Previously on The Vampire Diaries, “Nostalgia’s a Bitch”
Death is an inevitable and expected component of The Vampire Diaries. Hundreds of Mystic Falls residents, and several main and recurring characters, have lost their lives at the hands (and teeth) of supernatural creatures in this show. Some of those losses have been harder than others; Liz Forbes and Aunt Jenna were harder to lose than, say, Lily Salvatore or Tyler Lockwood. Some deaths were only painful for a handful of episodes because the characters were ultimately resurrected – another regular occurrence here. As TVD moves into its final chapters, losing at least a couple of major characters feels unavoidable, but just because you expect something doesn’t mean you’ll ever be prepared. The hardest death to cope with, in what feels like a very long time, is Enzo St. John’s.
In large part, the loss of Enzo is so emotionally impactful because of what it means to Bonnie. However, that doesn’t discount the strides his character has made over the past three and a half seasons. As many have done in the past on TVD, Enzo eventually made a choice to be good. His path down vampire-redemption-road was one of the few times the show has actually executed that plotline with success. Sure, it came out of left field, much like his relationship with Bonnie, but both the relationship and his arc from villain to (sort of) hero were believable and enjoyable. It’s definitely a bonus we never had to witness him flip-flop between good and bad for eight seasons, unlike some other vamps we know. Even his time spent without humanity at the beginning of this season was pleasantly brief. Losing Enzo would have been difficult no matter the circumstances; it’s just that much heavier because of his deep and powerful connection with Bonnie.
Despite the sadness of the situation, and the anger it evokes because of yet another blow to Bonnie Bennett’s happiness, this was a pretty good episode. The plot and its pacing was the best we’ve seen all season. And while that’s not a very high bar to clear, the episode still deserves credit. It kept the basic premise simple – 100 strangers or Caroline had to die, unless the gang came up with a plan C. It presented a juicy twist – Stefan had the same orders as Damon, but replace Caroline with Elena, and he was perfectly fine choosing the option that would hit closer to home. It delivered a truly shocking moment – poor, poor Enzo. Most importantly, it rooted all of these aspects in the characters – making for bigger emotional stakes than in the past ten episodes combined. This final season hasn’t exactly offered any feelings of, well, finality. There’s been a lack of epic moments, no real emotional gut-punches, and nothing to truly make it an unforgettable last outing. Hopefully, this could be the turning point, because Enzo’s death will most definitely be memorable.
Bonnie’s highly accurate and delightfully blunt dialogue about how she always gets the shit end of the stick. It was deeply satisfying to finally hear her say things like, “I just wanted to put myself first, for once” and “I…always do the right thing for everyone else” and “We’ll rescue everyone but ourselves, again!” Was it too little too late in the grand scheme of things? Perhaps. But in the moment it was quite rewarding. It was also a bit confusing, though. This acknowledgement means the show is (or has recently become) aware of all the sidelining it’s done to Bonnie. While it’s nice to see them comment on this issue through her, why do they continue to do the very thing they’re commenting on? The acknowledgement alone doesn’t wipe the slate clean. There’s no use getting our hopes up, but it does seem like Bonnie may play a larger role in the final 5 episodes. As she held Enzo’s lifeless body (oh geez, here come the tears again) she let out a scream that seemed to produce something of a sonic boom. Or perhaps it was a psychic blast, which is exactly what Cade produced as he died, and what was responsible for creating Hell. So, does Bonnie have her powers back? Are they new powers? Is she about to take SO MUCH REVENGE? I can’t wait to find out.
The sheer amount of joy radiating through our screens during Enzo’s bucket list adventure; which, in hindsight, should have been our first clue that something awful was just around the corner. Bonnie had never been that happy, and since this has become the Torture Bonnie Bennett Show, we should have seen the numerous red flags. What made the looming darkness unpredictable, however, was the ease with which you could completely lose yourself in the bliss of these scenes. The Devil is in town wreaking havoc on Mystic Falls? Who cares? Bonnie and Enzo are smiling, kissing, and embracing in what would be excessive and gratuitous amounts were it any other couple. Stefan is on his way to kill Elena? Big whoop! Bonnie and Enzo are having all the fun, making all the declarations of eternal love to another. It’s amazing to think back to what Enzo and Bonnie meant to each other a few short seasons ago – essentially nothing – and witness just how far they’ve come. Their relationship came out of nowhere and rose to a level of awesomeness unlike any before (and I’m assuming after, too) on this show. This is the epic love story of TVD. They have been the one consistently pleasing aspect of this second-rate season, and their dynamic will be sorely missed.
The Good and Bad
Stefan is now human – talk about having your humanity switch turned on! Bonnie’s quick thinking in this moment is just further evidence of her genius. Not only has she freed us from more time spent with the increasingly aggravating Bad Boy Stefan persona, she’s also forced him to start dealing with the soul crushing weight of all that guilt he’s been keeping at bay. Good. Let’s hope it destroys him. Let’s hope it ruins his relationships with everyone. Let’s hope Cade comes to collect him real quick for that eternity in Hell he deserves. Except, it’s not going to be that easy. See, now that the cure is running through Stefan’s veins, everyone is going to feel obligated to protect his sorry ass. And why? So Elena and Damon can have the future they always wanted. Sigh.
- This week’s title could refer to almost any character on the show, but it was originally directed to Stefan from Elena. Near the end of season one, he contemplates letting himself die in the sun after going on a ripper binge. Elena reminds him that he once made a choice to be good and he could do so again. Stefan decided to burn himself up anyway and forced her to burn with him. Ok, that’s obviously not true, but a girl can dream, right?
- As always, Kat Graham brought her A-game to Enzo’s death scene. That scream gave me chills, which immediately led to waterworks.
- Bonnie should burn everything to the ground. I mean, unless the show ends with a legitimately happy ending for Bonnie –I’m talking she gets everything her heart could ever desire and lives a LONG ASS life – I will happily do the burning for her.
The Vampire Diaries S8E11
"You Made a Choice to Be Good"
Starring: Kat Graham, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Candice King, Matthew Davis, Michael Malarkey, Zach Roerig