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The Vampire Diaries 5x4: For Whom the Bell Tolls

In which Amanda gives Ian Somerhalder's Eyes an Emmy for their performance and is pretty sure that she'll never be able to look at feathers again without collapsing into heaving sobs.

The Vampire Diaries 5x4: For Whom the Bell Tolls

I wonder if Damon’s car has its own Tumblr.  I sort of feel like it deserves one, or should I say DESERVED one because after a most awesome opening, Damon’s Sexy-mobile is no more. At least until the body shop rebuilds it, hopefully.  Damon is driving, you see, and Stefan’s in the passenger seat, reading his old diaries and finding himself rather tiresome, even if he’s reading how he was the Ripper of Monterey once upon a time.  He mocks Damon’s slow-driving and accuses him of being the Safe Brother. Damon proceeds to keep all of our hearts firmly in his pocket as he flips the car multiple times and we’re treated to an amazing shot of Stefan and Damon lying in the road with Stefan conceding, “I got it. You’re the fun brother.” and Damon giving us a snicker and a grin. 

I hope y’all enjoyed that scene as much as I did. I may have watched it more than once.  Ok, four times.

So when we last left Stefan his memories were spirited away by the spell Qetsiyah used on him to ruin Silas’ mind control ability. We are all now treated to the New and Improved Stefan (now with 30% less moping and no martyr complex!) who’s trying to figure out how to be a vampire, a person and how he fits into this group of friends in Mystic Falls.  It’s Remembrance Day in Mystic Falls, when the good citizens remember their dearly departed and ring bells in their honor, as well as picnic in the cemetery (awesome) and drink tons of booze (extra awesome). Damon has been very forthcoming with the Drink Lots of Alcohol to Keep the Bloodlust at Bay, but Stefan has a theory that since he can longer remember all the pain, death and suffering he caused (such as murdering their father and turning Damon) that his Ripper tendencies probably won’t be an issue anymore.  Damon isn’t willing to test that theory and saves Stefan from snacking on a waitress at The Grill. 

Even though Damon has been pretty open with Stefan about most things we soon figure out that he hasn’t told him about The Love Triangle of Doom with Elena.  Stefan starts to figure it out, in what is a very sweet series of scenes with Elena where she tries to help him remember how they met. They’re in Mystic Falls High, in the hallways and jumping onto the roof and eventually at the lake.  He figured that he was too dull for Elena and she earnestly tells him that he was the perfect boyfriend.

“It wasn’t you, it was me. Becoming a vampire changed me.”

Stefan’s desire to feed goes away; his connection to others is so important in keeping his humanity at the surface, it’s only when he goes off on his own that he falls off the wagon.  He totally gets swept up in the moment of Elena telling him how she remembers seeing his face vamp out for the first time and how she told him she wasn’t afraid. So of course Stefan leans in to kiss her and I am SCREAMING INTERNALLY because this CAN’T be happening. She blurts out that she’s with Damon - and of course he had no idea. The rejection and shame he must feel suddenly allow his hunger to resurface and he takes off.

But all is not lost because Stefan finally is reunited with his Sober Bestie Caroline.  She saves Jesse from Stefan’s hunger and is focused on reminding Stefan of who he is and that he’s better than just some Feed n’ Leave vampire, which is precisely what he ends up doing to poor Jesse.  He feeds on him so much that he would’ve died if Caroline didn’t give him some of her blood to heal him (so I think we all know where this is going).

“My brother stole my girlfriend and my girlfriend let him.  So you tell me. What’s the point of being good.”

EXISTENTIAL ANGST, you have a call on line one!

It’s only later when Caroline is devastated upon learning about Bonnie’s death that Stefan’s humanity resurfaces.  She is mourning all that she’s lost in the past couple of years and Stefan tells her that she has HIM.  This is the lifeblood of this show, the idea that who we are with, who our people are help determine who WE are.  If Stefan is going to live a good and true life he has to keep those around him who will ground him and help define him.

The revelation of Bonnie’s death. Oh my heart.  Jeremy decides that he can’t keep it a secret any longer, especially since Damon and Matt are trying to find her to help them with their witch problems (Matt and the Gypsy living inside his head, Damon needing to find Qetsiyah to help Stefan), and so he finally tells Damon, Matt and Caroline.  Damon’s response to Bonnie’s death is so touching; Damon of Yesteryear would’ve been put out simply because it’s a big inconvenience to have an Almost-Ripper Amnesiac Brother macking on your lady, but he is genuinely heartbroken, especially for Elena and for Jeremy.  Ian Somerhalder’s Eye Acting gets a damn Emmy for this scene; you can see every thought going through Damon’s mind about how this is going to affect Elena and the guilt she’ll feel over losing Bonnie so that she could have her brother back.  The end of the scene is the throat-clencher, with Damon pulling Jeremy into a big brotherly hug, sharing in his grief. 

Before Damon can tell Elena that her longest, closest friend died four months ago, the two of them find Stefan in the house, burning his diaries and declaring that he doesn’t want to be that person anymore.  He takes his bags and rolls out. 

The friends hold an impromptu funeral for Bonnie in the woods and I tell myself that I can’t see them lose ONE MORE PERSON.  This is a bit of a surprise, I really didn’t think they would wrap up this plotpoint so early on but it works incredibly well for this episode. We see Jeremy, Elena, Damon, Caroline and Matt all lay their remembrances on top of a tree stump for Bonnie and it’s Elena’s feathers, her memento of the first time Bonnie showed her that she could do magic, that completely unravels me. 

Jeremy rings a bell for the beloved friend that they’ve lost, but then Bonnie stands behind Jeremy and speaks to her friends through him.  All is not lost, they have this one connection to her, at least for now, and she just loves on them with her words, encouraging them to keep living their lives and moving forward.

And then Tyler shows up.  And I am totally oblivious because the sneaky smooch that Jesse stole from Caroline earlier and the fact that she’s unknowingly SIRED him now (thanks to the Evil Professor TightSweater), of course NOW he would show up.

Moments of Hilarity:

“Remind me of your name again?” - Stefan
“Elena.” - Elena

“I think we just got dumped.” - Damon to Elena when Stefan moves out

“You are much hotter in person.” - Stefan to Caroline

“So I bored you to death.” - Stefan to Elena, trying to figure out why they broke up

Moments of Heart-swelling:

Um, the ENTIRE scene of Bonnie’s funeral.  Also, Elena and Stefan’s stroll through Memory Lane and Stefan’s promise of friendship to a mourning Caroline.

THOUGHTS:

-LOVING the new Stefan and the resurgence of his friendship with Caroline.  I hope there is little to no moping about “losing” Elena to Damon because that situation is a whole lot more grey than black and white.

-Professor TightSweater is obviously a maniacal scientist hell-bent on creating a league of vampire minions - yay or nay?  And what will become of poor newbie vampire Jesse?

-Where in the World are Qetsiyah and Silas? With Carmen Sandiego? (HA!)

-As much as I love his snark I really adore this more emotionally available Damon, especially with Jeremy.  He knows how much Alaric meant to Jeremy and how much the Gilberts have lost and I feel like he’s really trying to be there for him.  Being with Elena, being in LOVE in general, is good at rounding out his rough edges.

-I know she’s grieving but Caroline can NOT let Tyler off the hook that easily.  I hope her sass is at FULL BLAST in upcoming episodes.

-Is Katherine ok? Does anyone actually care?

Amanda Reid's photo About the Author: Amanda R. is an East Coast girl living in California who will never stop missing a true autumn. She's a bookseller who specializes in kid and teen lit, the leader of FYA Oakland, and bakes a damn fine pie.