Teamwork: What is it? Teamwork is when you band together with your closest allies to achieve your goals and dreams. Sometimes the team is your dance posse and you're trying to keep the neighborhood from being torn down in Step Up 3D or even Step Up Revolution which should have been called Step Up 4Ever to be honest. Or sometimes the team is your family and you're trying to fire shotguns and cannons or whatever at the McCoys for being a bunch of d*cks. Other times your team is raccoons and at that point it doesn't matter what your goal is, you're gonna come away scratched but smiling. What I'm saying is, teamwork makes the world go round, and by "makes the world go round" I mean "make The Vampire Diaries so fun." Sorry shippers, you can go french-kiss a tuna for all I care, because when it comes to The Vampire Diaries I only want to see teens do what teens do best: team up to solve mysteries, murder big bads, and avert the apocalypse. And when it comes to those things "Resident Evil" was 'BOUT IT. Oh sure, there was some agonizingly heartbreaking romantic stuff going on as well. Credit where credit's due. But mostly I just loved the teamwork.
Did you know that Paul "Wesley" Wasilewski directed this episode? I'm not playing games, guys, there was some very noticeable visual poetry going on here, from the angles to the editing, and Stefan's hair looked especially well-lit. He should direct more episodes? But the script was really good too, he got a good'un, and it all started with a fake-out!
First Elena was just chillin' at a cafe table that was located one thousand yards away from any cafe. I bet the waiters really love running back and forth across that sidewalk to deliver fried calamari. Unless that entire sidewalk was owned by the cafe, which would explain why those weirdos over there were pushing their baby carriage in the street? I don't have answers for you.
Then Elena tore out her diary pages for some reason and they blew away and then a hunk stepped on them.
As it quickly became clear, Elena and Stefan were "meeting" for the first time! This didn't make any sense, because we'd seen them meet at a Canadian high school all those years ago, yet here we were. If we're being honest, this whole scene was so Hallmark Channel corny that it made my skin crawl. Before it was revealed to be a dream sequence I was frowning so hard, like, "When did this show get so laaaame?" But then a car drove up onto the sidewalk and almost ran over Stefan!
And then Elena woke up from her daymare!
Because yup, it was only a dream. To recap: At first I was annoyed that TVD had gone straight-corny on us, but then I was momentarily relieved that it was all fake, and then I got mad all over again when I realized we'd been saddled with a cold open DREAM SEQUENCE (which everybody knows is the worst, worst, very worst way to begin a story). However, it would end up being a double fake-out, as this wasn't actually an ordinary dream sequence, it was a brain-washing spell (spoiler)! So basically this episode toyed with my emotions like a kitten with a dead cricket. And it WORKED and I love you for it, TVD.
Next thing we knew, Enzo and Damon were shooting pool and locker-room talkin' about how Damon was still getting so laid by his ex-girlfriend.
And Enzo casually mentioned for the first of about a dozen times that the love of his life is missing or whatever. You know, he talks an awful lot about this lady considering he's in no hurry to find her. He just sort of hangs around in Mystic Falls sassin' people and getting in everybody's business. Which is fine, especially when he's wearing that Emmy-worthy T-shirt, but still. Get it together, Enzo. Priorities.
Oh then another dream sequence!
This was also disconcerting, because it turned out that Elena was dreaming of a parallel universe where her parents were still alive and she and Stefan were also not vampires. Poignant as h*ck. It made me feel things, not gonna lie. (Question: If these visions were best-case-scenario-type junk, then what was the deal with Stefan almost getting hit by a car earlier? Is that really one of Elena's most romantic fantasies?)
At this point Elena's dreams were no longer dreams, she was straight-up BLACKING OUT in public. I do that when I'm thinking about Popeye's chicken tenders, so trust me when I say that some visions are all-encompassing.
But guess what? Elena wasn't the only one dreaming of com-free rom-coms.
Stefan was having those dreams too! And of course he called Caroline to talk about it. She's his buddd.
Meanwhile Bonnie was at college getting frustrated because her hunkfriend wasn't returning her pages or faxes. And then things started to get all windy and supernatural.
And then Jasmine Guy showed up! And even though Bonnie hadn't done anything wrong, really, Jasmine Guy still seemed so mad at her?
Basically Jasmine Guy just came to tell Bonnie that a shadow man had popped out of her business and this, I guess, upset the order of things and now the Other Side was falling apart. Not sure what Bonnie was supposed to do about that, but there it was. Fix it, girl. (For real though, I think I like Bonnie better without her magic. In general people seem to treat her more like a human being deserving of respect rather than a walking deus ex machina device and it just plum makes her more likable and less frustrating, you know? She's still getting hassled by everybody, but at least they don't expect her to save the world every 10 minutes, which she was never very good at in the first place. Anyway, yeah: Bonnie has had it.)
