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The Vampire Diaries “500 Years of Solitude” Review (5×11)

23 Jan

500 Years of SolitudeHappy 100th, The Vampire Diaries.

I haven’t written about this show since the season 5 premiere, but I thought I’d drop by and see how our lovely Mystic Falls residents are doing tonight. It’s been a fairly disappointing season thus far, but the show’s 100th episode delivers all the goods; it’s mostly fan service, but in a good way.

The most obvious fan service arises in the form of the myriad guest stars: Klaus, Elijah, Rebekah, Vicki, Jenna, and Alaric, to name some. Out of all of these cameos, Klaus’s is probably the weakest; for one, it’s the longest, and secondly, I’m not all too invested in his and Caroline’s relationship. Now, if the show handles this arc well in the future–there needs to be repercussions for Caroline and her other relationships–I might forgive this, but even as a fun, nostalgic bit, it drags. As for everyone else, though, the show incorporates them smoothly into the narrative; it smartly limits their screen time, which actually leads to a greater emotional effect. For example, Alaric’s cameo is about as perfect as you can get: it’s succinct, sweet, and it plays off his relationship with Damon. Vicki’s is the same, aside from swapping Damon for Matt. Honestly, I’m impressed that I don’t just view all these cameos as blatant audience pandering; maybe it’s just because it’s so great to see them back.

As for the season’s actual narrative, the episode seems to function as a goodbye for Katherine, one which helps us sympathize with her and illustrates the dangers of letting your guard down. True, Katherine’s been through a lot of shit–by the way, Nina Dobrev is brilliant in those flashbacks, conveying the heartbreak and loss perfectly–but at heart, she’s not going to go down with heartfelt conversations. Like she says, she’s a survivor. The reveal at the end may cheapen a few of the scenes beforehand, but ultimately, it’s a satisfying and plausible kickstarter to what is hopefully a better second half.

GRADE: B+

OTHER THOUGHTS:

-Man, I forgot about some of these characters. I forgot who Vicki and Jenna were, and when I looked them up, I realized that they were two of my favorite characters early on.

-“I needed an outlet.” Ugh, Damon.

-The show did a great job of getting all these people to come back. Kudos.

-Well, it’s been 100 episodes; I remember back when I refused to watch this show, but I was eventually convinced by some of my online friends. It was a great choice to pick this up.

Photo credit: The CW, The Vampire Diaries

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