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The Vampire Diaries Review: New Stakes

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I smell a season finale looming... and I also smell the awakening of some things that have been missing from The Vampire Diaries Season 5: actual stakes!

And, to be clear, I mean the kind of stakes that help make a story better, giving characters something tangible to work towards or against. Those are the kinds of stakes I’ve been missing from TVD, not the wooden kind.

Damon in the 60s
We're back in the 1960s with Damon in this fun flashback. It is courtesy of The Vampire Diaries episode "Man on Fire."

As you might remember from last week’s review, our own EIC Matt Richenthal was very displeased with The Vampire Diaries Season 5 Episode 18 - and for good reason.

But I have uplifting news:  I proclaim this series is not ready to be staked (the deadly kind this time) for good because  The Vampire Diaries Season 5 Episode 19 gave us much to look forward to while we still muddle through a few things that still just aren’t working. Let’s go...

Delena, Schmela: Sorry, Delena fans, but when Damon told Elena that he didn’t want her in his life anymore last week, I was okay with that. In fact, Elena needs someone new outside the Salvatores. Like now.

In fact, let’s give everyone new romances next season and that includes gay Luke. He can’t be the only gay in Mystic Falls.  Just sayin’. 

The End of The Other Side: Is there anyone who is actually hoping the place where dead people go and never quite go away is saved? I doubt it, even if it means poor Bonnie may be a casualty along the way.

I suspect (from the post-mortem with show runner Caroline Dries and Ian Somerhalder that will be posted in the morning), the writers finally have realized just how empty death on this show has become since everyone comes back in some form or another. Get rid of The Other Side and we can all celebrate.

Enzo’s A Goner... Or... Case in point, Enzo literally helped Stefan take his heart and end his life... only to pass through Bonnie and show that he’s not gone at all and is going to continue his vengeance from the not-so-great beyond.

The only plus here is that I’m glad Michael Malarky isn’t gone, as he’s been a definite plus to the series this season and needs to stick around permanently. And in his scenes with his love, Maggie, you really got why he loved her so much and why his heart is so broken from her death.

Markos’ Plan: Yes, it took the whole episode for Markos to experiment on poor/hot Sloane, figuring how to strip a vampire from his or her vamp-ness and, also, conquer magic - but at least now we have something to work towards in these next episodes.

Though I do admit that I groaned a tad when Markos said that Tyler, being a hybrid, won’t hold a passenger as long as someone else. I’ll bet a dollar that Tyler will finally be able to get rid of that passenger at just the right time to suit the story. Any takers?

Flashbacks and JFK: I did find the flashbacks with Maggie looking for Damon interesting... maybe because the backdrop of JFK wasn’t as long as ago as some of the flashbacks we see on the show (and, no, I’m not that old to know that era first hand but I do know my US history).

And seeing how Damon killed Maggie was one of the more gruesome the show has done in awhile. I appreciated that. The fact that is was Damon, not Stefan, who killed Maggie? Not a shock.

Bonnie Lies To Jeremy: Told she may not have much longer in this or any world, Bonnie was all set to tell Jeremy goodbye ... before she chose not to. And she doesn’t tell him she sees Enzo when he’s dead and passes through her? I guess that will make whatever happens next all the more tragic for the lovers? *sigh*

Matt. Caroline: Hi, Matt. Hi, Caroline. Good to see you. 

Stefan Hides The Truth: Again, we’ve seen the device of secret hiding between the Salvatore brothers over and over and while I definitely am a Denzo fan and get why Stefan is holding the fact that he killed him from his brother, it all felt a little contrived, didn't it?

We know Damon will find out soon (especially with Enzo’s threats at the end of the episode) and then he’ll feel betrayed, he'll stay away from Stefan... until he needs him.. blah blah blah...

While tonight’s episode wasn’t perfect by any means - and there was obviously plenty for me to be snarky about - I did enjoy it more than past outings mostly because I feel as though we’re finally heading somewhere and it could be really fun.

