During Damon and Enzo’s dive off the deep end, they kidnap Jeremy to force Bonnie into helping them locate their next victim. Meanwhile, Katherine pursues Stefan, and Nadia’s control of Matt hits a snag. Here is a recap and review of the Vampire Diaries episode “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”
In a rare event when the ladies actually attend a Whitmore class, Bonnie spots a girl using witchy powers. Caroline informs Elena that they’re going to a Bitter Ball for the single and proud. Upon finding Aaron dead, Stefan fails to reason with Damon to keep him from continuing the hit list. Up next: Dr. Maxfield. In a new, rundown lab, Maxfield works on Joey, another vampire creation. A new chick named Sloan offers to fund his research if he runs a blood sample for her. She reveals that Aaron is presumed dead, and he’s next.
Failing to get Maxfield’s whereabouts from the head of Whitmore security, Damon and Enzo kidnap Jeremy so Bonnie will help. But, Bonnie can’t perform magic, so she asks Liv Parker, the witchy classmate. When Katherine learns that Jeremy is in danger, she seriously contemplates letting him die for sympathy from Stefan, but Nadia convinces her otherwise. Katherine knows where Jeremy is, having recognized Whitmore House from the picture Enzo sent before he suffocated Jeremy.
Liv is not in complete control of her powers until she sees the photo of good-looking Jeremy. Her locator spell places Maxfield in Richmond. Katherine resuscitates Jeremy, much to her disgust, as Stefan faces off with Enzo and warns Damon not to bother coming back, but Damon wasn’t planning on it anyway. Damon and Enzo locate Maxfield, only to be taken down by a group of Travelers and left there. Wandering through the halls, Damon finds Joey asking for help and unchains him, then goes all ripper on Joey.
Tyler meets up with Matt and Nadia at the grill, and they all toast to their terrible mothers. As Tyler steps away, he overhears Nadia compelling Matt. Later, Tyler suggests that Matt drink vervain ASAP. When Nadia tries to compel Matt again, she realizes he’s immune and kidnaps him. Matt figures out that Katherine is Elena.
As a viewer, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” was an enjoyable watch, filled with compelling character drama like last week, but as a critic, it was lacking in substance, presenting little new material for us to ponder. Perhaps it was an intentional and smart move for an episode competing with the beginning of the Olympics. Although it did introduce two potentially interesting characters if they were to reappear, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” barely moved along the season’s plot.
At least this episode put an ever so slight spin on the topics we’ve seen in the past. A Bitter Ball school dance? How many strangely themed dances can the writers possibly come up with? Combining bad Damon with ripper Stefan will no doubt be a world of drama, but I’m concerned with just how unpredictable they can make it. A killing spree or wild adventure with Enzo can only last so long before it loses its shock value. In addition, it does not feel as if this level of bad Damon has been earned. For Damon to flip this quickly after (who he thought was) Elena insisted they stay broken up makes him look as if he’s given up without a fight – from three seasons of pursuing Elena, we know he’s not one to give up without a fight.
On another topic, at this point, bringing back Maxfield’s desire to create vampires who feed on their own species feels like it’s just another attempt to make that storyline work after it fell flat the first time. I’ve almost forgotten about Sloan’s addition to this drama because her presence was too vague in this episode to make an impact. Given that she had some inside knowledge on Damon and Enzo’s plan, she may have something to bring to the table in another appearance.
Bonnie’s storyline lately has been essentially nonexistent aside from her relationship with Jeremy, so if she were to take Liv on as a mentee, that would at least get her back into the world of witchcraft. Granted I’m unsure if Liv does reappear, but I am interested in her backstory (Why has she had little to no witchcraft training? Is she another clueless Mystic Falls resident or do other cities not have a vampire problem?) Based on her potential usefulness to the group, it’s a safe bet she’ll return as well.
For the first time in a while, Stefan stood out as a character who I truly supported. He was absolutely golden in two scenes in particular. The one in which Stefan threatened Enzo allowed him to channel his protective nature in a more vicious way than usual, yet it was not a step out of character and it was warranted. Towards the end of the episode, his honest conversation with Elena/Katherine demonstrated his fundamentally good heart – not only that he wanted to root against her and Damon, but couldn’t, but also that he willingly admitted this.
The blending of Katherine and Elena was another enjoyable aspect of this episode because it gave new life to both of those characters. Even though it’s not actually her, a happy, spunky version of Elena is always a treat, and despite the goofy diary callback, Katherine’s giddiness at her newfound lease on life is much more true to her character than the depressed woman who jumped off the clocktower. Plus, those little looks that Katherine gives for the audience when something in Elena’s life causes her to squirm are classic Katherine and provide the chance for a chuckle. Katherine has thus far done a decent (not exceptional) job of impersonating Elena that they also serve as a reminder of who’s truly in control and how annoying Katherine must find it to embrace Elena’s emotions.
Building upon what was established in previous episodes, Nadia was fully embracing the role of mother in her relationship with Katherine. Nadia scolding Katherine for using Matt as a puppet, and Katherine acting like an independent teen gives such good insight into how differently these two women grew up. On the one hand, Katherine was treated as a child, unable to make her own decision about her child, while there’s been nothing to shoot down the assumption that Nadia has been largely responsible for raising herself. Just like Nadia, I’m hoping these two can spend time together because their interactions are so atypical.