Previously on The Vampire Diaries, ‘Age of Innocence’
Three years from now
I was almost disappointed this time around with the flash-forward. Seeing Alaric with twin daughters took some of the suspense out of whether or not we’d ever see (alive) Jo again. For this reason, the sequence may have been better placed at the end of the episode. Sure, it could be reasoned that these aren’t Jo’s daughters but if The Vampire Diaries decides to go down this path of unbelievable and annoying coincidences, I might be out.
Now here’s why I say almost. There’s a clear tension between Ric and Damon in this not-so-distant future and that’s what kept this scene compelling. The dialogue is cryptic enough that we don’t learn anything new, but it most certainly reveals Damon’s choice to put himself in a coffin has some greater meaning. Ric knows immediately that if Damon is out, crazy shit must be going down.
“Halloween’s only for people who dress up as psychopaths.”
Thanks to Valerie, Damon’s hostage swap is off to a rough start when he finds Oscar dead. Damon is ready to throw in the towel and dispose of Oscar’s body when Nora and Mary Louise raise the stakes. For every hour that Oscar remains missing, a student at Whitmore College will be killed.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#4a7097″ class=”” size=””]“Stefan’s up to his hero hair in heretic drama.” – Damon[/pullquote]
Stefan works fast at creating a plan to keep an eye on Nora and Mary Louise, but Caroline is the one who truly sets it in motion. She knows that two heretics wouldn’t be the least bit interested in attending a college party, unless they think it was their idea. Nora and Mary Louise take the bait almost too easily and before you know it, we’re smack dab in the middle of the annual party episode of TVD.
As usual, the center of said party revolves around relationship drama. It’s obvious to Caroline that Valerie isn’t over Stefan – the repulsion spell is a pretty dead giveaway – and she’s worried that Stefan is avoiding the heretic because seeing her might result in love at first sight, again. Stefan is adamant that Valerie means nothing to him, but he and Caroline don’t get much time to explore this issue because they’re too busy babysitting Nora and Mary Louise.
Which means that as an audience, we’re subjected to far too much screen time with this heretic couple and their bullshit problems. Mary Louise is having a hard time adjusting to the modern world, while Nora’s outgoing nature makes it easy for her to fit in. It becomes clear that Mary Louise is jealous and highly insecure, and Nora has been craving a little space from her girlfriend. Having the two of them at odds, while extremely annoying to watch, leads to an awesomely executed set-up.
While pretending to care about her problems, Stefan stabs Mary Louise with vervain. He then holds her body at stake-point, threatening to kill her unless Nora removes the repulsion spell from Caroline’s skin. Nora thinks she has the upper hand when she magics the stake away from Stefan, but Caroline sneaks up behind her, pressing her skin onto Nora’s. Unless she wants to burn alive, the heretic has no choice but to siphon out the vervain. Well played, Steroline.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#4a7097″ class=”” size=””]“Tell your Ghostbusters to charge up their proton packs, they’ve hit the proverbial jackpot” – Enzo[/pullquote]
Of course, Caroline and Stefan immediately start making out and they quickly head for the bedroom. This is where things got weird, at least for me. Caroline is hesitant about having sex saying, “This can’t happen yet” and Stefan responds with “Yes it can. That’s the whole point.” Wait, what? So, the only reason he helped remove the repulsion spell was so they could have sex? He can’t really mean that. Was this just an oversight in the dialogue? Honestly, it ruined the whole scene for me and I’m kind of over Stefan and Caroline.
“Oscar’s acid trip went from bad to worse.”
Bonnie and Ric are searching for the spell that controls The Phoenix Stone when Damon arrives with a very dead Oscar. Ric has until the end of the day to get Jo’s body out of the morgue, but her resurrection will have to wait because bringing Oscar back is now top priority. In hindsight, trying a few of the wrong spells on Oscar was lucky; at one point the heretic’s body is set entirely ablaze. Eventually Bonnie is successful.
Oscar is not exactly himself when he wakes up though. Sure, vampires are typically ravenous for blood but Oscar acts like he hasn’t fed in years. On top of that, he doesn’t seem to have all his memories in tact and has no recollection of ever being in Myrtle Beach. On his way back to Mystic Falls, Damon’s plan hits another speed bump when Oscar bursts right through the car door and dashes off in vamp speed.
When Damon finally tracks Oscar down, he’s eaten an entire busload of people and is about to attack Lily. On any other day, Damon likely wouldn’t have intervened at this point, but Lily still has Elena’s body, so he saves his mother. The Oscar-for-Elena trade is finally complete but Damon wants more. He’s moving back to Mystic Falls and he wants a bottle of wine that’s been aging for decades in the Salvatore home.
It’s because of this wine that Damon starts writing to Elena, and we hear the strangest analogy ever in comparing Damon’s wait for Elena to his wait for this perfect bottle of wine. He had to take up bourbon to distract himself from the anticipation of the wine, and now he’ll have to take up… living life to distract him from the anticipation of Elena’s return. Regardless of how it comes about, it’s a much needed plot progression that Damon is ready to move on, at least for the next 65 years or so.
“Jo’s spirit is probably at peace.”
Bonnie and Caroline are the duo I didn’t realize I had been missing. Their short bonding session at the beginning of this episode was really sweet. At least once a season The Vampire Diaries offers us a moment of self-awareness, and the admission from Caroline that their lives are pretty weird was a great one. Their interaction offers Bonnie a neutral space to voice her hesitation in bringing Jo back. She believes that, without the Other Side in existence, Jo’s spirit has found peace.
Luckily for Ric, Bonnie is the best friend anyone could ever hope for. Having been successful in bringing Oscar back, she does the same for Jo. Too bad they didn’t try it on an actual human first because I have a feeling that severe munchies won’t be the only side effect. Jo was an awesome character last season and it will be interesting to see how this resurrection affects her.
The Vampire Diaries S7E4
Damon, and The Vampire Diaries itself, may finally be ready to let go of Elena. It’s become so tiresome to watch her body be used as a plot device, but if this is truly the end of that, I think it could go a long way in changing my opinion of the first 4 episodes. Yes, it’s been frustrating, but perhaps this is what was necessary for Damon’s arc. It’s time for Damon to explore who he is without Elena and I’ve got my fingers crossed that means we can finally settle in for some epic Bamon action.
It’s probably too much to ask that we also let go of the heretics so early in the season, but I wish we could. It’s still very difficult to find any of them engaging. Oscar was promising, but that may change now that he’s back with Lily. I really want to like Nora and Mary Louise, if for no other reason than it would be fun to explore a new relationship with new drama. Unfortunately, the more time the show devotes to exploring these new characters, the less time we get with the ones we actually like. Had the show been successful in developing characters that were interesting, the time spent on them might not feel so wasted.
I’ve said it once, and I have a feeling I’ll probably say it again: Bonnie, Damon, and Ric saved this episode. And speaking of saved, there’s a small chance that Enzo and Valerie’s alliance may give both of their characters some much needed direction.
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