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‘The Vampire Diaries’ Review: ‘Live Through This’

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Guest star overload continued on the latest episode of The Vampire Diaries. It’s not that I mind guest stars. The Mikaelson family started out as guest stars and season five and six slowly introduced us to the Parkers and the Gemini Coven. But the Heretics are so dull compared to the great guest stars of past seasons and we’re spending way too much valuable screen time on them instead of moving the story along (and yes, I complained about this last week too).

To be fair, “Live Through This” did advance the story more than last week’s episode. We learned what the Phoenix stone does, Valerie told Stefan the truth, Bonnie got to be her usual BAMF self, and Damon changed his outlook on life twice. Plus, we got a new flash forward focused on Bonnie. Let’s talk about everything that went down.

5. Magic Moments

Okay not so much magic in the literal sense – more like the fun sense: Stefan and Caroline being the cutest all snuggled in bed in the morning and Stefan teasing her because he knows her busy mind is considering all the things she could be doing instead of just lying there. Bonnie and Caroline (and Ms. Cuddles!) having another friendship moment (now can we have them going on an adventure together, please?). Bonnie and Damon checking in with each other throughout their busy day (we’ll get to the specifics) and comparing notes and strategies. And finally, my forever-favorite ship of them all, Damon playing the big brother role and mocking Stefan’s love life at every turn (I would watch a whole hour of this).

vampire-diaries-705-034. So that’s what the Phoenix Stone does

It’s safe to say anyone who’s been watching this show for seven seasons (or has watched any TV show ever for that matter) knew the Phoenix Stone would not simply bring Jo back so Alaric could have his happily ever after with zero consequences. Jo seemed off, but Alaric wanted to believe she just needed time. As Bonnie went to investigate, Alaric tried to answer Jo’s questions about what happened to her. She remembered being stabbed, but in the heart, not the stomach. Then she threatened Ric with a gun and ran away. Thanks to Valerie, who told Damon, who convinced Bonnie to tell Ric because he didn’t want to be the one to break his heart (#friendship); Ric learned that the stone didn’t bring back Jo. It brought back some random vampire that was trapped in it and put said vampire in her body. Awkward. But Ric vowed to help the new Jo acclimate to this life (she’s not familiar with this world at all so I’m guessing she’s ancient). Oh, Ric, this is a bad idea. The vampire might seem nice now, but she’s probably going to kill you and all your friends at some point. Also, this is not what Jo would have wanted.

vampire-diaries-705-083. Damon’s New Leaf Goes out the Window

The elder Salvatore brother kicked off the episode by announcing his new attitude toward life and how he wants to live a life that would make Elena proud. He teamed up with Stefan and Valerie to find Julian and set his body on fire (because my prediction was right and Julian was dead). But that mission didn’t go as planned when Lily and the other Heretics arrived at the casket emporium before they did and managed to add another layer of protection to Julian’s already preserved body. That’s when Valerie dropped another truth bomb on Damon: Lily gave Kai the idea to bind Elena’s life to Bonnie and send her into a sleeping beauty coma. Mama wanted to punish Damon for not springing her real family from prison (#thisbitch). Naturally, Damon wanted to kill her, but Stefan did his best to calm his brother down and made him promise to wait and not do anything rash. Damon agreed, but then he met up with Bonnie for shots and told her his new plan: to let Lily have Julian back and then rip his head off right in front of her. He asked Bonnie if that was doing right by Elena and she told him it was.

