Traditionally, these episodes of rest have been ones critics sometimes think The Vampire Diaries does not do well. Our show is best barreling at breakneck speed, they say. Our show is better when four people are naked, covered in blood and about to go off a bridge.
I think the often-unsung power of this show is its ability to do relationships. I mean, why are any of us still here, six years later? It’s definitely not to see what the new dude with the connection to the founding families is up to because please, that guy will be dead before his plotline. No, we’re here for the relationships. We’re here because, despite our best efforts and snarkiest one-liners, we still love Elena. We’re still invested in her journey. After six years of watching her go from one Salvatore to another, lose members of her family, her home, and her sanity, we still want to know how her story is going to turn out.
Wait, did I say Elena? I meant Caroline.
Okay, so. We opened to Bonnie and Damon, standing, holding hands, exactly four months ago. They were back in Mystic Falls, but this wasn’t the Mystic Falls they had left behind. Or was it … plus 2. I’m really enjoying watching these guys together.
Jeremy is a sex god. I know we’re supposed to not like this story line because he is “hurting” and “acting out,” but he is also shirtless (no air quotes), so I don’t careeee. Plus 12.
This scene of Stefan and Ivy bore way too much similarity to the scene from the Never Future with Stefan and Elena. Where he tries to cook, and can’t? And then they get engaged and have sex on the counter and make babies who bite each other? Did they use the same kitchen set? But also this: “I’m super into you. You’re intermittently into me.” Minus 8. I’m just bitter.
Oh, yes, now that you ask, it DID piss me off that Elena does not have any framed photos of Stefan in her room. He was just her soul mate for three years, who even remembers that dude. Minus 10. It should be more.
But plus 7 for the hot flashbacks to Damon and Elena hooking up. Was that new footage? Help me out. I know some of you have memorized these choreographed naked acrobatic numbers frame by frame.
Caroline is NOT pleased that no one told her where Stefan has been. I mean, technically, she was pissed that no one was trying to get Damon and Bonnie back, but c’mon, does she even care about those two? Exactly. Plus 4.
Enzo returns! Plus 10. I love when a hunk gets reintroduced while seducing a random in a coat closet.
So Alaric is going to wipe Elena’s memory. I’m unclear on the exact mythology behind why he can do this to her, but I’m glad the show is not dwelling. Do any of us really care? It’s just not the point anymore. I love that the show is delivering on what they promised—far less confusing plot twists, so much more real human (vampire) moments. It was a beautiful scene. Alaric has such tenderness with Elena. I mean, I’m slightly creeped out by how much sex Alaric is about to see his bro have inside Elena’s mind, but whatever. Plus 20.
“How did he make you feel?”
“Like anything was possible.”
Plus 30. I feel you, Delena people. I know. I know.
Back to Damon and Bonnie strolling the streets. Old cars, Elena’s house still intact. And then, a newspaper. These guys are officially in the past. 1994, to be exact. Is this the year Elena was born? “I don’t think we should be asking where we are. I think we should be asking when we are.” Yes yes yes yes yes THIS. THIS SO MANY TIMES. Think about the implications. Think about ALL OF THE IMPLICAITONS. THEY CAN AFFECT THE FUTURE, YOU GUYS. The laws of Robert Zemeckis tell us so, and I PERSONALLY know the writers in the TVD room are Back to the Future fans. No way they would disobey this sacred rule of time travel. Plus 100.
Nina Dobrev — plus 40. She really is so talented. She just continues to bring her A game, day in and day out, to this enterprise. Also: “To be honest, I could use a drink.” Missed Alaric and bourbon. A lot.
Bonnie and Damon are already flirting. It’s great. Damon has just zero ability to not try to sleep with the woman who is currently in the room. Plus 19.
I really loved how anti-erasing-Damon-memories Caroline was. We know Caroline is not Damon’s biggest fan, but she’s always on the lookout for what’s right. And that’s what makes her wonderful (and sometimes slightly annoying). Plus 19.
Stefan as a mechanic, Stefan as a chef. There’s gonna be a calendar, right? Plus 14.
Caroline’s crossed arms at finding Stefan — Plus 10.
“Not that he’s not allowed to date. They broke up. I just didn’t realize he met someone.” This whole scene was so awkward and DELIGHTFUL. Stefan, Ivy, Enzo, and Caroline around the table. Stefan kept opening wine. Caroline kept spearing penne. They were like characters at a Henry Miller dinner party. Plus 11.
