Have you heard that song that goes, “Nothing’s gonna harm you, not while I’m around?” Well, last week, Damon came to the realization that the exact opposite was true: As long as he’s around — and Elena isn’t — everyone might end up dead. He wants to take himself out of the equation, but before he can do that, he’s got a huntress to kill. Let’s recap.
On the Run
When Rayna wakes up naked in New Orleans (which is, btw, the title of a reality show someone should never, ever create), I wonder: Why is she so single-minded? She can’t go find some other vampire with a scar that’s escaped her sword — she was in that hospital a long time, after all. Why does she have to focus on Stefan? I’m curious to know more about her life as a huntress and why she can’t stop hunting — surely she’s sated her desire to avenge her father’s death by now, right?
Matt and Hot Cop (I know her name is Penny, but she’ll always be Hot Cop to me) are patrolling the streets. “How many vampires have I killed in the past few days?” Matt asks after shooting one, smiling. Penny smiles back. Just to be clear: this is flirting about killing. Vampires, yes, but killing nonetheless. Just as they start to get cocky, a bunch of Julian’s goons show up.
Rayna appears and slaughters them all. “You ever heard of a vampire named Stefan Salvatore?” she asks Matt and Hot Cop. Matt turns into the physical manifestation of a sigh. Boy, has he.
Meanwhile, Stefan is putting on more of the paste Klaus’ sister gave him to block his scar’s bat signal — but it’s running out, so they need to find more, and fast, so he can get home to Caroline and a nice home-cooked meal. (Valerie basically rolls her eyes and tells him he’s a square, to which I say, “Then find another boyfriend, lady, because that square’s taken.”)
They drive to some mystical apothecary where the herbs are kept, where Valerie is impressed to learn that one time Stefan used magical pot. “With someone like you, there’s always a bad influence.” Ah, Rebekah. Of course, the herb they need is gone, and right on time, some weird witch vervains the air and takes them out. When they wake up, the witch tells them someone beat them to the bunch and stole the herb they need — which means Stefan can’t be with Caroline, because Rayna won’t stop hunting him.
Rayna Cruz: 5, Stefan Salvatore: 0.
Elsewhere, in Dallas, the score is Caroline: 1, Twins: 0.
“Bottles are a go!” “Diapers are also a go!” This is 100 percent how I imagine parenthood to be, thank you for the realistic depiction, TVD. So when Stefan calls Caroline after realizing that he’s not escaping Rayna any time soon, and offers her a European jaunt, just the two of them … I am ready to “tag in,” as he says, and run away from the mere idea of diapers and bottles and screaming mechanical babies in the background. Caroline, however, looks utterly miserable at the thought. She’s a mom now, guys. Nothing is the same.
They agree to figure out what to do after “this whole Rayna thing is resolved.” Caroline is sprinting towards a family, Stefan feels more disconnected from his than ever. They say “I love you” at the end of their call, but it’s an afterthought.
When Stefan drives to Dallas at the end of the episode and watches Caroline and Ric in the window, holding their children, I knew it was the end. Now it makes sense why Stefan found comfort in Valerie in the future — the one person in the world who could have made him a father, and the one person in the world as disconnected from her family as he is from his. When he reached up and felt Rayna’s scar, it was my heart that broke.
Are We Friends?
But the story line that hurt most this week was Bonnie’s. She’s all healed and avoiding Enzo’s calls. Damon, meanwhile, has a plan to kill Rayna, which means everything is back to normal. But what’s not normal is that Damon is making Bon Bon promise to stay out of Rayna’s way. He’s putting her first for a change.
At the Mystic Grill, Matt, Hot Cop, and Rayna are torturing a vampire for information on Stefan. When Matt turned his gun on Rayna, allowing Damon to kill her, I was relieved: There’s still some loyalty in Matty Blue Blue, after all. But Hot Cop is not pleased: Damon’s one of the bad guys, why did Matt help him?
Matt: “His brother is a friend.”
Damon: “And the world yawned.”
The lines of friendship are getting pretty 50 Shades of Grey for Matt right now: What makes it okay to protect Stefan at the expense of other human lives … or if it means helping Damon in the process?
