Stefan still struggles to move on

The Vampire Diaries Season 6, Episode 5 (“The World Has Turned and Left Me Here”)
Paul Wesley, The Vampire Diaries

Early on The Vampire Diaries was known for shoving a lot of plot at once but sneakily throwing in a lot of character development in the background. However they couldn’t keep up that pace forever and now six seasons in the show is slowing it down and focusing more on relationships, which are the core of the show anyway. So far this season we have seen how various characters have dealt with the losses of Bonnie and Damon, particularly Stefan and Caroline. Elena is still on another planet since she had her memories of Damon erased. Last episode we saw what Damon meant to Stefan, despite their many differences and even years of estrangement. This episode continues to explore that by showing how his inability to deal with the loss of his brother turns him into a completely different person. Someone who doesn’t want to deal with the problems he created.

The most direct is Ivy, his kind of girlfriend that Enzo turned to get back at him for neglecting his friends in Mystic Falls. Now that Ivy is a vampire, she isn’t too happy that Stefan kept it from her and she is having to find out the hard way. And she is right, if he had been honest with her this wouldn’t have happened. If he hadn’t been trying so hard to pretend that his life in Mystic Falls didn’t exist, it wouldn’t have had to come looking for him and Ivy wouldn’t have been turned. And then in the most un-Stefan fashion he tries to dump his problem on Caroline, who he has treated terribly. Romantic inklings aside, they are friends. He is the one who helped her through his transition, making her comfortable with who she became. She was there when Elena left him for Damon. Now he is handing Ivy over to her and then ditching her again. Even if Damon’s return also means the return of normal Stefan, the pain he has caused Caroline won’t likely be forgiven too quickly.

Meanwhile Elena is on a different show. Ever since she forgot Damon, the only thing she has had to do is focus on school and fun. Like all her other vampire problems don’t exist anymore. I guess they don’t currently have a supernatural evil they are fighting. But it is weird to see her only caring about such human things. This episode she just flirts with Liam the whole time, and it is the most flirtatious we have ever seen her. This Elena didn’t just forget about Damon, she seems to have erased all the trauma from the past three years. Though she is confused about her past with Damon, she doesn’t really want to explore it. Liam is a pretty weak attempt at a new love interest. He is full of himself and kind of boring. They don’t really want him to be interesting though. It is no coincidence that Elena kissed him the same night Damon returned. She may have forgotten him, but he won’t be letting her off that easy.

Back in the 90s Damon and Bonnie are getting set to leave but Kai is making things difficult. It’s been great to see Damon and Bonnie’s friendship grow through this experience. When Kai tries to stop them from leaving without him, Bonnie makes sure that Damon gets back. Even if it means that she is left behind. But she had to force him to leave, he didn’t want to go back without her. Bonnie once again makes the sacrifice to help the people she loves. To be fair, Damon could never have gotten out of there without her, but she can get back on her own. It is an interesting choice to have only one of them get out. I wouldn’t have wanted them there too much longer, since I am not generally a fan of plots that keep characters separated from the rest of the cast for like half a season. But keeping Bonnie there with Kai though provides more opportunity to get into Kai’s character.

This was for the most part a great episode and I am very excited to get into Damon’s return. I loved that his first reunion was with Stefan. The heart of the show has always been the brothers so that last scene was perfect. We will get to see in the next episode how he feels about the fact that Elena erased her love for him. Spoiler: not great. I am not a fan of Elena’s storyline early in this season since as I mentioned, it is like she is on a completely different show. One where being a vampire is only a minor inconvenience in her otherwise normal life. And Liam? Really? With Damon’s return the pace of the season will likely start picking up soon. There still isn’t really a Mystic Falls/Whitmore villain other than Tripp for the squad to fight against, but you can be pretty sure Kai is going to continue to be a problem for Bonnie. And if he gets out, for all of them.

Episode Grade: 8/10

Other Thoughts

  • 90s References
    • Kai packs some 1994 supplies to bring with him to present day they include Zima, Alex Rodriguez rookie cards, and a pager (“555-Hi-Kai”).
    • To be fair those rookie cards would probably be pretty valuable 20 years later.
    • The episode title is a song by Weezer.
  • It is homecoming week at Whitmore and honestly this school seems pretty messed up. It definitely has a very macabre feel. The founder of the school murdered his brother for sleeping with his wife while he was away at war. He then tried to kill his wife too, but she escaped through the corn fields. And this is what they celebrate every year?
  • Tyler comes close to triggering his werewolf curse again during the debacle at the corn maze. Liv though suffocates the dying guy so that she is the one who killed him and not Tyler.
  • Liam plays doctor on the corn maze victims but he is like one semester into being pre-med. How would he know how to do anything?
  • Elena sets Alaric up with Jo and it goes pretty well. But Alaric realizes that it is too complicated with him being a vampire, recently back from the dead. He tries to compel her to think she had a bad time but it doesn’t work. Hmmm….
  • Bonnie tries to kill Kai but it doesn’t work. He can’t die in the prison world – it is part of his punishment.
  • Body Count: 2, Ivy kills Stefan’s boss (1) and the guy that Tyler hit, with an assist from Liv (1). Tripp captures Ivy but I don’t think we actually see her die in this episode. Maybe we can just assume?

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