The Vampire Diaries 5.22 “Home” Reviewby Emma Fraser / May 16, 2014
The Vampire Diaries has a habit of playing fast and loose when it comes to characters dying and in the same respect bringing them back. Loopholes exist and they tend to work in the favor of the good guys, so you will have to forgive me if I don’t think the bright white light at the end and the cut off sentence signifies the end of a MAJOR character (and with them another important character who has been part of the very fabric of this show since the beginning).
One question that has been on the table all season is whether Damon is a good person and if his innate good/badness has an impact on Elena. This has for me, been one of the weaker aspects of season 5 and has felt pretty contrived at times; we know Damon has done countless terrible things, but he’s also very much part of this team of merry vampires, hybrids and witches who have done equal things terrible/noble. By focusing on the bad it has created tension between Elena and Damon, but it never felt particularly organic and their reason for staying apart never rang true. Part of this time broken up was during the Katherine in Elena’s body days so I guess that part made sense considering her quest for Stefan’s affection.
Damon makes a huge sacrifice in the season 5 finale as he ends up stuck on the Other Side after he has been the one to gather the troops and come up with Project Kaboom. To get to this point, I think they wanted us to see how much Damon has changed this season, but really all of this has come before and most of the ‘Damon is good/Damon is bad’ season has been a little unnecessary. Stefan laments that his brother has finally found happiness which is generally the sign of the end, but I can’t help but feel this is far from his final chapter. He’s Damon Salvatore after all.
The real hero for me is Bonnie as she has been in a no-win situation the entire time. Bonnie has also experienced significant pain with each person passing through her and the body count this week is high (technically everyone who died in The Originals finale passed through her as well, yikes that is a lot). Bonnie has been keeping up the pretense that she will be fine, but as the anchor she can’t pass back to the regular world and with each person who does, it makes her weaker. Bonnie sees her anchor role as a gift as she died last summer, so it is all borrowed time really; it’s a rather pragmatic way of looking at things. It’s still pretty heartbreaking as Jeremy tears through the cemetery screaming her name in desperation. Bonnie also gets to be a badass and get her revenge on Silas (who killed her father) as she doesn’t save him from the shadows after he has taught her the spell – “Bygones” – and it’s no more than he deserves really.
Making a return from the Other Side includes those who were briefly there like Elena (who Bonnie forced through), Stefan (who came back after catching Bonnie), Tyler (no longer a hybrid), Enzo (walked through first, no qualms), Luke (to save his sister) and long-time resident Alaric (who didn’t seem to have a choice). Lexi stayed to fight Markos and got the peace she was finally looking for and I’m bummed that she wasn’t part of this group. I was less happy at Lexi’s Caroline comments and while it is inevitable, I’m still very much shipping Caroline and Stefan as BFFs not GF/BF.
Matt asks a question that isn’t resolved and that is whether Mystic Falls remains a magic free zone even after Markos has died. If this is the case then it will make this location pretty inhabitable for pretty much everyone (except Matt and Jeremy). The Mystic Grill has also been blown up and inside the wreckage is Sheriff Forbes, another hero in all this as she was the one who instigated everything from behind enemy lines. It appears as if she will be ok, but this is something that will have to be confirmed when we return for season 6.
This season has at times felt scattered and it has struggled to find a focal point now Klaus et al have departed for New Orleans and The Originals. Some aspects such as the Katherine arc have worked tremendously well, whereas others like Dr Max and the Augustine Society never found its feet. Enzo has been a fun addition and it will be interesting to see Damon’s two BFFs interacting with each other without their drinking partner. The return of Alaric makes me very happy as he brings balance to the table and he will be needed now more than ever as both Gilbert siblings are dealing with devastating heartbreak.
– Caroline and Elena pulling the same move on Luke and Liv with their car is pretty wonderful. As is Elena’s ‘take the back roads’ advice for fleeing somewhere.
– Matt laments the loss of the Mystic Grill as it’s “the only place dumb enough to hire us.”
– Damon uses Elena’s words about respecting choice as a way to justify his plan, only for her to use them back at him and join him in the explosion causing car ride.
– It was good to see Grams for one last time and I’ve always enjoyed seeing Grams and Bonnie together.
– I’m not sure why Luke couldn’t just finish the spell for Liv when he came back from the Other Side, but I guess that would ruin the dramatic impact.
– The Bonnie/Damon relationship has always been one full of barbs and snark, but at the end of the day (and maybe the end of them) there is mutual respect and their hand holding in the final moments felt appropriate.
– “I peaked”
Thanks for reading and see you in the fall!