The Vampire Diaries Season 5, Episode 11 (“500 Years of Solitude”)
“500 Years of Solitude” is The Vampire Diaries 100th episode and they definitely took the time to celebrate the milestone. It almost feels like a holiday special even though it is not associated with any. It does little to forward the plot and could almost be watched out of context of what has been going on this season. The episode focuses on the character’s reaction to Katherine’s supposed death, which is mostly celebratory. There is a lot of fan service (Caroline and Klaus) and cameos of characters that have long since left the show (Jenna, John, the Originals, Vicki, Alaric). There is a lot of reminders of the various ways Katherine has ruined their lives, making the episode read like TVD’s greatest hits. It is a very fun episode with some much needed relief after the previous few. It gave us a break from the mad scientist plot (it wasn’t even mentioned) and focused on the relationships in the show more than anything.
The only real plot in the episode is Katherine pretending to die while secretly hatching a plan to keep herself going, because of course, she is Katherine Pierce. It was not something I saw coming the first time I saw it, but in rewatch you can see how she was playing them. She made sure that Damon heard her tell Nadia that she wasn’t going to go through with the plan to do the passenger spell and live on in Nadia’s body. She tells Nadia that she is just going to die. She makes sure that he hears her so they will really think that she died and that she had wanted to. But at the last minute she does do the spell, only it’s in Elena’s body.
For the rest of the episode everyone is cheering on Katherine’s death, remembering all of her terrible deeds. Klaus returns just to gloat over her demise, though he never makes it because he gets sidetracked with Caroline. This was the part of the episode that felt the most out of place. Maybe other than Rebekah showing up for two seconds. Neither he nor Rebekah interact with anyone other than Matt and Caroline. The Originals probably couldn’t spare Klaus for more than a day so he wasn’t able to be around for the rest of the episode. So his appearance was mostly just fan service since it is clearly not going to lead to anything. Maybe they wanted to leave the door open in case they could make it work in the future, if one show ended before the other. Though pretty much right after it happened Tyler returned and Caroline looked like she felt very guilty. But at least Klaus finally got Caroline to admit she is attracted to him, even if he had to promise to leave her alone forever for her to do it.
Stefan is the only one able to find compassion for all the things that Katherine has been through that has made her who she is. They have bonded over the last few episodes when Stefan has felt like he didn’t have anyone else to turn to. He is still not cool with Damon and Elena, though in this episode it felt like he was getting there. He even encourages them to work through their issues. Elena also kind of forgives Katherine at the end but it is more about Elena than it is Katherine. She wants to hold onto her ability to forgive because it is a large part of her humanity. Both Stefan and Elena are probably being a little too forgiving, dying doesn’t make someone a good person. Having experienced trauma doesn’t make it okay to do any of the things Katherine did to them. Just because you can understand why someone did something, doesn’t justify their doing it.
Even if it was a bit cheesy, I did enjoy seeing everyone coming together since it is so rare on the show to see the entire cast in one scene. It reminds you how much they have become a family throughout all of this since most of them do not have their actual families anymore. They don’t all get along, but they can always unite against a common enemy. Their list of grievances was probably the best part of the episode so I am putting that list here.
- Katherine lied about being in the tomb while he waited for her for 145 years.
- Pretending to be Elena and kissing him in season 1.
- Feeding him to Silas and letting him die.
- Causing his car to wreck on purpose and leaving him there.
- Matt claims that it is her fault Vicki is dead which may be a stretch. But Damon takes the opportunity to clear his guilt of that.
- Bonnie – her grandmother died trying to close the tomb that Katherine wasn’t in.
- She triggered Tyler’s werewolf curse.
- She killed her. “Though weirdly I’m better off”
- Katherine impersonated her repeatedly.
- She made Jenna stab herself.
- She cut off John’s fingers.
- She brought Klaus into their lives.
- She tried to kill Elena multiple times.
Of course she isn’t done messing with Elena’s life now that she has taken over her body!
Episode Grade: 8/10
- Matt: “Who spends two years pining after a girl to dump her?”
- Caroline’s giddiness at Elena and Damon’s breakup was fantastic.
- Elena/Caroline: “You memorized my breakup?” “Of course I did”
- Damon: “No volunteers”
- Elena: “Your mother killed your boyfriend. Why are we saving her again?”
- Caroline: “How am I the only person on the planet who’s not having scandalous sex?” That line was purely there because she has sex with Klaus just a few minutes later.
- Liz: “If you kill her, it’s murder. I’d have to bring you in, lock you up. There’s all that paperwork” Even Liz doesn’t care about Katherine’s death. It was nice to see her again, I feel like she has been pretty absent this season.
- Tyler returns I believe for good this episode, now that he is done with his crossover on The Originals.
- Klaus jumps straight to Tyler and Caroline’s breakup, not able to hold back his glee.
- Damon: “Katherine Freakin’ Pearce has a selfless moment and I’m not allowed to?”
- Alaric: “You honestly think I would leave Damon in charge and never look back?”
- Katherine: “Of course it worked. I’m Katherine Pierce”
- Body Count: None!