The Vampire Diaries writers are great at lots of things, but if there's one thing they're really, REALLY good at it's making us all feel incredibly sorry for the show's villains. (Hi, Damon Salvatore circa seasons 1 and 2.)
The Vampire Diaries Season 7 Episode 3 told the story of Valerie and Stefan's love affair which was never supposed to be, revealing the history of the Heretics at the same time. Hearts everywhere grew four sizes in the process.
While Stefan and Damon may both believe that Lily doesn't love them, and while she professes to love her adopted orphan Heretic children more, she's constantly betraying that truth.
Tonight we learned that in 1863, Lily sent spies to follow both Damon and Stefan because she needed to know that her human children were safe and well and doing okay without her. She couldn't leave the country with her lover, Julian, and her brood of orphans without first assuring her sons were surviving despite having been left behind with Giuseppe.
It's not quite clear to me whether Lily wanted to hear that her sons were mourning or they had moved past her death. If she had heard the former, would she have returned to them or turned away from Julian? We can't know. But we can know that hearing they were both okay allowed her to move on and, as Damon put it, forever altered the trajectory of their lives.
For starters, had Julian not intervened, neither Stefan nor Damon would be vampires. (Probably.)
Stefan would have married Valerie and raised a family with her. Damon would have returned home from the war on his "sick leave" and may have fallen in love with Katherine Pierce, but maybe he wouldn't have. He might've fallen in love with someone else entirely, lived a normal human life, and then died an old man.
But then again the doppelgangers were always destiny, right? So Stefan would have absolutely met Katherine Pierce because that's how the universe works.
Valerie and Stefan aren't canon, but it's fun to speculate how different the landscape of the series would look if Valerie had brought Stefan to Lily and still somehow managed to become a Heretic, which, by the way, happened completely by accident. Valerie wanted to die after losing her baby and Stefan and knowing she could never tell Lily the truth. Instead she got to live forever.
I don't know, guys. I just can't help but sit here feeling really glad for the story we have, where Stefan and Caroline are making a go at it despite the fact that her skin burns him, while also feeling really sad for Valerie and all she's carried for the past 150 years, 100 of which were spent nearly desiccated in a prison world with nothing to do but think and be trapped in her memories.
Regarding Stefan and Caroline, her bit about the first time she saw him was sort of...meh...for me. The first time she saw him she was jealous of Elena, which is part of how she started dating Damon. (He compelled her to be his blood-bag and not tell anyone. She definitely paraded around with him in an attempt to make Elena jealous.) She wasn't fawning over Stefan hoping he would notice her. She was upset that no one was noticing her, and Elena got all the attention, but Elena's parents had just died.
Apparently I had a few feels about that scene. Anyway. Moving on.
How was all of this feel-sad-for-the-villains accomplished? By introducing someone worse whom we can all hate more.
This guy is a world class jerk, and that's not a strong enough term to describe him. Ten to one, he's the reason Lily and her Heretics were caught and imprisoned by the Gemini coven. He probably sold them out to save himself. Anyone who would beat a defenseless young girl until she's unconscious and miscarries is certainly capable of that.
If Lily wants him in their lives so that she and her children can destroy him, I'm totally down with that. If she wants him back because she still harbors feelings of love for him someone needs to rip Mama Salvatore's heart out STAT.
While we weren't busy hearing the sad parts of Valerie's tale, we were given quite the delicious treat which is the trio now known on Twitter as #Bamonic.
Bonnie, Damon, and Alaric took a little road trip to find Lily's missing Heretic, Oscar, in order to trade him for Elena. He's been busy binging on anything that stands still long enough instead of reporting back to mommy dearest.
His task? Find the aforementioned Julian.
He completed the task but then decided to blow off some steam and have some fun until the time was right to trade Julian for his freedom from the family. He was such a humorous, fun guy, Valerie ripping his heart out bummed me out a bit. (Until I saw the previews for The Vampire Diaries Season 7 Episode 4... see below)
And while all of this is happening, we still have Alaric hoping Bonnie will help him resurrect Jo. She knows this is a terrible idea but still promised to help her friend. Aw, Bon Bon. (Note: This is a terrible idea, Bonnie.)
Three years from now, Stefan burns his beautiful Porsche after calling Tyler to ask about Caroline. His scar has torn open and now he's on the run. He couldn't burn his diary. And wait, is Caroline engaged to Tyler in the future?
The Vampire Diaries Season 7 is so good.
What are your thoughts about "Age of Innocence"? Let's chat about Stefan and Valerie's past and their present day (maybe) triangle with Caroline in the comments!
Will Bonnie REALLY help Alaric resurrect Jo? Don't forget you can watch The Vampire Diaries online!
Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.