Arabian (arabian) wrote,

8.13 - 'The Lies Are Going To Catch Up With You' (The Vampire Diaries)

Three episodes left. Yeah.

Well, that didn't last long. *sigh* I was so pleased with the Damon and Alaric scenes in the last episode. That is something I have not felt in a very long time because Alaric has just not treated Damon well since his return from the gone-bye-bye Other Side. Still, it took so very little for me to jump back aboard the Team!Badass Train: Ric showing an inkling of understanding, Ric not resisting Damon's flirting, Ric, you know, choosing not to murder Damon. Alas, as I said at the top… "that didn't last long."

To not put too fine a point on it, the Badass-Bromance feels lasted all of... well, pretty much not at all. Just a bit into their interaction with one another (excluding reactions to Kai), I was once again not a happy camper with Professor Saltzman. And fool that I am, I actually thought that Damon was going to call Ric on murdering him for saving his daughters' lives… or at least let him know what actually did happen in that situation. It wasn't Saint Stefan who got the girls' out of Cade's grasp, but Damon. Alas (again), it was not to be. Of course not.

And the hope that we would see anything resolved or at least start to dip back towards the softening we saw in the last episode just petered away when Ric called Damon merely to rag on him even more! Never did I think that I would be so happy to see Damon hang up on Ric. But happy I was when Damon did so right in the middle of yet another Ric-rant about how much Damon sucks. Ugh!

Unless miraculously we get Ric realizing how truly and unfairly awful he has been to Damon since he came back to life (especially of late) and apologizing sincerely to him, I can honestly say right now that the following opinion will not change. I wish that Alaric Saltzman had never come back from the dead. It was something I wanted so very much from the moment we lost him. However, the show did something that I will honestly never understand. They took away from the character the three main reasons that made him so fantastic—pretty much THE reasons for most of his fans.

The fact that he was a teacher by day and a supernatural combatant by night was awesome. We got to see him interacting with these teenagers as a teacher in the classroom, drawing that line between how he treated them than as opposed to when they were all embroiled in the chaos together outside of school. He was an Indiana Jones-type without being just a rip-off, charming, sarcastic, smart, curious, open-minded with a big heart. When he came back from the Other Side, sure he was a Professor at the college, but except for a few handful of scenes in the first batch of episodes, we didn't get to see that side of him. Furthermore, because of his relationship with Jo, their engagement, her pregnancy, he decided to forgo the supernatural side work. So there went one of the things that not only did fans love about the character, but it also was one of the key components of what made the character tick, what made him interesting.

Then there was that relationship he had with those teenagers. It wasn't just with Elena and Jeremy to whom Alaric was a father figure. He was also that for Bonnie, and to a lesser degree, Matt. Yet, since he came back, those kids just don't seem to matter all that much to him anymore. In season 06, despite Bonnie being all alone (literally… ALL ALONE… oh, except for when she was also there with a psychotic killer), Ric was more concerned for his girlfriend of a few months. Never mind that Bonnie was a young woman in her late teens and, again, completely alone on the planet, while his girlfriend was a woman in her late 30's surrounded by plenty of people—including supernatural creatures—who could and would help her. And then to make it worse, he got on Damon's case for wanting to help Bonnie, accusing Damon of being selfish and thinking only of himself. I mean, really?! *sigh*

Now, despite the fact that there is a real chance that Elena could be brought back to live her life alongside all of her best friends (including the human ones), there is no acknowledgement from Ric that maybe that's something that should be considered. After all, Kai doesn't know about the twins, and he clearly only has one thing on his mind right now and that's taking out Cade. Yet Ric doesn't even have a flicker of consideration of using Kai to bring Elena back before betraying him and sending him right back to Hell. It sadly does feel like since he became involved with Jo, Elena, Bonnie, and oh, yes, Damon, no longer matter to him. And that brings us to arguably the thing that fans most loved about Alaric Saltzman: His friendship with Damon Salvatore. From the moment he and Damon re-connected in season 06 (upon Damon's return from the alternate world), Ric has been brusque, unsympathetic, downright mean, unwilling to see Damon's point of view on anything, unwilling to look for or concede that Damon is not always the bad guy. Of course, this all culminated the first half of this last season when Ric literally murdered Damon.

