Last night’s episode of The Vampire Diaries could have easily been called ‘Damon Salvatore and the No Good, Very Bad Day’. Aside from his amazing, wonderful, not enough happy adjectives in the world reunion with his brother, Damon’s return to the land of the living didn’t exactly go the way he planned.
“The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get” might not have been quite as fantastic as last week’s episode (I already miss Bonnie and I would take Tyler over Jeremy any day of the week so call it bias if you’d like). But it was still a mostly solid hour of television that answered a few of our questions, reunited some of our favorite characters and dropped some intriguing twists and turns on us that may or may not have included continuity errors. Let’s talk about it.
Welcome Back, Damon
We picked up where we left off with Stefan and Damon’s reunion in the crypt and it was intermixed with Elena telling Alaric she didn’t want to see Damon and Caroline explaining Stefan called and said Damon was back. I’m not sure if it was because The CW was having audio issues during the early scenes, but I didn’t particularly care for the way this was edited. Maybe the writers wanted to cut down on exposition and if so, this was a clever way to do it, but I felt a little cheated. I would have liked to see the actual reactions to Damon’s resurrection instead of small glimpses of them.
Damon didn’t want to make anyone feel worse than they already did so he let them believe Bonnie was never with him and he later told Jeremy it was because she found peace. He did, however, tell Stefan the truth, which I absolutely loved because I am Team Salvatore Brothers above all else and it makes me happy when they share things with each other. Anyway, Stefan had to be the one to share that Elena had Alaric erase his memories and Damon was confident they’d look into each other’s eyes and their love would instantly bring back all Elena’s feelings for him. But Elena threw a wrench in that plan when she decided to literally jump out her dorm window rather than talk to him. So Damon stayed behind and called Bonnie’s voicemail because he missed the sound of her voice and wanted to thank her. I’ll just be over her crying over how perfect that scene was.
Tripp Fell, Vampire Hunter
Even though I’m actively rooting against him because he wants to kill all of my favorite people, I have to give props to Tripp for actually being good at his job. He rounded up more vampires in addition to Ivy and drove them all into Mystic Falls (kind of disappointed Ivy is dead because she was hilarious as a vampire). Then he had Ivy’s phone and showed her picture to Enzo, who confirmed she was the Savannah vampire. Ivy’s phone also included contact information for Caroline so it’s a safe bet he knows about her too and it won’t be hard to start picking out her vampire friends. Stefan and Caroline attempted to rescue Enzo after Matt warned he might give up their names, but he’d already been moved.
Tripp went to the dorm and he and his man found Damon there, subdued him and tossed him in the back of the van with Enzo. I really liked Damon and Enzo’s reunion – Enzo seemed genuinely happy to see him, in spite of their predicament, and when he told Damon that Stefan turned him in because he killed his girlfriend, Damon just accepted that it sounded like Stefan. Also, Tripp didn’t seem to recognize Damon so it looks like he’s not the vampire who killed his wife. Has Tripp met Elena yet? Maybe it was Katherine. Or maybe it was just some random person and this is the wrong thing to focus on?
After Elena found blood in her dorm room, the gang realized Tripp had Damon. Elena and Caroline blocked one access road while Stefan and Alaric waited at the other. Stefan was keeping his emotional distance from Alaric after last week’s incident and Alaric picked up on it and admitted Stefan wasn’t the only one who gave up. He was using finding Damon as a way to cope with being alive again as an Original vampire and not really being able to accept himself. It was a really nice moment and I can’t stress enough how much I’m enjoying this season and its determination to dig deeper into character motivations. Last week, I thought Alaric was out of line and he was, but now that I understand his reasoning was more than just his love for Damon, it makes a lot more sense.
Tripp stopped the van for Alaric while Stefan called Caroline and Elena, but Alaric wasn’t fast enough to get the jump on Tripp. Honestly, I thought this was silly because he’s an Original vampire and he should be able to take on a human, but whatever, it was dramatic and literally, a slow motion car wreck. Alaric hung from the window while Tripp stepped on the gas and had to swerve to avoid the car with Stefan in it, the van turned over and Alaric ended up on the grass – all of them within the borders of Mystic Falls while Stefan watched in horror and relayed the news to the ladies.
