The loss of Bonnie and Damon has put everyone at odds

The Vampire Diaries Season 6, Episode 1 (“I’ll Remember”)
Nina Dobrev, The Vampire Diaries

We have arrived in season 6! Upfront, it is leaps and bounds better than last season though this episode was kind of a slow start. After the traumatic events of the season 5 finale, the season premiere focuses on how everyone is dealing with that a few months on. We don’t get too much sense of what is going to be happening this season, though we do meet Jo, a doctor at Whitmore that will be important. We also get a glimpse of what happened to Bonnie and Damon in the last scene of the episode. We don’t know exactly where they are or how they got there but they are alive and making pancakes. There are some hints in that scene as to what happened, but we will get into that more in the next episode.

This episode really just establishes where everyone is emotionally after Bonnie and Damon’s disappearance. They don’t know if they are dead or not, though they seem to mostly assume so. Elena is in full on denial over Damon’s “death”. She can accept the loss of Bonnie, but not Damon. Which seems a bit out of character. Bonnie is her oldest and best friend and they have been through so much together. Elena has lost a lot of people and at some point she just isn’t going to be able to deal with it anymore. She isn’t ready to let go of Damon so she has Luke make her hallucinogenic, magic herbs that make her see Damon. So that she can go around pretending like he is still alive. Grief avoidance is definitely not healthy. She knows she can’t go on like this but instead of just dealing with it she wants Alaric to compel away her love for him. Which is just a different kind of avoidance, but one that takes away all of the good in her life that was because of him.

Elena isn’t the only one avoiding her grief, Stefan has completely abandoned everyone and is living a new life in Savannah. He is working as a mechanic and dating a human girl named Ivy, who seems nothing like the kind of girl Stefan would like. She is just kind of basic and normal but maybe that is what he needs to forget about his crazy life. Everyone thinks he is trying to find out what could have happened to Damon and Bonnie, but he gave up the search and is now just avoiding everyone. Jeremy is also avoiding actually dealing with things by drowning his grief over Bonnie in booze, video games, and random sex.

The only people focused on actually doing something are Caroline and Matt. Caroline has dropped out of school so she can focus on fixing their problems because that is what she does. She is mainly focused on figuring out how to undo the anti-magic spell in Mystic Falls so that they can all return home. She is feeling abandoned by all of her friends. Elena is in denial land, Tyler is wrapped up in his own issues, and Stefan has just left them. Matt knows that Caroline is trying to undo the magic so he is preparing for what will happen when the vampires return to Mystic Falls. He has joined the Community Protection Squad so he can learn to protect the humans. Matt got reluctantly pulled into the supernatural world because of his friends. Mystic Falls needs a faction of humans to keep the citizen safe from vampires and from learning of their existence. He is preparing to slip into that role.

Tyler has gone through some big changes as well now that he is human again, which he is finding comes with its own challenges. He has been defined by his supernatural identities for the past few years and without it he is a bit lost. He was strong and powerful and now he is just a ball of anger. He could still re-trigger his werewolf curse if he lets his anger get the best of him, but he doesn’t actually want that. As a hybrid he had purpose, he was in a position to help other werewolves and be a leader. Now he is nothing and it is only fueling his already anger-prone self. Alaric on the other hand is dealing with being a vampire, an Original vampire technically. He seems to be happy he came back, but he never wanted to be a vampire. He had actually chosen death over it. And he is teaching Occult Studies at Whitmore since he can’t go back to Mystic Falls. Without his best friend there, his return to the land of the living isn’t exactly a party.

It is interesting that the season doesn’t start with establishing any new villains or some clear challenge. Obviously the beginning of the season will be focusing on Damon and Bonnie, who the audience knows aren’t dead, but the characters do not. This season is going to go some very interesting places and I am so excited to get into them!

Episode Grade: 7/10

  • Elena has decided to become a doctor…. how? She is a vampire who will never be 18 for eternity. Sure she can fudge her age a little and pass for a med student but a doctor? Also she is a vampire. Who shouldn’t be around blood. She also learned a lot of medical knowledge in a couple of months.
  • Michael Malarkey has been upgraded to a series regular even though he wasn’t in this episode.
  • Tyler definitely has a crush on Liv, but she seems to hate him.
  • We also meet Tripp, the leader of the Community Protection Squad who is an asshole.
  • Body Count: None!

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