The Vampire Diaries Review: “A Bird In A Gilded Cage” (Season 6, Episode 17)

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With the Gemini Coven story arc fading into the backdrop, the highlight of “A Bird in a Gilded Cage” was two-fold. The main focus on Caroline and Stefan concurrently suffering from a lack of humanity, and the secondary, but nearly equal, concentration of attention going toward executing a plan that will bring them back to their regular, charming selves. The biggest point of contention with this new scenario, however, is that fans have been waiting for just over a season for them to finally make the move from friends to romantically intertwined, and this isn’t exactly how that transition played out in my imagination.

For purposes of contrast, Caroline jumping into bed with Stefan at the first sign of blood lust drives the point home that they’re no longer the characters we readily know, but it’s so undeserving of either one of them in the overall sense. Especially, since there’s still so much of their normal character traits enveloping their current status of carelessness. Caroline is still a control freak, and Stefan is still bent on proving points and teaching lessons. They may be enthralled in the state of losing control at the moment, but it’s hard to tell if it’s something that will stick, or if they just no longer have any sense of boundaries.

The biggest surprise of this episode came courtesy of Bonnie’s recent magical scavenger hunt back in 1994 – a second chance at curing Elena (Nina Dobrev) of her vampire state. The narrative has been moving away from Elena lately, which is fine (even preferable), but has now made a viscous U-turn. Even though the Elena we met at the beginning of series was content as a human despite her affections for a vampire, at that time Stefan, she isn’t the same character we see on a weekly basis now.

What makes this new choice of Damon’s even more heart-wrenching was Elena’s use of ‘forever’ on tonight’s episode. She has accepted the fact that she is a vampire and everything that that means, and more so, embraced it. Will Damon risk losing forever for the woman he loves and went through hell to get back to? Or, will he choose to be selfish and save someone else from a fate that so many of the people he cares about never wanted in the first place?

The Vampire Diaries just opened the door to a lot of “what ifs” and “how comes,” and conveniently, just in time for a brief hiatus.

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