The Vampire Diaries "Into the Wild" Review: Island Time
"Elena Gilbert! You concocted and implemented a plan that resulted in the death of an Original (as well as the death thousands of other vampires), the trapping of another Original in a Magic Penalty Box (TM), and the shameless emotional manipulation of yet a third Original. Your actions forced the first two of those three Originals out of the Race for the Cure. What are you going to do next?"
"I’m going to Nova Scotia!”
Yes, after killing Kol and causing Jeremy to Hulk out as his magical tattoo grew three sizes in a day—note that everyone can see it now for no discernible reason other than, well, it’s completed, I guess—Elena, Jeremy, Damon, Stefan, Rebekah, Bonnie, and Shane all headed to an island off the mainland coast of Nova Scotia because that’s where Silas was buried along with the cure. Poor Caroline and Tyler, who, after being AWOL for a while, had to babysit Klaus.
Matt, well, he’s probably glad he had to work at the Grill.
Putting a bunch of the show’s characters plus Jeremy (who at this point is more plot device than character, let’s be honest) on an island felt like TVD’s attempt at a woodsy bottle episode of sorts. On an island, there’s no getting out of town for the evening, no cell reception to send urgent text messages. You can wander away from camp to kind of cool off, sure, but with SURPRISE TOMAHAWKS and SURPRISE ARCHERS and SURPRISE HUNTERS everywhere, it’s not really the safest of safe ideas. And so with all the comforts of a regular episode taken away from them, our newfound islanders were forced to deal with some long-simmering tensions in their relationships and to explore what the cure means for them.
Shane didn’t care about the cure, though; he just wanted Silas to come back to life so that Silas could do some necromancing and bring Shane's son and wife back from the great beyond. I’m sympathetic to missing lost loved ones, but the guy has already organized two massacres and seems primed to kill at least a couple more folks—my money’s on Bonnie and Jeremy—in his quest. Anyway, it turned out that dripping blood, or almost bleeding out, in the well where Silas was buried could bring back loved ones. Something about as long as there's blood flowing. And since Shane didn’t tie his spelunking ropes correctly, he was bleeding enough to get a full “How to raise the first immortal being” walkthrough from a manifestation of his dead wife.
I understand Shane’s pain and his grief, and this sort of thing is TVD’s bread and butter, but TVD has placed a value on people who work to move past that kind of emotional trauma and carry on. Elena and Jeremy lost their parents, they carried on. They lost Jenna, they carried on. Caroline lost her dad, who pretty much hated who she was, she carried on. The Salvatores have lost so much, including each other for a while (and now again), and they've carried on (as well as embarked on a murder spree, in Stefan’s case, but... bygones). So Shane’s obsession with resurrecting his family was a touch dysfunctional, especially since it would result in lots and lots of people dying.
To be fair, though, other people were also obsessed with the cure, and it was leading them in circles and allowing Shane to operate as freely as he pleased. While they should've been searching for Jeremy, or noticing that Bonnie was missing way sooner than they actually did, they were instead having conversations about their lives and their romances, and how those things were bound up in the search.
One of the problems I’ve sort of had with this show for much of its run, but especially this season, is that being a vampire never seems particularly horrible. Powers, really intense sex, compulsion, drinking at all hours of the day... what’s not to like? Well, the immortality aspect, apparently. See, I can understand this from the Originals’ perspective, but a lot of their issues aren’t just rooted in being immortal. Their family dynamics are seriously screwed up, and that’s going to try anyone’s sanity. But up to this point, the majority of the vampires we’ve met haven’t been terribly mopey about their status.
So I empathize with Rebekah, who is just so distraught over all the betrayal surrounding her that she’d very much like to lead a normal life, go to high school dances and have a partner who isn’t emotionally manipulating her or trying to make his ex jealous, and then finally die. Vampirism has been, as she said in the episode, a miserable existence for her. I can even understand Elena’s desire for the cure since this was not part of her life’s plan, even when she was neck-deep in love with Stefan. But Stefan’s motivation is a bit murkier. I mean, he hasn’t expressed much interest in a life beyond the one he’s led; while he’s never been thrilled with his situation, he’s made something functional out of it.
Of course, the reason Stefan wants the cure is likely that he believes being mortal will make Elena love him again, the same way that Damon fears that Elena re-achieving her mortality will probably ruin his relationship with her, as Shane noted during his little torture sequence. So the cure has become just another way to dramatize the love triangle, for better or for worse.
Back at the Gilbert residence, Tyler decided to take advantage of Klaus being trapped, and seized the opportunity to do some gloating. Which is fine, dude deserves as much, but when Klaus is backed into a corner, Evil Klaus takes over for Mopey Lonely Klaus—and so Tyler’s little “How do you like it now?!”ing resulted in Caroline getting impaled on a lamp and Klaus taking a big bite out of her.
At this point, there’s not much reason to find Klaus redeemable, but TVD would very much like us to continue to find him such, and so he ended up healing Caroline at the last possible second as she talked about how there are glimmers of humanity in him; he no doubt feels that Caroline brings those glimmers out. It was a mean con for Tyler and Caroline to play, preying on Klaus’s loneliness. Indeed, it was pretty much what Stefan did to Rebekah last week, just not as successfully, since Rebekah was onto the game.
But all of this—the search for the cure, raising Silas, the romantic entanglements, and whatever the plan for Klaus is—has to be coming to a head soon. And with Damon captured by a Hunter on the island, Elena, Stefan, and Rebekah will have to make some tough choices about what’s more important: the cure, stopping Shane from resurrecting Silas, or possibly needing to save Damon from a guy who’d like to kill him.
NOTES & QUOTES
– Dear everyone looking for the cure, three things: 1) I don’t know why you guys think it’s real. Sun-Moon curse, anyone? 2) Why do you assume it’s this thing you can pass around like a bong? What if it’s just a one-hit wonder, and only a single person gets to take it? Has that not crossed your mind? Like, at all? 3) Even if you do take it, what makes you think it won’t just rapidly advance you to the age you actually are? Magic is tricky shit like that.
– “Or I won’t look like anything because I’ll have gouged your eyeballs out of their sockets.”
– “What about me?” “You have a nice behind.” Well, at least Rebekah likes some parts of Damon.
– “I’ve been staring at pictures of Jeremy’s tattoos and there’s no spell.” Bonnie, no one believes that you were taking those pictures to study them. It’s really okay.
– Bonnie’s related to Qetsiyah? Of course she is.
– I really hope Shane got a byline out of his little cave-diving sojourn. I mean, bleeding a lot in a cave and seeing his dead wife should be enough to get him published, provided he doesn’t perish on the island, of course.
What'd you think of this week's episode?
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