that's why we don't text—even just to read our texts!—and drive, kids!) he was still going to become a werewolf again, I did feel so much for him. And Liv has been fighting her feelings for Tyler. She doesn't want to care about him because she's had a first row view of what happens when you care too much. With a twin, she knows what happens when you care too much. It's a weakness; they are used against you. You become weak.
So she's been fighting caring, but Tyler has been trying to be the best version of himself, a better person, a better man… a good person and she sees that and she likes him. She cares, damnit, and when you see someone you care about suffering it's hard not to get involved and help. So she helped. At first I thought that she was just doing some magic to bring the guy back from the brink until Elena could get there, but then I realized what exactly she was doing and I gasped, truly gasped. Yes, the guy was going to die. Nothing short of a vampire showing up in the next five seconds was going to save this guy's life, but he wasn't dead yet and Liv literally killed him to keep Tyler from technically committing the act himself and I was just whoa. I mean, whoa.
And then in their final scene, I was feeling it. Way more than I ever have in any Tyler and Caroline scenes. In all of the scenes where Caroline was helping Tyler, it felt like Caroline was helping her friend, one of the gang and Tyler was grateful and his love for her was built on this foundation of worshipful gratitude. I just didn't buy it (and the lack of romantic and sexual chemistry between the two actors didn't work for me either). But these two, first off, I do think they have chemistry, and secondly, I'm buying what the show is selling. When he's telling her you did this to save me, it didn't feel like worship, it felt like a special connection between them. And when she saved him, she didn't do it because he was one of the gang, she did it because he was Tyler. They're giving me the squees.
Also squee-worthy? Ivy. Please don't let her be dead. Don't kill her, show. I kinda liked her as human, but she didn't make a huge impression on me, she was just OK, I just liked her. But as a vampire? She's a hoot. I am loving her. Cracking me up, pissed at Stefan for lying to her, annoyed at being stuck in a trunk, acknowledging that she sucks at being a vampire when she sucks at it. Oh, poor Ivy. I love you already. Tripp, do not kill her!
Speaking of Tripp. Tripp, Tripp, Tripp. We need to have some words. OK, so obviously, while Enzo may have sent him in the direction of Savannah, he didn't technically give Stefan up (which is way better than what Stefan did to him—Stefan! Bad, bad Stefan!), still, not cool, Enzo. Especially after you just turned poor Ivy! I mean, come on. Tsk, tsk.
Still, not surprised at all that he kept his mouth shut about the vampires in Mystic Falls. I had to laugh at Tripp's 'I guess there aren't any real vampire problems around her, Enzo would have told me considering all the torture I threw his way.' Bwahahahaha! Oh, Tripp, there's nothing you can throw at him he hasn't seen a thousand times over and a million times worse, buddy. Lovely little throw-away line that I was soooo waiting for. Thank you, show, for not disappointing.
Now, now, now, what will happen next? Caroline knows about (poor) Ivy being kidnapped by Tripp and I wonder (and rather do think) that this will lead to Stefan confessing that he let Enzo be kidnapped by Tripp (bad, bad Stefan!) when the group gets together and Matt tells what he knows about Enzo. Oh, Stefan ish's gonna hit the fan, but it's OK, you've got Damon back to clean up your messes again! Yay! Damon's back! *Sigh* One more time for the road!!
I have to say I'm happy they did the Damon and Stefan reunion *yay! and sobs!* in this episode saving the Damon and Elena reunion *be still my beating heart* for the next episode. Although, I still think it's quite possible that Damon will come upon Elena with Liam and possibly pull the whole 'she's happy without me card,' but with Elena knowing she has the selective amnesia, Liam knowing about the dead boyfriend named Damon, the two different ways she can get her memory back (Ric and stepping over the Mystic Falls border for two seconds and then back), I just don't see how it won't happen. Plus, ooh, with the dead boyfriend suddenly coming back, that's yet another 'hmm!' thing to add to Liam's 'WTF?' is going on with this girl list to bring him with the gang. Uh huh.
Oh, right, Ric's compulsion. I know a certain someone will bring that up since it didn't work with Jo that such might be proof it's not going to work when he goes to uncompel Elena, but I still don't know. It could happen, of course, but I still don't see it because it's showing no signs of wearing off in Elena. It just seems to be something a bit hinky with Jo. Ah, yes, and speaking of Jo. Yeah, not buying it. You can't have Alaric say she's the sexiest woman he's ever seen when he's been paired with Mia Kirshner, Sara Canning and Torrey Devitto and Jodi Lyn O'Keefe who, yes, in her younger days was very sexy, but, while still attractive, compared to Matt Davis, she looks older and quite tired-looking next to him. It's just not working, show. And the complete and utter lack of chemistry… just no.
Still, everything else with the episode (OK, because I am a Damon/Elena fan, except for Elena kissing Liam too) was a yes, yes, yes! Now… onto the randoms—
- No Matt, Jeremy or Enzo. So, uhm, let's not hear it for the boys, then?
- Damon looked hot in his white tee, and unbuttoned button-down. Mmhmm, but his hair is too inky black again, still it's not horrifically so at least. Ah well, at least he still he looks very hot. Always pretty to look at. Thank you, Ian Somerhalder's parents and their genetics.
- I loved when Bonnie was testing Kai and it looked like he was going to kill her and Damon was all "Bonnie, Bonnie, Bonnie!" all worried. Aww, but he trusted her to know what she was doing and let her do her thing.
- Hahaa! I called it all the way back to my write up of the finale. It would be four to six episodes before Damon and, well, OK, Bonnie (wah!!) came back. I mean, Damon came back in the last scene of episode 5, can't get much closer to perfect in calling it than that when you say between episodes four to six, right? Uh huh. Go me!
- OK, so, yes, fine, Damon is still a vampire. End of. He just caught that bottle Stefan threw, no problem. What was the point of Damon unable to lift that beam then in the finale? I wonder if the original plan was to make him human, but they changed their minds while breaking down season 06? Hmmm…..
- Aha! See, I said that Elena losing memories of Damon would also mean losing parts of who she is now. No, a "hero" is not her type. That was the old Elena who saw things only in black and white, Elena now sees things in shades of gray. And, erm, Elena if you were a better medical student you would realize that what he did was what good med students/doctors are supposed to do and that what you were doing was called "cheating." I mean, good on Liam, but really, girl? Oh and Nina Dobrev and Marco James (Liam)? Dude, no chemistry, like at all.
And, no, this is not my shipper goggles talking. She and Shaun Sipsos (Aaron) had decent chemistry—it was just way better when she played Katherine—and there was way more chemistry between her and Alaric in the classroom scene than he had with Jo in all of her scenes and she had with Liam in any of their scenes (I just loathe any idea of Elena and Ric since technically he's her stepfather and he is more or less her guardian, so, ew, gross!). But that's fine because as I stated at the top, I really think Elena is just his entry into the group and this is a way to engender sympathy for the character because once Elena gets her memories back, Liam's toast.
Phew, all done. So five episodes in and I'm really enjoying the heck out of this season so far which is pretty shocking considering that Damon and Elena haven't shared any screentime beyond Elena's hallucinations in the premiere, but it's just been so good and the show really came up with a brilliant way to keep their love alive. So I'm a happy camper. Loved, adored so hard the final scene and I can't wait until next week! Love my show!