Five episodes in and the sixth season of The Vampire Diaries is still the best thing to happen to this show in a long time. To borrow an overused phrase, everything is heightened – the characters, the energy, the stories, the fun twists and the excitement that comes along with watching and being so invested in what happens next. The writers have shaken up the formula, tossed out the unnecessary mythology baggage and it works.
Titling the episode “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here” gave us a pretty big hint as to what would happen, but that didn’t make the payoff any less amazing to watch (side note: kudos to whoever came up with the idea to use 90s song titles and make them relevant to each episode). The world definitely changed in a lot of ways during this hour and some of our favorite characters started showing the cracks in their well-crafted demeanors (looking at you, Alaric and Stefan) while others demonstrated just how far they’ve come over the years (Tyler) and some were just straight up made of awesome (Bonnie).
So let’s talk about all the major moments, shall we?
5. Elena and Alaric try to move on
Alaric trolling Elena with his cautionary tale of a love triangle gone wrong cracked me up and so did Elena’s warning that he was heading into hermit vampire/Professor Shane territory. I’ve always enjoyed their friendship/co-dependent guardianship vibe and I like that Elena is trying so hard to help Ric readjust to life and not give in to his demons. In turn, I like that Alaric will never be okay with her decision to erase Damon from her brain and doesn’t miss an opportunity to remind her of that.
So Alaric went along with the awkward blind date with Jo and he seemed to enjoy himself right up until they found themselves surrounded by bodies and blood. I’m so impressed the writers chose this particular angle for Ric – he’s uncertain where he fits in and he doesn’t know how to be a vampire and a human at the same time, but he also has enough knowledge of the way things to work to be smarter than a standard newbie vamp. We get all the best parts of Ric back and there’s still a new side to explore. It was sad to watch him compel Jo to stay away from him because Ric deserves happiness, but then it didn’t work. Now I’m dying to know why – vervain has been off the table for a while in this universe so how can she resist the compulsion of an Original vampire? I am intrigued.
As for Elena, she’s trusting the advice she gave herself and trying to have fun. Like Alaric, her vampire status became an issue after the maze accident, but for a different reason – she wanted to save people, but had to be careful not to do it in front of Liam. Then she watched him save someone the actual human doctor way and suddenly she’s a lot more impressed with him. But Liam noticed that the girl he left dying with Elena was fine by the end of the night and I’m guessing Elena mentioning her ‘dead’ boyfriend Damon will come into play in the near future as well and get his mind turning. This is another story I’m curious to see where it’s going and how long ‘fun’ Elena will be sticking around.
4. Liv steps up for Tyler
Tyler’s been trying to keep his rage under control and texting while driving almost ruined everything when a guy ran out into the street in front of his truck and Tyler ended up driving through the maze and all the people in it. Elena was doing her best to keep everyone alive, but the guy with Tyler was too far gone (between the accident and Ivy attacking him, he never had a chance). Tyler quietly started to fall apart because he saw everything he’d worked for slipping away because of an accident and Michael Trevino deserves so many props for this scene and the way he let the audience feel Tyler’s pain and acceptance of his terrible fate.
Liv felt it too because she made the decision not to let Tyler be responsible and she killed the guy herself so it would be her fault and not Tyler’s. He was stunned and as powerful as this scene was, the next one topped it. Tyler tracked down Liv later to talk, but she didn’t want to so he gently guided the conversation and took her hand to let her know he was there and he would not waste what she did for him. As much as I love Liv for doing this, I’m so proud of Tyler because he’s come so far. These scenes reminded me a lot of the season two dynamic between Tyler and Caroline except now Tyler is the calm one, guiding the person he cares about through a terrible situation. I can’t wait to see more of this relationship.
3. Stefan asks Caroline to help Ivy
I’m going to go ahead and take back what I said last week – Ivy being alive turned out to be awesome because she’s funny as hell as a newbie vamp. I loved her speech to Stefan about how she used to be normal and nice and now she’s killing people (also loved her comment about reading “He’s Not That into You”). It also cracked me up when she just said ‘erase’ and expected that to work (you should have finished your vamp lessons instead of breaking Care’s neck).