Bonnie and Damon in the Salvatore kitchen. I don’t remember ever seeing the Salvatore kitchen. To be honest with you, I didn’t even think there was a Salvatore kitchen. I figured they just ate in the wine cellar. Also I love that they’ve been in the ‘90s for like a millisecond and Bonnie is already wearing a flannel men’s shirt wrapped around her waist. The music was great. No idea what they were talking about. Plus 40.
They’re living the same day, over and over again. May 10, 1994. Sound off in the comments what you think that’s about. The day Elena was born? The day Damon came back to Mystic Falls? The day Stefan decided THIS was the hairstyle he would take through his eternity?
I’m probably not supposed to say this because there are children present, but Jeremy as an asshole is hot. Über hot. No points, though. Go after the good guys, kids!
I want to talk about this process of erasing Elena’s memory. Specifically, the way Elena is tracing her memories of Damon. On the one hand, I really, really loved watching all those moments Delena was built on. The motel scene, the dance, their first kiss. On the other hand, there was something that bugged me about tracking Elena’s romantic history in terms of her moments with Damon. I don’t know. I could see the show make a real concerted effort to say “I still loved Stefan then,” but it seemed like a half-hearted attempt. I always thought Delena’s power came from the acceptance of everything that came before, not the avoidance. But maybe it’s just all those season-two episodes I marathoned over hiatus. Plus 30 for the sequence, though. It really was beautiful.
For what it’s worth, Damon does not really appear to be missing Elena. But I guess this is his shtick. I’m glad he’s not pining. This show sucks when Damon pines. Plus 7.
There were so many delightful pairings happening last night. Stefan and Caroline! Caroline and Enzo! Caroline and Alaric! Let me clarify: Caroline was pairing with so many people so delightfully last night. Plus 20.
“You cared more than anyone. How could you just stop?” And then Stefan admitted to Caroline that he had to stop. For once in his two hundred (?) years he decided to put himself first. To start over. To not be the hero.
But then: “You couldn’t hear that I was completely falling apart without you?” Stefan’s grim face let Caroline know he hadn’t listened to her voice-mail diary entries, not a single one. “Well, let me summarize them for you: You’re a dick.” Caroline stormed out on Stefan, which was so many wonderful things all wrapped up in a door slam. Just hear me out: Stefan is being dick. He’s messing up, letting people down. Caroline is calling him out on his inability to be there for her. Translation: These vampires are being human. And it is wonderful to see their humanity. Together. Plus 23.
Elena was deeply unwilling to admit that she fell in love with Damon while she was still with Stefan. “It’s okay to love them both. That’s what Katherine used to say.” Alaric just had so much compassion. He was making so many excellent points. Like about how it doesn’t lessen her love for Stefan. About how it’s okay. And then they took us back to the night of Elena’s 18th birthday. Remember? When Damon looped the necklace Stefan had given her around Elena’s neck. “For that moment, I loved him.” This was an interesting moment to pick. I think it was a good choice on the part of the writers, though. I was thinking they were going to take us to that compelled memory, when Damon told Elena he loved her but he couldn’t be selfish with her? But that was too early, I guess. Anyway, look, it’s really fucking sad that Elena no longer remembers she loved Damon. But do you know what’s REALLY sad? How pained Alaric was to have to do that to his friend. Plus 50.
Bonus plus 5 for: “How sexy he was.”
“Brothers don’t give up” —Enzo. I guess it makes sense that Enzo is Damon’s stand-in. I couldn’t help but slightly cheer when he was like, “I’ll be back” when he saw Caroline crying. And then punched out Stefan. And then killed Ivy. (RIP, Ivy, I guess, kinda glad you’re gone.)
“Jeremy is a good kid.” Since when did Matt turn 40? And become someone’s dad? Minus 9.
This show is so psychotic. Just when we’re winding down from a real relationship episode, one where some people cry, others makes pancakes, and everyone drinks to forget their feelings, they put some dude in a truck with a torture chamber full of vampires. Big Bad Take 1, I guess. No points. Feels a little too familiar.
To be honest, Damon and Bonnie living in quiet, calm misery seemed like legitimate heaven compared to what it’s generally like to be them. I have a lot of logistical questions about their situation. Why is no one else there? Is Bonnie going to age? Do carbs count?
We came out on the positive side this week. Season six is going strong. See you in a week, kids.
And as always: @RebeccaASerle