Is there anything better than a group team up episode?
Throw in a dash of flashback romance. Add tension between two brothers. Mix in awkward romantic rivals’ conversation, a long awaited return, and watch as anger boils over after a three-year abandonment.
In other words, it’s the recipe for a perfect episode of The Vampire Diaries. “Someone That I Used to Know” brought together all the elements this show does best. A common enemy and concern for a friend gave everyone a reason to set aside their personal grievances and tackle the issue at hand: killing all the escaped hell stone vampires in order to convince Rayna to transfer her last life to Bonnie.
The plan is both simple and complicated. Rayna’s tired. She hasn’t had a single day off throughout her existence. Permanent sleep sounds like an attractive option. How and why it’s possible to transfer her life can be written off as magic (Bonnie’s studied spells). But the heroes are racing against a ticking clock with the threat of whatever’s in the Armory basement looming.
Not to mention we’ve watched this show long enough to expect spells to be twisty and nowhere near as easy as planned. So even as we root for them to succeed, we should probably worry a little (or a lot) that Bonnie might end up in an even bigger mess (talk about a woman who deserves some relaxation).
As much fun as it was to watch everyone murdering vampires throughout the south, the episode also offered plenty of emotional satisfaction. Let’s start with Stefan’s attempt to mend his relationship with Caroline.
He showed up on Ric’s doorstep and after a moment of hesitation, Ric invited him in. This gave Stefan a chance to look around and spot Caroline’s justice of the peace appointment. He also noted the two were not sharing a bedroom, something he saved to toss in Ric’s face at an opportune moment. As for Ric, he dropped the word “fiancée” while doing his best to paint a picture of their happy life.
The diner scenes were the epitome of awkward. Stefan didn’t feel the need to justify himself to Ric (fair enough) and Ric didn’t miss a chance to let Stefan know how little he thought of him. And here comes my inner struggle. Stefan’s in the wrong. However, Ric is not the person who gets to tell him that. Like Damon said last week, Ric’s benefitted from Stefan’s bad choices.
That being said, my heart broke all over again for Caroline when Ric told Stefan how she kept leaving to go cry in her car. Stefan needed to hear that. He deserves to know how much Caroline suffered because he needs to work to earn her forgiveness. I’m not here for Ric punching him though (Team Stefan Forever).
Of course the best scene was the final one when they returned to Dallas. Stefan wanted Ric to know he wasn’t backing down and then Caroline appeared! She didn’t say one word to Stefan and once she walked away, Ric closed the door on him (ouch). Quiet scenes are often the most powerful and this was no exception. Now it’s up to Stefan to prove to Caroline he’s still the best man for her. An uphill battle, yes, but we all know they still love each other.
Speaking of love, I’m going to eat my words from last week. The writers managed to tell a three year love story within the span of an episode and I swooned more than once. It all started when Enzo saved Bonnie from the Armory. And by “saved”, he drugged her, took her to a cabin in the woods, and offered her the anti-magic pills to keep her off the Armory’s radar while they tried to figure out why they wanted Bonnie.
It sounds a little creepy on paper, doesn’t it? But aside from the initial kidnapping, it was Bonnie’s choice. Yes, the alternative sucked, but she still got to make the call. The two began to bond over time. Enzo continued working for the Armory as a double agent and Bonnie discovered Virginia’s story in a journal, and her connection to Lucy Bennett (Bonnie’s cousin).
Enzo also helped Bonnie get past her Damon-shaped anger. Since he’d also been left behind to die by Damon once, he knew how it felt and that it was on Damon, not them. Bonnie began to understand Enzo better when he talked about wanting to know what motivated his family in order to avoid hating them for abandoning him.
The romance started with a special New Year’s Eve dinner and dance. It blossomed over guitar lessons and fireplace chats. In present day, their devotion to each other only grew stronger as Bonnie’s condition worsened. All the scenes were a pleasure to watch. Bonnie deserves the romantic, all encompassing, ‘I would do anything for you’ kind of love. And now that Enzo finally makes sense, of course he’s the perfect person to give her that love. Say what you will, the man does devotion and loyalty right.
On the other hand, we’ve got the fiery passion of Damon Salvatore, and he’s not onboard with this ship. Damon’s disgust over their romance was hilarious. He looked genuinely close to losing his lunch on more than one occasion. My favorite was when he called Stefan and begged his brother to talk to him about anything to distract him.
As for Bonnie, she’s furious with Damon to the point she doesn’t even want to hear his voice. “Flooded with anger” were her exact words to Enzo. She carried Damon’s letter, unopened, with her for three years as a reminder of the pain he caused her.
Even though the show’s not coming right out and saying it, this relationship is more than just a deep, ride or die friendship. Bonnie couldn’t find the right word to describe it in therapy and I doubt Damon would be able to classify his feelings for Bonnie either. Bonnie loves Enzo and Damon loves Elena, but actions speak louder than words. And their actions hint at something much more complicated and emotional.
Damon’s actions include his disdain for this romance, his single-minded determination to save Bonnie’s life by any means necessary whether she agrees or not (like that random scene with Beau), and his threat to rip Enzo’s heart out if Bonnie dies. Judging by his loathing, I think he might have done it already if Bonnie hadn’t intervened.
Then we have Bonnie’s actions. We talked about the letter she never let go of and the way her anger flooded back. If she were truly over whatever she felt for Damon, she wouldn’t be this mad. She’d be more resigned (like Ric). Nor would she be throwing her relationship with Enzo in Damon’s face to spite him (“He won’t leave me.”). Like Stefan and Caroline, these two are nowhere near ready to move on from their scorched “friendship”. We just have to sit back and wait for more fireworks.
(Not that there’s any time to waste. Bonnie’s got a week to live and Rayna’s given the group enough names to wallpaper a room).