Great acting from Somerhalder, Roerig, Davis and Malarkey
Intriguing Flash Forward
Plot and Character development
Caroline trapped in Heretic Hell
Phoenix Stone seems to possess some kind of dark magic
Elena's in danger
This week’s episode of The Vampire Diaries 7×02 “Never Let Me Let Go,” centers around Mama Salvatore (Annie Wersching) and her band of misfits, the heretics, seeking revenge for the loss of of their beloved family member, Malcolm (Justice Leak). Before picking up where we left off last episode, a new three year flash forward shows Caroline (Candice King) working as a television producer who’s engaged. Present day, Caroline is held hostage at the Salvatore Mansion by Enzo (Michael Malarkey) and the heretics,who have taken free reign over Mystic Falls. They feed on anyone and everyone they encounter for Bonnie (Kat Graham) and Damon’s (Ian Somerhalder) killing Malcolm. Bonnie stops by Alaric’s (Matt Davis) classroom to see what he’s up to with the mysterious red rock known as the Phoenix Stone. While trying to find out about the stone’s magic, she is overwhelmed with dark visions and insists it’s best for the stone to be destroyed. But even though he agrees the stone needs to be destroyed, he can’t do it. Then during his visit to the morgue he discovers upon placing the stone on the heart of a corpse, the body begins to come back to life.
Meanwhile, Stefan (Paul Wesley) learns what happened to Malcolm from Lily, He confronts Damon about it insisting he fix it and save Caroline from the wrath of their mother and the heretics. Damon heads to the Salvatore House to talk to Lily and discovers he’s no longer able to enter. He volunteers to take Caroline’s place, but Mama Salvatore isn’t having it. Time for plan B, so Damon calls Bonnie for help with a witchy work around he or Stefan no longer able to enter the Salvatore House. Once discovering their house belongs to Matt (Zach Roerig), Bonnie asks if he will help and agree to let her stop his heart, so Damon and Stefan can get into the house and save Caroline.
While Lily and the heretics head out to bury Malcolm, operation ‘Save Caroline” is in full swing. Bonnie stops Matt’s heart so Stefan can get in the house to rescue Caroline as Damon distracts Enzo. Like most plans, things go awry. Bonnie is overcome with the dark visions again and passes out. And Damon abandons Caroline’s rescue once learning Lily’s at the Salvatore crypt, where Elena’s (Nina Dobrev) body is or supposed to be taking revenge to a whole new level. Luckily, Bonnie comes to just in time to restart Matt’s heart, but Stefan is unable to save Caroline because Enzo found a new owner for the house and Stefan is forced out. He is furious with Damon for leaving until he tells him that Lily took Elena’s body. Damon informs his brother that he has agreed to leave Mystic Falls in order to keep her safe. A lot went down this week, so let’s get right into discussing.
Ian Somerhalder’s performance in this episode as Damon is great. He does a wonderful job illustrating the full range of emotions Damon experiences throughout the episode. Damon is his usual smart ass self when Stefan approaches him about the repercussions of killing Malcolm. At first Damon’s tone is sarcastic as he pokes fun of the fact they’re staying in the Lockwood Mansion. Though once realizing the seriousness of the the situation, viewers can see by the look in his eyes he is sincere when he assures Stefan he’ll fix it. Then at the Salvatore House, Damon resorts to his usual tactics and snarky remarks, which always tend to bring a chuckle from viewers, when offering himself hostage instead of Caroline. Again when he serves as a distraction viewers see he is being classic Damon. His tone of voice is somewhat insincere as he offers a half ass apology to Enzo in an attempt to convince him to betray Lily and the heretics. Damon’s expression conveys to viewers he’s unaffected by Enzo’s decision to side against him.
“I got 60 years to kill…having an enemy, a nemesis, a maniacal villain with maniacal motives? You kidding me? That’s not the worst distraction in the world.” – Damon.
After discovering Mama Salvatore and her family of crazy-tics are at the Salvatore family crypt, where Elena’s body is being kept, viewers can see Damon is facing one of his worst fears. His expression instantly turns from arrogant and confident that he, Stefan, Bonnie and Matt have outsmarted LIly to a look of sheer panic. Damon looks as if he’s in shock. His eyes widen and his body becomes rigid illustrating his fear for Elena’s safety. As Damon arrives to the crypt and sees Elena is missing his level of desperation is palpable to the audience. He flips a bench angrily and looks around frantic for her. Upon seeing Lily, Damon uses an infuriated tone of voice when asking her what she did with Elena. Coupled with his furrowed brow, pursed lips and a stare that looks as if he could set his mother on fire, viewers see Damon is beyond pissed off at the moment. Then after Lily’s rambling on teaching Damon a lesson by taking his toy soldiers away when he was a kid, his expression illustrates the hurt he’s feeling at the thought she could possibly be comparing the love of his life to a toy. While Damon pleads with Lily that he’ll do anything to get Elena back, the audience can see just how vulnerable Damon is when it comes to Elena. His expression is solemn. He completely serious and his tone emanates his despair at the thought of her not returning. Ian Somerhalder does a phenomenal job as Damon this week from his usual snarky, ‘let’s get shit done and take down the bad guy’ to being afraid of losing Elena forever and willingness to get his girl back.
