Damon and Enzo take a dark turn

The Vampire Diaries Season 7, Episode 22 (“Gods and Monsters”)
Ian Somerhalder and Michael Malarkey, The Vampire Diaries

In my last post I mentioned that this second half of the season has had our characters very spread out and almost never in Mystic Falls. I love when the group is all working together and so much of the origins of The Vampire Diaries is in Mystic Falls. I understand the need to mix things up in later seasons but eventually you want to get back to basics. This episode feels like it was working back in that direction which makes me very excited for the final season.

That being said, much of this episode felt like checking boxes. Bonnie is cured of being the Huntress with not all that much trouble. The only real obstacle they faced was getting into the Armory, needing someone to siphon off the spell that Bonnie used to seal it. After some arguing, Caroline and Alaric agree to letting the twins do it. Damon eventually goes into the vault and burns the body of the final Everlasting, curing Bonnie of the Huntress curse, just in time to keep her from killing Enzo. Another box to check was Caroline and Stefan getting back together. Sadly, it is Alaric that tells her to just give in and he saves us from having to pretend to care about their relationship and hopefully Caroline is back in Mystic Falls for good.

The lessons of the Phoenix Stone seem to be finally sinking in for the Salvatore brothers. They get into some more classic fights about their motivations for what they do. Stefan tells Damon that he is motivated by fear, not love. It was fear that made him desiccate for three years, not some sort of martyr act for the ones he loves like he pretends. Stefan doesn’t want to be motivated by fear but when he is constantly trying to save Damon it is because he is afraid of losing him. He is afraid of spending his eternity without his brother. It was fear that made him turn Damon in the first place. Stefan can’t not go into the vault with Damon, but to Damon’s credit he actually convinces him to let him do it alone. Stefan is always trying to save Damon even when it means risking his own life or his own happiness (see like all of Season 3). This time Damon doesn’t let him do that.

The most exciting part of the episode is Damon and Enzo getting taken in by the “evil” that lurks in the vault. Conveniently when Enzo finds out what it is he tells Damon he doesn’t want to know and then no one finds out what it is before they disappear. Damon gets to play the hero in saving Bonnie but then he gets sucked back into the vault when he hears Elena’s voice coming from it. Of course it is not Elena, just as it wasn’t Alex’s sister calling to her from inside the vault. The monster in there manipulates people to pull them in. Enzo goes in to rescue him, making him yet another person that suffers (along with Bonnie) for the sake of saving Damon. We catch a glimpse of what this monster turns them into and it is pretty sinister. In Season 3 we got evil Stefan and now we are getting evil Damon. I will probably spend a good chunk of the next few episodes comparing Damon’s evil adventures and Stefan’s time with Klaus.

Despite this fun development, this was a pretty lackluster finale by TVD standards. As I said it was a lot of box checking. Bonnie is cured, Caroline is freed of Dallas, and the monster in the vault is set up as the next big villain. There was little emotional weight to it. The moments between Stefan and Damon were meant to be the big emotional moments but it felt like old news. Season 7 has certainly struggled as it has figured out what kind of show it would be without its central character. Overall, Damon was given the most to do this season which is unsurprising. He did a lot of backsliding which is not entirely surprising given that he has lost the person that helped him to change in the first place. But how much did he really change for her? It seems like we got Season 2 Damon back in a lot of ways. But 7 seasons in I am kind of tired of the same old story with him.

Hopefully Season 8 will feel more balanced. Stefan was mostly used as Damon’s foil this season which is a shame because he is an interesting enough character in his own right and should be given more of his own stories. Unfortunately due to a real life pregnancy, Caroline’s role was pretty diminished this season and her whole plot this season was her love drama with Stefan and then being a mom and pretending to love Alaric. Bonnie fared a little better with having her own stories – her relationship with Enzo, being hunted by the Armory, and becoming the Huntress.

Only one more season to go!

Episode Grade: 7/10

Season Grade: 7/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Matt comes to a realization in this episode after almost dying in a car crash trying to keep Bonnie from killing Caroline and Stefan. He decides to leave town not wanting to be in this fight anymore. It is probably best for Matt to leave Mystic Falls but I think we all know it won’t last.
  • We got the return of journal writing to Elena, if all of them are writing entries to Elena on the same subjects she is going to have to spend like a year just reading all of them when she wakes up.
  • The episode ends with Damon and Enzo killing dozens of people and hanging them up to drain their bodies of blood.
  • Body Count: Other than the dozens of people that Damon and Enzo have killed no real deaths.

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