The Vampire Diaries 5.21 Review: “Promised Land”

promised land

Woah.  Okay, we all remember The Vampire Diaries’ penultimate episodes of past seasons.  In almost every case, we’ve been subjected to heartbreaking deaths.  Jenna and Alaric died before the second and third season finales, and even Bonnie died this time last year.  Tonight was no different.  The question remains whether or not this loss is permanent.  For the sake of the show and its audience, I sincerely hope this is nothing more than a challenging new obstacle in what should be a much longer life for the beloved character.

Picking up where we left off last week, Stefan and Elena were indeed kidnapped by the Travelers, leaving Damon to “strap on the hero hair” and save the day.  Or at least try to, since his plan to lure Markos to the Salvatore house backfires.  I loved Damon’s snarky note left for the ringleader of the Travelers that read: “Found: wannabe witches.  For more information, call.”  Markos is perfectly aware that Damon’s playing right into his hands because it’s not soon after he arrives at the boarding house before the Travelers all start waking up in their normal bodies.  They’re only able to do so because they successfully completed their task at hand, which was to make themselves a home by stripping away all traditional magic from Mystic Falls (and beyond?)

I’m honestly a bit hazy on the exact details of the Travelers’ spell.  When Markos was demonstrating the effects of the doppelganger blood on Sloan a few weeks ago, I thought she had to drink the blood before she was effectively human again and only died because Markos snapped her neck to prove a point.  Now apparently all it takes to erase all traces of traditional witch magic from an entire town is a few hundred vials of blood spilled and a spell chanted, and boom, the damage is done.

All the vampires become painfully aware the moment this is happening because their daylight rings are rendered powerless now.  Stefan and Damon start bleeding out from the gunshot wounds that originally killed them, and Elena starts choking on water as if she was still trapped in the sinking car from the season 3 finale.  Even Julian/Tyler is no longer a werewolf anymore when he tries to attack Markos.  I was confused why all of a sudden this Traveler would be helping Damon now.  Julian’s wife Maria actually freed Stefan and Elena from the torture cells while Markos was draining them of nearly all their blood.  She was figuring that if she helped them, they could bring her to her husband and they’d split out of town before Markos learned they were traitors.

Before I delve into the depressing end of the episode, let me backtrack and highlight some favorite lighter moments.  After Stefan and Elena are freed, they were severely weakened due to the extreme loss of blood so they’re stranded in the middle of nowhere hunting animals for nourishment.  Stefan basically gave his blessing to Elena regarding her obvious feelings for Damon when he said, “if you wanna be with him, just be with him.”  Elena proceeded to talk about how she actually wishes Caroline was with them, because she’d have a 3-course meal planned on the side of the road.  She and Stefan bonding over Caroline’s quirks (which Elena used to find annoying, but Stefan never minded) was very interesting.  As viewers we can tell where the writers are looking to go with these relationships, but it’s never that easy.

Of course I’m talking about the major complication of Stefan dying.  Ugh.  Paul Wesley has since tweeted out “Stefan is done-zo.  Sorry guys.”  Call me crazy, but I’m not buying it.  Maybe this is just the denial stage of grief, who knows.  All I’m saying is we’ve been duped too many times with these seemingly major deaths that rip our hearts out right along with the characters, only for there to be some loophole that eventually brings them back to life.  Not in all cases (I’m looking at you, Alaric and Jenna) but it’s happened at least twice before with Bonnie and Jeremy.  Plus, there hasn’t been any official announcements like there were immediately after Claire Holt’s last episode of The Originals.

Bonnie’s lie to Jeremy about Liv having a spell to help her survive the Other Side’s collapse has spread around to everyone who is using it as their go-to excuse.  Enzo’s bugging Damon to start working on bringing him back to life?  Go hitch a ride with Bonnie, Damon says.  Caroline proposes they kill Tyler to get rid of his Passenger, and then the real Tyler can still come back with Bonnie.  She finally has to tell Caroline the truth, that there is no hope for her to survive this.  They’re not giving up yet though.  Once everyone is on the same page, they’ll all have to come up with a plan and from the looks of the preview, that might involve destroying Mystic Falls itself.

It’s hard to believe this wasn’t even the season finale yet!  What more can happen next week?!  I’m especially curious to see if the Travelers’ spell will reach New Orleans.  Wiping away of all magic would eliminate all major problems, and I’m sure the Mikaelsons would be immune.  Like I said, I’m not too clear on the specifics of Traveler magic vs. traditional/ancestral witchcraft that is practiced in the French Quarter, but it could be very interesting to see if this affects the season finale of The Originals as well.

 [Photo via The CW]

More articles by