Whenever The Vampire Diaries stages a holiday episode, it’s a safe bet that terrible things are going to happen to some of our favorite characters. The show seems particularly fond of bringing bodily harm to mothers at Christmas time (RIP Mayor Lockwood). Throw in the fact that we’re dealing with a midseason finale and fans of the show know it’s time to strap in and say a few prayers that our favorites are still breathing at the end of the hour.
“Christmas Through Your Eyes” was a particularly painful midseason finale/holiday episode because aside from one perfect scene (which is obviously the #1 moment), it was mostly misery combined with setting up the next part of the season when the show returns after the hiatus. And while angst and misery aren’t necessarily bad things on television shows, this particular one felt a little too manufactured because so many of these problems have easy solutions.
That being said, it wasn’t a bad episode or even a disappointing episode. I liked a lot of what went down during the hour, even if it was making characters I love miserable. That’s how good TV works – characters are given obstacles to overcome. They either get stronger and more badass in the process (Bonnie) or they resort to their worst selves (Enzo). But I do have issues with some of these situations and obstacles so let’s talk about it.
5. Bonnie is still all alone
A series of flashbacks throughout the episode showed us Bonnie, Elena and Caroline having fun together in Christmas past – specifically their freshmen year of high school before everything went to hell and then their junior year where the Salvatore brothers were in their lives, but things were still nowhere near as bad as they were going to get. While those were happening, we saw Bonnie in Mystic Falls 1994 doing her own tree lighting and eventually burning down her tree as she whispered that she missed her friends. Let me just pull my heart out and hand it to you, show. It would be less painful.
But what makes this even worse is that in present day Mystic Falls, Damon is the only one trying to get Bonnie back (to be fair, Elena was trying too and then Caroline genuinely needed her so both ladies get a pass on this one). Why doesn’t anyone else care that she’s gone? I like Jo and Liv a lot, but Alaric and Tyler both literally owe their lives to Bonnie. So does Jeremy. It’s bad enough they’re not aiding Damon’s search, but Alaric giving him grief and saying he’s only doing it because he feels guilty? Hell no. And I’m a fan of them – their bromance is second only to Damon and Stefan’s in my book. But this is unacceptable and frustrating and when Bonnie does get back, only Damon and Ms. Cuddles are allowed to host her welcome home party.
(Also, enough is enough. Bring Bonnie home and give her something to do other than be alone. She’s been trapped in 1994 for 10 episodes. It’s time to fix it).
I have to assume that was the question the writers asked themselves when they were coming up with story ideas for her. We had a brief nice moment where Liz brought Christmas to Caroline at the dorms since she couldn’t go home to Mystic Falls and she also invited Stefan to help them so they could work on repairing their friendship. That part didn’t go well since Caroline correctly pointed out that anyone could be happy hanging Christmas lights. Stefan was about to leave when Liz collapsed and the two had to take her to the hospital. Elena and Stefan learned from the doctor that Liz had a brain tumor and it was spreading, which made it inoperable.
Before I list the many, many reasons why this story is the absolute worst, I do want to talk about the one good thing that came from it: fantastic acting moments from Candice Accola, Paul Wesley and Nina Dobrev. These guys are all so talented and they always shine in these heartbreaking human moments. When Stefan and Elena were talking about telling Caroline and how much it would hurt her and then later when Stefan comforted Caroline while Elena looked on, all three actors said everything they needed to say with very little dialogue. And the final scene of Caroline standing at her mom’s bedside with her Mystic Falls snow globe physically hurt.
Seriously though, this story is the worst. I get where the writers are coming from with wanting to do something human, something out of the vampires’ control. But I just keep thinking even if vampire blood can’t cure cancer…why can’t they feed her vampire blood and snap her neck? Then she doesn’t die from cancer, she dies from neck snapping and she can come back. And sure, maybe Liz never wanted to be a vampire (does anyone?), but I also don’t think a mother would want to leave her daughter alone if she could avoid. As much as I love this show, I don’t trust that this story will be told the way it deserves and not only that, I don’t want it to be told at all. I watch shows like this to escape reality, not watch one of my favorite characters go through one of the worst things imaginable that could happen to any one of us at any time – no.
