It’s too bad that there’s so much murder and mayhem in this story, because it’s also one of the most exciting tales of this season of The Vampire Diaries. The hope when Nina Dobrev left the show and Elena became a sleeping beauty in a coffin was that more time would open up to focus on the Brothers Salvatore, her former paramours; specifically, on the complex relationship between reckless older brother Damon and more careful and romantic younger brother Stefan. If relative ages really mean anything after nearly two centuries of life. And this episode does some of that, finding both brothers trapped in a magic gemsword, where vampires live out their worst hells. What that seems to mean for Damon is the Civil War, specifically a day he lives repeatedly where the price of getting home to his little brother was too high and too tragic for several conflicted and complicit young Americans. The idea of repeated dream sequences fits well with this show, which trades so often on surprise, shock tactics and illusions, not to mention outright lies between manipulative parties. So when Damon first wakes up back in the Lockwood mansion, with Bonnie hovering over him and Caroline and Matt and others checking in, we just about believe it (despite misgivings about it seeming all too easy). But wherever he wakes up, until he does, things spiral out of control quickly. He’s stuck in a rut and he doesn’t know how to get out. Julian makes one appearance, to taunt Damon about destroying Stefan’s body. And in all realities, Lily often appears, the true ghost from whom he can’t escape, urging him to admit he loves her. This is his primary crime of the season, letting his mother die and basically spitting in her face as she did so, so bitter was he over how she abetted Elena’s curse, and how she abandoned the family, and how she always chose other people over him. Or something. The actor works hard to sell it, but he’s clearly having more fun in the repeated disaster scenes. I can see Stefan making reparations with her, because he always likes to see himself as the reasonable and wise one. But Damon doesn’t give a crap, and getting him to admit he cares for Lily is really better acted out with the people he does care for, like his Civil War soldier buddy, or Bon-Bon, or Stefan himself. Whom he can’t believe wasn’t rescued before him, and it’s maybe true, he was, at least in one reality. In another, Damon kills everyone trying to get back to Lily, so there’s no telling what to believe yet after the winter hiatus. If they keep on pushing the emotional limits of the core cast like this, however, it’ll be a ride worth taking. The Vampire Diaries 7.10 “Hell is Other People”Shawn's Rating3.5Overall ScoreReader Rating: (0 Votes)Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.