I gotta be honest this was less than the most thrilling cliff-hangery episode ever before going into a break. Oh well. It was still a good episode. Not great, but it was good. Whaddya expect when Brian Young is the sole writer (so, so, sooo much better with a co-writer, but again, oh well). Anyhoo, onto the episode.
I'm going to focus mostly on Damon, his relationships with peoples, and then do some future speculations before just diving into randoms. I remember commenting earlier on that there wasn't as much Damon-focus this season, how he seemed to be more in supporting mode rather than driving stories. My, oh my, how that has that changed. Since Julian stabbed the Phoenix sword into Damon back in 7.09, it's basically been The Damon Show and I am not complaining. I have to be honest; this is what I secretly wanted for his last season. Much like I wanted (and got) for Damon and Elena's last season to be all about establishing the two of them as THE couple—and the last batch of episodes was filled with non-stop Damon and Elena goodies—this season, I wanted to be about Damon.
When the first half had him in that supporting role, I resigned myself to that role and understood it. After all, if Ian Somerhalder is leaving the show after this season then it makes sense that the show is going to build up other characters to take on that leading role and let Damon's character—with the force of his personality and drive—help. It made sense. And it's not like I don't love almost all of the other characters, so I was cool with it. But, ooh boy! Once that gear shifted, Damon was stabbed… we got our Damon!AllTheTime! episode of awesome, it's just been a leading focus on Damon.
And. It. Is. Awesome!
Yes, yes, yes… we are seeing Stefan on the run from being marked, but let's be real, that entire story (except for the crossover on The Originals understandably—and even on that, Stefan was supporting, and the final moments of his story there were about Damon) is all about Damon. Stefan was marked protecting Damon. Everyone is (unfairly) blaming Damon. Damon is determined to fix the situation. Almost every aspect of Stefan's story—except for the romantic one—is filtered through how it was, is effected or by Damon. Basically, they are using the 'Stefan is marked' storyline which is linked to the Damon and Stefan in 'hell' storylines to finally bring some sort of closure or resolution, if you want to call it, to their relationship.
We go back to the whole "let him go" refrain that Stefan referred to about Damon in his hell. And I'm sorry, but I can't not recall all of the season 03/season 04 turmoil going on with Elena and her issues with Damon and Stefan. She was trying desperately to let go of Damon, but she couldn't do it. At the same time, she was basically lying to herself that she hadn't already let go of Stefan and what they'd had in her heart. The phrase itself wasn't used in the show for Damon and Elena, but rather to make parallels with others related. However in key scenes, songs with specific titles and meanings used for Damon and Elena used that phrase: Their first kiss: "Holding On and Letting Go," and their passionate make-out in 3.19: "Never Let Me Go."
My point is that 'letting go' is something that The Vampire Diaries has used in the past to signify an important milestone in a relationship. The thing is it doesn't mean the end of that relationship; just a different stage. For instance, it was used in reference to Elena and Matt in a romantic sense and their relationship eventually became much stronger. With regards to Damon and Stefan, he had said that in his 'hell,' he had to let Damon go. Well, for those who don't watch The Originals, and mayhap didn't watch the crossover, in the final scene between Klaus and Stefan, Klaus told him that eventually Stefan is going to have to let Damon go. So that's twice that Stefan has been told that about Damon. And I'm going to break my rule—in the preview for the next episode (in APRIL!), someone else asks Stefan if he's ready to let Damon go.
Clearly this is a recurring theme this season. And I go back to my first instinct as to what this is about when Stefan revealed it to Caroline. It's not about letting Damon go because of all of the terrible things he does. It's about letting Damon go once Elena is back in his life and Damon goes the human-route because he will have to actually, literally let Damon go. They discussed it; Damon has too many enemies and will be too vulnerable as a human so they won't be able to see each other again. It will be goodbye… truly forever. So Stefan will have to let go of his brother. Not because 'ohnoes! My brother sucks cuz he's the bad one and is the evul!' but because Stefan loves his brother more than anything ever in the history of ever.
But we've got seven more episodes for Stefan to figure that out. I've got faith in my boo! In the meantime, they've got to figure out this whole mark switcheroo. Oh, Damon. But, a teeny bit more on that later. First up, Damon and Bonnie. Oh, Damon! Oh, Bonnie. You know, I have to admit, I was actually a tad tense for a moment in that final scene that the show was actually going to throw away their awesome, beautiful friendship and throw in some romantic hint to just appease the shippers who delusionally see something that is NOT there and has NEVER been there. I should have trusted my show. They did not. It was all about the besties. And it broke my heart. I completely got where both Damon and Bonnie were coming from.
