Season 7 shows signs of getting back on track

The Vampire Diaries Season 7, Episode 4 (“I Carry Your Heart With Me”)
Ian Somerhalder, The Vampire Diaries

This episode really highlights why this season has been a bit of a mess so far, but it did do some work in getting the season on a more interesting course, even if it took a roundabout way of getting there. The three years in the future timeline that has started most episodes this season implies that the writers do have a plan for where this is all going, but getting there does not seem as well planned. So far this season Vampire Diaries has struggled to give Damon something to do other than mope about Elena and create problems for himself because of it. Also, the addition of the Heretics may be necessary to replace all of the major characters that left after last season (Elena, Tyler, and Jeremy), but what exactly their mission is in Mystic Falls is still unclear.

Damon’s issues so far this season are basically the same as the show’s, they can’t have Elena on the show so they are replacing her with her coffin. Replacing the actual person with the idea of her. Damon is obsessing over Elena’s coffin and making sure he knows where it is at all times. It is weirdly Lily who points this out, making it seem like the issue is Damon’s attachment to her, not the fact that Lily, who he cannot trust, has it. We know that Lily is capable of doing some pretty mean things when she is feeling vindictive and it is fair that Damon is uncomfortable with it in her possession. However, he actually listens to Lily and gives the coffin to Tyler for safekeeping so that he can start moving forward. This is the part that is potentially interesting going forward even if the means of getting there didn’t make a lot of sense.

Damon having to figure out who he is without Elena is definitely an interesting opportunity that her departure affords. We have seen who Damon was as a human, as a vampire before he met Elena, a vampire after he met Elena, but who is he after her? Does he revert back to who he was before he met her? Or has she changed him in a way that he will carry through even when she is not around? He needs to be able to determine what is right and wrong without looking to Elena to tell him what to do. The three years in the future teaser for this episode implies that Damon is involved in something dark. He and Alaric are on bad terms and Alaric doesn’t feel safe having him around his daughters (whose existence is a big unexplained mystery of the teaser). This isn’t terribly surprising, he is Damon after all, known to make impulsive decisions, acting out when he is hurt, and choosing to be hated rather than trusted. It is obviously not going to be smooth sailing for his character going forward, that would be boring. But he has to start moving on and this episode gave me hope that the show is ready to start exploring it.

As for the Heretics, so far I am finding myself more interested in Nora and Mary Louise than the others, including Lily. Last episode made Valerie very sympathetic. This one does the same for Nora and Mary Louise, without compromising who they have been so far. They are still mean girls who are fiercely protective of each other and will not hesitate to harm anyone who gets in their way. But at the same time, they are also two people who have been in love with each other for over a century and are only just beginning to be able to experience what it is like to be able to show their love publicly. Nora wants to revel in their freedom, show some skin, and have fun with new people. Mary Louise is much more guarded. She is afraid that Nora will move on now that she has more choices. Of the Heretics they offer the biggest opportunity to add something different to the show. Valerie’s character is solely defined by her tragic history with Stefan and that keeps her from being particularly interesting on her own.

The lost Heretic, Oscar, is resurrected using the Phoenix Stone so that Damon can trade him for Elena. However, when he wakes up he has no memories of who he is and his bloodlust is insatiable, causing him to kill a literal busload of tourists in Mystic Falls. Unfortunately this does not stop Alaric from wanting to use the stone on Jo, which he does at the end. Will it affect her similarly? She is not a vampire so the bloodlust will not be an issue. And we don’t see Oscar long enough to determine if he ever regains his memories. But after seeing Oscar, I think Alaric should be much more afraid of what will happen when Jo wakes up.

Where exactly the Heretics go from here is unclear, though it will likely involve getting Julian back to fully bring their family together. I am most interested though in seeing how the current timeline will eventually lead to the future one and now that Elena’s coffin is being stored somewhere else, hopefully the show can move on and start telling the stories that are important now.

Episode Grade: 7/10

Other Thoughts:

  • This was a Halloween episode featuring the Heaven or Hell dance, a haunted tour through Mystic Falls, and Damon and Stefan hanging a dead Oscar out the window of Alaric’s apartment to hide him from Nora and Mary Louise.
  • Caroline: “Our lives are weird”
  • Enzo is teaming up with Valerie to keep Lily away from Julian so that he can be with Lily. This might be the storyline I am least interested in so far… the idea of Lily and Enzo is just gross.
  • Three Years in the Future: Alaric as twin girls, one named Josie. This has yet to be explained in the current timeline but they are old enough that they would have to be born soon… Damon shows up at his door wanting to talk to him about something but Alaric is uninterested saying that if Damon is involved it must be bad.
  • Body Count: Approximately 15. Oscar kills about a dozen tourists (12ish), Nora kills a Whitmore student (1), Mary Louise kills the bartender that flirted with Nora (1), and Enzo kills a random girl dressed as a nurse (1).

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