Elena learns the truth about her father’s work

The Vampire Diaries SEason 5, Episode 10 (“Fifty Shades of Grayson”)
Nina Dobrev, The Vampire Diaries

This was the other episode I was really dreading having to watch again and though it is less infuriating than the previous, it is not necessarily an improvement. So much of this episode is spent on plot points that are quickly dropped in a few episodes. I usually try to refrain from thinking too much about how each episode fits into future ones when I am writing these reviews but it is especially difficult here when I know so much of this never goes anywhere. So for just this once I am going to break my own rule and talk a bit about how this fits into the greater show, or doesn’t, without giving too much away.

The episode title refers to Elena’s discovery that her dad was a part of the Augustine Society and that he experimented on vampires. She struggles with this information but ultimately decides that he was doing it to help people so she can forgive him. This would be more interesting if it was ever brought up again. I could be wrong but I think this is the last we ever hear of it. She just kind of accepts that she can never know how her dad would have felt about her being a vampire and throws his research notes in the fire. All it really leads to in this episode is Damon realizing just how much Elena is willing to forgive people which he now thinks is a negative thing. Never mind the fact that he would never have been with her in the first place if she didn’t have such an immense capacity for forgiveness. But now he feels like it is unfair to her that she has to forgive him for so much so he breaks up with her. He acts like he is doing this for her but it is never the right thing to make choices for someone else. It is up to Elena if she wants to forgive Damon or not. He is not “releasing” her from having to make that choice, he is just taking it away from her.

Probably the best part of the episode was Stefan and Damon teaming up to find Elena. It has been a while since they worked together and it is always fun to watch when they do. In this case they are using poor Aaron Whitmore as leverage to get Elena back. I can feel bad for everything that Aaron has been through but he is not a compelling character. He is just a victim of vampires, and his own family, but doesn’t really have a stance on them one way or the other. It does provide some good character moments for Stefan though who was the most enjoyable he has been all season. He was closer to his old self, acting the hero with saving Elena but still showing Aaron mercy. But he isn’t quite who he was before. Without Elena, Stefan is a little tougher. He doesn’t have to be the good guy for her which takes off some of the pressure that was hurting him while they were together. He was perfectly willing to kill Aaron if he needed to, but he didn’t, so he spared him. I don’t know that I could make any argument that Damon and Elena should be together, but I can make the argument that Stefan and Elena should not be. I will be tracking how much Stefan changes during this season without Elena and I think it is going to be for the better. I won’t get too much into it now but this episode shows some glimpses of who he is post-Elena and I think it is an overall healthier character.

Katherine is inching closer towards death and is now focused on her potential redemption in Stefan’s eyes. He tells her that he got caught up in the moment when he slept with her but he isn’t ready to forgive 145 years of her messing with him. But she senses that he believes it could happen which makes her want to stick around. Not for her daughter, but for Stefan. Nadia is conflicted about Katherine at this point. She doesn’t want to abandon her when she is dying but Katherine has shown no interest in bonding with her, always more concerned with herself than anyone else.

The mad scientist storyline has really dominated these last two episodes to the point where nothing else is happening. Any of the characters that aren’t connected to it just aren’t in the episodes. No Caroline, Bonnie, or Jeremy. Matt is only in this episode for a hot minute to deal with Katherine and Nadia’s drama. There is almost no relief from this plot and it is a problem. The show has often pushed these secondary characters to the side when they don’t have time for them but now would be a great time to use them in a secondary plot. On the upside the next episode is the show’s 100th and it is actually a really fun one!

Episode Grade: 6.5/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Damon’s reaction to finding out that Katherine and Stefan slept together was fantastic.
  • Damon: “Put your hero hair on Stefan, let’s go”
  • Stefan: “I don’t recall saying that you could talk. Did I say that he could talk?”
  • Enzo: “My friends call me Enzo. Ah kidding, I don’t have any friends”
  • Enzo is obsessed with getting revenge on Damon in this episode but Damon saves his life, and presumably saves him from the Augustine Society, so they can be even. Their relationship will be another interesting one to track. Enzo is also not quite the optimist he was when we saw him in the flashbacks. What Damon did to him broke him more than what the Augustines did.
  • We do finally get closure on Megan’s death. Enzo is the one who killed her and she didn’t really know anything about vampires but was curious what her parents and Dr. Gilbert were up to which is why she roomed with Elena.
  • Damon: “Call me if you find anything. Kill him if you don’t”
  • Body Count: None! Though we finally have Enzo to attribute Megan’s death to.

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