So, yeah, I don't love this version of Alaric Saltzman and I really haven't for the most part since he returned to the canvas. Like I said above, unless a miracle happens and Ric owns up to how horribly he has treated his one-time best friend, I do wish that he had stayed dead. In that way, he would have always remained the character that I loved so very much. Alas, I don't expect that miracle. I could be wrong… there are three episodes left, but, I'm not going to hold my breath. And, honestly, even if Ric does apologize to Damon, it won't make up for most of the last three seasons where Ric hasn't been the Ric so many loved. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I don't still like Ric more often than not. I do. I loved his scenes with the twins; I generally always do. I really like the relationship that he has developed with Caroline (again, for the most part). And I understand where he's coming from… again, mostly. It's just with Damon, and how he treats Damon that I actively find myself not happy with Ric.

Ah well, I write all of this not to say that the writing of the character wasn't good in this episode. It was; at least, it was absolutely in character. And that is why all of the above was spewed because… the horrible way he continued to treat Damon was absolutely in character. *sigh* Damon deserves so much better. Hey, at least Bonnie still considers him number one. Erm, sorta. Sure, it took a number of messages (nine to be exact), but Bonnie *did* finally answer his phone call, while she didn't answer Caroline's. (Sorry, Care-bear!) And here's the kicker, she answered Damon's call even believing—and she was right—that Damon wanted something from her. She just can't resist her BFF.

Just like she can't resist the hope that she can somehow get Enzo back. Why would she, though? She brought Jeremy back… and Enzo before and Alaric (*sigh*) and Stefan and Elena and Tyler. So, yeah, it's very understandable why she can't let go of the idea that there's a way. However, I do believe (well, mostly… I'm at about 95%) that Enzo is actually gone. Cade told Bonnie that Hell was basically created by his powerful psychic rage. More importantly, he also told her that it is connected to him since it was his creation after all and that her grief had created another psychic realm. Just as significant was Kai's description of what he was while Cade was walking around on Earth: A psychic imprint. Those pieces of information pretty much laid out where and what exactly Enzo is.

And what he is… is not someone who is going to be coming back to life. Yes, Bonnie will be able to see him, even be with him anytime she wants… but as Enzo said, "it is me, but I'm not really here." Whatever issues I have had with Bonnie and Enzo and their truest love that ever loved, if I take it from the perspective that not only was Enzo her first adult love, he was also the first person who ever unconditionally put her first (outside of Grams, but… completely different relationships there and Grams was literally the only other person). Yes, Elena, Damon, Caroline and Jeremy all love(d) her, but Bonnie was never first with any of them… even Jeremy. For him, it was Elena, Anna and then Elena. Now I'm not saying that had Bonnie not been lost in the alternate world that she and Jeremy couldn't have grown into a stronger, more unconditional relationship. I believe that they could have. Their reconnection after she came back as the anchor, recommitting to one another with eyes open, gave them a beautiful foundation. But then… he thought she died again. She was messed up so much by what happened in that lonely world and Jeremy couldn't deal with any more loss and so they lost their chance to go for it for the long haul.

And then Bonnie fell in love with Enzo and, as I've mentioned quite a few times, we never saw the pair fall out of the honeymoon phase of their relationship. Because of that there is a purity to their love that added to that overwhelming grief when he was taken from her. With Enzo it was all about what was yet to come… and there was a very real promise that what was to come would be a life filled with love and happiness. Of course, from my point of view, none of this takes away from the fact that the show really, really oversold their bestest love story ever and did a crap-ton of telling, instead of showing. However, regardless of how I felt about its execution, I can see what we were supposed to get from Bonnie and Enzo. And since I do believe (almost totally so) that part of the reason it was so over-the-top was because it was setting up the end of their story. We needed Bonnie to believe this was IT for her. And I did believe that she believed it, even if I didn't. And that does matter. We also needed to believe that Enzo loved Bonnie beyond anything he had ever known and would live, die, breathe, do anything for her. And I believed that too.