For Damon, he was making the selfless move, protecting those he loves from getting harmed again on his behalf. The way he saw it, in the last 24 hours, Stefan had been marked for death by a supernatural huntress (because of him), Bonnie nearly died due to Tyler's werewolf turn under unsafe conditions due to being in a coma (because of him), Stefan nearly died because he's linked to Rayna and Damon nearly killed her for the last time. So, yes, he's miserable without Elena, he's missing her… all of what he wrote in his letter to Alaric (oh, yes, more on that later!) is true, but that was Damon not telling the whole truth. It was half the truth. The other half he said at Bonnie's bedside.
It doesn't matter that it's not true. It doesn't matter that it's just what everyone keeps throwing at him because no one except for Bonnie (because Elena is in that damn coffin) is on his side. Other people have made horrible choices in the last six months, and Damon (yes, Damon!) has just been trying to clean up THEIR messes, and got caught in the crossfire. The only truly horrible choice that Damon made was giving into Enzo's blackmail and giving the Phoenix sword to him. But that was, as I pointed out before, just one of many bad choices in a string of choices (some bad, some not) made by others. Damon Salvatore is not the bad guy here.
But we're not talking about Matt yet. We're still talking about Bonnie. And Bonnie and Damon. I had mentioned in the write-up for the last episode that Damon doesn't know how to be a friend. Yuppers. And this one proved it. He really just needed to talk to Bonnie. Those things that he said to her while she was comatose? He needed to say while she was awake. Those things he wrote in the letter to Ric that I'm assuming he also wrote a variation of to Bonnie in his letter to her he needed to say to her face. He needed to talk to her. Because, yeah, she is his best friend. She's been there for him. She's chosen to be there for him. She's chosen to side with him, to believe in him, in a way that no one but Elena has… not even his brother. (Oh, Stefan… you and your issues.) But it took Damon forever to believe in Elena's belief in him, it's no surprise that he doesn't believe in Bonnie's yet.
On the flip side, I understand why Bonnie is hurt. She has stood by him time and time again, even when he's lied to her, even when he's used her to get what he needs. Even when he's been so very, very Damon because she gets that he sucks at being a friend; she gets that he has his issues. She's forgiven him when he's gone off on a tear and, you know, tried to kill her and their friends because 'hell stone!' She gets it; she gets him. Buuutttt…she doesn't quite get just how deep it runs. If she had Elena there as a guide, it would be different because Elena's been there. It took quite a while before Elena got just how deep it ran even though she thought she got it. It runs really, really, really deep. Damon has ISSUES!
The thing is…and this is what Damon doesn't get, Bonnie has her own issues! More than Elena. Despite all the shit that Elena went through, she always had Bonnie (for the most part), Jeremy, Caroline, Matt, Stefan, Damon, Alaric (when he wasn't dead). That's a slew of people who were there for her and there were others in and out of these time periods who where there for her. Bonnie? Had Elena (who was *always* dealing with her own shit) and Caroline, but Lord knows I love her to bits is not the least-self-centered person you'll ever meet. Oh, and I suppose she had Jeremy for like a year and a half when it all comes down to it? Yeah. That's it. On top of that, Bonnie has gone through more shit than anyone else probably.
She died. She wandered around The Other Side unable to communicate for months. She was stuck in an alternate universe with someone she didn't like at first. And then when she did like him, he was gone and she was left with a homicidal maniac for months. Oh, and then ALL BY HERSELF for months. And that's on top of her Grams dying, her mother abandoning her as a child, and then as an adult. Her dad being murdered in front of her eyes. Her boyfriend cheating on her. WITH A GHOST! She's been through stuff. Bonnie has ISSUES!
So, yes, I get completely why she's hurt. I get completely why she didn't give Damon nice, sweet words of comfort while he lies in a coffin and desiccates next to his one true love. He should have talked to her. But, again, Damon sucks at being a friend. But, again, Bonnie doesn't quite get just why Damon sucks so much at being a friend. *sigh* One can hope that now that Damon is out of the coffin and some time has passed, they can repair the bonds of friendship and work on their issues.
OK then, speaking of issues… Matty, Matty, Matty. Oh, Matty-boy. First of all, Matt is just so turned around when it comes to Damon and Stefan. I don't even—no, Matt, Stefan is not your friend. He has never been your friend; he's the (ex-)boyfriend/friend of your good friends/ex-girlfriends Elena and Caroline. Stefan Salvatore is friend-adjacent. Damon has so been more your friend than Stefan ever has been. The thing is that Matt has this whole vampire-bad complex going on in his head, and I get that. I do. And Damon Salvatore fits that ideal better. (And let's be honest, Damon would happily own that.) But come on, Matt's first instinct is *always* to call Damon. His first instinct is to *always* listen to Damon. When Damon was stuck in the hell stone, Matt was sitting right there with all of the rest of his friends. Yeah, sure, Caroline isn't his friend, but she was there for Stefan and Bonnie. But what about Matt? Why was Matt there? He was there for Damon. Period. He. Was. There. For. Damon. He was the one questioning, wondering why Damon wasn't coming out of it. That was… oh, wait, what's the word? Right, concern. For. A. Friend!
