There wasn’t a lot of positive verbiage to explain away last week’s underwhelming return of The Vampire Diaries, and although “Because” was definitely a vast improvement, the show still is long way from its former glory. Even with the writers putting a creative spin on the end of Caroline’s (Candice Accola) adventures without her humanity, the season as a whole seems stuck in the proverbial mud. Characters are losing momentum right and left, and without the convenience of the other side to pull from, or the originals to use as a crutch, the story is flailing in all directions.
Caroline’s stint as a vampire without a conscious is perhaps the best twist all season (and it’s over already). Her complete lack of concern, coupled with the amount of word vomit that fell out of her mouth tonight, has drastically overshadowed the emergence of Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon’s (Ian Somerhalder) mother from her 1903 prison world, which should have come as a much bigger shock than it did. It seems pretty obvious that the writers are grooming Accola’s character to take over the female lead role after Nina Dobrev bows out at the end of the season, and rightfully so.
Accola has delivered killer performances season after season – although some of the earlier variations of the character were lost on me, personally – but nothing compares with her most recent story arc. Losing her mother and turning off her humanity switch have brought Caroline to a level that far exceeds the depths that we’ve seen her reach previously. And, if we had to compare her to Elena (Dobrev), she’s equally likeable and complex, if not more so. It’ll be a different show without Elena around to play peace keeper, but I imagine it’ll fair just fine for another season or two before coming to an end. At which point, if we’re lucky, Caroline will end up in New Orleans on The Originals and fans will finally get to see Klaroline happen.
Sharing the stage with Caroline’s recent case of extreme drama is Damon’s own struggle to come to terms with the opportunity to give Elena everything she wants – a second chance at being human. Instead of having to actively make a choice regarding whether or not he was ever going to tell Elena about it, it was conveniently taken out of his hands tonight, and disappointingly so. There was a build up surrounding his decision which fizzled out pretty quickly when Elena discovered the cure for vampirism via third party.
An accident turned Elena into a vampire in the first place, and another accident will likely be the catalyst for returning her to human. As much as I held my breath for Damon and Elena to get the love story they deserved, it seems unlikely that the writers were ever going to just “let” fans have Delena as advertised. Even now, with the end so close, there is a void between the two characters. Elena’s loss of their core memories makes their interactions seem false. At the very least, The Vampire Diaries still has a chance to award viewers with something concrete before they shut the door on this chapter of the show.
Besides the transition taking place on the show within the main characters, some semi-interesting subplots are developing. For the most part, Enzo (Michael Malarkey) has had little relevance this season despite his increased screen time. His ploy to pay Stefan back by using his secret niece as leverage flailed out without having too much impact overall. His convenient use of Matt (Zach Roerig) as bait in more than once situation hasn’t really panned out. And, now we have him coming face-to-face with his maker. Lily has failed parenting 101, evident by her being absence of emotion toward toward her own children, but she may be able to find a stand-in son if she plays her cards right.
Tonight’s episode may have the groundwork for the end of the season, but there’s still a lot of unknowns as to where The Vampire Diaries is heading.