Previously on The Vampire Diaries, ‘If I Stay’
Caroline has decided that by the end of the day, she’d like to have her mother’s funeral taken care of. In very standard Caroline fashion she has a job for everyone. Her and Elena are tasked with casket shopping and while they’re out, Caroline tells her about the kiss with Stefan. She wonders if he’ll tell her the truth about what it means on a day like today. Elena suggests that she wait, but Caroline can’t be swayed, she must know today. Damon and Stefan have a similar conversation about the kiss, where Damon also advises Stefan to wait for another day. His suggestion comes from the belief that Stefan doesn’t love Caroline the way she wants and that he shouldn’t lead her on.
While waiting for the funeral to begin, Stefan approaches Caroline to make sure she’s all right, and she confronts him about the kiss. Stefan tells her they should wait until they are alone to discuss it but the look of guilt on his face is enough for Caroline to believe that he’s not interested. It was very awkward and until we understand why Caroline needed this information so quickly, it felt very inappropriate.
Damon struggled throughout the day to write Liz’s eulogy. He’d been recalling the day of his own mother’s funeral and dealing with the guilt of never finishing her eulogy. In the end, he delivered a very nice tribute, short but sweet, and with some touching words about Caroline. Words that forced Stefan to truly consider his feelings for her. Caroline sang, very beautifully, as a final goodbye at end the funeral.
Having had enough condolences to last a lifetime, Caroline tells Elena that she’s going home and would prefer to be alone. Before too long, Elena realizes what Caroline has been up to. The rushed funeral arrangements, needing to know immediately how Stefan felt, and the way Caroline kept saying that she just needed to get through this one day. It could only mean one thing: Caroline had decided to turn off her humanity.
Elena pleads with her not to go through with it, but Caroline raises an excellent point when she asks why it’s ok for Elena, Stefan, and Damon to do so but not for her. If they can all skip their grieving processes, why can’t she? Although Elena admits that turning off the switch and erasing her memories of Damon were two of her biggest regrets, that’s not enough for Caroline to change her mind. By the time Stefan arrives to tell Caroline how he feels about her, she’s gone and Elena is on the ground, neck snapped.
I must admit that I was surprised by the reveal of Caroline’s decision. I should have seen it coming because the clues were all there. From the opening scene when a young Caroline tells her mother that she’ll always need her, or when Damon tells her that the pain will only get worse. She just never struck me for the type to turn it all off. It makes sense now though; while her mother was still alive she was actively avoiding dealing with the truth of her approaching death, so it seems only natural that she would continue to avoid dealing with her actual death. Shutting off the humanity switch is not a plot that breaks new ground for this show but I’m still pretty excited for it. Caroline has always been the goody-goody who obsesses about every little choice and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun watching her give zero fucks.
The Damon flashbacks were dull – even though little Stefan was pretty adorable – but they had a nice payoff at the end of the episode. All that guilt built up inside him over all these decades only to find out his mother is still alive has got to sting. Plus, she’s been banished to a prison world so it would seem that there are some family secrets that the Salvatore boys did not know about.
I’m happy to see Matt find a purpose for himself. Who knows if it will amount to a more exciting storyline for him but it’s nice to see him in charge of his life again. As for Tyler, we can all hope that this works out for him but it probably won’t. He should go meet up with Jeremy.
Kai shows up at Jo’s place, vomiting blood and begging for her help because he’s fairly certain that he’s dying. Jo, who also happened to be vomiting, thought she had food poisoning, but Kai believes it’s a result of a twin-merge gone wrong. It turns out that if he dies, so does the rest of their coven. His death would also cause the prison worlds to collapse. Yes, that’s right, there are several prison worlds. Not only does this mean bad news for Bonnie’s chances of getting home, it also sets up the idea of multiple dimensions similar to retro realm, where there must be a surplus of bad guys and gals like Kai trapped. So, it’s probably best not to let them out.
Jo examines Kai at the clinic, but they must have known that would be a waste of time since his problems are magical not medical. Kai grabs onto Jo’s arm as he doubles over to vomit and siphons some magic from her. Even though it was a small amount, he’s feeling significantly better. Kai reasons that if Jo gave him all of her magic, he would be cured. So, Jo must decide if she will give up her magic to Kai. My bullshit meter started buzzing right about now; this was a con right?
As many of our gang has had to do in the past, Jo decides to work with the enemy in the pursuit of the greater good. She gives Kai her magic and it works to cure him. Before he leaves, he tells Jo that she never had food poisoning, or twin-merge poisoning, she was sick because she’s pregnant. Ric’s reaction to this news is to propose. Jo laughs it off, saying she doesn’t want a pity proposal, but Ric pulls out an engagement ring and reveals that this is something he’d been planning. The ring almost knocks her off her feet when she sees it and she says yes.
Where does Kai’s story go from here? He hasn’t been much of a villain since the merge with Luke. He has become one of my favorite characters so it might be interesting to see him integrate with the rest of the gang. If they can accept Damon for all his murderous faults, then why not do the same for Kai? I do have a suspicion that acquiring all that magic from Jo was part of a master plan. It’s possible that he left Jo and Ric unharmed hoping they’d believe that he’s not a threat. That could work.
What doesn’t work is that proposal. It felt very forced and kind of cheesy. How did Kai know Jo was pregnant anyway? I’m not too bothered since I like Jo and Ric together and they’d make a cute baby, but it seemed weird that he would know and she wouldn’t. Oh, and couldn’t she just get more magic from an object where magic was stored? Bonnie lost her magic but regained it from the rock. I don’t think Jo’s days of witchcraft are totally over.
Bonnie has returned from her road trip and sure, she’s suffered a few broken bones and has an ear infection, but she has also successfully restored her magic. She has the Ascendant and she’s ready for the next eclipse. Her first attempt at the spell for the day is interrupted when she is transferred to an alternate prison world: a wintery hell dimension complete with its own celestial event, the Aurora Borealis. Back at the Salvatore house she finds a journal where she discovers some important information. It’s November 1903, and the Northern Lights is a recurring event in this realm, just like the eclipse.
Bonnie is temporarily brought back to retro realm, where she realizes she has very little time before the eclipse will end for the day. As she’s making her way back to the magic site she is shifted back and forth between the dimensions of 1994 and 1903, but she forges on undeterred – as per usual for Bonnie. She makes it back just in time to perform the spell, and just as she’s finishing a woman appears from the shadows. Before they can say more than “who are you,” Bonnie is transported back home.
When Damon arrives home from the funeral he notices pancakes in the kitchen and finds Bonnie waiting for him. Their reunion hug was everything! The way she ran over and jumped up on him, damn. It was lacking in the hooking-up department, but I won’t let that squash my hopes for Bamon. Realizing that she’d been filming the whole event, Bonnie shows Damon the woman who appeared to her. He recognizes the woman right away because that’s his mama.
The Bonnie storyline was the best part of the episode. The shot of her arriving back at the Salvatore’s, walking right past present day Caroline and Elena, showed off some great directing. I was anticipating more disappointment when she found herself in the other prison world and was pleasantly surprised when she actually made it back home – finally. The concept of multiple hell dimensions is pretty cool and it’s going to be interesting to see what the revelation that Mrs. Salvatore is still alive will mean for Stefan and Damon.