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‘The Vampire Diaries’ Review: Top 5 Moments from ‘The Simple Intimacy of the Near Touch’


That’s more like it.

After last week’s uninspiring midseason premiere, The Vampire Diaries roared back with a compelling hour of television.

“The Simple Intimacy of the Near Touch” revived the Miss Mystic Falls pageant one last time, allowing Caroline to revel in her Type-A glory as she steered the ship.

Then, she seamlessly switched to BAMF mode and battled her fiancé.

Because make no mistake: Stefan arrived at the party primed and ready to ruin everyone’s good time, starting with his brother’s.

Damon struggled with his humanity-free life, even though he couldn’t quite pinpoint why until Caroline intervened to drag Damon down Delena memory lane.

While Caroline will arguably always be the wrong choice to sing Damon’s praises given their history, it’s hard to argue against Caroline doing what it takes to get Damon back on the right side.

This episode also gave us the much needed return of Bonnie and Enzo with an unexpected moral dilemma to debate and moved closer toward Sybil’s eventual demise thanks to Seline. Let’s discuss.

#5 Some Assembly Required—Instructions to be Provided by…Seline?

Seline offered Caroline a deal: she’ll help assemble the pieces of the bell so they can kill Sybil.

She wants to make amends for causing her sister’s wicked ways. It sounds more like she wants to punish Sybil for screwing her out of the immortality deal.

But I’m Team Seline so I’m okay with it.

Caroline and Bonnie disagreed and plotted with Matt and Dorian behind Seline’s back. After a mini-Containment reunion, Seline convinced Dorian to see things her way. According to Seline, Matt’s the only one who can ring the bell.

Is there more to the story? She called the bell “a weapon of great power”. Killing a siren fits into that, but there’s probably more to it, right? Like it can take out Cade, too? Even though he’s MIA at the moment, he’s still the ultimate bad guy (I think?).

#4 Different Season, Same Salvatore Struggles

It pains me to say this, but who else is tired of the Stefan vs. Damon stuff?

I will shout ‘the Salvatore brothers’ relationship is the heart of the show, even more than the original love triangle’, until my dying breath, but do we really have to hit the same beats as previous seasons?

We started with Damon being the bad guy, the one without humanity, blah, blah, and it was Stefan’s mission in life to save him.

Now, we’ve flipped the script, and Stefan’s the absolute worst, and his goal is to bring Damon down with him so they can be evil together like he always wanted.

Can we please get off this ride? Unless the writers plan to undo seven seasons of character growth and destroy the series HIMYM style, we know where this story ends: with the brothers on the same side.

These arguments we’ve seen before, as recently as last season when Stefan blamed Damon for his hell stone experience, are beyond stale at this point.

#3 Vampire Bonnie…or Human Enzo?

How great did Bonnie look when she breezed into the Salvatore mansion, fresh from Paris, and glowing with love?

Bonnie’s happiness makes me happy and I want to see more of it for the next seven episodes, please.

Now, we should probably talk about that whole, ‘wear my blood necklace’ thing.

Romantic or creepy?

I’m going to choose the middle ground and say a little bit of both. On the one hand, Enzo is intense and obsessive, but only because he loves Bonnie so much and doesn’t want to lose her.

On the other, talk about putting pressure on a girl. Hey honey, can you give up being mortal and risk falling into the temptation of the evil vampire side just so I never have to be alone again?

Don’t get me wrong: I am 100 percent in with these two, and if they don’t end the show happy and in love, I may riot. Beats of the conversations just struck me as a little too…creepy.

Of course Bonnie BAMF Bennett turned it around in the end with a proposition of her own: would Enzo take the cure for her?

Hmm…how exactly would that work? Does she want him to beat Damon to drinking from Elena? Because I’m pretty sure Damon would kill him in a heartbeat. Curious to see where this goes…

#2 Quit Playing Games with Damon’s Head

Damon’s so over Sybil’s manipulation.

She may have screwed with his mind, but he’s done letting her call the shots. He rejected her at every turn, killed her again for the hell of it, and stopped letting her take Elena’s place in his mind.

Go ahead and cheer for Damon.

And for the writers because even as a firm Stelena supporter in the earlier seasons, I still felt the sparks during the original Miss Mystic Falls ceremony.

The small flashes to the episode, as well as Stefan and Caroline’s exposition, brought those sparks to the surface, and powered Damon’s rebellion.

Unfortunately, Sybil refused to go down without a fight. Thanks to a pact with Stefan, she found a less direct way into Damon’s mind: blatantly mocking him over the eventual return of his humanity, and how bad he would feel when all his sins combined with feelings.

Damon insisted Elena would forgive him (and she likely will), but Sybil still found the upper hand.

She reached into Damon’s head and yanked his humanity to the surface. Let’s ignore her seemingly unlimited powers for a moment, and focus on the outcome: that’s going to hurt like hell.

Which, Damon deserves because he did some heinous things, but we still need to root for the humanity to win in the end.

And please put the damn bell together fast because Sybil needs to die.

#1 With This Ring, I Will Kill (You)

This one hurt, but it was also my favorite story of the episode.

Caroline spent about five seconds longing for the man she loves when Stefan walked in, and then she turned on his humanity-less self like a boss.

Not to be outdone, Stefan hijacked her party by attempting to turn the contestants into vampires. He taunted Caroline with reminders they were in this together because she still wore his ring.

So Caroline did the sensible thing and staked him.

She saved most of the girls except the first one Stefan killed. When she woke up in transition mode, Caroline talked her through it, and promised to help her.

In addition to reminding us why Caroline is the best new vamp cheerleader, this scene played homage to the beginning of Stefan and Caroline’s friendship when he comforted her and promised to help her find her way so she didn’t become a monster.

An excellent and much needed parallel given what happened when Stefan came back to life: Caroline offered him a partnership. She’d help him kill bad people while they searched for a way out of Cade’s deal.

Stefan rejected her because he loves being the worst so Caroline tossed the ring back, and warned he’d miss feeling happy one day.

I, for one, am looking forward to that day so Stefan can wake up, and start putting the pieces of his life together. But Caroline made the right call.

She’s too strong to let him drag her down with him—she will find another way to save him, and everyone else.

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.

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