THE VAMPIRE DIARIES: Hell Is Other People’s Problems

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Episode 710, “Hell is Other People”

Before our winter break we were left with the death of Lily Salvatore, by her ex-lover Julian.  She died slowly and painfully, which was convenient because it gave Damon time to say kind words and “I love you”.

That didn’t happen, do you even watch this show?

Damon told Lily, “You made your bed, have a nice nap.”  Classic Damon, saying hurtful things to people on their deathbed.  The brothers Salvatore tracked down Julian, Lily’s jilted lover.  Long story short: Julian has the Phoenix Stone with its matching dagger intact, and he stabs Damon.  Once a vampire is stabbed with the dagger, their soul is trapped in the stone, in one’s own personal hell.  Stefan comes upon Damon, only to swiftly be stabbed with the dagger by a vengeful Nora.  We were left with Damon waking up in the midst of a the American Civil War.

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Damon Salvatore’s Hell, we learn, is living the same day, the same battle, and receiving the same letter over and over and over again.  The letter is from his little brother Stefan, urging him to return home.  Damon is allowed leave, if he seeks out deserters and Union sympathizers.  Damon takes off with his old war time pal Henry.

Just a short hop... (Annette Brown/The CW)
Just a short trip to the cabin. In the woods. (Annette Brown/The CW)

They come upon a cabin with three women in it, and they find the deserters in the cellar, only this job ends in bloodshed; the women and union soldiers all dead.  Damon figures Hell has given him a quest: he must make his way to his brother, without the job going sour.  He tries over and over to make it right, but his mom Lily keeps popping into the picture.  Each time, the women all die and he never gets one step closer to home.  Damon wakes again, only this time it is not in Civil War time, he believes it is present day and he has been freed from Hell.  He seeks out Julian, who has Stefan’s body. Julian lights Stefan’s body on fire.  Damon, believing this to all be real, is alerted to the truth when Lily shows up again.  Damon is on an endless loop of war time and “real” life.

Damon makes one last shot, to skip the hunt for the Union soldiers and make sure Henry does not come with him.  As Damon is making his way through the woods, he passes the cabin, ignoring it all together.  This is Hell, however; as Damon thinks he is making it closer to home, he finds he cannot escape. He comes upon the cabin again, the same cabin, the same woods.   This time it is different: there are no Union Soldiers, it is just his mom in the cabin and Stefan in the cellar.

Damon wakes again, in the midst of the same battle, only this time, it is his mother Lily that is nearby, wounded, trapped under the wheel of a cannon.  This is Damon’s opportunity to make it right with his mother.  Damon is sobbing, telling his mother that he always needed her, and that he loved her, but she dies in his arms without her getting to hear his loving words.  It was really touching and I may or may not have a cried a little.

Meanwhile, you guys, this episode was pretty good, this season has been fantastic, for realz.  Where was I?  Oh, yeah.

Meanwhile, three months has passed in real time.  Bonnie was able to pull Stefan out of Hell relatively early on.  Stefan made it easier for Bonnie because he made his peace quicker than Damon.  The gang all knows that the longer Damon stays in Hell, the more detached and troubled he will be when he is revived.

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Bonnie awaits Sleeping Beauty (Guy D’Alema/The CW)

Bonnie, Stefan, a very pregnant Caroline and Matt are all in the same room, waiting for Damon’s soul to be found. As Damon is saying bye to his dying mother, he wakes up on Bonnie’s altar.  This is the first time this has happened to everyone else, but for Damon, it’s happened countless times, so he doesn’t believe it is real.  In a sort of fugue state he throws Bonnie against the wall, breaks Stefan’s neck, and knocks out Caroline and Matt.   His friends and family laying all around him, he see’s what he has done and knows he is free, and probably in big trouble.

I really enjoyed this episode.  It had a focus, it was emotional and thrilling.  I think I especially enjoyed the fact that there was no squabbling between new characters with english accents, that I barely know, nor care about.  I love our original group, I don’t care about Julian, and I appreciate the attempt at diversity with Nora and Mary-Louise, but I don’t care about them either.  Valerie is alright, she has history with Stefan and that is compelling.  Personally, for me, this show got really bloated when the Original’s showed up.  So, from now on, anytime a new character with an English accent is introduced I cringe a little.  That is my little rant, I’ll get off my soapbox now.  But this show is about the Salvatore brothers, always has been for me.  Let me know your thoughts.

 

The Vampire Diaries airs Friday @8/7c on The CW.

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Molly Montgomery

Molly Montgomery was introduced to genre film by her dad as a kid -- if it was "Forbidden Planet" or Tod Browning's "Freaks", she can't remember which was first. She began her love affair with Vampires at age 11, and at age 12 she stopped sunbathing. A background in theater, filmmaking and sitting on her tush makes her a fairly knowledgeable nerd.

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