The Vampire Diaries Recap: What Being a Hero Costs

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Photo: Carin Baer/CW
The Vampire Diaries
Episode Title
This Woman’s Work
Season
7
Episode
13
Editor’s Rating
4/5

From a baby shower to a birthing room, tonight’s episode was a reminder that there’s reason they call it labor: Giving birth is hard work, especially if you’re a vampire whose babies are siphoning off your magic and potentially killing you while there’s a Huntress on the loose! Let’s recap.

Avenge Us
In 1842, we learn that a young Rayna’s father is one of the Brotherhood of the Five! “If I do my job right, you will live in a world without bloodsuckers.” Um — sorry, dude, you didn’t do your job right, ’cause they are still here and they are wreaking havoc. Whoops. 

Rayna’s dad gets kidnapped by Julian, who was in the middle of his fave activity: killing lots of people. “Do you know what happens to vampires who strike down one of the brotherhood of the five?” Rayna asks, threatening him with the Hunter’s Curse that almost took Elena’s life when she first turned. (Again, A+ throwback!) 

But of course Julian is a step ahead: He compels Rayna to kill her father instead. The following scene with her and the Shamans was striking. I was not expecting them to stab themselves in exchange for her getting her vengeance. “Avenge your father,” the Shaman tells her. “Avenge all of us.” He makes it sound like their deaths will be in vain if she does not, and now it's easy to see why Rayna has dead eyes whenever we see her in the future: they are filled with the ghosts of those who haunt her 

Next, we see Rayna in 1903 England, tracking Julian and the other heretics to exact her revenge. Beau is singing, which is the only happy moment of the scene, because two seconds later he gets a sword to the neck. Rayna, clad in Victorian funeral garb, heads for Julian. (Before the bloodshed, it was lovely to see Nora and Mary Louise showing affection for one another, though Rayna stalks them later as they try to flee for New York.)

“I do not know what hell awaits you inside this stone, but it cannot be worse than the one you’ve put me through,” she tells Julian. Her words are reminiscent of what Stefan said last week. Rayna feels similarly: Julian destroyed her life, which predictably makes me feel sympathetic toward this villain who is going to break up Steroline. 

The stone takes Julian’s soul, and that’s the last we see of our Huntress in the past. That is, until she shows up and wrecks the present, leaving bodies in her wake.

Redemption, Take Ten
“We may have to sedate her,” Enzo warns whoever is with him when Rayna wakes. But he’s too late, because Rayna punches the glass and charges through. Her knuckles are bloody, but she doesn’t care. We know now she’s felt worse pain. 

Speaking of people in serious pain, Damon and his lingerie-clad whatever are parading around the apartment day-drinking. When she shows up and breaks up the party, Bonnie’s one-liners were on fire! Let’s review:

  1. She accuses Nora and Mary-Louise of being a bad rerun of The L Word. (True.)
  2. When she finds the flavor of the weekend’s corset in her chair, says “Don’t tell me it belonged to Carol Lockwood.” (Which begs the age-old question: Did they or didn’t they??? I hope the show answers this one day.)
  3. “The last thing we need is a cranky, bitter, sexless Damon Salvatore.” That’s what BFFs do: indulge our vices. They don’t try to make us better people or anything. They know better.
  4. “Shady people like shady tchotchkes.” Plus 100. 

When Enzo threatens to tell Bonnie that Damon killed Elena, Damon strikes a bargain with her: he needs the Phoenix Stone to trade to Rayna, who will kill anyone in her wake until she gets it. He won’t tell her what Enzo has over him, but loyal to the end, Bonnie hands the sword over. The Bamon love is real tonight, people. 

And that love is put to the test when Rayna shows up to collect her sword, having vervain-ed Enzo to a lecture hall chair. “I don’t care about you, or him, or her,” she says, shooting Bonnie in the ribcage. Damon tells her to go fetch and throws her sword out of the window. 

“You didn’t hesitate for one second, let alone three.” Bamon is the new Dalaric, people. Plus 200.

At the hospital (because yes, elsewhere in the episode there is hospital drama) Damon confronts the Huntress. “You look a lot like my girlfriend and her three doppelgängers,” he says. I’ve seen some internet chatter about the uncanny resemblance between Rayna and Elena … I cannot believe that this line is a throwaway, even though we know that Elena and Rayna have different backgrounds. Is there some connection between them?

Just as Rayna is about to take Damon out, Mr. Hero Hair shows up and saves the day. Even though he knows his brother killed Elena, Stefan still has his back. And of course, he suffers the consequences for helping: Rayna’s sword cuts him in the shoulder, a cut we now recognize from our glimpses into the future. He’s been marked by the Huntress, which means he has to run — and he can’t stop until Rayna is dead.  

But Elena, however, is not. Enzo gives Damon the good news in exchange for his freedom. He and Tyler (!!) are best buds now, and some top-secret “friends” they have in NYC have been storing the real coffin. Damon has yet another chance to redeem himself — but is it his last?

In with the New
Meanwhile, the babies need to be born before they kill Caroline. But when the doctors try to do the surgery, the babies are like “Nope, we like it in here where the magic is.” They turn Caro’s baby belly into armor to prevent anyone from getting them out. 

But trusty Valerie has a plan: Gather the heretics and create enough magic outside of Caroline’s womb that the babies can siphon off of that when they are born. Caroline expresses concern about how few medical terms there are in that plan. I am less concerned, because … well, magic.

However, when news spreads that Rayna is on her way, vengeance on her mind, the stitches of the plan burst open. Literally. Beau’s scar starts to bleed when the Huntress nears.  Nora and Mary Louise say they need to get away and run, or else the Huntress will get Beau and anyone else in her way. Valerie agrees. “Never stop running, not even for a moment,” she tells Beau, and I knew it was goodbye. 

When Rayna’s sword slashed through Beau’s neck in the hospital parking lot, I was sad. He was one of the cooler mysteries this season, as an innocent, and I sort of like that a lot of his story remains unanswered. But if we’ve learned anything from Season 1 Henry’s re-appearance this season, it’s that answers can show up any time on TVD. Maybe we’ll see Beau again someday, and not in the final form he left us in: charred and smoking from Rayna’s fiery revenge. 

Meanwhile, while Caroline’s babies (Josie, after Jo, and Elizabeth, for Caroline’s mother) are being born, Stefan decides this is the perfect moment to take her on a date. Entering her head, he gives her a sweet moment of peace. The irony doesn’t escape me that as new life begins, we are nearing the end of Stefan and Caroline’s happy time together. We see these memories flash across Stefan’s eyes the moment Rayna’s sword connects with him. He knows he has to go, and he knows what he’s leaving behind. 

Alaric is the only happy character in this entire episode. His journey compliments Stefan’s: as one comes into the life they’ve always wanted, the other must run from the life they’ve always wanted.

“I just wish it didn’t always have to be you,” Caroline cries into the phone. That’s the problem with heroes: it does always have to be them, because no one else is strong enough to bear the consequences. Steroline, I love you. I’ll be waiting. 

Back to the Future
“Where are we going?” Caroline’s daughter asks her, after Alaric tells her to just go. She’s driving a car. She looks terrified.

“To New Orleans,” Caroline says. “To visit Mommy’s friend.”

Does this mean what I think, hope, and dream it means? Are we getting a Klaroline reunion in NOLA … perhaps timed to Stefan’s The Originals crossover? Let me know what you thought of the episode and share your theories on the Rayna/Elena resemblance — I’ll be on Twitter @TalkativeTara!