Bonnie and Damon plotting is the absolute best and I am always, always here for their scenes. I love BAMF Bonnie and how she agrees that sometimes it’s best to rip the head off the problem rather than go for diplomacy. That being said, really, Lily, really? She just happened to know this spell was a thing and suggested to Kai while she was giving him some blood? We already knew Lily was the worst and we had an entire episode about how she took away Damon’s toys when she was playing keep away with Elena’s body. Did we really need this added layer that doesn’t even make sense? Yes, Lily spent a lot of time with witches, but she just happened to know this spell? Don’t get me wrong; I’m fine with Damon being mad enough to want to destroy his mother’s life. I just think they could have found a better way to lead him there.

vampire-diaries-705-092. Stefan’s Hero Hair is Ruining Everything

This Valerie story continues to try my patience. Stefan had a passive aggressive comment at the ready every time Valerie opened her mouth because he’s still mad about the lies and betrayal (150+ years later). But once the Heretics buried them under coffin debris, Stefan’s hero instincts kicked in and he rescued Valerie and told her that he was over it now that he knew it was all a lie. Of course that’s when Val spills the real truth: she was pregnant, wanted to tell him in person, and Julian stopped her in the most horrific way possible so she killed herself. Naturally Stefan was stunned and joined the ‘Let’s Murder Julian’ team that he didn’t know Damon was forming yet. Once they were back in Mystic Falls, Stefan offered to let Val stay at Casa Lockwood since she wouldn’t be welcome at Lily’s any longer, but Val wanted to run before Julian could find her. Then he admitted that he would have wanted to be a father.

While I still think Stefan carrying this hurt all these years later is ridiculous (he was in love with Katherine a year later!), I do believe the baby reveal would shake him. There’s nothing more human than thinking back on the road not taken. Of course Stefan’s going to mourn the life he could have had with a child and a woman he loved for a day. We all have a tendency to give things more weight than they deserve when we look back on choices we made or didn’t make and where we are now in life. Since he’s a vampire not named Klaus that was his one and only shot at having a child and he didn’t even know until this very moment. My heart broke for him.

But I also want to slap some sense into him because he’s lying to Caroline! She point blank asked him if there was something he wanted to tell her and not only did he not mention that he was chilling in an empty house with Val, but he lied and said there wasn’t. Maybe he wants to tell her in person so I’ll cut him some slack on that part. But it doesn’t seem like the case and that makes me mad. Remember last week when he told Caroline they had more history in five years than he ever had with Valerie? Remember all the times Stefan and Caroline have been there for each other over the years? Look, I’m not against shipper angst. But make it realistic, show. The Stefan Salvatore we’ve watched for seven seasons would treat Caroline better than this. Fix it.

vampire-diaries-705-041. BONNIE AND ENZO

Speaking of my predictions coming true, Bonnie’s future love interest did turn out to be Enzo. Before we get to that, let’s talk about the opening. Bonnie’s in therapy and apparently lives in a rehab center? She’s haunted by a mistake she made and how it cost her someone she loves. Did someone die? Or is she talking about Damon and whatever decision led him to choosing life in a coffin until Elena comes back? I want to live in these flash forward scenes. These two minute glimpses are killing me. After her session, Bonnie returned to her room, found Enzo there, and they started making out.

In the present, Bonnie and Enzo were not on good terms. She stopped by the Salvatore house to see Oscar so she could talk to him about the Phoenix Stone. Enzo recognized it as the stone Lily tasked him with finding. They bickered, made snide comments to each other, glared at each other a lot…the perfect beginnings for a future romance (and no, that’s not sarcasm – I love this trope). Oscar went crazy because the vamp inhabiting his body didn’t like being called Oscar and after he tried to eat the maid, Bonnie warned Enzo to run and they went and hid in a different room, but not before she dropped the stone. They fought some more, Oscar found them and Bonnie abandoned Enzo, who ended up staking Oscar. When Lily came home, Enzo wanted her to choose him over Julian, but she picked the latter and the Heretics brought him back from the dead (buy a clue, Enzo. She’s the worst).

But back to Bonnie and Enzo…yes, it feels a little out of left field, but the chemistry is there and I am here for anything that makes Enzo interesting. Of course I need more information on how this happened and I hope the show lets the beats play out because I’d much rather watch these two than the Heretics. Also, I need to know how Damon feels about his best friend dating his sort-of-every-now-and-again friend. And more importantly, I need to know how/why Bonnie and Damon get separated over the next three years (less Heretics, more future!).

Next week, Lily throws Julian a welcome home party and her sons crash it and try to kill him.

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.