The Vampire Diaries Recap: Her Burden

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Photo: Bob Mahoney
The Vampire Diaries
Episode Title
Kill ’Em All
Season
7
Episode
20
Editor’s Rating
3/5

Operation: Save Bonnie Bennett (Take 429797) is a go, people! On this week’s TVD, our gang went all-out to save one of their own, one couple had a revelation, and another character got some NOT needed closure on the past. Let’s recap!

On Death’s Door
Bonnie’s looking bleak (more scabs, dire expression, tears and shaking, etc.) so she goes to visit Virginia St. John in another institution. We learn that in 1882 (always disappointed when it isn’t 1864) Virginia’s great-grandfather opened the vault somehow, went inside, and came out a monster. “It strips away your compassion. It takes away your empathy, your capacity for love … eating away at your soul until all that remains is darkness.”  

Cool, so the thing in this vault is the spiritual embodiment of a Monday morning, yes?

Even though Alex thinks Yvette is still alive, Virginia doesn’t care: Even if the ‘thing’ has kept her alive, she’s a monster by now. Bonnie promises to open the vault, which of course means she’s going to open it and hell will break loose — possibly literally.

Meanwhile, Rayna’s kind of losing it, and actually looking forward to impending death, assuming that Damon and Enzo can kill enough of her vamps in time. But that time is running out, as Bonnie’s magic comes back, which means that the Armory can find her and make her open the vault.

“If dropping bodies was an Olympic sport, we’d be on a Wheaties box.” This is so true. RIP to all the anonymous (and probably mostly evil) vamps and civilians and random bar-goer No. 2’s lost on this show. Damon just added another few to the list, but Bonnie doesn’t think they’re going fast enough and she’s going to die. “I forgive you,” she tells Damon, but he won’t accept: A pity pre-death apology does not count. He’d rather her hate him forever and live than forgive him and die.

But Bonnie is not concerned with living — only with doing the right thing, which is not allowing the Armory to access that vault. So she shoots up Rayna’s blood to block their signal. (Can I have some of that, but for my monthly bills? If they don’t find me, I can’t owe them!)

The moment between Damon and Enzo when Enzo realizes that Bonnie is giving up was a nice acting moment for both of them. “You can’t drink your way out of it, fight your way out of it, kill your way out of it.” Oddly enough I feel like this is the most positive Damon has sounded in weeks; misery loves company, I suppose, and he does know pretty exactly how Enzo feels (except for the fact that Bonnie dying for him means he gets Elena back, whereas Bonnie dying for Enzo means … a lifetime of grief.)

These days, though, Damon is walking the road less traveled by (aka trying to do the right thing, too. Just … his version of it.) He calls Alex and tells her he’ll get Bonnie to open the vault if she kills of the rest of the vamps on Alex’s list. Which of course leads to my earlier prediction — Bonnie drops some old school magic on that vault, and once it’s open, scurries away.

Not sure what the vault story line is leading to — I suspect our Big Bad of season 8, though I could be wrong — but I’m not as scared of it as I was, say Julian, earlier this season. Even though Yvette was obviously dead and something inside that vault is totally evil, until we actually know WHAT and WHY, the jury’s out.

It may be a while before we find out what it is, since Bonnie locked the Armory inside, trapping them with the "thing" in the vault. Wanna bet we’ll need one of those weird artifacts or something next season and have to go back and get it, unleashing the terror?

First things first, though, they’ll have another terror to deal with: Bonnie herself, when she wakes after Rayna gives up her last life. I enjoyed this last-minute switcheroo; I didn’t see it coming, and what a great way to continue teaching Damon the lesson that when you interfere, there are consequences. This time, they’re going to have to stop Bonnie from taking up Rayna’s role as huntress and killing every last one of them with the life she has left.

Mistakes Were Made
This week’s episode had some major revelations in the Matt department, including this tearjerker: he and Penny (a.k.a. Hot Cop) were engaged before she passed away, in literally the sweetest non-proposal ever (and also every girl’s dream). Everything was going well for Matty Blue Blue two years ago: he had the girl, a Sergeant’s salary, a roof over his head that he could pay for and, presumably, good health insurance. He’s too young for any of this but Matt’s been dealt a rough hand, so sure, I’ll go with it.

“When I got home from the funeral, our wedding invitations were sitting on the doorstep.” The official story: Penny died in a car accident. But Matt knows that isn’t true, because when he watched the dashcam video from his car that night, he saw Stefan (!!) compelling him to forget something. Our hero was there visiting Sherrif Forbes’ grave (sniff) and hoping Caroline would visit, too (double sniff).

And it turns out Matt is right: Stefan does know something, but he insists that Matt should leave well enough alone. (As if.) So finally we learn how Matt has become the bitter, ruthless guy he is today: he saw a vampire in the forest, fired, and accidentally shot Penny instead. Stefan compelled him to protect him, because Stefan is a good friend and Matt should have never doubted him.

Even knowing the truth, though, Matt blames Stefan for ruining his — and Penny’s — lives. That’s why he set Rayna after Stefan, and why he’s isolated himself from the rest of his friends. Where does Matt go from here, though? He’s lost the bit of his humanity that made him the — well, humane — foil to Damon’s impulsivity and Stefan’s hero complex. Will he redeem himself by season’s end or keep wading to the deep end of the bad boy pool?

Define Family
Finally, this episode reunited two characters that I was dying to see in a scene together: Ric and Caroline. “I cannot read ‘If You Give a Moose a Muffin’ one more time when I know my best friend is in danger.” Well, lots of things have changed, but Caroline Forbes is still the same: Devoted to her friends beyond a shadow of a doubt … she’s just also totally, 100 percent a mom now.

One thing has changed, though: Caroline’s a pessimist now. She and Ric set off to help tackle Rayna’s list, but something’s off, ever since Caroline shut the door in Stefan’s face. They find a couple of vampires (literally, a couple, doing what couples do, last Rayna saw). She insists they’re doing this couple a favor by ripping their hearts out “before they inevitably do it to each other.” Ouch, Car. Ric’s expression yielded similar results: He can tell that she’s not over Stefan, and now that he’s back in their lives, he has no idea what that means for them.

Post-getting kidnapped, surviving that, escaping the Armory, and preparing to save Bonnie, Ric asks her for the 411. I actually kind of like the dynamic between Caroline and Ric—there isn’t really romantic or sexual tension, but there is something. Maybe it’s because they’re back in the Salvatore mansion, the epicenter of so many relationship talks on this show, but I can tell there is a deep and loving history between these characters. Caroline loves her children, and more importantly, sees them as hers. And she sees her role, as their mom, and Ric’s partner, is to be there, no matter what. (Underlying subtext: unlike Stefan was when she needed him.)

Even though Ric gives Caroline an out (citing that weddings are kind of bad luck for him now) she refuses: they are a family, and if he’s the one that’s unfulfilled by their trying to live a "normal" life as a half-vampire half-human couple co-parenting two witch-siphon children, then yes, that’s something that should be addressed. But not her feelings for Stefan. Nope, not those.

Not yet, at least. Boy, I can’t wait for a Steroline reunion. A real one, not that door-slamming thing that happened last week.

Until next time, you can find me on Twitter @TalkativeTara, where I’ll be chatting about theories for the season’s end, but definitely not dreaming up fanfiction of the aforementioned Steroline reunion. Nope, just being a normal person.