Meanwhile, my favorite new blonde-Gina-Gershon witch character, female edition, was getting her team of hunks together. First order of business: Stabbing everybody!
The reason for this was to make sure none of them had Travelers chillin' in their insides.
It bugged me that Tyler stabbed himself through his sweater. Why ruin a nice sweater like that? Club Monacos don't grow on trees! But also how sexy was it when Matt helped Liv stab himself? The looks on their faces were doing A LOT.
So much metaphorical sex happening in that room. Jeremy did not get stabbed because that is one of the perks of being a supernatural hunter, so he just hung out in the background chopping wood and doing push-ups in my mind. So after Liv decided they were gypsy-free, she explained what exactly the Travelers were up to. And that's when we got our first glimpse of Markos!
Yep, handsome. As if there was any doubt. In a montage, we watched as the Travelers' plan unfolded. Under Markos's supervision, they infiltrated Mystic Falls and started taking over everybody's bodies. Which, were you surprised to learn that there were so many people still alive in Mystic Falls? As far as I'm concerned Mystic Falls is like the town in House of Wax where there's maaaaybe an automated mannequin peeking out the window but other than that it's a ghost town. Anyway, Sheriff Forbes got hella invaded:
For a second I was very happy for the town because it might've just scored a competent law enforcement officer finally! I don't know this particular Traveler's resume, but come on.
So then Bonnie drove for two hours (because never forget that college is two hours away) and showed up at Jeremy's new digs and he immediately tried to push her back out the door?
And she was NOT happy that Liv was there too. Remember, Liv had tricked Bonnie into being her friend and then tried to murder Elena, and also there was the time that she openly eye-hugged Jeremy a ton. I don't mean to blow your minds but in this scenario I did NOT approve of how Jeremy behaved toward Bonnie when he refused to tell her the truth about what was going on. I just feel like, five seasons in, these characters should know that keeping secrets to protect each other never EVER works. First of all, they all have life experiences that would help each other out if they only put their heads together, but also being ignorant of a huge scheme puts you at a major disadvantage. He should have just let Bonnie in on what was going on, and it's to her credit that she was basically chill about it. Well, not chill about Liv being there, but that's just girl stuff. I hate the term "cat fight" but I guess it was along those lines. I hope they can become friends again, though. Seems like they both need it.
Then Matt started snoopin' around the Sheriff's office and he got busted!
And then he died and went to the Other Side and ran into THIS guy:
Kol?! Kol. It was Kol, everybody. Right off the bat the Other Side was different, not only because it looked way bluer than I remembered, but also all the ghosts could see each other. I'd forgotten that was a feature of the Other Side, that the ghosts can't see each other, mostly because didn't Esther have the ability to brainwash Dead Alaric all those seasons ago? Was she some kind of exception? And how has Jasmine Guy been gossiping with the witches this whole time? Look, I don't know. The main thing was that Kol was super stressed over how weird purgatory was getting and he wanted Matt's help.
Meanwhile these two were walking on eggshells around each other. Elena had come clean to Damon that she'd been having romantic fantasies about his brother, so that created some awkward tension between them. Meanwhile Caroline and Enzo were in the other room blushing about it.
Here's where Enzo talked about that lady he used to like and Caroline pointed out that she'd be like super old by now, which LOL, on THIS show? Don't worry, she won't be super old. But this still constituted a 'moment' between Enzo and Caroline, so whoops. A new ship is born.
Then dreamy Luke showed up to school everybody on the current situation.
Oh and Tyler went to go check up on Matt and he confronted Sheriff Forbes with a flawless mind puzzle:
And he stabbed her with the gypsy knife! It was a good call, but next thing he knew he got snuck up on by a shadowy figure.
Wuh-oh. Careful Tyler, folks is getting penetrated right and left.
The main thing Luke explained was that Markos was an ancient big bad and the Travelers were seeking to invade the town and his coven had been clashing with the Travelers since forever. Or maybe that's what Liv explained earlier? Can't remember. But he was just there to tell everybody to get ready for the impending showdown and all the characters looked so over it immediately. Everybody is very tired of ancient immortals and it showed.
Meanwhile Elena and Damon had a heart-to-heart in which she tried to convince him that her visions of marital bliss with Stefan MIGHT be a doppelgänger curse, but she wasn't going to let them tell her what to do.
Damon didn't seem too convinced, especially when Elena's eyes immediately glazed over and she imagined this:
Yup, just a super corny cookin'-and-engagement scene! But it was so powerful to Elena that she broke a glass!
Meanwhile on the Other Side Matt realized he could talk to ghosts so he went searching for Vicki, who I guess lives in the woods now?
Anyway, he found her (hey, Vicki!) and she said basically the same stuff as Kol and Jasmine Guy: Sh*t was f*cked. And then they tried to run away from the wind.