Which brings us to where I think this story may be heading. As I said, Bonnie will be able to be with Enzo whenever she wants now that he's in her psychic-created realm. But it's not really Enzo. It's merely a shadow of the man that Bonnie loved so much that her grief created a psychic imprint of him. This is something that she may be satisfied with for now, but that won't last. Even more importantly, Enzo won't let her live her life with a shadow… because he did love her. She will grow old, miss out on having a family, a real life while he's stuck in the purgatory of this psychic realm she created. And in that realm, he will never age, never grow, never become anything other than who he was the moment he died.

So what's going to happen? Well, I think that it's possible that if Cade dies (he so is going to die), those who Bonnie knew and loved (like Tyler) may wind up in that realm of hers alongside Enzo. Maybe. Much more likely is that this imprint of Enzo will help give Bonnie some closure… enough to move on.

And that brings me to the idea that we may have a one-year flash forward in the final episode. We're at four years now from around the time when Damon asked Elena to imagine her life in five years. So… one-year flash forward where we will see our characters (hopefully, almost assuredly) in a happy place. As for Bonnie, well, if we get a few more scenes between her and Matt like we did in the last episode, I do think it's very possible that we will see the two together in that flash forward. I could be off with the amount of time that passes, we may get another three year, or maybe a five year, ten year flash forward, but regardless of the length, I do think we will get one. And, yes, the possibility of a Matt and Bonnie together then is very real based on the scene we recently got with them. (Or it's wishful thinking on my part, LOL! Nothing will happen with Matt and Bonnie, and either Enzo will come back and Bonnie will at least get her happy ending—even if it's not one that would work for me—but my poor Matty will not.)

Speaking of Matty-Blue-Blue, well, doesn't he seem pretty chill with the horror of Stefan's actions? I mean, man, he even joked about the "animal attacks." Oh, and, yeah, he apologized to Caroline for his not-so-nice (and totally unreasonable) comments. I certainly never saw that coming! Hmm… did what happen with the Devil and his own foray into the mind of someone controlled by a supernatural power (which, let's get real, vampirism is exactly that—the hunger, the urge to feed, the ability to turn off the guilt with a flick of a switch in your brain… as Stefan said) finally make him realize he's been a bit of jerk lately? Or maybe it's more than that. It's ironic, I think, but it does make sense that Matt, after what is now four years later, finally is letting up on the horror of vampirism and not angrily espousing his beliefs to anyone he can. Why does it make sense? Because others—Stefan, Caroline, Dorian—are seeing it too now. I remember back in season 06, after Matt was attacked during Stefan and Caroline's no-humanity love fest, he got on Elena's case about vampires—all vampires—being bad, even the "good" ones, because all it took was one flip of a switch in their heads and murder and mayhem followed.

At the time, I didn't think we were supposed to agree with Matt's point of view. Now, well, OK… I still don't think we were because the show has clearly gone on longer than was intended at that point. However, considering that Matt was right about the switch and what-not, maybe, we were supposed to take his point of view more into consideration. Maybe we were supposed to think that he might be just a little right? Even then. I wrote about his thought process at the time:

Oh, Matty. I get where he's coming from and I do think that this is an interesting tack they are taking with him and it does make the most sense looking at his character arc. However, man, it's painful seeing him being so hard and drawing this hard line with the people who love him because the bottom line is that is what he's doing. These are not just "vampires," these are people who love him and/or care about him at least. And for the most part these are people who are there and have been there for him.

Yes, he has died lots or almost died lots… but ALL of them and they have suffered as much or more than him. Something is going to have to give because he's still not walking the walk/talking the talk. It's not about saying "I hate vampires" and then accepting their help, i.e., taking their blood. You can't say you hate vampires and then use their car to go the hospital. You can't say you hate vampires and then take their hand and call one/all of them your friend. You either hate vampires or you don't. There are good people and there are bad people. There are good vampires and there are bad vampires. Same difference.

