Grade: B-/C+? Somewhere around there.
I hate to be that guy who begins with what was lacking (not really), but it really needs to be mentioned: Where the hell was Silas? I know that he was just going around drinking a lot of blood from different hospitals, but what I hate the most about serialized storytelling is when a chapter ends with such a huge cliffhanger — in this case, the physical and “ghost” worlds colliding soon — and then just squanders that momentum. Sure, we got a lot of Elena just being indifferent, or otherwise mean, to people that have almost died on a weekly basis to save her for the past three and a half seasons, but that was basically it.
Although, you know what it probably is: the previous episode was just so good, you know? And the one before that was also not-so-bad in that it featured Katherine. I guess in many ways, this one was just doomed because of that. Let’s inspect what happened this episode:
Elena walks around munching on different people because, “I just don’t care.” Also, she liked this one girl’s blue bow… so you know, she just had to have it. When you can come across such fashionable bows at closeout prices (in this case, free): you just HAVE to have them. So that’s what she does. And then she lets Caroline fall “on her thick head” during a cheerleading routine because… I don’t know, she’s her friend? And who has time for friends when “I just don’t care”? You know? Friends are so useless. Anyway, then she starts stripping in front of Stefan because, “I just don’t care, Stefffffiiiihhhn.” Even though their sex was good sex, she just doesn’t care. And then she texts the two people she still knows who are alive to have a party at the Salvatore House. And Stefan’s all, “Oh no, people are at my house, this is the WORST. They’re outta control!!!! Supernatural evil beings have nothing on these teenagers in my house.” And Elena’s like, “Yeah I texted them… CAUSE I JUST DON’T CARE.”
Meanwhile, Hayley and Klaus are having a dinner date because they need a reason to go to New Orleans for the back pilot. And then Halyey asks Klaus why he draws, and he literally says it’s because drawing is a metaphor to show that you have control. Literally. Like, the writers made Klaus reason to the audience why they made drawing a part of his character. And then they’re like, “Look. I haven’t gotten it in in a few months. Let’s fuhhh.” And they go do that. (It was super hot, so you know, good for those two. You go, Glenn Cocos!)
Back at the party, Elena attacks Caroline’s mom.
“Why!?” Caroline, pleads.
“Holy fucking shit have you not been listening? I DON’T CARE,” she responds.
This is where I actually wonder if Caroline does have a thick head.
I think the only really good thing that came out of this episode is that Elena (bluntly and matter-of-factly, like everything she said this episode) tells Stefan that his whole world revolves around her. And his face is like, “Oh crap. I should, like, get a hobby.” And then he and Caroline start dancing (and I was really into it, don’t tell me I’m the only one who wants that to happen). That was fun, and good progression for his character. I kind of don’t understand why he switched from being indifferent to her in the past couple of episodes, but we kind of liked that. So bring that back. I also liked that Elena with her emotions cut off was very different from Katherine in both writing and execution by Nina Dobrev. Don’t ever stop; you’re the best!
Otherwise, we get more of the same. I already get that Damon likes Elena like this. We know that Stefan likes Elena more as a human. Caroline cries about Tyler being away. So on and so forth.
Don’t misunderstand. I kind of do like the New Elena (even though it constantly feels like no matter what, everyone’s just trying to save her. She could be hanging out in a room made of pillows and the episode would be like, “Oh no! Those pillows might only be MILDLY comfortable! Her poor neck!”). It’s not so much that as it was that this episode had about as much subtext as a highlighter. Plus, it felt a bit like a derailment from the real action: Silas and Crazy Bonnie, etc.
I can’t fault the show too much for making a transitional episode, however. These things happen in a 22-episode season, so I think the series is heading into a really fun place in the coming months. Until then, though… well just pretend I’m Elena. What would I say?