The Vampire Diaries #5.20 “What Lies Beneath” Recap & Review The Vampire Diaries #5.20 “What Lies Beneath” Recap & Review
Recap and review for the Vampire Diaries episode What Lies Beneath The Vampire Diaries #5.20 “What Lies Beneath” Recap & Review

Elena, Stefan, Damon, and Caroline are haunted by Enzo as they hide out from the Travelers, while Bonnie and the guys try to extract information from Tyler’s passenger. Here is a recap and review of “What Lies Beneath.”


To escape the Travelers’ camp, Tyler forces himself to transform. Ouch. He arrives at the Salvatore mansion with news that Marcos is going after the doppelgangers today. Damon and Caroline take Elena and Stefan to Mr. Forbes cabin for protection and have Luke sit outside to perform a cloaking spell. Little do they know, Enzo is lurking around.

What Lies BeneathPaying Bonnie another visit to scold her for still lying to Jeremy about her coming death, Grams knocks over a lamp on this side. That’s a new development. As Enzo skulks around the cabin, he knocks a light, too, and sparks an idea to enact physical revenge against Stefan and Elena, who’s now having a crisis of conscience about lying to Damon. Caroline deduces that something’s up with Team Stelena and sways Damon to her side.

Matt chains Tyler up and summons his passenger, Julian, while Jeremy mixes a vervain/wolfsbane cocktail and feeds it to him. They learn that Marcos is also going after Julian’s body. Bonnie and Jeremy search a body-filled cave for it, but the Travelers show up, steal, and burn Julian’s body to make the possession permanent.

Damon starts a game of “never have I ever,” but things get awkward quick when Caroline accused Elena and Stefan of being makeout buddies and Damon accuses them of lying about where Enzo is. One out of two isn’t that bad. Elena bails on the alcohol-induced “fun” to take a bubble bath and gets held under water by Enzo until Damon rescues her.

Caroline and Damon overhear that Enzo is dead, and Damon is surprisingly only a little mad. The vamps step outside to find Luke MIA, then Enzo sets fire to the shed with Luke tied up and the Salvatores stabbed inside. Damon swears he’ll find a way to bring Enzo back, so Enzo lets them go. Damon tells Elena she’s the reason he’s keeping himself from spiraling out of control after hearing about Enzo. Their tender moment is interrupted when Elena starts getting brain pains. The Travelers have come for her.


“What Lies Beneath” tapped into the relatable character drama that made The Vampire Diaries an initial success and used the grand mythology to enhance the otherwise seemingly simple stakes that several of the characters were facing.  Although this was not an episode that got bogged down in the Travelers’ agenda, it did see more than one significant development in that area. The mix of having the audience wait around for information and giving us forward progress appropriately mimicked the situations of the characters.

Confining a group of characters to an inescapable, secluded location so all of their secrets have no choice but to come to the forefront always feels like a contrived plot point to create drama, but here it was done with enough of an external stimuli that it was warranted. It was a fitting way to tackle two sets of dilemmas at the same time. Removing the characters from the threat of the imposing Travelers allowed them the opportunity to confront the other problems in their lives without them looking like they weren’t trying hard enough to save the day.

Since this was an episode of hidden truths that was partly driven by the secret Elena and Stefan were keeping, it’s only a natural step from there to inferring that Caroline was also living with her own hidden truth. Whether she wants to admit it or not, there was an undeniable implication that her feelings for Stefan may be more than platonic, which is not a new concept for fans to see, but it is one that has previously never been addressed on the series. The speed at which Caroline jumped to a rekindled Stefan-Elena romance and more importantly condemned them for it when she has always been the number one Stelena fan can easily be explained by jealousy. The moment between Stefan and Caroline where he reveals that he didn’t want her to think less of him for killing Enzo was just one more example of how well these two actors work off one another and the grand potential of giving them increased interactions.

“What Lies Beneath” revived an exciting element of the series that has been thrown on the back burner this season: the hybrid. Ever since Klaus left for New Orleans and Tyler has been on the run, there’s a part of me that temporarily forgot that hybrids were once such a prominent fixture in The Vampire Diaries. So, I enjoyed the callback to Tyler being able to transform himself on his own accord and his willingness to down a wolfsbane cocktail to weaken himself. Tyler’s insistence upon going through this immense pain partially came from self-preservation to kick the passenger out of his body, but it also demonstrates the continuing progress of the character into a selfless, honorable man looking out for the well-being of others. Although Michael Trevino has been a rare sight this season, he has been doing great work.

In addition in the throwback department, it was amusing, and slightly odd, to have more than one reference to Bill Forbes in this episode since he was hardly a memorable character. While the mention of Elena not being his type if he was the ghost haunting her in the tub was a fun bit, the offhanded comment that Caroline makes to the others about her dad being dead because they don’t need to be invited into his cabin was just sad. However, it’s interesting to see the contrast between Caroline’s minimal feelings toward her dad and the strength at which Elena’s parents’ deaths plague her.

The impending dissolution of the Other Side and the way in which it is affecting this plane is throwing me for a bit of a loop. On the one hand, I am willing to look past the convenient way it allowed Enzo to physically cause problems for revenge because who really knows how the spiritual realm works, but the depiction looks inconsistent at this point. Some people on the Other Side seem to be growing more corporeal, such as Grams and Enzo being able to interact with this side, but others are being dragged away, assumingly becoming less corporeal. Also, if the Other Side is falling apart and Bonnie is the anchor caught in the middle, shouldn’t she be experiencing some problems in her everyday life? Aside from the frequent comments about the prospect of her death, there have been no blackouts, no nosebleeds, no sudden bouts of disappearing to indicate that she’s actually in danger.

Stephanie Hall

Stephanie Hall, a Texan transplant in LA, spends most of her time writing television, writing about television, or quoting television, which helped her earn an MFA in writing and producing for TV. Her favorite current series include Blindspot, Supergirl, 12 Monkeys, and Wynonna Earp. Don’t even get her started on the cancelled ones. You can follow Stephanie on Twitter @_stephaniehall.