Previously on The Vampire Diaries, ‘Hell is Other People’
The Brothers Salvatore
Well, it was all for real, folks. Damon truly was resurrected from the Phoenix Stone, which means he did almost kill everyone. Luckily, he realized quickly enough to then save them all. Once he had revived Matt and Bonnie – I can’t for the life of me figure out why he saved Donavan first – Caroline promptly injected him with vervain. Damon is chained to a staircase upon waking up, but Stefan tells him the gang is giving him an easy pass this time; they know he made an honest mistake. Until he can prove he’s not on the verge of another hell-stone-induced killing spree though, he’s going to have Stefan by his side, 24-7.
Stefan is still dealing with the ramifications of his own time inside the stone though, which come in the form of Damon-shaped hallucinations. Stefan’s hell-dimension was a never-ending flashback to the time Silas drowned him in the quarry, except this time he wasn’t inside a coffin and Damon was there, drowning with him. Every time Stefan would try to swim to the surface Damon would pull him down, and if he tried to save his brother, they both died. In order to gain his freedom, Stefan had to abandon his brother, a decision that’s been haunting him ever since his resurrection.
The nightmares and hallucinations became so intense that Stefan eventually lost sight of what was going on around him. With the gang in their most vulnerable state – one of them detached, one of them trapped, one of them pregnant – Mystic Falls was once again taken hostage. This time, it was Julian and his gang of street-racing, hell-raising, vampires – who he no doubt paid or begged to hang out with him. Of course, Damon isn’t happy about this hostile takeover but before he can retaliate, Stefan reminds him that this is not the time to ruffle any feathers. The problem is, Damon has started having hallucinations of his own, and while under the impression he was killing his already dead soldier pal, Henry, he accidentally took out one of Julian’s closest “friends.”
After Stefan is confronted with the end of Julian’s baseball bat, he promises to keep his brother in check. Julian wonders how he can do that however, when Damon is nowhere to be seen. Believing he had just been in a car with Damon, Stefan is alarmed to discover that his hallucinations are back.
Damon had his own ideas on how to get his grip on reality back, which, of course, involved Elena. He convinces Tyler –who’s back for Alaric’s baby shower – to bring him to her coffin. When they arrive, all Damon can see in the casket is Henry. Driven mad by the visions, Damon leaves Tyler with a nasty head wound and sets Henry’s body ablaze. Unfortunately – or fortunately, depending on your perspective – it’s actually Elena’s body burning to a crisp, and Damon, being defenseless against fire himself, can’t get close enough to save her.
The Phoenix Stone, if we take dead Henry at his word, doesn’t trap souls; it frees them to be reborn as their true selves. For Damon, that means giving into his dark side. For Stefan, that means he has to be free of Damon to be truly happy. Of course, Stefan has too much hero-hair to give up on his brother. Damon, however, has already started to slip away in neglecting to tell Stefan – or us! – about what happened with Elena.
What to Expect When You’re an Expecting Vampire
In an effort to make sure Alaric has everything he could ever need to raise his twins, at least in terms of material goods, Caroline throws him a baby shower. She’s prepared to move on with her life after she’s given birth but, in typical Caroline fashion, she’ll make sure that Alaric is well equipped for single parenthood first. Alaric is pretty ready for this whole dad thing, though. First of all, he can change a diaper with his eyes closed, but what’s more is that he understands the realities of raising kids in Mystic Falls: it’s a really bad idea.
He’s made the decision to move far away from the town, and vampires in general, for the safety of his children. Possibly the smartest idea anyone’s ever had on this show. Caroline is visibly crushed to learn this news. She has, understandably so, become attached to the babies; she glows when asked if she can tell them apart when they kick. It seems that though she was ready to relinquish any parenting responsibilities, she had expected to still have Alaric and the babies close by.
Mystic Queen & No more Mister Nice Matt
Bonnie and Matt are working together to rid Mystic Falls of Julian’s loser vampires, and they’re an awesome tag-team. Unfortunately, it seems like these two aren’t as great of a match as a certain dating website had presumed. Matt is becoming more and more anti-supernatural. In a flash-forward we finally see that he is alive three years from now, but he’s working with the Huntress and he’s not very friendly with Caroline. The good news however, is that Matt may finally have another human friend on his side. The cop who pulls him over for drunk driving seems sympathetic towards him, and super interested in all those vamp killing weapons.
Bonnie is still as open to forgiveness and second-chances as she always was. She’s clever about it though; keeping powerful heretics as friends will always come in handy. Which is why she’s playing nice with Nora. It’s from this budding friendship that we start to learn about the mysterious woman from the future timeline, the Huntress. The Phoenix Stone and Sword was her weapon, and she personally put Julian and dozens of other vampires inside the stone. Nora has received a postcard marked with an X, the same kind the Huntress marks her victims with, which means she’s on her way. She ruthless, relentless, and allegedly unbeatable, but Bonnie never gives up without a fight.
The Vampire Diaries S7E11
This is now two weeks in a row that The Vampire Diaries has prompted an actual physical reaction from me. When I saw that coffin erupt into flames I jumped off my couch, with my hands on my head yelling, “If this is real, it’s fucking fantastic!” No shade to Elena – ok, a little shade – but this would be a huge move for the show. Something I don’t think anyone would see coming. The only problem is, this season’s premiere began with Damon asleep in a coffin awaiting Elena’s return, so her body must be ok. Right? Regardless, this was a fantastic turn of events and I like what it hints at – Damon’s probable slide into darkness – moving forward.
I could really get used to this level of quality. Even though the setup to this stage in the season was muddled and tedious, its outcome is proving kind of worth it. Each character is at a high point as far as storylines go – Matt and Bonnie both finally have something going on – and the growing connections between the present-day and three-years-from-now plots are getting real juicy – the news of the Huntress being the most intriguing. The only thing holding this episode back from a perfect score is Julian and his gang of randoms. I just don’t buy him or them as a real threat, especially now that we know how badass this Huntress is expected to be.