Matt needs to figure that out. I'm telling ya, something is going to happen that is going to remind him of that reality because he has forgotten that very real fact. Still love you, Matty Blue-Blue, but, yeah, reality checks are gonna come and hit you upside the head soon, my sweetie.
Now, a few seasons down the road, rather, it's the vampires who are getting the reality checks and Matt was closer to right than wrong. Although, as Caroline pointed out to him, Mystic Falls has *always* had this supernatural problem and just hating on them is not the way to solve it. Going back to why Matt has had a change of heart, maybe it's a combination of seeing the actual Devil in play, of being in the mind of one manipulated in the worst way by supernatural creatures, and others finally beginning to to truly see where he's coming from that has led to his lighter attitude. As I said above, it makes sense… he not only understands their point of view better now, but he's also not alone in this stance among his group of friends. Whatever of the three, all or a combination, led to his attitude in this episode, it really does seem like he's at peace with himself and his place in his world in a way we haven't ever seen. I mean, he took it upon himself to not, well, take it upon himself and go after Stefan for his (vampire-related) crimes. Instead, he gave that opportunity to Dorian (per Stefan's wishes).

Ah, Dorian. Firstly, I must say that while I don't dislike Dorian (or the actor, Demetrius Bridges, playing him), seeing how big his role has become… and what fantabulous resonance we could have gotten from that powerful emergence, well, I'm not so happy with the casting now. Because, you see, it really is a matter of casting here. I just can't blame the writing of the character at all for the lack of a deep pull for him. I think the show has done a good job of making Dorian a three-dimensional character. He was introduced the very first episode of the season as a bright student who was enthusiastic and really clever. Then we saw by virtue of Alaric telling him all of the supernatural bits and pieces that he was trust-worthy. We saw him working first with Ric, then Matt, and then Caroline. He's even had his encounters with Damon and Stefan. So, one can't say that he hasn't been integrated into the cast.

Furthermore, it wasn't just his working habits we saw on display. There was also how he mourned a friend (Georgie) and fought to avenge her. We've seen his interest and levelheadedness when dealing with the supernatural chaos. His personal history was then fleshed out a few episodes ago with a tragic back-story that was now tinged with optimism because he learned that he wasn't crazy for thinking there was something more out there. Finally, we were teased (as was he) with the possibility of becoming a vampire. At first, Dorian was interested, and then was put in a situation where he was able to definitively make the decision not to go there. All of that... PLUS!, he might be a descendant of Cade. *Might* being the key word. I was pretty sure that was the case after that back-story was revealed, but now I'm thinking it was instead for this episode with Stefan.

So yeah, I really do think they could have cast the role better. I mean, I loved Oscar—still miss him!—after one episode. Rebekah? One episode. Elijah? One episode. Tessa? One episode. Georgie? Two episodes. So I do think it's the casting here, and that's a shame. And it is frustrating. I feel like I should love Dorian by now, and if I did all that happened with him in this one would have been amazing, and heartbreaking and given us a beautiful (if devastating) arc. As it was, while still being some great stuff (both Paul Wesley and Bridges did some fine acting and the story and dialogue were stellar), that greatness was one I thought, rather than felt. It was rational, more than emotional.

Still… it was very strong (if not as powerful as it could have been). As soon as Dorian mentioned Knoxville and the timeline, I knew immediately that the murder of his family at Stefan's hands happened while he was blood-bingeing all down the Eastern seaboard with Klaus in early season 03. (The first episode of that season opened with Klaus—using a bad American accent—to get into a young woman's home in Tennessee.) And, of course, that is exactly when it happened. And as Stefan tried to explain himself, I thought… 'What is he going to say? Well, you see I agreed to go on a horrific murder spree in order to save the life of my vampire brother who has also killed, manipulated and used a lot of people!' I mean… damn!

When Stefan couldn't quickly recall the situation that Dorian was referencing his response was pure gold, and chilling, and just awful in such a compelling (no pun intended) way.

