The Vampire Diaries is juggling a lot of plots in season 5

The Vampire Diaries Season 5, Episode 2 (“True Lies”)
Paul Wesley, The Vampire Diaries

Season 5 seems to be changing up the pace of the show in terms of the number of plots happening at once. Previous seasons were primarily focused on one villain/major obstacle/mystery at a time and would stretch that out for most of the season. Season 1 was primarily about the tomb vampires, season 2 and 3 were dominated by Klaus and the Originals, and season 4 the cure. This season however already feels like there are three different plots happening at once and they may or may not be related. Silas is after Katherine which we have to assume is part of his larger plan to die, but not get stuck on the Other Side, since that was his whole goal at the end of last season. There is also the Whitmore mystery which, at least at this point, doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Silas. And finally there is Nadia, the rogue Traveler (another new group of people who apparently want Silas dead) who has an unknown agenda.

Caroline and Elena start off their college career by investigating a murder and figuring out who at Whitmore is a part of vampire cover-ups. They are led to the very sketchy, and dickish, professor/TA/medical examiner Dr. Maxfield. Just as Professor Shane just seemed to be too knowledgable and connected to everything happening in season 4, Dr. Maxfield seems to be wearing a lot of hats which only makes him sketchier. He signed off on Megan’s death certificate meaning that he was part of the coverup. He is also familiar with Elena’s dad’s research though he claims not to have known him personally. I think we have heard before that Elena’s dad was a doctor but not that he did medical research. It could just be that the writers have no idea how science/medicine work.

Making Katherine a human again was truly the best punishment that Elena could have given her. She is having a miserable time and is now having to run from someone that she cannot defend herself against. She appears to have a real human moment though when she goes back to help Jeremy and Matt instead of leaving them to fend for themselves. Although she does kind of need them to be her bodyguards so maybe it was still self-motivated. Knowing that Jeremy is with Katherine, Silas poses as Stefan and visits Elena at Whitmore to find out where Jeremy is. A lot of what happens in this part of the episode could have been avoided if Damon had just told Elena about Stefan missing and that Silas was his doppelgänger. She is fooled because she doesn’t know and ends up being “compelled” to kill Damon. Silas’s mind control though does seem to work differently from vampire compulsion. In some ways it is stronger, he can control multiple people at once. However, it can be fought once you realize that it is happening. With vampire compulsion you have less free will to stop it. Elena is able to fight against her desire to kill Damon by not focusing on her anger at him.

The show is establishing early in this season that Elena and Damon’s relationship is very different from Elena and Stefan’s. They are going to fight a lot more and it is going to be work. Outside of the vampire/ripper drama Elena’s relationship with Stefan was fairly easy and they hardly ever fought. It is expected of course, we know what Damon is like and it was never going to be the sunshine and roses that her relationship with Stefan was. Luckily, Elena doesn’t seem interested in comparing them, she knew what she was getting herself into when she picked Damon. It will be interesting to see how she handles him long-term and if he is going to be able to change enough to keep her.

As I said in my review of the season premiere, a lot of what is happening so far feels more like plot complications than anything that really has the potential to be interesting for the characters. Season 5 is definitely one of the rockier seasons for Vampire Diaries and this is a large reason why. The funnest part of the season so far is probably just seeing Paul Wesley get to play bad again with Silas. I know in general he pushed the writers to make Stefan darker (hence the season 3 ripper plot) so that he wasn’t stuck playing the good guy all the time so I am sure this was partially motivated by that. They can’t have him turning off his humanity every other season so making him another doppelgänger at least gives him the opportunity to do more without making Stefan evil.

Episode Grade: 6.5/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Caroline: “She was on campus for like one day, she couldn’t have made that many friends” I love that Caroline is mostly just inconvenienced by her roommates murder.
  • How is Dr. Maxfield both an “applied microbiology TA” and someone authorized to sign death certificates? Those are completely different jobs! Throughout all of the microbiology class it was very difficult for me to not just nitpick everything that was happening (I was a microbiology major in college). He is also insistent that everyone call him “Dr. Maxfield” which is something only douchey people really care about.
  • Katherine: “I’m the freaking moonstone”
  • Damon is very mean to Matt and Jeremy but they still do whatever he tells them.
  • Dr. Maxfield: “Imagine the rancid smell of a hundred rotting corpses”
  • Damon: “You do realize you are dating a reformed serial killer, right?”
  • This Jesse guy is very nice which either means he is hiding something or he will die.
  • Jeremy: “That is why people treat you like an object and not like a person” – that may have been my favorite Jeremy line of the series. It was cold but true.
  • Body Count: 1, Stefan kills a random person when he is released from the safe.

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