Tonight, “The Vampire Diaries” kicked off firmly in a place of mourning, and understandably so. We saw a reflection of Tyler Lockwood’s life and times in the opening moments, coupled with the signature sign of his body lying within a coffin. He lied there as a physical manifestation of Damon’s rage and possession — Sybil sent him down this road of terror, and because Damon submitted himself to it (or was too afraid of Hell not to), he allowed the body to fall.
It does still feel like a travesty that this is how this character, played by Michael Trevino for many years, would say farewell to the world. Still, we gotta keep moving on given that we don’t expect him to be hit with a resurrection spell anytime soon.
Damon crashes the funeral – In case we needed a further reminder as to precisely how horrible this new version of Ian Somerhalder’s character truly is, he turned up at the grave site for Tyler not even wearing the proper dress! Oh, and he also claimed to Stefan, Caroline, and company that he was going to bury them all in the ground. He didn’t kill anyone, but this outburst was enough to make all of his friends decide that their best-case scenario would be putting the guy in the ground for the near future.
Here’s the twist: Damon still felt something. We’ll be revisiting that in just a minute.
The state of Sybil – In the early going this week, our resident Siren (one of two, actually) was being interrogated by Alaric concerning the location of her fellow Siren. She didn’t give up the goods, and Ric remained oblivious of the sad fact that it was his very nanny who occupied said space.This entire twist is SO predictable, but we’re okay enough to deal with it.
Damon was the next person in her parade of visitors, where he went on his typical “why are you controlling me and in my brain” tour — pretty understandable, all things considered.
As for where Seline was located, let’s just say that she’d taken Alaric’s children over to the carnival for them to have a good time — and for her to buy her time while she awaited her perfect moment to strike. This was the same carnival that Damon wanted to meet Stefan at, and he chose to take advantage of the opportunity to plot his own brother’s demise. Was this painful? Certainly, but what other option did he really have here?
The confrontation – Probably the best work we’ve seen from Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder this season. Stefan pleaded for him to allow his humanity to take over and realize that there is a point to life. While there were fleeting moments where you could see that humanity peaking through, they weren’t long-lasting. The two battled, and it led to Stefan eventually getting his way, trapping Damon in the coffin for the foreseeable future. He worried that his brother may never forgive him, but what choice did he have?
Enzo’s life goes ablaze – He’s still under the control of Sybil, but at the same time, we feel like he’s got at least a trifle more of his humanity than his counterpart. He was trapped at the hands of Bonnie, who found a way to make magic work for him without having to actually have magic. After being trapped there for some time and realizing that her current plan wasn’t working, Bonnie then went into “taking things up a notch” mode, pouring gasoline everywhere and threatening to set the place on fire while abandoning him in the process — through death. It was a test of if he would allow her to die. Pretty extreme, no?
Well, the plan did work — and speaking of great performances, Kat Graham killed this scene of her repeatedly telling Enzo that she wasn’t leaving over and over again. After she passed out in the flames, he took her to the outside, and after briefly debating letting it all end himself (great job by Michael Malarkey — we’re really praising everyone these days), eventually we saw him fight off the darkness completely. His true self was back! Really great, tear-jerking stuff here from the two characters.
Seline’s endgame – Well, we finally started to understand what it is that Seline wanted from babysitting at Alaric’s — using the magic of his two daughters (plus, apparently, a dead goldfish) to summon the devil to the Earth. Right around this time, some broken glass allowed Sybil to make her own escape from her prison. Her first order of business? Bringing Damon back from his coffin, which can’t be good given that he now has zero reason to trust his brother or anyone else.
Note that we didn’t actually see the end result of Seline’s little ceremony tonight, but it’s pretty easy to assume exactly what’s going down with them. The big “shocker” in the end was Caroline learning the truth about Seline via Matt, and going home to find her children missing.
Matt’s family time – While it may have only had a small role in the episode, wasn’t it sweet to see Matt do a little bit of bonding with his dad? The guy admitted that he had almost no role whatsoever in helping him move forward in his life (true), but but maybe they’ll have that opportunity to move forward in life.
Overall: For all of the fore and crazy sequences that this show pulls off time and time again, we do think that the real strength of this week’s episode lied in the performances. Seeing the entire group of survivors — or at least the good guys — mourning Tyler once more near the end of the episode brought us some of the closure we needed. We still wish he was around more, but at least there was a proper send-off. Grade: A-.
The next episode – You can head over here to read some further news surrounding what is coming up next on the series! (Photo: The CW.)