The Vampire Diaries Season 7, Episode 3 (“Age of Innocence”)
In the first flashback of the season we learn about Valerie and Stefan’s history which makes Valerie much more sympathetic than she has been so far. Prior to this episode she was being set up to be another mean girl with Nora and Mary Louise but here she is shown to be kind, compassionate, and loving. She and Stefan had a real connection, falling for each other quickly. She is very proud of the place she knows she holds in his heart, even if they haven’t seen each other in 150 years. She was his first love, the first girl he slept with, and she helped him to move on from the pain he was feeling over his mother’s death. Even if he has loved other girls since, he cannot have forgotten her or what they had. And if it hadn’t been for Julian, Lily’s toxic boyfriend, she and Stefan would have likely gotten married and had a child together.
Through the flashback we are also introduced to Julian who is controlling, manipulative, and abusive. When Valerie wanted to run away with Stefan, he beat her until she miscarried. He seemed to have an urgent need to leave town and he thought Valerie running away would delay that since Lily wouldn’t leave without her. Julian is being set up as another villain for this season, one potentially much worse than Lily who is being much kinder in this episode. She is connecting with Stefan more, feeling guilty for the pain she caused him. She didn’t really realize until now how much him losing her at such a young age affected him. She may be able to salvage her relationship with Stefan who as we know is incredibly forgiving and of course understanding of what it is like to be a ripper. Her relationship with Damon on the other hand is unlikely to be improved, especially now that she is going to blame him for Oscar’s death.
Damon, along with Bonnie and Alaric, go to find Oscar so they can trade him for Elena. Oscar is definitely different than the other Heretics. He is not particularly interested in being part of Lily’s family. He doesn’t like being controlled or feeling like he owes her anything. He has been off pretending to find Julian, but he is mostly just partying. He too has some history with Damon as Lily sent him to check in on Damon in 1863, just as she sent Valerie to check on Stefan. They only spoke once but Oscar convinced Damon to desert the Civil War which was obviously what he had been wanting to do. Both Valerie and Oscar were sent to just check in on Stefan and Damon and both ended up helping them in very significant ways. Unfortunately Valerie ends up killing Oscar to keep him from telling Lily where Julian is, however she will probably allow Lily to think Damon did it, which will only worsen his war with Lily.
Caroline is feeling very insecure about Stefan’s history with Valerie. All episode she is trying to diminish the significance of Stefan’s connection with Valerie. It is making her once again feel like she wasn’t Stefan’s first choice. She is afraid that Stefan won’t feel for her what he felt for Elena and Valerie. Historically, guys haven’t fallen for Caroline immediately, she grows on them as they realize they underestimated her. It takes people longer to see her value. Whereas Elena has always had guys fall for her very quickly and be consumed by it. This is something that Caroline was struggling with at the very beginning of the series when Stefan first fell for Elena. Though I don’t really buy that she was in love with Stefan back then, he was just new and cute and she was jealous that he wouldn’t look at her. However, in this episode Caroline acts like she has been pining for Stefan ever since.
This episode introduced us to two new characters, one who was pretty fun but unfortunately gone very quickly, and the other a potentially more terrifying villain than Lily or any of the Heretics. Much of this episode was devoted to setting up the introduction of Julian and potential love triangle (ugh) between Stefan, Caroline, and Valerie. Stefan does not seem to still have feelings for Valerie but she definitely has been thinking of Stefan for the past 150 years. I am not interested in another love triangle forming in this show at this point but without any Damon and Elena drama I guess the writers felt they needed to fill the void. Alaric is still trying to bring Jo back to life with the Phoenix Stone and even gets Bonnie to agree to help him. This is also a storyline I am not very interested in. There has been a lot of dying and coming back to life on this show, to the point that anyone’s death seems meaningless. I liked Jo but I am ready for the dead to stay dead.
Episode Grade: 6/10
- Three Years in the Future: Tyler! We got a small glimpse of Tyler in this episode, only in the one time jump scene. Stefan called him because Caroline isn’t talking to him and he needs to let her know that whoever is after him is back and his scar is opening up again. Tyler rightfully says he does not want to get in the middle of Stefan and Caroline’s drama. Stefan is running from a still unknown entity and he goes as far as to burn his precious car with most of his belongings in it. Except that journal.
- We learn that the X shaped scar that both future Stefan and Beau are suffering from is somehow related to the Phoenix Stone.
- Damon’s nickname for Bonnie this episode: B-town
- Oscar is a bit of a wild child and a fun departure from all of the mean heretics. He was definitely on some hallucinogens the entire episode.
- Body Count: Oscar seems to have killed a lot of people. Valerie kills Oscar (1)