The Vampire Diaries 5.16 “While You Were Sleeping” Reviewby Emma Fraser / March 21, 2014
Even if Katherine hadn’t left Elena a parting gift that induces hallucinations and makes her crave vampire blood, she was always going to question why no one realized that she wasn’t herself for such a long period on The Vampire Diaries. This just gives it a stronger kick as Katherine gets to mess with Elena from beyond the grave and send her insane.
The episode opens with what appears to be a celebration, a welcome back for Elena as she dances on a table and does shots with her friends. Matt yells “take it off” and she does, well this is only the CW so she still has a vest top on. The mood suddenly changes and Elena stops dancing and asks why her friends didn’t notice that Elena wouldn’t do something like this, nor would she do shots with her underage brother – I’m sure we’ve seen them drink together in the past though. Regardless, it’s a moment that could have happened while Elena was gone, we just haven’t seen this before so we can’t be sure whether this is just Elena trying to make sense of events with werewolf venom coursing through her veins.
Another occasion where Elena ‘sees’ what Katherine did is in the motel room; Stefan tells her about the kiss (and he fudges it slightly, making it sound like he realized who it was immediately) and she reads about it in Katherine’s journal. In Elena’s hallucinated version it’s much more than a kiss and then Damon shows up and informs her that there is something way worse that happened during Katherine’s body swap stint. Elena interprets this as something she did and thanks to multiple Aaron hallucinations, including one of his throat ripped out she assumes she killed him.
Of course it was Damon that did the deed, the night ‘Elena’ broke up with him and it’s the piece of information that hangs over Damon’s head for the whole episode. Having Elena and Damon in two different locations – one trapped by a spell and the other with chains – is a nifty device as it isolates them while also renewing their connection through their phone calls. There’s so much that Damon wants to withhold and tell Elena, he’s stuck between doing the right thing and potentially re-ruining what they have. Elena has her own fears as she has no idea what Katherine did while under the guise of Elena. When Elena finds out what happened to Aaron it is devastating, but also somewhat reassuring as she wasn’t the one who did it. There is this notion of blame as Damon points out that Elena always finds something to excuse his behavior (this time being Katherine) and she tells him that he compromises who she is.
This leads to the conclusion that they are no good for each other, that their relationship is toxic and it appears that the renewed “Damon is inherently bad” has been a setup to get to this point. While I haven’t been a fan of this journey as at times it has felt contrived, I am intrigued about what this means for the next chapter of the Elena/Damon romance.
Meanwhile Stefan is embroiled in a doppelganger/Traveler story as Sloane reveals that there is another and the last remaining pair of doppelgangers are special. They are less valuable with this other Stefan who they identify as an EMT in Atlanta through the brain linking spell. Caroline and Enzo are dispatched to deal with him, while Stefan recovers from his latest mind intrusion. This time he didn’t get fried thanks to a Caroline intervention. I’m not sure what to make of this as the Travelers motivations are still incredibly murky and while I enjoy seeing both Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley playing multiple roles, I don’t know if we really need more doppelgangers.
Kicking up the mystery element are Liv and Luke as Liv continues to play the role of new witch. She’s cocky and self assured and she seemed a bit too peppy for someone who had just been stabbed in the gut; it turns out they are not who Bonnie thinks they are. While it’s unclear what the brother/sister duo have planned, they do know that Bonnie is the anchor and Luke pretended to be under the influence of compulsion.
– When Stefan comes to he jokingly calls Caroline ‘Rebekah’ and then ‘Lexi,’ it’s pretty adorable and hilarious.
– Caroline promises Stefan that she will be safe, which is TV code for something bad is going to happen.
– Jeremy and Matt are having fun with giving Damon his blood, putting it slightly out of reach. Damon, you deserve this.
– Damon updates Elena on the Klaus/Caroline gossip and reveals who was the one who told Tyler. Awkward.
– Katherine posed as Elena for almost 3 weeks.
– Elena has to use a payphone to call Damon on as she doesn’t know what the pin code on her cell is; this is a nice callback to the night Katherine fully took charge of her body. Damon jokes about the photos on her Instagram, something that Elena thinks Katherine would do. She totally would.
To browse through photos from the next episode of The Vampire Diaries “Rescue Me” head here.