The Vampire Diaries 5.11 Review: “500 Years of Solitude”

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This 100th episode of The Vampire Diaries set out to be an epic goodbye to Katherine Pierce, everyone’s favorite ex-vampire turned human.  As viewers we were put through a wringer of complex emotions, most of which evoked more than a few tears.  We were excited to see old faces back for a visit, and almost sympathetic to see Katherine on her death bed.

Excellent music choices always make this show so much better, and it was fitting to have The Fray’s song “Love Don’t Die” at the beginning as we see both Damon and Elena moping around from their breakup.  I don’t even want to call it a breakup, because you’d have to be heartless to not see that they still love each other.  Heck, even Stefan encouraged both of them to not give up on each other.  Damon was surprised that his brother would actually be pushing him to win Elena back, but even Stefan realizes the great love between Damon and Elena.  This might not have made Stelena shippers happy, but those fans will have to admit that even their favored Salvatore for Elena is “shipping” her with Damon instead of himself.

Nadia had seemingly come up with a plan to allow Katherine to live on by becoming a Traveler in her own body.  I was shocked that Nadia would agree to sacrifice her own body for the sake of her mother who she’s only just begun to really know.  As it turns out, she’s truly the daughter of Katherine Pierce because she was probably never planning on letting her mother inhabit her body.  Somehow she and Katherine had schemed up an alternate solution, but first Nadia needed something from Stefan and Elena.  She drove them to an abandoned house full of Traveler witches who drained a bucket of doppelganger blood from both Stefan and Elena.

In order for Nadia to take Stefan and Elena out to meet her conspirators, she had some leverage over the whole gang because she had buried Matt in a safe somewhere in the woods.  While out yelling for Matt, Caroline ran into Klaus.  This is where it got interesting!  Klaus knew that she and Tyler had broken up, so he only wanted Caroline to be honest with him about one thing.  He agreed that after she makes her confession of true feelings towards him he would leave forever.  That’s when Caroline goes in for the kiss that leads to a scandalous scene that made all the fans incredibly happy.  Now Klaus had said he’s leaving town again, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that Caroline shouldn’t make a trip down to New Orleans sooner or later, right?

Rebekah had also come back to town with her brother, and she was the one who freed Matt from his entrapment underground.  I loved seeing them back together, because they were so cute last year before they left to travel over the summer when things got complicated.  There may not be much of a future for them, considering Rebekah is hell-bent on taking control of an entire city from her brother, but she did leave a nice parting gift for Matt.  She had freed Tyler from Marcel’s garden wall of vampires since he is Matt’s best friend.

Speaking of Tyler, when he walked into the Salvatore house at the end, I have to admit I was kind of disappointed.  I don’t know if he’ll be sticking around this time, but for now it seems like there’s no real use for him anymore.

I was fully expecting Elijah to be there too, but for some odd reason I guess he didn’t leave New Orleans with his siblings.  The most we got was a hallucination of him brought on by a sedative given to Katherine by Damon.  In this hallucination, Elijah showed up to stop Damon from torturing her with painful nightmares of just a few of the people she’s wronged, which is where Uncle John and Aunt Jenna made their appearances.

Bonnie can apparently see ghosts on the Other Side quite often, but we only got to see Vicky and Alaric in this episode.  Vicky is still watching over Matt, and Alaric is still keeping an eye out for Damon.  Even Jeremy could see Alaric for some reason, but he didn’t interact with Vicky at all so I don’t know what was up with that.  If Jeremy, and now Bonnie, can see ghosts, I hope the writers find a reason to have Alaric back more often!

Stefan was truly the shining knight of this episode.  Besides encouraging his ex-girlfriend and brother to get back together, he was incredibly sweet with Katherine.  He wanted to give her peace of mind before she died, since she was continually haunted by her horrifying memory of finding her parents murdered because of her.  Stefan got into her mind and showed Katherine that she wasn’t to blame for what happened to her family because she was just an innocent 17 year old girl.

The “surprise” ending left something to be desired, for me at least.  All the sentimental moments spent with Katherine in this episode will have meant nothing when the truth inevitably comes out about what she’s done to Elena.  I’m curious to see when and how Nadia and Katherine even made these plans, as they even fooled Damon by making sure he was waking up just in time to hear Katherine’s selfless goodbye speech to Nadia.

Just before Katherine almost did die, Bonnie saw her start to appear to pass through her into the Other Side.  Then of course she willed herself to come back to life while Elena was still in the room with her body, allowing her to complete the spell to inhabit Elena.  Typical Katherine move, but now really, since Katherine didn’t end up passing through Bonnie, won’t that be a huge giveaway to everyone that something’s up and Elena’s acting weird, almost a little too Katherine-like?  It can’t be long before Damon and Stefan get suspicious, as they do know Katherine best.

This very easily could have been a season finale with all the questions that were raised by the cliffhanger ending, but luckily for us we only have to wait a week to start getting some answers.  In the preview for the next episode, Nadia is trying to get Katherine’s body back from the Salvatores so that she can secretly bring it to the Travelers who will then bond Katherine’s soul to Elena’s body.  Elena would then be gone forever, and I’m betting that’s what they needed her blood for.  If not, then there’s something else coming their way.

[Photo via Kevin Winter/Getty]

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