It's pretty difficult to put a positive spin on what feels like a conveniently recycled storyline, which is exactly what the end of The Vampire Diaries Season 6 Episode 17 just gave its viewers.
Because I believe in seeing the good in what is in no way within the realm of real-world possibility, I'll do my best, okay? Here goes...
That intro made it sound like I have overwhelmingly negative feelings about tonight's hour, and that's not accurate. Not really. For the most part, this was a night with a few interesting twists at best and a semi-decent filler episode at worst. Up until the last several minutes, that is.
Did we learn NOTHING from the horrifyingly terrible storyline which was "The Cure"? I feel like I should've titled this review "Been There Done That."
We cannot go down this road again, but guess what people. We're going there. We're going there with Damon and all of his "I'm a selfish dick but I love you so I want to let you go because I want you to live your life but really I want you not to want this" glory. You all know it's coming. Brace yourselves.
The remainder of our season will be spent trying to de-vampire Elena Gilbert because OBVIOUSLY that's what she wants. Even if that's not what she wants at all. Damon will feel bad about how he doesn't really want her to be human again because he likes vampire Elena better, but he'll get ridiculous guilt trips and blah blah blah.
Total buzz kill. THANKS, BON BON. Just when you were starting to be really cool and useful too...
And she was! Bonnie Bennett post-1994 prison world totally kicks ass. She's hard and bold and she takes no prisoners. By which I mean Kai was supposed to be a prisoner and she left him in 1903, refusing to return him to the real world. She just didn't know that she was leaving him trapped with six of Mama Salvatore's mostly desiccated friends. Not that she would probably care.
It's weird because Old Kai totally deserves something like that, but New Kai is a different sort of jerk. Part of me loves that Bonnie hates him, and another part of me really wants to see those two hook up. Maybe that's weird, but I suspect I'm not alone.
My working theory is that something about having the leader of the Gemini coven trapped in a prison world will cause ugly side effects for the remaining Gemini witches. (Andplusalso that Jo is totally having twins...) Bonnie will have to bring him back to stop Liv and Jo and Jo's unborn child(ren) from harm, which will make her pretty cranky. And that's when they'll put Lily Salvatore back into her Aurora Borealis-lit lamp.
Mama Salvatore is way, way too even keeled for someone who's been trapped in a prison world for over 100 years. The woman cannot be sane. Yes, she had her desiccated friends to keep her company, but can you imagine how angry at her they probably are since she's been flitting about while they've been the (not) walking dead in that cellar for a century?
I don't buy her story that they willingly sacrificed their rations to save her, or that she met them on the boat where she supposedly ate all the humans on board, or that she's a changed woman who no longer feels like ripping the jugulars out of every human she crosses. She managed to keep it together when she smelled Bonnie's presence, so that's a check in her plus column, but the first chance she gets she's going off the rails.
Stefan is proof that the Ripper doesn't just go away, not without serious self-control. She has had to have that control for so long because that's the only blood there's been, but the minute she has a smorgasbord of blood, heads are going to be rolling straight across town, just like the director's head rolled down the classroom stairs.
Caroline and Stefan's scenes together tonight were...interesting.
She's so good at being in control that she's basically still her old self, and props to Candice Accola for the look of disgust and betrayal on her face as the tear slid down her cheek while she was singing for her audition. She doesn't want to feel, but her mother is another humanity trigger. She just couldn't help herself.
That is until Stefan helped her lose control. That's when things got really good for them.
After last week, I wondered if Stefan had really flipped his humanity switch or if he was just going to pretend he had in order to get Caroline to leave Sarah alone. (More on THAT development in a minute. OMG.) I'm at least 98% certain Stefan wasn't pretending to flip his humanity switch after ripping the director's head off, wanting to kill Alaric and Enzo, leaving the girl to bleed out and turn, and sleeping with Caroline with so few strings attached.
But there's that 2% that says anything's possible.
It's possible he's playing her to show her what it REALLY feels like to lose control so she'll know she doesn't want to do that. It wouldn't exactly be characteristic of Stefan to play that game, but it's interesting because it would make Damon bringing their mother back all for nothing. And it would complicate Stefan's and Caroline's budding relationship once their humanity is back on.
We saw Caroline being very carefree in previews for The Vampire Diaries Season 6 Episode 18, but we didn't see much of Stefan. We know Matt and Tyler are still alive though, and they seem to be surviving police academy. (LOL.)
And now for that Sarah Salvatore...
After talking with Alaric, Enzo decided he's only been toying with Sarah to...ruin Stefan's life? Make Stefan hate himself more than he already does? Who knows. Enzo's done with that now having decided that, 1) it's no fun when Stefan's not around to play the game, and 2) she doesn't deserve what he's dragged her into.
Wait, what? Ugh. So lame. Don't even care that he dropped the Salvatore name and whether or not he did it on purpose. (He totally did it on purpose.)
Enzo had so much potential not to be terrible but he's been given absolutely nothing good to work with since he was trapped in the back of Tripp's van.
What did you think of "A Bird In A Gilded Cage?" Is Mama Salvatore completely crazy? Has Stefan been playing Caroline? Sound off below in the comments and don't forget to watch The Vampire Diaries online!
NOTE: The Vampire Diaries Season 6 Episode 18 will air on Thursday, April 16.
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.