Dorian: You murdered the people I love, and you don't even remember them?
Stefan: Their names were Robert and Tina Williams. I never forget my victim's names.
Dorian: But you didn't bother to remember mine. So, what? If you don't murder a person technically they're not your victim?
I mean, DAYUM! In the last episode we began to get our first taste of the "real world" fall-out of a vampire's actions. In this one, we got a lot, lot more. What was so strong about what Dorian said about their being others victims beyond those killed was that we were also shown very clearly beyond just Dorian how that was the case.

Because I have practically an encyclopedia-like knowledge of this show (LOL!), as soon as the former guard was telling his story to Caroline at the police station, I remembered exactly where we had last seen him. In "My Brother's Keeper," Stefan was desperate to find the cure so that Elena would become human again and (he believed) go back to being the girl he loved and who loved him. So desperate that he went to the hospital, compelled a guard away from a convicted murderer's room, then he slipped inside and after checking to see whether or not the guy regretted his heinous actions (he didn't), Stefan turned him into a vampire. He did that in order to provide Jeremy, the budding Hunter, with an "evil" vampire to kill so that he could continue growing that map tattoo. In my write-up of that episode, I wasn't happy with Stefan's actions:

This episode was about SO MUCH SHOW as opposed to TELL, it was glorious. While we have Caroline go on about how bad Damon is and how awesome Stefan is, that's juxtaposed with the Jeremy situation. They need a hunter to find the cure so Stefan selfishly goes behind all their backs again, kills and turns (admittedly) a murderer and then goads and all but forces Jeremy to kill said turned vampire thus messing up the poor kid even more. Damon's solution? Go to the go-to-know-how guy to get the name of one of the four OTHER hunters so that Jeremy doesn't get more affected than he already has. So we hear 'Damon bad, Stefan good.' We see Stefan bad, Damon good.
Notice how I picked up on Stefan's actions negatively effecting Jeremy, but it didn't even cross my mind of how those actions would hurt innocents we don't know… like the guard who left his post with no reasonable explanation and thus had his life ruined. (And, for anyone interested, yes, it is the same actor, Maurice Johnson, in both that episode and this one).

The real life affects of vampirism is just slamming us over the head, but in the best way possible. We need to see just how badly the supernatural aspects of their way of life casually and constantly effect, hurt and all-out ruin people's lives. Even those they don't murder. There are those people who have to live with the fall-out of those crimes. And seeing what happened with Dorian in this episode was a beautiful, brilliant, devastating take-back of Stefan's "victory" in the last episode. He found that little girl's mother before she died and so that was a win. But here he is being confronted with a very similar situation… but it happened years ago and there is no fix, no win for that now. It's like what Dorian told Stefan:

Dorian: Screw you, okay? I'm not falling for your act. You know, all your friends keep talking about poor, self-hating Stefan. Like getting to live is the biggest torture of all! You know what's worse than living with all that guilt? Surviving murder. You know what's worse than surviving? Being murdered!

And we are truly seeing that with all of the compulsions that Stefan made falling away with the cure forced upon him. Not just the guard, but with Violet Fell's family, and with the unseen parade of victims that Caroline had to work on. We just continue to see just how bad, just how wrong vampirism is. *sigh* Like Matt had come to believe. Even the "good" ones like Elena, Caroline, Rose and Harper still caused hurt. They still compelled innocents. The "good" ones still killed people. And this episode did a great job in highlighting just how being a vampire with that kind of power skews your way of thinking. Think of the guard… because the killer didn't regret his crime, Stefan felt justified in killing him. However, we saw the collateral damage that Stefan didn't even think of.

Speaking of that collateral damage, let's talk about the clean-up duty that Caroline performed because I am a wee bit confused by what is happening with Caroline and Stefan. On one hand, they are being written as an endgame couple. We had Stefan not letting go of his life because he wants to be with Caroline selfishly. But… on the other hand, was that really the reason he didn't give up? Was it to be with Caroline or was it only so he could spend more time on Earth trying to atone? And he is definitely doing that because he hopes for redemption so that he doesn't have to go to Hell. So, in other words, was it selfishness because he can't be away from Caroline or (totes understandable) selfishness because he wants to try and avoid going back to Hell?

