The Vampire Diaries Season 7, Episode 20 (“Kill ‘Em All”)
Way back in Season 2, it felt like every episode Damon, Stefan, and Elena fought over whether Elena should be allowed to sacrifice herself for the greater good. Stefan tried his best to respect her choices even if it meant losing her. Damon often disregarded her choices when he didn’t agree with them and was willing to do what it took to keep her alive. In this episode we see a very similar dynamic play out between Damon, Bonnie, and Enzo. Bonnie loses hope that they will be able to kill all of the vampires in time and she accepts she is going to die. The Armory is willing to help save her if she opens the vault but she declines. When she learns of the evil that lies within it she decides she would rather die than let it out. We still don’t know what is inside of it only that it is evil. Grandpa St. John opened it back in 1882 and whatever was inside of stripped him of all that was good in him and make him a cold blooded killer. As a witch Bonnie has always felt that her role is to serve nature and not herself. She can’t let whatever this is out.
Unfortunately Damon’s role in this hasn’t changed either. He goes behind her back and makes a deal with the Armory to save her despite knowing she wouldn’t want it this way. She is forced to open the vault when they kidnap Alaric and Caroline. Damon defends himself using the same logic he used to use when he did things like this in the name of protecting Elena. He still thinks that this what you do for people you love. He made a choice for Bonnie, one he knew she wouldn’t make herself. He would rather be hated than have her be dead. He sees it as this great sacrifice he is making for everyone else, they don’t have to lose someone they love and he will take all of the blame for it. Earlier in the season when Damon took his trip into the Phoenix Stone in “Hell is Other People” he is confronted with his biggest flaw: he justifies wrongdoing by saying it is to save other people. This episode is a prime example of that. He thinks what he did is okay because it will save Bonnie. He doesn’t know how to express love of any kind.
Meanwhile, we finally find out why Matt hates Stefan and let Rayna out to kill him. He thinks that Stefan killed Penny and covered it up by compelling Matt to forget. However, the real reason he compelled Matt was to forget that he was the one that shot Penny. Even if Stefan is not exactly blameless. He came back to town to visit Sheriff Forbes’ grave in hopes of running into Caroline. Penny saw him and her instinct is to kill any vampire who comes to town. That is the deal Matt made with them. Even if Matt pulled the trigger, Stefan is just as much to blame.
However, Penny’s death highlights Matt’s bigger issue which is his belief that his stance on vampires has to be absolute. Penny hated vampires and died with that conviction. Matt is the one that opened her eyes to vampires and taught her that they are evil. She encouraged him to take a firmer stance. But does that really serve him? Ultimately Penny dies because she refuses to drink Stefan’s blood. Matt wants to have that kind of conviction but has never really managed it. And that is probably because he knows that it isn’t that simple. I understand his need to protect himself but making an enemy out of them is only going to get him killed.
I really liked this episode because it was able to both advance the plot in an interesting way while still being very grounded in character. Damon’s choice is going to have major consequences as Bonnie not only takes Rayna’s remaining years but the burden of being a Huntress as well. Rayna hated her life. She spent most of it chasing vampires relentlessly. She doesn’t believe immortality is a gift. Once everyone you love is gone what is the point? Alaric and Caroline also decide it’s time for them to get back in the game (finally). Alaric loves the excitement and adventure in studying the occult. And Caroline is a vampire she can’t pretend she is normal. Hopefully this means they will be back in Mystic Falls and we can say goodbye to Dallas forever!
Episode Grade: 8.5/10
- Poor Matt: He was engaged to Penny and got a promotion. Then he never got to get married because she died when he accidentally shot her.
- Caroline is pretending that she is over Stefan but clearly she is still very hurt. She pretends her life with Alaric is fulfilling despite not really loving him.
- Something in the vault calls out to people making them hear what they want to. Alex believes she is hearing her sister calling out to her from inside but when she gets in she has been long dead. Then Bonnie locks them all inside the Armory so that whatever is in the vault can’t get out.
- Body Count: 5, the squad is still on the vampire hunting mission. Damon kills 2, Stefan kills 1, and Alaric kills 1 as well.