The Travelers’ plan is set in motion as the final arc of season 5 begins

The Vampire Diaries Season 5, Episode 17 (“Rescue Me”)
Candice King and Michael Malarkey, The Vampire Diaries

With Katherine dead and the mad scientist plot thankfully over, the final arc of the season will focus on the Travelers. They have been in the background for most of the season and had connections to both the Katherine and Silas plots. Other than Katherine, they are the best villains of the season (though the bar is pretty low) because they are specifically targeting the doppelgängers. It feels like there are stakes and as we learn more about the Travelers we will see that they too have a sympathetic side as well. This episode was a lot of set up for their storyline with the resurrection of their leader, Markos. It also brings together some of the more random parts of the season so far, like the introduction of the witches Liv and Luke.

Markos was the leader of the Travelers and has been stuck on the Other Side. As we saw with Vicki in season 3, bringing someone back from the Other Side requires a lot of magic and some dark magic. Hundreds of Travelers sacrifice themselves at the same time, overwhelming Bonnie as the anchor, which allows for Markos to break out. We don’t yet know what Markos wants but we know he will be the new big bad for the squad to contend with. Luke and Liv’s coven are dedicated to keeping the Travelers from getting what they want and thus their goal has been to do what they have to to stop them. At first they wanted to protect Elena as the doppelgänger but after Stefan’s last remaining doppelgänger is killed, they know the only way to stop the Travelers is to take away their power, i.e. Elena. Jeremy however convinces them to protect Elena and he will help them stop the Travelers. So at least for now they are back on the squad’s side, though as with everyone on this show, they will likely be looking out for themselves first which means they could turn on them at any moment.

The best part of the episode was Caroline and Enzo going to Atlanta to find Stefan’s doppelgänger, Tom. Of course he is the nicest guy in the world so Caroline struggles to go through with it. But Enzo made a deal with the Travelers as well and so he was also invested in killing Tom, which he does. Enzo is much more like Damon, he will do what he has to for the people he cares about. Caroline on the other hand has one of the lowest body counts of any of the vampires in the series, because even being a vampire she can’t justify killing people for her own gains. It is interesting to see Enzo interacting with different cast members. It seems like he may have a little crush on Caroline but she definitely doesn’t trust him. Like him or not, he isn’t going anywhere so I like that they are setting up his dynamics with the various characters and not just Damon.

The worst part of the episode was the continued drama with Elena and Damon and their parent-teacher conference. They are weirdly portrayed as Jeremy’s parents since Elena is his legal guardian but Damon has been in charge of him since she went to college. Jeremy is struggling in school because his life is insane, which I enjoyed their acknowledging. It would be impossible for any of them to see school as much of a priority considering all of the supernatural drama they deal with on a daily basis. Jeremy ends up leaving the Salvatore house to go live with Matt and Tyler for a while so he can figure things out for himself. Elena has always treated Jeremy like a child, but he is probably 17 at this point and a supernatural vampire hunter. He can take care of himself and like it or not, this is his life. But all of this is set up so that Elena and Damon can break up…. again. It is just retreading ground we have already been covering this season and it kept them very separate from everything else going on in the episode. Their reason for breaking up is valid and I get that it is difficult for them to actually make that decision, so they have been wishy-washy on it. As a viewer though, I want them either to fix it and move on or just move on. It feels like this is the fifth time they have broken up this season which is just exhausting.

This episode was fine as a set up for the final arc of the season but all of the Elena and Damon stuff felt like filler to keep their drama going until the end of the season. Thankfully we had Caroline to help pick up the slack. She hasn’t had a whole lot to do this season, which is a crime. Anytime she is brought to the forefront it is fantastic. The Travelers themselves aren’t all that interesting but they bring the show to an interesting place by the end of the season to set up the much improved season 6.

Episode Grade: 6.5/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Caroline: “I don’t fail at things”
  • I enjoyed the return of Damon getting drunk at the Grill while Matt and Tyler listen to him whine about his problems. Which mostly just amuses them.
  • Enzo: “I’m in need of a new murder buddy”
  • Liv: “Turns out Elena’s friends are right, the world actually does revolve around her”
  • Body Count: 2, Enzo kills both Tom and the witch protecting him, Hazel.

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