Honestly, the latter seems more likely. I mean, that would explain why he broke up with Caroline? Or did it? Maybe he broke up with her not just for atonement purposes but because he didn't want her to suffer by having to deal with his past actions and their fall-out. I don't know. I really don't. (Note, I'm not saying this is bad writing… I think we aren't supposed to be completely sure right now.) I have to admit, though, that if it wasn't for the twins, I would actually be leaning more towards that Stefan and Caroline are *not* being written as endgame now. The two are no more romantically; Stefan will spend the rest of his human life on a journey of atonement. And Caroline? Well, Candice King (and thus Caroline) will show up on The Originals next season. (If it gets renewed, which I imagine it will provided that the ratings aren't beyond execrable.)

Added to signs pointing in that direction are two things: The first being that despite the fact that we now know that the cure can do its thang with just a vial of Elena's blood (I guess), Caroline has not even broached the subject of taking it herself. And that makes sense because Caroline Forbes has never regretted becoming a vampire—even with the lives she has taken. She feels like she became who she was truly meant to be when she was turned. The second point is the afore-mentioned parade of re-done compulsions. Caroline saw how much pain and suffering these people were put through because of Stefan. She used her powers of compulsion to set up new lies that would put them at peace. If she were to take the cure, how does she live with herself knowing that all of those people she "fixed" after Stefan's mayhem will go through the same torment… times two?

Ah, but then we come to the number one reason why Caroline would take the cure (again, if it is as simple as taking a vial of Elena's blood)… the girls. I don't know that she would take the cure for Stefan honestly, especially not with the overflow of pain that doing so would cause because of *her* undone compulsions. However, I can't really see her not choosing to take the cure if it is the only way she can be with her daughters again. So, yeah… because of that, and, yes, because Stefan and Caroline have been built up as the secondary endgame couple on this show, I do think that is what will happen. Unless… something happens to Lizzie and Josie. Then I suppose all bets are off and we very well may see Caroline in New Orleans. I don't know, I don't know. (I do know that Candice King was never a fan of Klaus and Caroline, but Klaus has changed and it could be a great story with Caroline and him navigating through their respective losses together.) Will something (as in bad) happen to the twins? I don't know. But something sure is going on with them. Oh, yeah!

What did Hell's bells do to them? (Yes, I so caught that little comment from Kai. Of course, I did.) So we know that the ringing of the Maxwell Bell eleven times allowed Cade to pass through from his psychic realm to our Earthly plane. We also know that it also allowed at least one of the souls he owns (Kai!) to pass through as well. How many others, we don't know. But I imagine that it wasn't a free-for-all. Kai explained that he saw Mystic Falls through the veil and pushed and pushed until he made it through. One imagines that Kai's mix of determination *and* optimism generally don't go hand in hand among those capable of evil. (The "optimism" part is the key!) What those bells did to strengthen the twins' powers and send them on more of a spicy rather than sugary path? I'm sure we'll find out soon enough.

The other mystery is what Kai did with Elena. In her coffin… now wearing a really bad wig! Gee, thanks promo gods for letting us see that horridness in advance. I'm sorry, but I do not understand why Nina Dobrev decided to cut her frickin' hair about a month before The Vampire Diaries concluded filming forever when she knew that she would be back to close out Elena's story. She left the show two years ago… and didn't feel the raging desire to cut her hair at any point prior to the few weeks before her return to long-haired Elena. Why, why, why didn't she just wait one more month!? Ugh! Sorry, this is an issue I have and I wanted to get it out before we actually saw Elena again and I want to just squee at that point, not complain about that horrid, horrid wig and Dobrev's mind-boggling decision to cut it *when* she did. Ugh!! Anyhoo, the mystery… yes, where did Kai take Elena? Well, he probably just took her (and the weapon to kill Cade… really, Damon?) away from Damon.

