The Vampire Diaries 5.11 “500 Years of Solitude”A tv review article by: Shawn Hill
This is not the way you return from a winter hiatus. It may be the way you do a 100th episode, though. Bringing several former cast members back for cameo appearances was to varying degrees motivated. Giving them such odd things to do, maybe not. Weird moments abound, but that’s to be expected when you reflect on Katherine’s centuries of vampire existence while starting her wake early over her (hopeful) deathbed.
The most interesting thing about the episode is how no one can decide if they’re happy or sad she’s dying. Well, Stefan is sad because they just rekindled their relationship (at last she was the human girl he always wanted her to be). Damon is happy as he commences a plan of torturing her, while drunk. Not, as is so often the case with him, cruel physical torture (because her invalid body is beyond that at this point). But instead psychic torture, which wouldn’t work except for her pain meds even though she’s so sick. This is interesting stuff about vampires’ psychic abilities, as both Stefan and Damon manifest dreamscape-entering mojo this episode, not unlike that employed by Elijah when he has something to say privately to someone (or is delusional from a wolfbite).
The drinking game consists of everyone (Matt, Jeremy, Bonnie, Caroline, Tyler, Elena, Stefan) remembering how she’s hurt them, more drinks if she did it more than once. In most cases, she’s either killed them, killed a family member, or contributed to a violent death through her machinations and by bringing Klaus down on all of them. Yes, show, we realize it now, she may actually have been the main character of this story all along. If not literally, but that could change by episode’s end.
The weirdest sequence is an odd kidnapping of Stefan and Elena by Nadia, who gives them to some Travelers who want their doppelganger blood (but just a tidy pail each thanks!) in exchange for someone to perform the spell that will preserve Katherine’s spirit. Nadia means to host her own mother, which, well, that is a whole lot of love for family that literally never met each other as adults until a few weeks ago. I do sort of love how Nadia attacks who she wants and acts on the whims of 500 year old vampire power, as when she strands Stefan and Elena with little more than a “I don’t know” as to why the gypsies needed their blood, or when she endangers Matt to distract everyone. Not immoral, really, but amoral, as has been every vamp we’ve ever met on this show. Keep that distinction in mind for a second.
Since Bonnie and Jeremy both see dead people now, we get micro visits from Vicky and Alaric (but sorry, no Gran or Anna) at the drinking party while upstairs Katherine thinks she sees John Gilbert, Elijah and Jenna. Too short and too sweet these visits, though the actual ghosts aver they are watching over their friends. Since none of them were witches, that doesn’t make much difference, sadly.
Also, for no clear reason, the other two Originals pop up to pay their respects, except Becks is more interested in saving Matt (sweet of her) and Klaus is more interested in bedding Caroline (good luck with that; oh, yikes, he actually barters an agreement wherein she consents, didn’t quite see that coming). Also, Tyler is back, not clear why as he and Caroline are barely speaking. He bros out with his ward Matt a little bit, but we learn nothing of any sort of ongoing anti-Klaus agenda. Only that Caroline feels guilty about sleeping with Klaus, but c’mon, they were clearly on a break.
Elena, who hasn’t been herself since being vamped, is upstairs forgiving Katherine in her final moments for all she’s done. Yeah, the rest of the episode was flashbacks to the horrors Katherine suffered for being a doppelganger, being pursued by Klaus, having her entire family slaughtered, and this after her bastard child was ripped from her arms (how Klaus never went after Nadia as a way to get to her is another mystery). Stefan at least buys her sob story, despite all she’s done to survive at everyone’s expense. Elena is big enough to do so as well, but mostly she’s stupid enough to sit near Katerina while she still has a little life left. Her heart actually stops beating for a moment, but the afterlife is scary enough for Katherine that she wills herself back into her body and then completes the Traveler spell, so she is now riding Elena’s. Predictable, but a pretty neat consequence of Elena turning her human at the end of last season.
Which, duh, apparently this was Nadia’s fallback all along. At least now maybe Elena will have a personality again, even if it has to be Katherine’s.
Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Somehow that led to him writing the Harvey Kurtzman entry for Icons of the American Comic Book: from Captain America to Wonder Woman (2013). He also writes for Art New England and is a member of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA), an NGO of UNESCO.