Reviews

‘The Vampire Diaries’ Review: (Literally) ‘Fade into You’

I know I’m starting to sound like a broken record, but I’m okay with that because this season of The Vampire Diaries deserves the constant praise I’m heaping on it each week. “Fade into You” was another amazing episode. It pulled back the curtain on the Gemini Coven and revealed one of the most messed up families to grace our screens since the Mikaelsons came into our lives.

The episode also continued the season’s tradition of keeping the story character focused and that took everything to the next level. They dropped fresh mythology into our laps, but unlike the past two seasons, they waited until after we spent several episodes getting to know the characters involved. These aren’t nameless, faceless newbies – these are people we’ve watched interact with our favorites and because of that, we care about what happens to them and that’s how you raise the stakes (pun intended).

Another thing I absolutely loved about this episode was the way the stories tied together and not just the three separate explanations of how the Gemini Coven works happening at Whitmore, in Portland and in Portland 1994. We got to see more fallout from Stefan and Caroline’s fractured friendship, Elena had to make a decision on whether to tell Liam the truth, Damon continued to fight for Bonnie, even putting his friendship with Ric on the line, we finally got to see why Liv’s been pushing Tyler away and so many other good things. Let’s get into the specifics, shall we?

Coven before family

We began the episode with a horror movie. Younger Jo was bleeding on the floor because Kai was on a psychotic rampage, determined to kill his siblings. Jo pulled the knife out of her stomach and then tracked down her younger, blonde twin siblings to protect them…and not just any blonde twins, but Liv and Luke! A lot of us suspected they were tied to the Gemini Coven, but I can’t say I was expecting this. Basically, the coven loves twins (Gemini, get it?) and they ascend to become leaders when they turn 22 (Liv and Luke’s birthday is coming). But it’s not that simple: the twins have to merge their magic and the stronger one absorbs the other one’s magic and the weaker one dies (“Fade into You” is a brilliant episode title).

Kai and Jo should have been the twins to succeed their father as leader, but Kai was born without magic and therefore was a disappointment to Papa Parker so they kept having more kids until they got another set of twins. That’s why Kai wanted to kill them. Jo placed her magic in a knife and hid it in a tree stump and then pretended to want to merge with Kai, but the real plan was for Papa Parker to use the ascendant and trap him with some help from family friend Sheila Bennett, better known as Grams (see what I mean about the connections?). So that explained how Kai got trapped, why Bonnie’s blood was the key and it also added a new layer to Kai. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not rooting for him to succeed, especially after he stabbed Bonnie AGAIN, but I can understand why he’s the way he is. His own family saw him as a failure. That kind of thing leaves a mark.

Liam’s still here

It was so fun to watch Liam’s reaction to all of the insane supernatural stuff that happened around him. The poor guy just wanted to have Friendsgiving dinner with the pretty girl he’s been dating. Instead, he sat around confused as Jo reunited with her long lost siblings and they talked about their coven and sending Kai away and everyone basically forgot he was there (Tyler trying to say ‘oven’ instead of ‘coven’ was the best because putting kids in an oven isn’t really a good alternative, Ty). Caroline compelled Liam to go away, but he came back in time to see Jo being supernaturally killed across the country by her own father (Watch out, Mikael – Papa Parker is coming for your Worst Father Ever award). Elena had no choice but to heal her with vampire blood.

Naturally, the poor guy was more confused than ever and honestly, it was refreshing to see someone who knew nothing about the supernatural responding to all of this. All of our characters have been living this life for years so they never bat an eye when someone starts bleeding for no reason. Of course Liam’s innocence is exactly why Elena needed to end things and compel him to forget they ever dated. She knew she didn’t love him and her insane life isn’t going anywhere. I felt bad for Elena because she looked genuinely sad and I can’t blame her for that – she probably wanted to have one slice of normalcy in her life and she knows that’s not in the cards for her.

Stefan didn’t get invited to Friendsgiving

…and he’s super bitter about it, especially for a guy who usually looks for excuses to get out of any and all social gatherings. Stefan complained to Alaric and Damon, which resulted in a hilarious scene of them mocking him for not noticing Caroline’s feelings and encouraging him to date her because they can see she’s perfect for him. Stefan sulked and pouted and then drop kicked Ms. Cuddles (so rude, but also helpful because it revealed the hidden house). But that wasn’t the end of Stefan’s bitterness – he complained to Elena when they had a phone conversation to compare Gemini Coven notes and she reminded him she has to side with her best friend and she also thought they should kiss and make him. Stefan grumbled that she owed him dinner.