Oh, right, Damon. Firstly, let's talk about his "ELENA! ELENA! ELENA GILBERT!" mindset and how beautiful and awesome it is and that it remains on such fervent display. From the moment Kai mentioned that he could wake Elena up, that is all that Damon was focused on. Working with Kai, making plans and deals any which way he could, he even went so far as to briefly shut down all brain cells to actually take Kai to Elena's coffin. (Oh, Damon!) Ah, but he just loves and misses her so much! And that love and the lengths it drove Damon to was yet another brilliant way of this episode showing us the skewed thinking of vampires. He told Kai that he was trying not to kill people for Elena—and that right there says something, as a vampire he has to *try* not to kill people. However, once he was put in a situation where giving into those instincts "for Elena" popped up, Damon turned right around and killed again. See? Vampires. Everything the show is showing us is about how very wrong they are, yup!

So, so good. I love the layered writing of this show. Alas, along with the expected awesome of that richness in the storytelling, there was also more of the confusion that has plagued this season. *sigh* Yeah, once again I am confuzzled. In the last episode I mentioned that it was great that Alaric didn't actually murder Damon again because the deal with Cade was off and therefore Damon would actually stay dead, not undead, but dead-dead. I mean, this is what Cade told Damon in the last episode:

Cade: Our deal was for two immortal souls. Your friends found a loophole when they made Stefan human, rendering our agreement null and void. You and your brother are now free.
See that bolded part? "Our agreement [is] null and void." Therefore doesn't that mean that Damon does not get to come back from happy-happy-murder-fun-time! anymore? I would assume so… but, at the end of this episode, Kai siphoned all of Damon's vampirism away leaving Damon to begin to turn all marbl-y and dead-dead. So, I am confused. Unless… that part of the deal (at least with Damon) isn't null and void? I guess we'll find out in the next episode, but I tell ya, I'm getting tired of episodes ending on my beloved Damon turning all marbl-y grey and dead-dead. Ugh. But, hey, at least I'm not as upset with the one who murdered him this time as opposed to the last time it happened. Yes, I'm looking at you, Ric! Had you shown repentance (like Matt did—at least to a teeny degree) or had at least somewhat of a legitimate reason (like Matt did—Tyler's bye-bye time) than I wouldn't be upset with you over that, but nope. Bad, Ric, bad! On the other hand, the doer of the deed this go-round, Kai, straight up told Damon right before he did it that he was a bad guy and there was no redemption in store for him. Plus, Damon did kill-kill him dead-dead. It's not like they don't have a very bad history.

Plus, damnit, I love Kai so very much! That 'Three days ago' with him was perfection. First his boyish, adorable joy at being able to eat real, yummy food again! And then his anguish and frustration at not being able to taste or feel anything! Finally, his turn to the pure evil that is the Kai that we all know and love (well, everyone *should*) when he used magic to pull that hapless waiter to the knife held in his hand just so he could feel *something.*

Ah, Kai, I have missed you so! Let me recount all of his awesome that I so loved in this one:

1) I know he's pure evil, I know this, but oh, he was so freaking adorable when he was ordering all of that food and then looked up at the waiter with the happiest smile on his face, and his chin in his hands. SO CUTE!

2) His correction of Ric when he told him that he had killed his wife slayed me. "Fiancée. It was mid-ceremony as I remember." I didn't love that because I wasn't a fan of Jo, or of Ric and Jo together (although, that's certainly true of both), but rather because every time Ric has referenced Jo as his wife, I always think to myself… but was she? Because, like Kai, I remember that it was mid-ceremony as well. They hadn't gotten to the "I do's" and "I now pronounce you man and wife" parts. So, thank you, Kai.

3) "CobraKai1972!" Hah! Nice callback to Kai's (hilarious) twitter handle. Even better is now we know that that Ric was (for some reason) following him when Kai established it, and was *still* following him four years after his death. (The all-important question of WHY was, of course, asked by Damon.) We also know that Kai quickly adapted to social media in the 21st century, even to the point of knowing what a selfie was and how to take it! "Selfie City!" Double hah!

