Previously on The Vampire Diaries, ‘This Woman’s Work’
With Valerie’s navigational help, Stefan makes his way to a magical safe house in New Orleans. Well, it’s really more of a safe-bar, and it happens to be none other than Klaus Mikaelson’s regular hangout. At first the air is friendly between the two of them, as they catch up and pound back the bourbons. Once Klaus realizes the true reason for Stefan’s visit though – he knows exactly what it means that Stefan has an X-shaped scar bleeding through his shirt – the mood turns sour. Klaus is pissed and demands that Stefan hit the road. Luckily for Stefan, Klaus still has a soft spot for Caroline.
When Stefan’s phone is left behind (on purpose?) and Klaus sees that Caroline is calling, he hesitates for about a second before picking up. These two have so much history and, evidently, still share a connection of sorts. This connection may explain why it’s Klaus who she seeks out in the flash-forward, only to find him missing for three years. Not only does Klaus guarantee her Stefan’s safety, he knows exactly what she needs to hear at this crossroad in her life. “It’s not a crime to love what you cannot explain.” It’s undeniable that these words resonate with Caroline, deeply.
Klaus keeps his word and saves Stefan from a close call with Rayna. Stefan wants to take Rayna’s body, presumably to lock her up, but they’re in werewolf territory and Klaus wants them to get out alive. The thing is, they use vamp speed to make a swift getaway, so what was stopping them from grabbing her body and running off, at that very same speed? Stupid. Klaus goes the extra mile by offering a possible solution to the Rayna problem, and it looks like he and Stefan are off to see a witch.
Somewhere near Mystic Falls
The Armory, a group of supernatural artifact collectors – who live in a place that looks an awful lot like the Whitmore campus café/bar, but with different props – is who kidnapped Enzo all those months ago. Instead of killing or torturing him, which is likely what Matt had hoped for when he called them in, they offered him information on his family in return for capturing Rayna. After failing at his first attempt, Enzo wants to use Stefan as bait to lure Rayna back, and keep her locked up for good. Damon and Bonnie are on board, but first they have to find Stefan.
Valerie is the only one who knew where Stefan was headed, but when she shares the info with Damon she immediately regrets it. That’s because she knows The Armory is more sinister than Enzo has led them to believe. They once used Beau in the same way they’re proposing to use Stefan, and it ended with Beau’s soul trapped in the stone. Before Damon and Bonnie can make a quick exit, Enzo gets the better of them. When Damon awakes, he’s in a cell with Tyler and, of course, it’s a full moon. When Bonnie awakes, Enzo has temporarily stripped her of magic.
Damon is going through one of his trying-to-not-be-a-murderer phases, so he looks for alternatives to keep him safe from the “tween wolf.” Meanwhile, Bonnie is trying to make Enzo reconsider his motives and set things right. Kat Graham and Michael Malarkey both brought their A-games to this scene. Just like Bonnie is willing to overlook many of Damon’s mistakes, Enzo is willing to do the same for the family who abandoned him. With no other choice, Bonnie knocks Enzo out, twice, and goes in search of Damon. When she finds him there’s only one problem, to open the cell door they need Enzo’s palm. Unable to move his body, Bonnie improvises and cuts off his hand. Bonnie is so badass; she’s my hero.
As Tyler struggles to slow and suppress his transition, he gives Damon some real talk. There’s always going to be someone sacrificing themselves for Damon, because he can’t seem to keep himself out of trouble. Like right now for example, if Bonnie opens the door to free Damon, Tyler could end up killing her, too. Damon knows it’s true and tells Bonnie to save herself. But it’s Bonnie, so of course she opens the door.
This seems to really set Tyler off, for reasons. Though he hasn’t turned into a wolf he attacks Damon, and when Bonnie tries to stop him, she gets launched against a wall and passes out. Somehow, Tyler manages some self-control – after the damage is done, of course – and runs off. Damon tries to heal Bonnie but whatever Enzo gave our beloved witch, it’s stopping the magic from working. How many times does Bonnie have to be hurt or sidelined for these fools? I am not impressed.
While watching over Bonnie in the hospital, Damon makes a decision to “take himself out of the equation.” He doesn’t want anyone to die for him, so he’s going to make it so they never have to worry about him again.
On the road to Dallas
Ric took one look at his newborns and knew he had to get them the hell out of Mystic Falls, ASAP. Partly because she knows he’s not fully prepared for this move, and partly because she knows damn well she can’t just say goodbye to those babies, Caroline persuades Ric to let her tag along on the road trip. There’s still a lot to be accomplished in terms of making these two feel like an authentic couple, but it’s slowly developing. There was definitely something in the way they were looking at one another when Caroline decides to stay the night in Dallas.
The Vampire Diaries S7E14
As someone who doesn’t watch The Originals, I can’t say I was overly excited about this crossover. What’s interesting is that this episode, more than anything, made me want to start. Well, perhaps it just made me long for the good old days of TVD. There are complexities to Klaus’ character I had completely forgotten about, and watching him interact with Stefan and Caroline reminded me of the days when The Vampire Diaries had legitimate villains who posed genuine threats. The days when Bonnie could be injured or die, and it would evoke sadness rather than anger, because she hadn’t already been sacrificed a thousand times before. When watching Stefan and Damon fight for each other was still fresh and not at all annoying in its repetitiveness.
What’s too bad is that while the plot doesn’t seem to be working, the acting is at an all-time high. No matter the material they’re given, everyone is coming to work willing and able. (Though Paul Wesley is still the weakest link.) Kat Graham and Michael Malarkey really nailed the scene in which they argued over the rationale of who they choose to fight for. If they can be as passionate as they are angry, they’ll make a great on-screen couple. Actually, Michael was impressive throughout the episode. His transition from complete anger towards The Armory, to absolute surprise in discovering that Alex is his relative, was excellent.
Perhaps it’s time for the present to catch up with the future. This type (flash-forwards and not flashbacks) of non-linear storytelling isn’t TVD’s strong suit, apparently. The flash-forwards, while still very exciting, are backfiring in how they continue to ruin any surprise or interest in the present-day plot. Damon’s decision in the hospital may signal that he’s on his way to the coffin where he was waiting for Elena at the beginning of the season. If this is true, it looks promising that the gap between present and future may be closing soon.