The Vampire Diaries Season 7 Episode 10 – TV Review
Bonnie’s pain is a tiny consolation prize to the rest of this pointless, sappy episode.
Maybe season 7 will pull a reverse season 5, and have its second half come in to save its so-far abysmal first?
TL;DR A whole episode devoted to Damon’s inner hell should have been fun, but is instead a boring Groundhog Day loop; Damon’s hell is inconsistent with his established character just so TVD can shoehorn in Lily; and we don’t even get to see Stefan’s hell.
It was bad enough when Elena chose Damon over Stefan. But now the show itself is doing the same.
So the plot is narrowed down almost entirely to Damon’s time in Phoenix Stone hell. He awakes in the middle of a civil war battlefield and saves a fellow soldier from death, before awaking again in a medical tent. A troubled letter from Stefan at home spurs Damon into making a deal to bring in some Confederate deserters in exchange for leave to see his brother. His saved sidekick joins him, and they find a house of women who are hiding two soldiers. The mission goes sour and everyone except Damon and his sidekick ends up dead. Oops. At this point, Lily shows up and bitches at him, which makes Damon realise he’s in Phoenix Stone hell, before Damon is suddenly revived out of the Stone by Bonnie. TVD thinks we don’t know this is part of the hell torment, so pretends it’s a big surprise when it’s revealed that, yes, it’s still part of the hell torment. Damon is then forced to redo the deserter extraction mission over and over, failing every new and different attempt until he admits to Lily that, in that moment of shame when the deserters and their allies were needlessly slaughtered, he just wanted his mummy. His submission to the Phoenix Stone’s teachings allows him to be revived for real by Bonnie (she’d already gotten Stefan out because he was quicker to give up hope while in the Stone), but, in an attempt to return to Lily’s side, Damon tries to horribly murder Bonnie, Caroline, Stefan, and Matt to restart the loop. Again, TVD thinks that we’re going to be surprised that Damon’s now out for real. And, again, TVD is wrong.
So it’s not much different from the rest of the season, then.
Really, this episode is a huge disappointment. Mechanically, the Groundhog Day thing is a tired device, and the episode would have only worked if the “surprises” had actually been surprises. And they’re not.
The message of Damon wanting his mummy doesn’t make any sense, not even in the context of this very episode.
And the choice of situation for Damon’s hell is so contrived to tie in Lily that it ignores the established “worst thing” Damon ever did.
What the fuck, TVD?
Why I hate this episode:
Last season concretely established that the worst thing Damon ever did was kill Uncle Zach’s partner, Gail, while she was pregnant. You’ll recall that I thought that was a pretty weak “worst thing,” but the show seemed firm in its assertion that Damon considered that to be his ultimate low point. So why is his hellscape dominated by a piddly event with the deserters that Damon himself remarks he has barely thought about in the decades since?
Oh, the episode tells us why: in his shame and guilt after the deserter kitchen massacre, he deep down just wanted his mummy to make it all better. This would work if Damon at the time hadn’t been expressly trying to return to the only family member (living, that is) that he cared about: Stefan. Most of the season has been dedicated to how hurt Damon is at Lily’s betrayals. To turn him all the way around after a little bit of time in Phoenix Stone Groundhog Day, to the point where he’s a blubbering mess over Lily, is embarrassing. Is TVD incapable of letting Damon be mad at his mother?
I mean, look at The Originals. Esther may have been given a peaceful send-off, but those kids fucking hate their mum and dad. Lily didn’t spend centuries trying to murder her sons, but fucking them off to live the #vampirelyfe and then replacing her sons with a new family who she cares more about is pretty fuckin’ rough. Fuck Lily. And fuck this Damon turnaround.
Of the two Salvatore brothers, Stefan is more reliable for melodramatic bullshit, so I’m upset that we didn’t get to see any of his Phoenix Stone hellscape. It would have been similarly laborious, for sure, but at least with Stefan it would have been believable.
Oh, and the tension of Damon’s assault on the gang at the end of the episode falls flat when you realise that his attacks on Stefan and Caroline were non-lethal to vampires, and Matt has his resurrection ring on (I think?). The only one who could really get fucked up is Bonnie, but all Damon would have to do is give her a shot of his blood before she dies and she’ll be right. Better luck next time, TVD.
But it’s not all bad:
I’ll never knock back an opportunity to see Bonnie getting her head and throat crushed. It’s what I live for.
Once Damon realises he’s in the Groundhog Day loop, he pulls a mini Edge of Tomorrow and tries learning from each of his mistakes in an effort to successfully pull off the deserter capture mission with no casualties. Sadly, unlike a consistent Groundhog Day type story, the loop arbitrarily changes and thwarts him every time. But points for effort, Damon.
When Damon is first fake revived in the loop by Bonnie, he finds out that they worked on saving Damon first because they’re afraid Stefan will be too psycho once he comes out of hell, and they need Damon’s help to wrangle him. I lol’d because it’s a fair point.
In reality, they actually got Stefan out first because he’s such a sook that he submitted to the Phoenix Stone’s punishments quicker than Damon. Being a pussy really works out for Stefan, sometimes, doesn’t it?
Damon’s blonde soldier friend is cute.
Best line of the episode goes to Damon in Phoenix Stone hell, as he offers a drink to Caroline after supposedly getting out of the Stone:
Caroline: “I’m twenty-eight weeks pregnant.”
Damon: “Is that a yes or a no?”
He doesn’t miss a beat.
Before capitulating and begging for mummy’s love, Damon does blast Lily for her supreme cuntish failure as a mother. It’s a shame Damon follows that up with wishing he’d been able to make her stay and love him. Boo. Call that dirty coward out and move on.
Oh, and Damon’s longer hair makes him look so handsome and sympathetic. The tears help, too (that’s Elijah’s go-to).