4) Some of you may have remembered that before Kai's pure evil was established—and after they made it clear that they weren't going the Luke-side-of-him has made him redeemable—I totes mild-key shipped him and Bonnie. Well, because of that, I got a kick out of Kai drawing a heart in the fog of the window while Damon was talking to her. As well as his "Let me say hi," and asking Damon if Bonnie sounded like she missed him. Oh, Kai… still holding a torch for Bon-Bon despite everything you did to her and she to you in return. Such a hopeless romantic!

5) Dear Lord! Damon watching Kai take forever in the most clumsy, ridiculous way possible to get out of the car was hilarious. Kai in that situation alone (due to his weakness) was one thing, but watching Damon watch him? Icing on the cake.

6) Finally, his little bend-down to Elena's coffin and baby-voiced inquiry, "Hi, sleepyhead. Remember me?" cracked me up so hard. I just… damn, I love him so much. (Damon calling him a creeper in response was also worth a chuckle.)

Now with my love of Kai well-documented, we shall move onto randoms –

- So we now know that taking the cure removes all of the compulsions that a vampire made. That means that the compulsions of Elena and (GASP!) Katherine fell away as well, we just never saw the outcome of those. With, Elena, sure, one would imagine that the fall-out wouldn't be too bad (but for that waitress… sigh). However, can you even begin to imagine ALL OF THE DAMAGE that Katherine Pierce left in her wake? Oh, boy!

- Damn, those girls DID grow up! The two little actresses definitely looked bigger than the last time we saw them.

- I loved that Matt offered the former guard a law enforcement job if he still wanted one. That was just a small, but classy move on my Matty's part. I'm so glad I can go back to unabashedly loving him. *sigh*

- Um, Caroline you didn't stand by Stefan through all of this, my dear. You gave him his ring back not once, but twice. The first time was when she decided that when push came to shove with her daughters, she didn't want Stefan around. The second was when she actually saw the Ripper, humanity-less Stefan in action. I'm not saying that I don't blame her for the latter (I still honestly don't understand her reasoning in the former), but, yeah, no, she did NOT stand by him "through all of this."

- I was genuinely shocked that there was absolutely zero Damon and Stefan interaction, acknowledgement, anything. I don't even think either said the other's name in this one. Damon didn't find out that Stefan was kidnapped, shot and nearly died! I know that he loves Elena above all else, but in this instance, he would have put the Kai-bamboozle on hold for his brother. Hmm… yeah, OK, that's likely why they chose not to have Damon find out. Unfortunately that was a case of plot point over character which I so do not like and something in which this show rarely engages. Damon not being told was just a bit out of character for Caroline as of late. After the last episode when it was made clear that she had kept Damon apprised of all that was going on with Stefan, why would she not have done the same again? It really doesn't make sense that Caroline wouldn't have called her new bestie at some point to tell him about (a) the compulsions wearing off and what she was having to do, and more importantly (b) that his brother had been kidnapped, shot and nearly died!

Alrighty then, well, despite a few minor issues, this was really good episode. However, it wasn't an awesome one like last week and I'm feeling greedy. I want every single one of these last episodes to be awesome-sauce. Maybe it's all just beginning to hit me that it's coming to an end and so I'm expecting, wanting too much. That's certainly possible. If so, I imagine that during my rewatch(s) when I already know what is coming, I'll be feeling much more gracious towards every episode that leads to the end. *sigh* Only three more episodes to go! WAH!

Alas, no gifs because the episode isn't available anywhere without logos. Sorry. I so wanted to gif some of those awesome Kai moments. :(
Tags: alaric saltzman, bonnie bennett, bonnie/matt, caroline forbes, damon salvatore, damon/alaric, damon/bonnie, damon/caroline, damon/elena, damon/stefan, elena gilbert, ep discussion-tvd, kai parker, matt donovan, nina dobrev, stefan salvatore, stefan/caroline, the vampire diaries, tv

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