Season six of The Vampire Diaries continues to be the greatest thing that’s happened to the show since season three. Each episode is packed with poignant character moments and development that feels genuine and earned after we’ve watched these characters’ lives for over 100 episodes. A lot happens each week, but it never feels overwhelming or like we need a flow chart to keep up with the mythology changes.
There are still surprises and plenty of badass hero moments, but the focus is on the characters and how they’re reacting to new challenges and new people as well as the ‘old’ people who have impacted their lives over the years. Relationships change and grow and sometimes those relationships end, even if that’s not what we want. Relationships, both friendship and romantic, were the recurring theme in “Do You Remember the First Time?” and many of our characters found themselves in unexpected emotional places by the end of the episode.
5. Honorable Mentions (Yup, Cheating Again)
Let’s start with Tyler and Liv, who didn’t get a lot of screen time in the episode, but their brief scene showed off the actors’ chemistry nicely. Tyler’s trying to do what he can to pay Liv back, but playing waiter for a party isn’t quite the same thing as killing someone so he’s got a ways to go. I think they’re both pretty okay with that given the sparks flying all over the place. But Luke had a warning for his sister about having to leave Tyler behind if/when the coven calls them home. Did anyone else think of space aliens at that moment? It was oddly phrased, but it was also a great way to lay the groundwork for eventually bringing their mystery coven (Gemini connected, perhaps?) into the fold.
Alaric was super happy to be human, even while Damon was playing with his machines in the hospital. Alaric reminded his friend that if he dies, he’s dead for good (which is why Alaric needs to be protected at all costs, people) and then Damon met Jo. She immediately shot down his suggestion that she could save more vampires and said it was a one-time thing and partly because she had feelings for Alaric and didn’t want to lose him. I think it was smart of the writers to immediately nip this option in the bud. We spent an entire terrible season watching our vampires decide whether or not they would take the cure. We don’t need a repeat of that.
Jo also mentioned that she no longer practiced magic and she’d placed her magic somewhere safe. This obviously foreshadowed something that would happen later in the episode (wait until we get to the #1 Moment), but it also answered my question from last week as to why Jo could be in Mystic Falls without worrying about losing her magic. Well done, show! It makes me happy when loose ends are tied up believably. Alaric and Jo continued to get closer throughout the episode and then he spotted a nasty scar on her stomach, which led to the unsurprising reveal that her brother tried to gut her when she was a child. Hello, Kai’s sister.
Then there’s Liam and Elena. Again, I want to support them because Elena dating a non-Salvatore is refreshing, but the actors lack chemistry so I feel nothing during their scenes. But that’s my problem to deal with – Elena’s problem is that Liam is putting the pieces together between the not-so-dead boyfriend and the girl Elena saved. He knows she’s got secrets and he wants to know what they are or he’ll find out himself. Liam, you should run or you’re going to end up dead.
4. Damon’s Sacrifice
I owe Damon an apology. While he did do some childish things, he didn’t take 10 steps back like I thought he did last week. After toying with Liam via compulsion, Damon attempted to make Elena remember by recreating some of their memorable moments over the years. It wasn’t working because even though she could feel an attraction to him because she has eyes, she couldn’t emotionally connect. She wanted to remember though so he made a last ditch effort and took her to the spot where they watched a meteor shower and then it started to rain. Elena still couldn’t remember so she crossed the border into Mystic Falls to try and strip away the compulsion. But as soon as she started coughing up water, Damon pulled her back.
As much as he wanted her to remember, he was not willing to risk her life. And this is where the Damon I love came back: he told Elena that the night ended because she got cold so he took her home. In reality, it started to rain and they kissed (credit to the writers for working in the rain kiss fans have been begging for) and Elena asked him to promise it was forever. While I’m not a fan of these two as a couple, I’ve always enjoyed the moments where Damon does what’s best for Elena. Those are the moments where we can see how much he’s grown and how good his heart is. He never would have erased his memories or let Elena go if the situation had been reversed, but he will do it now because he’d rather her be alive and safe than potentially killing herself just so she can remember him. Sometimes love is about letting go (and let’s be real – we know this is not the end. It’s a TV show).
Speaking of characters I should apologize to…I didn’t particularly care for Enzo last season and now he’s becoming one of my favorites. Enzo, Stefan and Matt had Tripp Fell tied up and they all had different thoughts as to how to deal with him. Stefan wanted to kill him and be done, Matt wanted to drain him of vervain and compel him to go away and Enzo wanted to torture information out of him. When Caroline’s safety became threatened, Stefan left Enzo alone with him. And guess what? Enzo took the opportunity to turn him into a vampire, which was revealed when they took him to the border to exchange him for Liz and he immediately died.