(And I’m not even going to start on why this is the worst possible way to bring Stefan and Caroline together romantically. Sometimes I wonder if the writers watch their show because there has been plenty of groundwork laid in past seasons to jumpstart this romance without killing Caroline’s mother to bring them close again – no).
3. Enzo, you had one job
Matt and Jeremy, or Beavis and Butthead as Damon appropriately nicknamed them this week, set out to kill Enzo. Or at least that’s what Jeremy thought they were doing until they had him captured and Matt wanted to torture him before he staked him. Jeremy was not impressed and reminded Matt of all their vampire friends, but Matt was still mourning Tripp and wanted Enzo to suffer. He even put him in Tripp’s van, blared the country music and prepared to drive him over the Mystic Falls border. Thanks to Kai, the magic border no longer existed and when Matt opened the doors to presumably remove the body, he found a live vampire, who warned him not to waste time when killing enemies (that should be this show’s motto because the characters never remember that from one villain to the next).
Unfortunately, Enzo didn’t just snap Matt’s neck and be done with it like I wanted him to because I think we all know Matt’s never going to die. Instead, Enzo rattled off all the reasons he’s jealous of Stefan and told Matt he’s going to be his puppet in his quest to ruin Stefan’s life. Stefan is my favorite so I’m always going to side with him, but at the same time, remember in season three when Klaus ruined Stefan’s life at every turn? That was good TV and it never made me hate Klaus for messing with Stefan. But when Enzo does it, I feel my patience seeping out my ears because this doesn’t make a lot of sense. If Enzo wants to be included, why doesn’t he offer to help Damon? Why doesn’t he hang out with Damon at all? Why doesn’t he pop by Caroline’s dorm? Why doesn’t he stop killing innocent people if he wants respect? Enzo being the villain is exactly the kind of manufactured angst I despise. Matt siding against the vampires isn’t much better, but at least his makes a little sense because vampires have ruined his life. Do you see what you’re doing to me, show? I just gave Matt credit for something.
I really do love the Parker family. They’re not the Mikaelsons, but they’re still pretty great. After using Tyler to convince Liv and Luke to do his bidding, Kai kidnapped Jo and gathered his siblings to force Jo to take her magic back. In typical Kai fashion, he did so by stabbing Jo with her magic knife, but she pointed out she had to willingly take her magic back. Luke bailed because he didn’t want to watch the torture and Liv and Jo had a lovely heart to heart where Liv told her sister that she believed in her and she should fight and win the merge with Kai. Jo ended up taking back her magic after Kai threatened to kill Liv and Jo later told Alaric that she planned to work on getting her magic strength up to par so she could beat Kai.
Damon wasn’t a big fan of the plan to leave Kai alive (because he’s the only rational one) and when Alaric had him tied up on the Mystic Falls side of the border, Damon proceeded to throw things at him (childish, yes, but also hilarious). Kai realized the Travelers must have used a lot of magic for their spell and he began soaking it up until he could free himself from his restraints and then use his favorite cloaking spell to disappear. I’m really happy they got rid of the magic border because I miss seeing the gang at the Salvatore house and at the Grill and I have to give props to the writers for coming up with this solution. Now everyone can go home, but they’ve got a supercharged Kai on the loose and that’s not good for anyone – especially Damon and Elena fans.
Elena needed to tell Damon about Liz’s illness and Damon offered to cook her dinner and share stories of their terrible days. When Elena arrived at the house, she spotted mistletoe hanging above the door (typical Damon), but when he answered the door, he didn’t seem to see her standing there. She thought he was joking at first, but then he closed the door and Kai appeared behind her, let her know they were cloaked and then knocked her out with a tire iron. On the one hand, I’m curious why Kai wants Elena – is it just to torture Damon or is there more to it? But on the other, Elena being kidnapped makes it even less likely that people will remember that Bonnie is still trapped and I don’t see why they couldn’t have rescued her first and then put Elena in danger. Seriously, I can’t stress this enough: it’s time to bring Bonnie back to the present.
1. Stefan and Damon go home
Once the traveler’s spell was lifted, Damon returned to the boardinghouse and reunited with his bourbon. That’s when he heard a familiar car pulling up outside and when he opened the door, there was Stefan in the Camaro he’d restored for him. Stefan joked about having some extra time on his hands while Damon was dead and the brothers shared a hug and walked into their house together. It was flawless.