When he decided (after talking to Penny—yeah, *really* do not like her!) to kick the Salvatores (hah!) out of Mystic Falls, wasn't it pretty interesting that he made sure to talk to Stefan and *not* Damon? Yeah, thought so. And why not? Not because Damon would kill him, because deep down, Matt knows that Damon isn't going to kill him. No, it's because he knows that it wouldn't fly with Damon. Damon would be all 'yeah, right.' Sure, he'd threaten Matt a little, but the worst thing he'd do is that he'd sarcastically throw reality into Matt's face.
He'd make it clear that Matt needs to man up; figure out that he already is on a side: their side. He always has been. At the end of the day, when push comes to shove, he is. Right now, he is just throwing a pity party because he feels left out because he doesn't have any secret supernatural powers like all his friends. He's been left behind. He's not a werewolf or a hunter or a witch, so he's trying to make something of himself. And good for him, but turning on his friends isn't the way to go. Matt knows there are good vampires and bad vampires. He knows that. He's just so caught up in this mindset right now and without Elena around—especially human!Elena—to help him find clarity, he's drowning.
And maybe deep down, Matt knows that and that's why he didn't talk to Damon, because Damon wouldn't have put up with his bluster and blackmail. But Stefan, Matt had no problem confronting him. Because, yeah, Stefan isn't really his friend. I go back to what I said above… it's Damon who is closer to a friend. There is a reason that they had that line with Matt almost calling Damon his friend... because, yeah, Damon was right, Matt so almost did. Before he could stop himself, before his OHNOES!IHATEVAMPIRES!ANDDAMONISTHEEVUL!m
What about Damon's other friend? The acknowledged one… at least on paper. 'Paper' being the keyword. Oy vey. When Alaric got that letter from Damon, I actually shook my head in near disbelief. Now? The show remembers now that Damon and Alaric are friends? What about the vast majority of the season and most of last season? I mean, really? Again, show, I love you dearly, but you done fucked up with Matt Davis/Alaric's return. The main reason that most people wanted Alaric back was because we loved the Damon/Alaric friendship, team!badass, and we've gotten barely any of that at all. Having Alaric receive that letter—which was just used as a prop for the Stefan/Caroline "break" anyway—was just meh.
Again, I love this show beyond words, but yeah, I've accepted and come to terms that Alaric's death, what happened with the vampire-to-human, Alaric erasing Elena's memories, what Damon did to Jo, etc. all of that stuff tarnished their friendship to what it is now. I can accept that. It makes sense storytelling-wise. And, as I write this all out… I feel almost cleansed regarding Damon and Alaric. Because, yeah, it does make sense. All of that did happen. Their friendship was reduced because of what happened, but they were friends once upon a time and Alaric did champion that Damon 'get the girl,' so it makes sense that Damon would tell Alaric that, and would tell him goodbye.
And the show using what Damon was saying about Elena—that joy of being with her missing in his life—as a way to signify why Stefan stepped away for Caroline's good was a nice detail. (This is partially why I write these, you know, to help me understand and appreciate the show more.) It made sense. He saw her looking content, happy with the babies and knew that he would be constantly on the run, constantly looking over his shoulder and he doesn't want that for her. And he did just give her the opportunity to join him, and she said 'no.' I get it; I get why he's walking away for now.
And I get why she's angry with him because I do think that this is where her anger comes from. She's going to feel that he just walked away from her and them. Like he dumped her. And that is pretty shitty if that is actually what he does. It's totally in character for Stefan, and he'd see it as being selfless or what he just has to do. Lord knows, how many times did Stefan just walk away or try to walk away but something or someone stopped him? Or we'd have a time jump and in that time jump Stefan had left? So I can buy that's what happened.
And I think it did. It looks like we're there. We are at the three years. (I sorta figured that out. A few episodes ago, I thought it would be in the next 3-4 episodes, but then I cut it down to next the 1-2 and here we are, so go me!) Speaking of… I loved how they did the montage of the 'Three Years From Now…" flashforwards we've seen, that was cool. And I'm speculating here, but I'm thinking that, yeah, Stefan just walked away so Caroline could be "happy." Never mind that her boyfriend walking away from her without a word would not make her happy, but it would totally explain why she is sooo pissed at him now.
