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‘The Vampire Diaries’ Review: Blaze of Glory

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Does anyone else’s neck hurt?

(Not in a vampire bite kind of way).

More like The Vampire Diaries gave us whiplash with its sudden increase in speed. Maybe this is a case of ‘be careful what you wish for’ since I’ve complained so much about pacing this season. It took forever (15 episodes!) to jump to the future (or catch up to the present). And now that we’re here, I want everyone to take a collective pause.

“Days of Future Past” (directed by Ian Somerhalder) threw tons of confusing information at us over the course of an hour. Even without three main characters onscreen, the episode seemed jam packed. We learned new Phoenix sword and the stone mythology, caught glimpses of three missing years, and said goodbye to two characters.

Throw in private jets, kidnapping, compulsion, lies, new questions to be answered, car chases, and an actual explosion—is it any wonder why heads might be spinning after witnessing all of that at once?

Don’t get me wrong. I prefer fast paced to the snail stroll of earlier episodes. I’m happy we’re getting somewhere with these stories (even if that somewhere is just the land of more questions). And I’m always here for Stefan and Damon breaking my heart when they’re not on the same side. All I’m saying is this season would benefit from a happy pacing medium.

#5 Ugh, Matt

Matt unleashed Rayna on Stefan because he blames Stefan for Penny (Girl Matt)’s death. But this opens so many questions. Did Stefan do something to her? That seems unlikely since 1) Stefan’s been on the run away from Mystic Falls for three years and 2) since when does non-ripper Stefan go around killing innocent people? Either Penny’s not innocent or something happened to her because of a different vampire and Matt blames Stefan for his/her actions. On the bright side, I loved hearing Caroline’s voice in that two-second message (Congrats on the baby and come back soon, Candice!).

#4 St. John Family Squabbles

Bonnie was MIA too (Congrats on the movie and come back soon, Kat!). Apparently the Armory has some anti-magic pills and they eventually cause witches to get sick and die as we saw with Mary Louise (more on her later). Alex accuses Enzo of stealing the pills. He denies it, but we all know he’s lying since he freaked out on Nora earlier. Of course this revelation leads to more questions. 1) Why is Bonnie taking anti-magic pills? 2) Is it to dodge locator spells? 3) Is that why she landed in the mental hospital? 4) How and when did Enzo fall in love with her? 5) Can we please have one season where Bonnie’s life is not in jeopardy?

Also, what’s up with Alex? She’s shady as hell. We knew going in the Armory was trouble, but not why they’re so anti-supernatural. So far it feels like that boring cult from Season 5 (the one that introduced Enzo). They experimented on supernatural beings and used them to do their bidding too. Are we replaying that failed storyline? Or is there a twist on this one other than Matt and Tyler working there? Tell me why I should care, show.

(Random: I like that Enzo has a last name now).

vampire-diaries-716-days-past-02#3 Nora and Mary Louise take the Thelma & Louise Exit

All season the show’s been trying to get me to care about Nora and Mary Louise. I don’t remember the exact episode I caved, but I think it was around the time they started having more scenes with Bonnie. Anyway, I do care enough to feel bad for them throughout the hour, but I’m not all that sorry they’re gone. I do appreciate how much they loved each other and the lengths they went through to protect one another. Between Mary Louise’s witch pill disease and Nora getting marked with Rayna’s sword, I understand why they chose to go down swinging instead of waiting for death to find them.

Except I’m not sure what they were attempting to accomplish? They broke the stone, but what does that mean for Rayna and the people trapped in there? Also, why didn’t all the heretics team up to do this when they rescued Julian? Yes, the magic was too much for two witches, but they could have pulled Bonnie and Valerie in along with Beau (RIP) and we wouldn’t be in this mess.

#2 Rayna and Valerie are Team Anti-Damon

Thanks to Rayna and Stefan playing phone tag, we learned more about how the Phoenix Stone works. Basically, Rayna’s been creeping on Stefan. The magic of the scar allows her to see her targets at any time. That’s how she tracks them so fast. While trapped in the Armory, Rayna spent her days and nights watching Stefan’s life like a TV show (I totally get it).

She saw him travel the world with Valerie searching for a cure. We witnessed some of the flashbacks, including the moment Stefan and Valerie kicked off their rebound relationship. Rayna kept telling Stefan how happy he was with Damon out of the picture.

Valerie did the same thing when she landed in Dallas to heal Damon’s werewolf poisoning. Damon deduced she’s been lying to Stefan because she knew all along the scar could be transferred. Valerie admitted it, but insisted she was protecting Stefan from Damon because he’d fail his brother in the end. All their interactions reinforced the message: Stefan’s happier when Damon’s gone.

#1 Stefan and Damon need each other

Once again, I’m going to call b.s. on this Phoenix Stone. All along, it’s spouted the same nonsense: Stefan’s better off without Damon. Sorry, but seven seasons of the show prove otherwise. Stefan and Damon are two halves of a whole. Neither brother is all good or all bad. They’re better together than apart.

Rayna and Valerie can say Stefan was happy all they want, but Stefan staring at his brother’s name on his phone and thinking he’ll never talk to him again speaks volumes. As does Stefan’s decision to wake up Damon the second he thinks death is imminent. He wasn’t looking for a miracle. He wanted to spend time with his brother before it was too late.

Unfortunately, the brothers found themselves on different pages once more. The sudden mortality that came with the scar made Damon rethink his offer to take it. And with Rayna’s words buzzing in his head, Stefan demanded Damon say the words. He wanted to hear Damon admit he was letting him down once and for all.

Of course Rayna trapped Stefan in the stone before he had a chance to hear Damon’s change of heart. So Stefan’s in the mental prison thinking he needs to let go of Damon (or he was until it broke). Once again, I think the brothers are being sent down the wrong track. The hell stone is not going to tell them the truth. Working together and believing in their bond has to be the key to defeating the stone.

(Or whatever magic is left after it broke).

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.