The Vampire Diaries didn’t waste our time with a filler episode to follow-up its emotional comeback last week. Instead, Julie Plec and her team started to unroll the season six storyline one piece at a time. And so far, so awesome.
It’s not really a huge surprise that Alaric (Matt Davis) agreed to Elena’s (Nina Dobrev) demands – but I’m a little surprised she actually went through with it. The Elena/Damon (Ian Somerhalder) storyline has woven its way through the entire series and even in death hasn’t found its end. Although The Vampire Diaries started off by focusing on the relationship between Elena and Stefan (Paul Wesley), there were points even during their height that viewers questioned whether or not she was secretly harboring feelings for Damon (“How sad is it that my own evil doppelganger was smarter than me?”).
Over the last couple of seasons, Elena has openly admitted her feelings for Damon to herself and everyone else. Losing him has created a void in her life that has made her a wildcard. It’s not a new side to her character – remember when she turned her humanity off and went on a killing spree? – but it’s not exactly her best side, either. During the hiatus, the part of the grieving (err, non-grieving) process that we missed was watching her spiral out of control with witchy hallucinogenics as her drug of choice. Somehow she managed to hide this from her friends, but I doubt they were particularly vigilant as they all handled the loss of Damon and Bonnie (Kat Graham) in their own ways.
Bigger than the surprise return of Elena’s less charismatic (or confident) side, is Stefan’s conscious choice to give up and move on. You have to give it to him that it looks like he pulled out all the stops to find a solution to their problem, but even if there’s no way to bring his brother back, tucking his tail and starting over is not his best decision ever. Caroline (Candice Accola) and Enzo’s (Michael Malarkey) unexpected visit sparked a revelation that viewers may not have wanted to acknowledge. It’s not just that Stefan became another character who gave up on something or someone – that’s not an interesting plot twist – it’s that not only did he give up on Damon and Bonnie, which at least has an underlying logic to it, he also gave up on his friends.
Even fans of The Vampire Diaries who are holding onto hope that Caroline will migrate to New Orleans to reunite with Klaus (Joseph Morgan) probably felt a pull at their heartstrings watching her react to Stefan’s deceit. The connection between these two characters was palpable last season. Caroline is the one person who Stefan could always reach out to, which makes it seem like his “giving up” facade is only the tip of an iceberg. Under the surface Stefan is obviously (and self-admittedly) more conflicted than just simply realizing that Damon is gone, and he has to deal with it. Walking away from the life he had can’t be easy, but it also could be worse. Elena probably isn’t the only one who wished (or wishes) she could forget.