Previously on The Vampire Diaries, “Somebody That I Used to Know”
So, apparently the large majority – like, every single one – of the souls released from the Phoenix Stone were able to find vampire bodies to live in. In fact, it looks like Stefan was the only chump who wound up in a human body, because plot. The ongoing addition of names to Rayna’s already extensive list means the gang was still out on the road trying to Kill ‘Em All. It also means that for the second week in a row, this awfully shaky premise has been used to force characters at odds into confronting their past with one another. This was ultimately successful last week with Bonnie and Damon’s reunion – probably because we actually care about these characters – but Matt and Stefan’s confrontation was not so effective. It all hinges on the fact that the writers needed a reason for Rayna to be released and go after Stefan. It seems as though they determined the who, by picking Matt’s name out of a hat, and decided to leave the pesky details of the why, until later.
We knew the mysterious cause for Matt’s vendetta against Stefan had something to do with Penny, and it was a mildly intriguing mystery, until it was ruined by the absolute disaster of the truth behind it. What’s good here was Matt’s intuition to dig deeper into Penny’s death. He’s seen too many murders covered up in convenient ways, thanks to growing up around vampires. His immediate assumption in blaming Stefan even makes sense when you factor in the footage of Matt being compelled by him. What’s frustrating is how Matt decided to just keep assuming and not dig even deeper for the truth. The arc his character has taken – having a blind hatred for vampires – works only on the most superficial of levels. It’s made him hard to sympathize with, even with the fairly enjoyable flashback to his proposal. The worst part of all this, though, is how completely maddening it is to learn that Stefan knew the truth this entire time, and yet, was pretending to be utterly confused about it.
I suppose we had to learn why Matt was so angry at some point, but again, forcing it to happen because of the deal with Rayna was the wrong way. All of this could easily have been avoided, too. The idea that a group of four vampires, two well-seasoned vampire “hunters,” and one witch (with her magic back, I might add) couldn’t overpower a deteriorating Rayna and force a Shaman to complete a life-transferring spell, is just ridiculous. Why are these characters going along so easily with this plan? It’s possible Rayna needs to be willing in order for the spell to work, but this assumption is quite generous considering there has been no textual evidence, or even clues, to suggest this is the case.
This is why, despite its negative consequences, Damon’s reckless decision to make a deal with The Armory was a good one. In terms of plot movement, that is. Let me be clear: Damon’s total disregard for Bonnie’s personal agency is not cool. He had no right to promise Bonnie’s aid in exchange for The Armory’s help with Rayna’s list. Nevertheless, it’s not as though this decision is a character break for Damon; it actually makes complete sense. In the end, aside from solidifying Bonnie’s hate for Damon, nothing completely disastrous happens because of it, either. Yes, Caroline and Ric are taken hostage, but it was basically just a lovely trip to the museum for Ric. And yes, the vault was opened, but Bonnie, like the boss she is, sealed up the entire armory building so no one could get out. (This does make quick work of The Armory’s plot, but the vault is highly uninteresting anyways.)
No, the real tragedy came from the original plan of saving Bonnie, which had consequences no one saw coming, except Rayna. Now, I have to chastise myself a little here for not calling this. Criticizing the surplus of plot holes in the past few episodes left me too busy to see this most obvious outcome. Of course Rayna’s life’s purpose would be transferred with her life, of course. So now Bonnie is destined to despise many of the people closest to her, including Enzo, and I’m left feeling torn. On the one hand, Bonnie is still alive and she’s, presumably, about to have quite an interesting arc. On the other, this puts her in a very isolated position, again. Plus, her and Enzo have become my favorite couple in the show’s entire history, and, sadly, it seems somewhat inevitable that this relationship is going to fall apart as quickly as it came together.
Ric being the one who misses his supernatural life more than Caroline was a nice inversion of the expected. In hindsight, it’s easy to see how Ric’s heavy defense for his new, “normal” life has actually just been his way of convincing himself, rather than others. Caroline’s rational conclusion that their life can’t truly be ordinary, what with three quarters of their family being supernatural creatures, and her desire to have a life with that family no matter what, was very believable. Not so believable? Her adamant denial towards needing any closure between her and Stefan. This is obviously her way of convincing herself, rather than others.
Did anyone else whisper “duh” when Alex found her dead sister? How the hell did she expect a human to survive four years without food, water, or air? Also, does anyone share my curiosity about the mobile plans these people have? This episode was like one big ad for a family plan, cause they spent at least half of it on their phones.
The Vampire Diaries S7E20 = 7.5/10