It also explains why she and Alaric are where they are at. They are a total settled, comfortable, 'we're together for the babies' couple. In other words, this ain't gonna last. Stefan and Valerie are clearly a location couple, sorry, girl! They are together because he's not with Caroline; he's on the run with Valerie who is helping him. He's settling. Again, sorry, girl, but again, this ain't gonna last. I'm not saying that Stefan doesn't have feelings for her, but Stefan is clearly not a guy who can't not be with someone or not be all moony-eyed over someone unless he's in Ripper!mode. That's just Stefan Salvatore. Got it. And, aha! this would be why we never really saw either couple "get together." Because they aren't "the couples." Got it.
Which brings us to another couple: Bonnie and Enzo? So speculation-time… based on the conversation between Enzo and Alex, it appears as if Enzo cozies up to Bonnie to get whatever he needs to get from her for the Armory. Obviously this is three years later. The last time we saw Bonnie, she was devastated. So, Enzo could have taken advantage of her pain, but Bonnie's not stupid so it would have taken time to get all kissy-face. Now based on the flash-forward with them, all wasn't exactly as it seemed with Bonnie where she was so that could have been some kind of plan the two were cooking up. So, yeah, Bonnie and Enzo could be working together and actually be a real couple, or they could be playing each other, or Enzo could be playing Bonnie. I don't know, obviously, I'm still not sure about those two. There is just not enough information yet, and also because…
I still think that Bonnie and Matt are in the picture. The show spent a lot of time with Bonnie and Matt in the first six episodes. And then continued sprinkling stuff with them in other episodes after that going so far as to calling them a "perfect match" on the dating app. Yes, yes, it was product placement, but they didn't have to go the "perfect match" route. That didn't have to be thrown out there. And that was in addition to all of that stuff early on in the season… and there were a lot of seeds thrown early on in the season. And obviously Penny is no longer in the picture if she is the "dead girlfriend" that Matt referred to a few episodes ago "Three Years From Now" and we are now three years from now. It's just a hunch and I could be totally wrong, but I dunno.
What I do know is that my ♥ was full of all the feels when Damon was talking about Elena in that letter to Alaric. "I'm not in a good spot. Hell, I'm miserable and I have been ever since she left me. Before her I didn't know what it was like to be happy, to be fulfilled, to be complete. But now I do. Now that I know that feeling, to live without it, there's no point." *sigh* And the way at the end there, he lay his hand on her coffin and was caressing it, looking at it. Gah! He loves her so much. My heart!! GAH!!! I LOVE THEM SO MUCH!
(Hah, and people actually thought they were not going to cherish the Damon/Elena love story! Double hah!)
And on that gleeful note, time for Randoms –
- Oh my gosh! I haven't laughed this hard in a while during an episode. The well conversation just cracked me up so hard. "What's next? It puts the lotion in the basket?" / "It wouldn't have to, if it'd just stay dead." LMAO! And then just the whole, "I'm in a bit of a pickle, Ray." / "You buy a time share?" Just the whole back and forth had me rolling. It was fantastic. (And Ian Somerhalder's expressions and delivery were insanely spectacular!)
- You know, I get that Stefan *has* sacrificed for Damon, but dude those were HIS choices; to try and guilt-trip Damon for choices that Stefan willingly made, that Damon never, ever asked him to make, and in fact that Damon did NOT want him to make is, frankly, pretty crappy.
- I think I've figured out who the friend that died is that Bonnie referred to in her flashforward. Nora. We haven't seen her in the flashforwards either and Bonnie does consider her a friend. Hmm..... That gives me a sad. I liked Bonnie and Nora. *sigh* The only silver lining is that maybe it means that Mary Louise is dead too. PrettyPlease!
- As I wondered hopefully with Bonnie and Damon, maybe Damon and Alaric can repair their friendship as well now that time has passed? I would love to see that happen in these last batch of episodes SO HARD!
- Oh, Damon, it's frustrating how even when he tries to do the right thing, he still gets shit upon. *sigh*
- I don't know if Leslie-Anne Huff (Rayna) is just flat or if it's the role. She didn't seem as much in the flasbhacks with her father, but those were so brief so I don't know. I'll have to see more. She isn't grabbing me as an actress, but she isn't horrid either. (Paging Olga Fonda.)
- While the ratings (for the CW and *especially* for Fridays) are definitely good enough for a renewal, I still could see them setting this up as the last season. On the other hand, I also see a potential to continue on as well. Right now, they may be hedging their bets, unless they've been given an indication either way. I do know that Caroline Dries has said that if TVD is not renewed some characters can move over to The Originals. I imagine the same would be the case were TO not renewed.
Anyhoo, like I said at the top, this was a good episode. Not the greatest and not the bestest cliffhanger, I mean I didn't even talk about it… because, yeah, right, Damon's gonna get the mark and Rayna's gonna kill him. Although, you have to laugh at the fact that Damon is even more interesting than Stefan to villains, LOL! (Sorry, Stefan.) But I did enjoy it and I still continue to genuinely enjoy the heck out of the show. Whee!!! April can't get here fast enough!