Damon throws clothes down the well (the well!!) to the newly regenerated (and thankfully no longer dismembered, because gross) Rayna. “They’re my girlfriend’s and given the fact that you two look exactly alike, they should fit.”
While Damon is trying to reason with Rayna as to why she shouldn’t kill his brother, all I can think is: These throwaway lines about how Rayna and Elena look alike cannot be a coincidence. How are they connected? Are the TVD writers setting up some larger mythology mystery for season eight? Elena is the gift that keeps on giving.
Predictably, Bonnie doesn’t listen to directions and shows up at the armory to find out what they know about Rayna. Like a cat, Rayna can only live eight times. Each time she dies, one of the bodies decays, and if we lose all of them, she dies for good. At first, this sounds like a great plan.
“I changed, temporarily. It just took the right person,” Damon tells Rayna, trying to appeal to her humanity. Turns out, there’s a shred of it: There was a Mr. Hunter at some point, a vampire she loved. But just as Bonnie tells Damon that killing Rayna two more times could be the solution to their problem, typical Damon decides he doesn’t actually care about humanity and kills her.
Cue plot twist: If Rayna loses her last life, all of her victims die as well. Including Stefan. Which means that the grave Damon dug to bury Rayna alive was a colossal mistake.
What I like about Rayna is that she and Damon are two sides of the same coin: They are both single-minded (Rayna cares about revenge, Damon cares about Damon), both have pain in their lives and people who betrayed them … but Rayna is actually one step worse than Damon, because at least his love for Elena tethers him to his humanity. Rayna’s love for her mystery vampire weakened her cause, so she staked him. She literally has nothing, and no one, to lose, which may make her the most dangerous Big Bad we’ve met yet. (Even Silas loved Amara, guys.)
Luckily the Armory shows up and stun guns her, neutralizing the threat — but unless Stefan gets rid of that scar somehow, Rayna can never escape the Armory’s clutches, or he will be running forever.
Too bad, Damon tells Stefan in front of the Salvatore fire. That’s his problem. He got Rayna out of the way, and now he needs to get himself out of the way before he hurts anyone else. “If there’s a fraction of you that cares about me, your brother, your family, you will not walk out that door,” Stefan begs him. He knows he’s lost Caroline. He’s lost Elena. He’s lost Ric. If Damon walks out, there’s nothing for him to hold on to.
Damon walks out, and once he does, it only gets worse. Matt’s new girlfriend (and new hairstyle) have been a bad influence: “Whenever vampires are here, humans will always be at their mercy.” This blackmail move from Matt, while totally devastating, is a genius plot point: He’s always been the dependable human. Not anymore. To beat the vampires at their own game, you have to think like they do. Hit where it hurts.
Which is exactly what Bonnie does when she shows up in Brooklyn, furious that Damon wasn’t even going to tell her goodbye. She hits him where it hurts.
“I’m not okay with you choosing yourself. I’m not okay with never seeing you, my best friend, ever again. This hurts me. That’s what I want you to remember. That you hurt me.”
This was one of Kat Graham and Ian Somerhalder’s best scenes in TVD history. Ian barely said a word, but his reactions to Kat were so authentic. Someone commented last week (yes, I read the comments!) that Bamon is more than just a crutch to hold on to in Elena’s absence, and this scene proved it. Bonnie and Damon have a real, authentic love for one another that transcends their connection to Elena. Damon broke that love by choosing to wait for Elena rather than live Bonnie’s life with her. Damon always credits Elena with having been the person to change him, but Bonnie’s friendship changed him more than he gives her credit for. And now he’s abandoning her.
No wonder she needs therapy.
Back to the Future
Three years later, the flashbacks start to collide: Stefan waking Damon up, Caroline being staked, Damon at Ric’s house, until …
“Believe it or not, I don’t want to kill you, Stefan.” Plot twist No. 2: Rayna wants to transfer the mark to somebody else. Someone who deserves it.
“It wasn’t her idea, it was mine,” Damon says. As they say in the movies: Dun-dun-dunnnnn.
Now that we’re caught up to the future, I realized I still have so many questions about the past: Why does Caroline hate Stef? Why is Bonnie in group therapy? Why does Damon want the hunter’s mark? Let me know your theories, and until next time, you can find me on Twitter @Talkativetara.