Since it was nighttime, the magic slipped away more slowly without the sun to aid in vampire burning, but Enzo and Damon were still dying in the van. Stefan crossed the town line and rescued Damon and Enzo while Tripp slipped away into the night (is it safe to assume he knows Stefan is a vampire now?). I loved watching Stefan pull Damon and Enzo to safety because he is always going to be the show’s hero and even though I understood his pain and grief, I missed this side of him. But Alaric was already too far gone to help – his vampirism had been stripped away and he was dying from the stab wound once again.
Jo Saves the Day (with potential plot holes)
Earlier in the episode, we learned Jo knew Elena and Alaric were vampires and the reason she can’t be compelled is because she’s a witch. She agreed to let Elena stay in the hospital because she’d saved a life instead of taken one, but she told her to stay away from the blood bags and mind her own business (fair enough). She went to visit Alaric because apparently the hot professor thing outweighs lying vampire, but Alaric was on the way to rescue Damon and basically told Jo his life was the worst and she should stay away (again, fair enough).
But Jo didn’t listen and followed him, which is why she was on hand to administer treatment to his wound after the magic disappeared. While I do think making Alaric human again and conveniently having Jo there to save him the actual doctor way instead of with magic or vampire blood was a great twist, I just have a lot of questions about it. For one, wouldn’t Jo lose her magic just by being in Mystic Falls? Not only did she treat Alaric, but she took him to their hospital. Last season, the Travelers stripped away the magic to not only get rid of the vampires, but the witches too. So she should have lost her magic too unless she didn’t have any in the first place. Could she be part of the Gemini Coven like Kai? If so, well done, show. If not, point deductions for failed continuity.
Speaking of, as awesome as it is for Alaric, I think we all know the reason he was turned human was so that he wouldn’t be able to ‘fix’ Elena. But is that logical? Shouldn’t his compulsion automatically stop working once he’s not a vampire? Or does it only stop working when the human dies? Technically, I don’t think Ric ever died; he only passed out for a few seconds. But in season two, when Elijah was daggered, Katherine was able to escape the tomb. This feels like a plot hole, but there also seems to be enough reasonable doubt for it not to be one? I honestly don’t know.
Romantic Woes All Around
I’m not a fan of Jeremy, but he’s basically the only one who seems genuinely upset that Bonnie is gone for good. So I have to give credit where credit is due. That being said, Damon leaving Bonnie a voicemail was more compelling than Jeremy losing it and destroying a pool table. What can I say? I’m a fan of subtlety (and Team Bamon).
Stefan and Caroline continue their awkward attempts to find their friendship groove (which needs to happen again before we can even start hinting at romance between the two, no matter how much I was mentally shouting for them to kiss). I’m proud of Caroline for continuing to call Stefan out for his bad behavior because no matter how justified his actions, he still owed his best friend a phone call and an explanation. I loved seeing Stefan run after her when he saw her through the window, but I also wanted to beat his head against the wall when he didn’t actually apologize and just expected things to be normal again. That’s not how friendship works. I’m glad Caroline walked away. Try harder next time, Stefan.
As for Damon and Elena, I know we’re supposed to be rooting for them and I’m sure some people are, but I have so many issues. Elena coming to the decision to reinstate her memories was the right one because she never should have erased them in the first place. But Damon’s reaction to her rejection – him saying that he’d rather she be miserable if she’s not happy with him? That’s not romantic or sweet or anything good. It’s creepy and selfish and it doesn’t make me want to root for them to get back together. I genuinely felt terrible for Damon during the door scene when he begged her to just look at him. I wanted her to; I wanted her to see him and feel something. But by the end of the episode when they actually did reunite, all I could think about was how they manage to bring out the worst in each other. If they’re going to be the show’s central romance, the writers have to work harder to make the audience feel something for them because chemistry only goes so far.
Before we wrap up, I feel like I should mention that Matt told Sarah the truth about Damon and Stefan being vampires and that she should stay away from them. I wish I cared about this story, but I don’t (and not just because I’m not a fan of Matt. Sarah hasn’t proven to be interesting yet). Also, since I’m already complaining, I feel like we were robbed of a Damon/Alaric hug. Bourbon sharing is their thing, yes, but when two best friends come back from the dead, I want to see them hug.