It was kind of a genius plan on Enzo’s part because they got what they wanted (Liz back) and still managed to get rid of their enemy. But he also ended up earning Matt’s ire because he seemed genuinely sad to watch Tripp die. I don’t really understand what Matt’s problem is considering it was Tripp’s mission in life to target his friends, but Matt’s always been the worst when it comes to the vampires with the exception of Elena. So it wouldn’t surprise me that much if Matt suddenly decided to take up Tripp’s mantle and keep the vamps and magic out of Mystic Falls, even if that means going against his friends. Enzo will probably be first on his target list so I’m going to start making my Team Enzo banners now.
2. Caroline and Stefan finally talk
Enzo also took an opportunity to clue Stefan in on the fact that Caroline hates him because she doesn’t hate him at all – she’s got a thing for him. Stefan was shocked and Caroline ordered him to never mention it again. They went about their day saving Liz and Caroline remained unamused by Stefan’s presence and his determination to help her. Once Liz was safely in the hospital being seen by a doctor, Stefan wanted answers from Caroline. Why did she have a thing for him?
Caroline (rightfully) looked at him like he was an idiot and then reminded him of how he helped her when she became a vampire and how she didn’t understand why Elena would leave him for Damon and how he was her best friend and she trusted him and Stefan’s face was a mixture of shame and awe (Paul Wesley, you guys). She finished by saying she knew he didn’t feel the same way and Stefan responded by saying he wasn’t saying that – he didn’t know what he felt because he’d been so messed up. Caroline wasn’t impressed because she knew if he felt anything, he never would have walked away.
These scenes were heartbreaking and raw and so honest. It’s something I think a lot of people can relate to – falling for someone who doesn’t feel the same way and then realizing that all you can do is step back from the situation and the relationship. As Caroline said, she deserves better. Once again, I was proud of her for standing up for herself, but like Damon and Elena, this is not the end of the road for these two. Stefan is the show’s hero, always has been, always will be, and now he needs to redeem himself in the eyes of the one person who has been his cheerleader from the very beginning. He owes it to Caroline to fix their friendship and gain her trust again. Whether romance is in the cards remains to be seen, but this new rocky path for these two will be an interesting one to watch them navigate.
1. Bonnie Bennett, BAMF
We returned to 1994 this week (thank goodness) and found Bonnie bleeding on the Salvatore couch while Kai hung around, muttering about how she broke the time travel device (is it called an Ascension?) and that they needed to put it back together. Needless to say, Bonnie remained unimpressed with everything about him so she took matters into her own hands by stabbing him in the neck with a pen (!!!!), scooping up the pieces of the device and driving to the hospital to get some pain meds and put the device together herself so she could get home.
Unfortunately, she missed a piece and Kai tracked her down. She made it out of the hospital and back to Damon’s car, but Kai was already in the backseat, waiting to threaten her. He’s a scary dude because he’s completely and totally insane and Bonnie is smart enough to know that he can and will kill her as soon as he gets what he wants. He tries a nice approach and gives her a bunch of (very true) compliments about how brave she is and strong and he talks about how he’s learned from his mistakes and he doesn’t want to go kill the entire coven like previously planned. He even packed Bonnie’s teddy bear into the bag for their trip. I don’t know about you guys, but seeing him being sincere was even creepier than when he popped up in the backseat.
Bonnie agreed to take them home and started the spell. But then she reminded Kai that she’s not a fool and they weren’t going anywhere (round of applause for Bonnie). She’s not going to release him from his prison and when he tries to take her magic, he realizes it’s gone. She smugly tells him that she put it somewhere safe and she mocks his speech to her and that’s when he realizes she put the magic in the teddy bear, which had disappeared (another round of applause because that kind of badass move deserves a standing ovation).
I think we all knew what was going to happen next, but that didn’t make it any less awesome. As Damon stumbled around the cemetery with his bottle of bourbon, he spotted the teddy bear sitting outside the crypt and he knew it was Bonnie sending a message that she was alive. Damon’s smile as he hugged the bear was everything. Now he can turn his focus to getting Bonnie back and I’ll just be over here on the edge of my seat waiting for their eventual reunion.