The Vampire Diaries Review: “Man On Fire” (Season 5, Episode 19)



The Vampire Diaries has had some trouble settling on a bad guy this season. So far, they have found at least five characters to fill the role. We started off with Silas (Paul Wesley) – the supernatural psychopath bent on killing everyone to find his doppelgänger love. After tormenting the bulk of our recurring characters (and the rest of Mystic Falls), finding his true love and then losing her for good, he made a quick exit.

This may have thrown viewers for a loop, since his story arc had already been stretched out for longer than most fans would have liked (and it seemed like it would never end). But there you had it, in the blink of an eye, that chapter of the endless struggle was put to rest.

Then, just when everything was returning to a peaceful lull, Katherine Pierce (Nina Dobrev) started feeling the side effects of being a human again. After a while it became apparent that she was not going to just lay back and whither away, so in a last ditch effort to defeat death, she spent a few episodes parading around in Elena’s (also Dobrev) body in a general effort to turn everyone’s worlds upside down – mostly for her own amusement.

Katherine was barely a memory when the travelers started their tirade, focusing on the final remaining doppelgänger- Elena and Stefan (also Wesley). Eventually, the travelers burned, and fresh from the ominous other side, Markos (Raffi Barsoumian) returned to the world of the living and took up immediate residence in Mystic Falls. He came complete with a plan to use the doppelgänger blood to break the curse on the travelers placed on them 2,000 years previous by the witches. The details are still a little sketchy, but it somehow involves vampires dying, so that can’t be a good sign.

Along the way, we also took a crash course in Damon’s (Ian Somerhalder) history. Apparently, he was the victim of a heinous vampire research program housed at Elena, Bonnie (Kat Graham), and Caroline’s (Candice Accola) university. From there emerged two villainous characters. The first being Dr. Wes, who recently received what was coming to him, and the second being Enzo (Michael Malarky).

Enzo is the latest to join this long list of antagonists. He’s been going on for some time about his lady love, and in this week’s episode he decided to pursue his only lead. Ironically, it led him to the wrong brother, and then his death, or so we thought.

Enzo has once again proven that The Vampire Diaries is a show that exploits every character to their fullest potential, death not being a deterrent for the writers. Of the recurring cast, vampires aside, there is more than one who have come back from the dead. And technically, Bonnie still has a secure spot on the other side, despite her wholesome appearance.

While this episode didn’t do a lot to move the narrative along, it did handle gracefully the burning question of how serious Damon was when he told Elena that he wanted nothing to do with her. Obviously, some space would have been ideal for a broken heart and bruised ego, but when it comes to her – and their history supports this – distance isn’t something that he can handle. That’s especially true when her safety is in question.

Even though Elena and the Salvatore brothers, together and separate, have been through the relationship ringer, these are characters that are indebted to each other. Whatever is coming, they’re going to face it together. And it’s anyone’s guess what Markos and his followers have planned.

Tell us, what did you think of this week’s episode of The Vampire Diaries? Sound off below!