In short, I haven’t given up the faith yet and I don’t think you should either.

Here is your first look at The Vampire Diaries Season 5 Episode 20, "What Lies Beneath."

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (229 Votes)

Jim Halterman is the West Coast Editor of TV Fanatic and the owner of JimHalterman.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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There is something wrong about this episode.
Enzo compelled Maggie to forget him, forget about her love for him, and leave without coming back.
Well if she is not supposed to remember about Enzo, so why on hell would she go after Damon for Revenge!!!
plot hole

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They always kill the interesting ones: Lexi, Alaric, Enzo, Kol.

Baraa

Enzo is dead !!!! and when Damon said all this good stuff about him after he died !!!! it's just not fair . I wonder how he's going to get his revenge from the unsteady other side .I know that the show brought back a lot of characters from death but please do it one more time and bring Enzo back . And how exactly Maggie wanted the revenge for her friend when he compelled her not to remember him ????

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I hate that...
the only interesting person in all this miss is gone
BAD MOVE

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"In short, I haven’t given up the faith yet and I don’t think you should either." I lost faith in the show last year when the writers senselessly killed Jeremy, not realizing they were boxing themselves into a corner with writing Elena, and then had to bring him back to life in implausible fashion (even for this show) in order to correct that mistake.

Sarah-silva

So I read that 3 people will die by seasons end and I predicted, Liv, Luke and Bonnie.
However I was wrong on 2 of them. I still predict Bonnie will die though.
So now we know that Elena and Stefan's blood can reverse vampirism!
We also know Elena and Stefan will not die BUT I am trying to figure out how they can defeat Markos and his minions!
Enzo was going to kill both he and Stefan, there was no other choice but for Enzo to die, however Enzo killed himself, Stefan was holding on to his hear and Enzo backs away fast so his hear tore out in Stefan's hand.
I wonder what will happen when Damon eventually finds out!
The other side really is messed up! Enzo crossed through Bonnie but he is not really gone!

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i agree with the reviewer that it was better than previous episodes. also agree that the old romances are really stale at this point. i'm not remotely interested in delena or stelena even though i used to like both. i actually really like liv and luke for some reason, so hopefully they will serve some purpose at the end of this season. slightly sad to see enzo go, though it seems he isn't really *gone* completely yet. i can already see stefan lying to damon coming back to bite him, but i appreciated the role reversal here. it's usually stefan that tries to save people so it is interesting to see his more ruthless side.

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Why on earth would the travelers want to settle in Mystic Falls from all places in the world? I DON'T GET IT.
So the dopellgangers blood have yet another use? Seriously? Aren't the writers payed to be creative? God!
Another cure for vampirism, but this time it can kill them? Yeah... I don't think we want that.
I love this show and for that I forgive all its flaws, but to me the only thing worth in this episode was seeing Damon in the 60s.

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i am in complete agreement. This show needs to switch things up and give everybody different love interests

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About 95% of the time I think this show should be called "Elena in peril"... I can't wrap my head around the fact that she is a vampire yet needs more saving than a human being does. you would think she would know some cool vampire tricks by now, but damn it she's as worthless as ever... So now Damon and Stefan are even in terms of killing each other's best friends... that's the way I see it, but of course they're going to make it bigger for Damon because he is Damon.Poor Lexi i miss her hott ass. Oh and RIP Bonnie.. what a wasted character. her death should have happened around the times her grams died as that was the last time I thought her character was interesting.

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@ Ilk_vomit

Damon killed Lexxi for no real reason except to wipe out his tracks and produce a guilty for all his Vamp attacks back in S1.
While even though Stefan did not know Enzo, he saw that he was a threat, humanity switch off and Stefan thinking to protect his Bro, ("you wont stop until you kill Damon).

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@ Ilk_vomit

You nailed it. I agree on every single word.

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@ Ilk_vomit

I so agree with you!! no better words to put it!

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