But as fun as Ivy was, the real draw in these scenes was Stefan and Caroline and the awkwardness of their current relationship. Yes, Stefan is kind of a dick for bringing Ivy to Caroline for help after the way he treated her, but he’s also right because no one is better at control than Caroline and I liked that their friendship slipped through a little during those accusatory scenes when he blamed her for bringing Enzo to him and she had no interest in cleaning up Stefan’s mess since it wouldn’t have happened if he hadn’t left and ignored her. The beat of their uncertainty of where they stood when he assumed she never wanted to see him again was exactly what the scene needed to emphasis the strange tension between them.
The real heartbreak came during their next scene. After Alaric berated him, Stefan almost skipped town (side note: I love Alaric. I love Alaric and Damon. But he overstepped hard. Damon might be his best friend, but brother for 170 years tops best friend and he has no right to tell Stefan how to grieve). Caroline lost it when Stefan admitted he’d been about to leave and she told him she used to wish Damon would come back so Stefan would too, but now she just wanted him gone. So Stefan took it to heart and walked away and Caroline looked like she regretted it. These two hurting (and hurting each other) hurts me and I’m ready for the next episode so the writers can start preparing their relationship.
2. Bonnie saves Damon
Back in 1994, the dynamic had changed and Damon was suddenly the hopeful one, anxious to follow Kai’s instructions (even if that meant digging his own grave) while Bonnie had a feeling there was more to the story (what kind of prison gives the inmate a key?). While Kai went to get some last minute supplies, Bonnie studied her spells and the device and she realized the reason Grams sent her there – she’s the key to getting home and she needed her inner strength and power. When Kai returned, Bonnie called him out and he took more of her magic, but he couldn’t kill her – so she killed him. How freaking awesome was that? Bonnie is not playing around and Damon’s reaction was the best because he was super mad, but also smart enough not to mess with her so he went to walk off his rage.
Of course Bonnie turned out to be right and she managed to get the device working. As they held onto the device and got ready to leave, we got a great parallel to the season finale and the ‘million people they’d rather be with’ except this time, Bonnie replied with a ‘not exactly’ and the two exchanged a look that was basically a representation of their friendship and how far they’ve come since they’ve been stranded together and it was perfect because their dynamic is amazing and then Kai ruined it by still being alive.
It turns out that he can’t die in his prison – something he learned after trying to kill himself multiple times. He fires an arrow at Bonnie and threatens to kill her if Damon touches the device. Damon goes to Bonnie’s side and is about to feed her his blood (I may or may not have swooned a little), but she tells him to get the device. Kai hits him with an arrow and the two continue to fight. Bonnie’s weak from her injury, but she still manages to get her hand on the device, activate it and throw it to Damon just in time for it to work and take him away, even as he screams, “No.”
I have so many feelings about all of this. On the one hand, I already miss Damon and Bonnie being together in 1994. But on the other, I’m so proud of Bonnie for being a BAMF from start to finish through all of this. She didn’t take any of Kai’s nonsense and she looked out for Damon until the very end. She’s always been a selfless character and I think a lot of us wish she’d put herself first more often, but that’s not who she is. Her little smile when Damon disappeared was awesome and then the reality of the situation hit her once more and my heart hurt for her. Don’t worry, Bonnie. You’ll get back too (and there’s no doubt Kai will hitch a ride and come to the present to terrorize more people).
1. THE HEART OF THE SHOW
Do you guys even need me to say it? Stefan and Damon’s reunion was obviously the best part of the episode and one of the best things to ever happen on the show in six seasons because their relationship is the most important thing in this universe (don’t even tell me otherwise). Stefan going to the tomb (which is conveniently outside of Mystic Falls) and talking to his dead brother to tell him he’s lost and then Damon catching the bottle and teasing Stefan about wasting good bourbon? There are not enough words in the English language to describe how perfect this scene was and I can’t praise Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder enough because they were flawless with every single acting choice they made and I’m just going to leave these gifs here and go cry in the corner because they are everything.