Damon and Bonnie are stuck in the ’90s

The Vampire Diaries SEason 6, Episode 2 (“Yellow Ledbetter”)
Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham, The Vampire Diaries

At the end of last episode we got a glimpse of what happened to Bonnie and Damon and this episode catches us up to how they got there. Kind of. There are still a lot of mysteries surrounding exactly where they are and why, but we got some answers. This kicks off one of my favorite plots of the series. What we know so far is that Bonnie and Damon are in some alternate version of Mystic Falls, specifically on May 10, 1994 which happened to be the day of a solar eclipse. But they didn’t travel back in time, as far as we know time travel is not something that has been to known to happen in this universe. If they had just time traveled there would be people, but they are the only ones there that they know of. But otherwise it is a perfectly preserved version of that day. They are also stuck in just this one day on a loop. Bonnie figures her grandmother used magic to get her there and Damon got pulled along since she was holding his hand when the Other Side collapsed. There must be a way out but they have been there for four months so far and haven’t gotten anywhere. But someone filled in that crossword clue, and if it wasn’t Bonnie or Damon then someone else must be there too.

There are many reasons I like this plot, but I will stick to the ones that are pertinent to this episode for now. First it is just a very unique concept and something completely different than what the show has done before. Season 5 suffered from a lack of interesting plots and just a lot of repetition of things they had done in the past. This shows that the writers are not out of ideas and are willing to branch out from what the show has been so far. In its later seasons the show definitely gets more experimental with its plots and villains and this is the first of those. Also it sticks two characters together who have mostly been antagonistic towards each other, but have spent very little one-on-one time together. Though they seem to be mostly fighting so far, they are literally the only people either of them have to talk to. And there doesn’t seem to be much else to do. This experience will definitely alter their relationship forever. The show also really leans into the ’90s thing which is fun. Just watch how much flannel they accumulate.

Back in present day, Elena is continuing to push off her grief. She uses Alaric’s vampire-compelling abilities to erase her memory of loving Damon. She doesn’t think she will be able to move on with her life as long as she loves him and her life is going to potentially last an eternity. This is one of the worst decision that Elena ever makes. First we know that Damon isn’t dead and he won’t be in 1994 forever. And when he comes back he won’t be too happy that she has forgotten him. Of course she can’t actually forget him, he has been too wrapped up in her life for the past few years and she is still friends with his brother. So she only erases positive memories of him so that she remembers him as a monster. Which is incredibly unfair to herself and to Damon’s memory. Erasing only a part of him and modifying all those memories is much more difficult than simple compulsion so Alaric forces her to search through her memories to determine when she first fell in love with him. This part of the episode is like Elena and Damon’s greatest hits as they remind us of all their romantic moments. But she eventually pinpoints that she fell in love with him when he gave her Stefan’s necklace while Stefan was off with Klaus. Even though he loved her, he gave her a symbol of her relationship with Stefan. That selflessness made her realize that she loved him too.

Stefan is also still trying to forget about his life in Mystic Falls until it literally comes knocking on his door in the form of Caroline and Enzo. They are the only ones still determined to find Damon and Bonnie. But they realize that Stefan is a lost cause at this point. Caroline is furious at him for abandoning them when they need him. Caroline is the only one who is feeling the pain of what they collectively lost. They should be going through it together, but everyone is dealing with it on their own. Caroline is even upset that Elena is erasing her memories of Damon because it means that she too has given up hope of finding them.

Episode Grade: 7.5/10

Other Thoughts:

  • 90s References
    • In the previous episode we saw Damon wearing flannel and listening to Collective Soul which is the most 90s band I can think of.
    • I believe all of the episode titles for this season are 90s references. This episode title was explained in the episode as the crossword answer, it is a Pearl Jam song. The title of the premiere was “I’ll Remember” which is a Madonna song.
    • Damon also listens to Spin Doctors and Salt n’ Peppa’s “Whatta Man”
  • Enzo uses his sexual prowess to get information on people who may know what could have happened to Bonnie and Damon. This is where we first hear of the Gemini coven.
  • Enzo: “I’m a neck person!”
  • Damon makes a lot of pancakes in 1994, maybe it is the only food he knows how to make?
  • Our first villain-like character this season is Tripp, the guy in charge of the Community Protection Squad. He is of the miscellaneous founding family, the Fells. He is rounding up vampires and driving them over the town line so he can kill them.
  • Body Count: 1, Enzo snaps Ivy’s neck to get revenge on Stefan for hurting Caroline and giving up on Damon.

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