As fun as it was to see Stefan out of sorts, after he rescued Damon from Papa Parker (thanks to Jo inviting him in via speakerphone and telling him how to find her magic), the guys returned home and he sought out Caroline, who had been planning to go see him and drop off a doggie bag because there were plenty of leftovers. She might ‘hate’ him, but she doesn’t want him to starve. Stefan took the opportunity to finally tell her the truth – that he had to push her away the most because she was the one person who would let him cry and he couldn’t do that any longer so he had to push her away the most. Caroline appreciated his honesty and there was an awkward beat before she made an excuse to leave and he watched her walk away.

The shipper in me just wants to push their heads together and tell them to kiss. But they’re not ready for that yet, even if Stefan is finally starting to wake up and see what everyone around him, including Ms. Cuddles, already knows: Caroline is perfect for him and he thinks the world of her. I’m hoping this at least means their friendship is starting to get back on track because that’s the most important thing.

Damon’s one and only goal is rescuing Bonnie

Even after sitting through Papa Parker’s stroll down Insanity Lane, Damon refused to give up the mission to rescue Bonnie. He was more than willing to kill Kai once the two returned to the future. Papa Parker insisted it wasn’t that simple – as soon as Kai absorbs Jo, he’ll be unstoppable and be everyone’s problem. But Damon didn’t care. He wanted Bonnie back and when Ric refused to ask Jo for the ascendant because he wants to keep his girlfriend (aw) safe, Damon compelled him to do it anyway. Stefan disapproved, but didn’t have a better idea in mind. While I’m a little disappointed in Ric for not getting on vervain immediately, I am torn on this one. On the one hand, it was a dick move, Damon. But on the other, if it means getting Bonnie back, isn’t that more important than Ric’s brand new relationship…with a woman who saved his life and cured his vampirism? Okay, fine, Jo definitely doesn’t deserve any bad things.

Back at Whitmore or at least in the town (I really have no idea where anyone is living besides Elena and Caroline), Elena tracked Damon down to give him grief about not telling her that Bonnie was alive (the Elena that makes everything about her is the worst). But I really loved this scene because Damon finally got a chance to say out loud everything that Bonnie had done for him – all the time they spent together, all the talking they did and the huge sacrifice she made in order to get him home. Even though Damon knew that all along and it’s been driving him, I think this was the moment he really got to let it sink in and he was in awe. After watching Bonnie and Damon’s flawless dynamic earlier this season, this scene really hit home and I don’t know about anyone else, but I am counting the minutes until Damon and Bonnie’s reunion hug.

Odds and Ends

Just a few more things I want to mention before we wrap up this (late) review: Caroline Forbes could rule the world with her organizational skills and I love the little humorous touches sprinkled into the hour – the place cards, her specific instructions for each guest to bring food and drink, her suggestion that everyone turn off their electronic devices and keep their gratitude to 100 words or less. Never change, Caroline.

Tyler stepping up to help Liv and bring her to Mystic Falls where magic doesn’t work was lovely to watch. Hero Tyler is my favorite Tyler and the last two seasons were unkind to him. It makes me happy to see him putting someone else first and I loved that Liv admitted that she pushed him away because looking at him makes her thinks of possibilities and she can’t have those because the coven comes before everything else. These two are so good together.

Bonnie’s sass deserves a shout out as well. After Kai drugged her and kidnapped her, she basically side-eyed him and made it clear that she was not even a little impressed with his sob story or his Thanksgiving dinner or his stupid pager. I love how strong she is, but can we please stop stabbing her and leaving her alone to die? Enough is enough, show. It’s time to bring her home so she can be sassy there.

 

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.

  • blah

    “The Elena that makes everything about herself” uhh bonnie is her friend, she has a right to know if she is alive??? Nobody complains about Caroline making stefan’s grief about herself though. I’m sick of it.

  • whatever

    It wasnt Elena making it all about her. It was Damon the one who said they only talked about her. This episode sucked.

  • naimasophie .

    i loved this episode too ! except the end with elena making it all about her , are we supposed to believe that damon and bonnie only talked about elena for four months non stop ?
    im excited for the gemini coven and bamon storyline !