Previously, on The Vampire Diaries: “Welcome to Paradise”
This week’s episode showcased some of the finer work that can come from The Vampire Diaries. It demonstrated how, even in a culture saturated with vampire narratives, this show remains unique and clever in its take.
An episode with fewer characters can help to keep the plot clear and moving forward. By focusing in on one or two major storylines, peppered with a few smaller subplots, we gain advancement in the overall plot, while keeping the episode itself pretty tightknit and without needing to bring all the characters together in some contrived way; I’m looking at you swimming hole. The clues we’ve been getting since the premiere were expanded upon and skillfully hidden within the episode and eventually led to some big reveals. Finally, just as we think we’re starting to gain some traction, the writers throw in a curveball and keep us wanting more!
Elena wants proof that Stefan can truly be happy in a new life away from Mystic Falls. They head out to Georgia, so he can show her his technique for starting fresh and, if she’s convinced, she’ll leave him alone. Throughout their day together, Elena gives Stefan updates on the search for Sarah, and we also come to learn that Caroline can’t find Enzo: some of those sneaky clues I was talking about!
Stefan’s surefire system for starting a new life involves spending the day at the local bar, fake proposing to Elena in order to create a new identity, and then allowing someone to kick the shit out of him, so he can feel something. Elena calls bullshit on Stefan’s method, and he proceeds to drop the “you-loved-Damon-but-erased-your-memories” bomb.
Alaric provides Elena with a letter she wrote for herself where she clarifies that yes, she did erase her past with Damon, but she did so in order to move on with her life. Past Elena hopes present Elena will choose to move forward without the memories, and it looks like she’ll do just that, for now at least.
Back at the auto shop, we discover that Stefan has been working to restore Damon’s car. This is a great payoff because, at every encounter, his friends (and myself) have been asking Stefan why the hell he’d be working as an auto mechanic, but he would just shrug it off. Now we know the real reason, and it’s a nice tug-at-the-heartstrings moment right before Ivy comes in, bloody-faced, telling Stefan how thirsty she is!
Jeremy is hung-over, so Ric takes him to the clinic. Geez, Ric; ever heard of Advil? What about Gravol? Regardless, this allows for some cutesy interactions between Jo and Ric, which he promptly screws up by staring longingly at a patient he’d like to have a taste of. The Saltzman and Gilbert duo takes some much-needed time to blow off steam in the woods. While they work on their fighting chops, they discuss resentments and how they’ve each had to cope with so much loss. Ric pleads with Jeremy to find a way to keep moving on, and it looks like Jeremy is somewhat convinced.
Meanwhile in retro realm, Kai has explained that they need to find an ancient relic called the Ascendant because it can harness the power of the eclipse and help them get back home. While outside trying to find the exact spot they need to be during the eclipse, Bonnie finds a disturbing headline in that day’s newspaper, “Family Massacred in Portland.” This leads to a few revelations about Kai: he is a witch but doesn’t have powers, he killed his entire coven except his youngest “sister”, and this retro realm is Kai’s hell, not Damon’s.
As we inch closer to the answers of where Bonnie & Damon are and how they’ll get home, we’re treated to some flashbacks from the actual 1990s. May 10, 1994, in particular, as that’s the day Damon did what he calls “the worst thing ever.” I know we’ve seen Damon do some fairly reprehensible deeds, but this one is pretty awful; I mean, he kills a pregnant woman! Not just any pregnant woman, either; his “uncle-nephew” Zach’s girlfriend, making the baby Damon’s family. These flashbacks provide more of the crafty clues I mentioned earlier.
Bonnie now has reservations about performing the spell that will bring them back because she’s uncomfortable bringing a murderous monster like Kai back with her. Kai simplifies the situation by demonstrating his ability to absorb magic from others and by offering them an ultimatum: take me back with you, or I’ll use Bonnie’s magic to do so and kill you both in the process.
Top 5 Moments from “Black Hole Sun”:
Stefan spilled the beans!
I knew someone was going to screw up and tell Elena the truth about her memories, but I didn’t know it would be this soon! The timing felt right, though, because listening to Elena advise Stefan on how to cope with his loss was just too hypocritical, not that she would realize this, but I can’t blame Stefan for wanting to call her out on it. Acknowledging that this information is true, but choosing to move on without a restored memory, creates an interesting internal conflict for Elena moving forward.
Bonnie and Damon are trapped in Kai’s hell!
So Bonnie and I were both wrong when we assumed that Grams was responsible for her and Damon’s trip to the ‘90s. Turns out it’s Kai’s personal hell, which the Gemini Coven banished him to for being a psychopathic serial killer. He brutally murdered his entire coven, which he talks about with such nonchalance it made my stomach queasy. Kai did mention sparing a sister from his rampage; I wonder who that could be?
Sarah is a Salvatore!
Jeremy finds Sarah back at the Salvatore house where she shows him two photos: one of her mother, which she’s had since birth; and another of a man with her mother on the same day, which she found while snooping through the house. Jeremy identifies the man as Zach Salvatore. I guess this makes Sarah a “cousin-niece” to Damon and Stefan? Something tells me that family reunion won’t be all smiles and hugs!
Enzo is alive!
Tripp tells Matt that he came back to Mystic Falls to check on his granny after the gas leak that happened in the summer and, when he crossed over the border, a lot of memories started flooding back in. He remembered the existence of vampires and that one of them killed his wife. He’s got Enzo locked up somewhere in the woods and plans to use him for answers, like who attacked Elena and who killed his wife?
Ivy is a vampire!
This probably throws a wrench into Stefan’s plan to start fresh, again. But let’s look at the positives: there’s a chance that Ivy ate the auto shop’s owner for dinner, so without anyone at the helm, this could mean promotion time for Stefan!
- If Kai has been exiled to hell to live the day he killed his coven over and over again, how come he’s in Mystic Falls and not Portland where the murder happened? Has he been stuck there since the ‘90s?
- Is Jo really just a doctor? Instead of advising that Jeremy get some rest and suck it up in regards to his hangover, she requested an entire physical. What was she looking for? Is it possible that she’s in on the supernatural secret?
- Was turning Ivy into a vampire just another dig at Stefan from Enzo, or is there more of a method to his madness?
- As nice as it was to see a less-tortured Elena, I’m pretty over it. Stefan was right; Damon allowed Elena to own the darker parts of herself, he gave her more balance and that’s the Elena I find interesting. The same goes for Damon, in that Elena brought out the best in him. Their reunion better be epic! (For the record, though, I’m still very down for a Bonnie and Damon hookup; what happens in retro realm stays in retro realm.)