The main story this week is, of course, Damon having all the angst. Having, apparently, killed Elena, Damon is now the saddest of sad vampires and he deals with his angst in classic Damon fashion – hating himself and killing random people
Part of hating himself also includes passive suicide with him trying to rile up Julian and his little army of vampires. Julian quickly figures out why Damon is trying to get himself killed and decides Damon should amuse them all by pit fighting to the death which is apparently something he’s doing now (in addition to convincing humans to return to Mystic Falls and then auctioning off the houses – and people – to vampires). While in these pit fights one random vampire woman decides to help by giving Damon a weapon.
Stefan naturally realises something is up with his brother – more than usual – and finally pushes Damon into admitting what happened, that he killed Elena. Stefan is, predictably upset (though I think him thrashing around in his car would have been more effective if the writers remembered he had vampire strength and his thrashing around should cause damage) and, in a surprising twist, blames Julian. Why surprising? Because I fully expected this to be round 9362 in the Damon vs Stefan fight/make up/fight/make up cycle – but Stefan, with surprising maturity, decides to place the blame where it belongs. Julian, the vampire who put Damon in the hell stone to begin with.
Julian must die – and he recruits Valerie to help him. And lo, Julian dies. No, really, it’s just that easy when you have a witch on side. In fact it’s so anti-climactic and easy that it just screams the question why no-one thought to do this before?
Bonus amusing points when Stefan protests that Julian is 300 years older than Damon so Damon can’t possibly fight him. Like that has ever stopped Damon before! How many times did Damon square up against Klaus?
Meanwhile, Bonnie, Nora and, surprise, Mary Louise are heading off to find this hunter, Rayna Cruz. She’s apparently very old and powerful having been blessed by a shaman to kill vampires. She’s sending ominous messages and everyone is petty scared – so it’s road trip time.
They find Rayna in a mental hospital and she’s an old, sick woman (apparently magically extended lives only go so far). She is restrained and explains that she’s taken to staking people accidentally because that hunter magic has gone a little awry. Bonnie and Nora decide that she’s no longer a threat and Bonnie is left alone with the old woman – and nearly strangled. Even elderly hunters are dangerous. She’s saved when Enzo (he who was kidnapped by hunter people Matt ran into) turns up and apparently kills the old woman to save Bonnie. Clearly there’s a lot going on with Enzo we don’t know about – but I’m more than a little frustrated that the second most irrelevant character on this show (after Matt) is still hanging around.
When Bonnie & co aren’t looking, Enzo absconds with the old woman’s body. Later he sets said body on fire which restores Rayna to youth – I’m assuming magic is involved. Which is interesting when we consider the shamanism that made her a hunter made her immune to Bonnie’s magic
While this is going on there’s a whole lot of tension between Mary Louise and Nora and Bonnie shows, yet again, that she is one of the few characters with half a brain in her head making sure she steps back from this fight, recognising that Nora is using her to make Mary Louise jealous. I quite like how this is done – we’ve had no indication of Bonnie being anything other than straight and having a lesbian use in this way could lead to a whole lot of homophobic gay-panic tropes. It’s clear that Bonnie is stepping out not because she is disturbed by the idea a lesbian may find her attractive but because this is a mess of drama that no sensible person wants to be caught in the middle of
By the end, Mary Louise and Nora do seem to be approaching some level of reconciliation – all the more possible now Julian (and Mary Louise’s bizarre loyalty to him) is out of the picture
On to Caroline – apparently the babies inside her may be siphoners (like the Heretics) and this is causing her all kinds of health issues as they drain her vampire magic. Valerie tries to help and does seem to help slow it down but by the end of the episode she is in definite trouble. One almost sad element of all this is that Caroline recognises how little reason Valerie has to help them and is truly grateful for this. And I just kind of think that this is exactly the same speech that Bonnie has been owed since season 1 – only several times over and stronger and louder – because how much more has she served and sacrificed and lost?
Caroline’s draining storyline would mean far more if we didn’t have these constant three year flashforwards that clearly show Caroline as still alive and with well kids
Speaking of, the latest version of this has Matt (who will still be alive in three years, alas) drugging Stefan for the sake of Rayna (you’ve almost got to be amused at the way they present Rayne as the big bad as some kind of scary, surprising big reveal).