The Vampire Diaries Review: “What Lies Beneath” (Season 5, Episode 20)



The characters on The Vampire Diaries are stuck in an eternal loop. Besides the never ending love triangle between Elena (Nina Dobrev) and the Salvatore brothers that has become the backbone of the series, there’s also the viscous cycle that Elena and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) are engaged in that hovers on the edge of the narrative as if on repeat. Elena goes back and forth between being the harbinger of heartbreak and the poster child for humanity, but somehow still finds time to be the constant center of unsolicited drama.

When the dust settled after Elena became a vampire and the sire bond between her and Damon was unceremoniously disabled, the couple fell back into the familiar pattern of push and pull. Fast forward through almost two seasons and they are still smack dab in the same position. They are madly in love with each other, but suffer from the grand delusion that they are ultimately worse off when they’re together. Of course, staying apart never works out for them either.

Circumstances being what they are, the travelers trying to use the doppelgängers to break a mystic curse placed on them two thousand years ago, Damon has to put all of his emotions aside to once again be a team player. The Vampire Diaries writers have created yet another scenario where its central doppelgänger characters are in need of a rescue, preferably of the supernatural persuasion.

By this point in the series, fans can pretty much rest assured that of all the characters, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Elena are safe from the prospect of being killed off. Although they’ve both been used and abused, and that trend is definitely going to continue in the upcoming episode, the entire show revolves around them. And once you take that option off the table, there’s still about a thousand other ways that this scenario could play out while these two ex-lovers are being held captive by the travelers. None of which probably include any sort of pleasantries.

The traveler story arc has two layers to it. The top layer involves Markos (Raffi Barsoumian) and his plan to use the doppelgängers for his own purpose. But it’s the less publicized layer that may be of more pressing concern. Markos slipping out of his sentence in purgatory has created an unbalance on the other side which is quickly translating into a huge mess in the land of the living. The collapse of the other side doesn’t have a definitive result at the moment, but there seem to be two sides of thought on the matter: one, the supernatural beings taking up residence in this void will now move on to wherever they were meant to be, and two, in sort of a Ghost World– part 2, they’ll come back to life

On this episode of The Vampire Diaries, Enzo (Michael Malarkey) gave us a taste of the latter. Malarkey brings a certain excitement to his scenes, each comment dripping with sarcasm. It’s a shame that he had to meet his mortal end, so to speak, but he seems to be doing alright for himself considering the other side is crumbling and he has free reign to haunt as he sees fit. There’s also the added bonus of how convenient this entire situation is for his revenge plan. Ghosts being able to move things and perform not-so-random acts of violence – not a bad deal for a guy that likes to have a good time, without regard for anyone else. Even his warm regards for Damon, his only friend in the world, have been turned off along with his humanity.

Will the other side falling apart help or hurt our favorite doppelgängers get out of this mess? Let us know what you think, and all your other theories on The Vampire Diaries, in the comment section below!