Damon fills us in on his dark history with the Augustine Society

The Vampire Diaries Season 5, Episode 9 (“The Cell”)
Ian Somerhalder, The Vampire Diaries

This was the episode I have been dreading getting to the most since I started this rewatch. I have typically skipped over a lot of the episodes in this storyline when I have rewatched in the past so I hadn’t actually seen this one since I saw the series for the first time. I will say it was not as bad as I was building it up to be in my mind, but I still wouldn’t say I liked it. The mad scientist storyline continues to be frustrating because it just doesn’t add up. However, I am finding that I’m actually hating it less than the Silas storyline because it least it is directly connected to the main characters and their history, and not just an inconvenience.

In this episode we learn about Damon’s history with the Augustine Society and the Whitmore family. They tortured and experimented on him and another prisoner, Enzo, for years. He and Enzo formed a close bond throughout their captivity and kept each other sane. They hatched a plan to get out which resulted in Damon getting free and setting Whitmore House on fire. He couldn’t save Enzo though and left him behind, to presumably die (though we find out at the end of the episode he did not). Damon and Enzo had hatched a plan to essentially systematically kill every Whitmore, except one, so that a new generation could grow up and they would kill all of those except for one, and so on. Damon ended up carrying out this plan on his own and has killed everyone in that family for the past 60 years, except for Aaron.

This is where the story continues to not add up. Damon says he killed one of the Whitmores as recently as a few months ago. This means that he has not forgotten and very much knew that Whitmore was linked to the Augustine Society. Even if he thought they had shut down after he killed them, why would he not have been concerned with Elena going to school there? Also if he had to turn his humanity off to leave Enzo wouldn’t that also have killed his desire for revenge? We have been led to believe he had his humanity off for decades after this so why would he have continued to kill the Whitmores?

Mostly it feels like the show wanted to make Damon the bad brother again because he has been too good for too long. But this stretches it almost to the point of not being able to forgive. The entire series, Damon has been sneaking off to kill members of this one family in secret, despite his belief that they were not a part of the Augustine Society anymore. I could see him killing off the first generation that actually had a hand in torturing them, but after that it gets to be too much. But the show doesn’t want us to hate Damon, so why give him this storyline? The most infuriating part of this plot is just how sloppily written it is. It reads like they made this up just last episode and had not even been planning it when they introduced the Augustine Society storyline in the first episode of the season.

It is also used to introduce us to Enzo and Damon’s relationship with him. Thinking about the show long term this is the most important aspect, as the actual plot will get dropped in a few episodes and the show will act like it never happened (another reason it is so frustrating). Enzo however will stick around. In this episode we only see him in flashbacks and he seemed like a pretty solid guy in the 1950s. He was optimistic and taught Damon how to cope with what was happening to them. He offered himself up to be tortured when he felt like Damon couldn’t handle it. Damon betraying him was hard for both of them because they had a real bond. And we know that Damon doesn’t bond with very many people. His guilt over leaving Enzo and the need to make it up to him will be important for this season.

The less infuriating part of this episode was the storyline with Katherine and Caroline helping Stefan to work through his trauma from earlier this season. Katherine helps him to realize that he has been so focused on his physical pain from the safe so that he doesn’t have to confront the emotional pain of Elena leaving him which is really what he needs to move on from. By the end of the episode we seem to finally have Stefan back for the first time all season. He has rebound sex with Katherine which was probably not a good decision, but healthier than focusing on rage.

Episode Grade: 6/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Caroline on bringing the safe to Stefan, “Don’t worry I sanitized it”. Like that was the big concern.
  • Aaron: “My sunny disposition makes me so many friends” I know that Aaron has been through a lot but he is a real downer.
  • Caroline: “She did what she thought she had to do. Just like she thought that Damon was good boyfriend material”
  • One of the guests at the Whitmore cocktail party was a Fell, is the Mystic Falls council connected somehow?
  • Body Count: 6? Damon killed one of his relatives Joesph Salvatore, Dr. Whitmore, and I think four other people at the cocktail party.

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