And Vicki got sucked up into the sky just like Katherine had! That was obviously a rough situation for Vicki, but it made me happy that Katherine was probably not swept to hell like we originally thought? I don't know. Is the ghost world really falling apart? Are these PERMA-deaths we're witnessing? Was that really Vicki's last scene EVER? We'll see, I guess. Meanwhile Matt was very sad in his heart about it.
So, the gang had ascertained that Elena and Stefan's visions were actually a magical means for the Travelers to lure them together and to the same house to steal their blood again, probably. But the second Elena realized what her address was in the visions, Damon and Enzo took the bull by the horns and showed up to confront Markos themselves.
At that point he was super friendly and clearly wanted to be on Damon and Enzo's good sides. He promised Enzo that he would help find his lady friend (which might end up being a fool-me-twice situation in that the Travelers had failed to keep their end of the bargain once already), and then he took Damon on a stroll down Main Street.
Um, did you notice that there is a store in Mystic Falls called Your Sister's Closet? My skin is crawling, that is horrifying. Anyway, Markos explained that the Travelers want to move to this place and inhabit the town's bodies because the witches had placed an ancient curse on their people that made it so that whenever they settle down, a natural disaster decimates them. So that is a very compelling "want" on the Travelers' part! Again, I'm really liking them as a faction. I get them.
But then things got very creepy when all of the citizens dropped their briefcases and started chanting in Damon's general direction.
And all of it was a gesture of goodwill on Markos's part to prove to Damon that he could shut down Elena's fantasies if he wanted. So he did:
Yep, Stefan and Elena's weird alt-universe Crate & Barrel marriage suddenly disappeared! But to devastating effect: Both of them seemed very crestfallen about it IRL.
...was devastating. Stefan reasoned to her that even though the dream had been nice, what they'd had IRL had been nicer. And now more than ever they seemed like they'll be friends forever. Which some people might take as heartbreaking turn of events, but for grown-ups like me, it was actually a really wonderful and moving moment. They really love each other, they do, but now it's transcended the boring trappings of romantic drama and deepened into something more profound. Just a very good scene. A classic, even.
Then Kol cried and hassled Matt about fixing the Other Side somehow.
So yeah, Team Fix-the-Other-Side formed up. They didn't seem stoked about it (because seriously what a bummer it would be to find out that even after you die, you're STILL afraid of dying).
And then devastating scene #2 happened:
First of all, scoring it to "Outro" by M83 was NOT FAIR. Not fair at all, TVD. That is dirty. What, are we supposed to not feel WRECKED now? So the scene was set to "Outro" by M83, one of my known triggers, and the whole thing was just very stressful on the heart.
To be fair, both of them acted mature about this official break-up. And to be fair again, when Stefan and Elena broke up, he also pretty much declared that he didn't want to be her friend or be around her, so there's reason to believe that Damon's rejection of her friendship won't be permanent. (Also it's probably not possible, considering the premise of this show.) But this was a scene where it was very easy to root for both people and very easy to feel terrible for both of them. As it stands, they are now officially broken up and taking time apart. Which, fair enough. (Oh man, Dobrev's chin tremble in this scene. I was ruined. She is solid gold, always.)
And then TWIST ALERT:
Tyler has been penetrated by a Traveler! Now he's an undercover agent working for them and he even brought Markos the special Traveler-killin' dagger.
I am not convinced that a dagger would melt in a fireplace with store-bought firewood, but then again I don't know magic. I do know that the dagger isn't usable anymore, so the Travelers' plan is really coming together.
Things are happening, you guys. "Resident Evil" was dense with set-up but it felt busy with action also. The dialogue was snappy and breezy (Brian Young is our generation's Kevin Williamson tbh) and again, the direction was noticeably great (all those new angles!). It's very refreshing, after having been slightly let down by a few sections of this season to see TVD totally regain my faith in its endgame. I say this a lot lately, but the twin witches are fantastic, and now that I know more about the Travelers, I'm very into them as both a threat and a sympathetic race of monsters. Markos > Silas. And this episode went straight-up Lost Season 6 with its alternate timelines and parallel universes, and I am one of the four people who LOVED Lost Season 6. Plus, you know, the teamwork. So many people are teaming up! Loving it. I'm feeling really good about what's going on right now and that is the truth.
OK GOTTA GO
*rollerblades into a vortex*
... Did Markos make a good first impression?
... Will Jasmine Guy get sucked up into the sky?
... After Liv and Luke lead Team Beach Volleyball to victory, should they all celebrate by playing beach volleyball?
... Elena's visions: Hot or not?
AIRED ON 11/19/2015
Season 7 : Episode 7
AIRS ON 12/10/2015
Season 7 : Episode 9