The seventh season of “The Vampire Diaries” has provided some refreshing evolution for the show, and we figure that we’ve probably seen that more so than at any other point in the flash-forwards. We’ve now got Caroline and Alaric in Dallas, Stefan and Damon still fearful of Rayna, and a completely different world where Matt Donovan doesn’t want too much to do with vampires anymore. Also, Bonnie and Enzo are a thing, but tonight we saw her more in “yelling at Damon” mode.
After all, this episode was when Damon decided that he’d just go to sleep so that he didn’t have to deal with anything anymore, which led to one of the best monologues of Kat Graham’s time on the show. Before that, we also learned that despite Damon’s efforts to sap away at Rayna’s life force, all he really did was potentially push his brother further to the end because if Rayna dies, so do her marks. Valerie and Stefan’s attempts to stop her weren’t exactly fruitful either.
Having Matt declare that vampires were no longer welcome in Mystic Falls is probably something that a normal human would’ve declared a long time ago, even though we’re not entirely sure we enjoy angry / upset Matt nearly as much as his vampire-sympathizer version.
The major flash-forward twist was learning that the mark can be transferred between Salvatore brothers, and this mostly matters because of one key issue: Whether or not Stefan wants to finally free himself of Damon. He can bite the apple if he so chooses, but then he has to live with it. It’s a simple sort of stakes, and that’s what we like from the show.
Overall, this stretch of episodes in early 2016 has to be one of our favorites in some time. It’s been less about romantic melodrama for the most part, and instead more about awesome vampire action and genuine stakes … just not that kind of stake. Grade: A-.
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