This week’s episode featured outstanding performances from cast members in supporting starring roles as well. Zach Roerig is great as Matt in the scene when Bonnie approaches him about letting her stop his heart, so Damon and Stefan can enter the Salvatore House to save Caroline. The audience can see Matt is torn by the fear of essentially dying for a bit and his reluctance to become involved, but on the other hand it’s for his friend, Caroline, who he knows would do it for him. Upon hearing her request, he shakes his head as if he cannot believe this is the only option to save his friend. As he asks more about why they need to do this there’s a sense of fear in his voice and it looks like he has tears welling in his eyes as Bonnie explains how she would do it. Matt’s expression illustrates exactly he is feeling in this moment to viewers.
“The plan is you kill me? Tell me this isn’t just so Damon and Stefan can get into their liquor cabinet.” – Matt.
Matt Davis gives an amazing performance as Alaric in this episode. In the scene in Alaric’s empty classroom and he is preparing to destroy the Phoenix Stone, viewers can feel the emotion in the scene. Alaric has a solemn expression as he tests the acid to see if it’d actually work. Viewers can see there is a sadness in his eyes and his expression looks defeated. Then before he’s about to drop the stone in the acid, he looks at a photo of him and Jo together and the audience can feel the raw emotion of the scene as Alaric tries to come to the realization Jo’s really gone. He can’t do it. Alaric’s look changes from defeat to determination. He gazes at the stone and grips it tightly illustrating he’s not giving up on getting her back that easy. Another amazing scene comes from this week’s episode is Michael Marlarkey’s portrayal of Enzo when he confesses his feelings to Lily. Enzo’s tone is soft and tender as he reveals why he decided to betray his friends and side with Lily and the heretics. There’s a kindness in his eyes as he looks at her and strokes her hair showing the audience a side of Enzo we’ve never seen before. The tension between the two is palpable. This week has outstanding performances throughout the episode from the supporting male cast.
While it is season seven of TVD and the gang from Mystic Falls certainly has been through a lot over the years, some viewers might be feeling a sense of deja vu this episode. Specifically, three plot points in this week’s episode are not entirely an original concept, but merely a variation of something we’ve seen in the series before. How could we forget the last time a magically stone was a focal part of the plot line? Season two was the season of the Moonstone. Now this season we have the Phoenix Stone. Like the Moonstone, it too has magical properties except the Phoenix Stone possesses it’s own magic whereas the Moonstone bound the hybrid curse placed on Klaus Mikaelson. Everyone wanted it because of the magic it possessed just like Lily is searching for the Phoenix Stone for some unknown reason and Alaric somehow intending to resurrect Jo (Jodi Lyn O’Keefe) with it. Bonnie using her magic to stop someone’s heart is another thing the audience has seen before. Much like her stopping Matt’s heart this episode to allow the Salvatores back into their own house, in the end of season three Bonnie stops Jeremy’s heart to complete her spell desiccating Klaus. And Mama Salvatore’s antics also mirror and set up another similar storyline viewers saw in season three. Lily kidnapping and hiding Elena’s body is all too familiar to Stefan taking Klaus’ coffins with his siblings and mother inside in an act of revenge for making him turn off his humanity. It looks like the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree when it comes to revenge with the Salvatore family tree.
The second episode of The Vampire Diaries season seven, “Never Let Me Go,” centers around Mama Salvatore and the heretics’ revenge and rescuing Caroline from the House of Heretics. Brian Young penned an intriguing episode keeping viewers interested throughout. He peaks viewers attention with a three year flash forward of Caroline as an engaged television producer. Young surprises and intrigues in the second flash forward revealing Stefan isn’t her fiance’ as many of us assumed (I sure did). And she too is being hunted and can never return to Mystic Falls. Several elements of the episode’s plot line are all too familiar to things we’ve seen before in the series. The continuation of the Phoenix Stone story line is beginning to feel more and more like Moonstone deja vu. Lord knows, even Katherine Pierce realized the redundancy of the Moonstone story line, but we’ll see where the rest of the season takes us with the Phoenix Stone. While Lily hijacking Elena’s body is the same revenge tactic Stefan used on Klaus in season three, it is a clever of Young to reinforce the bond between Damon and Elena and keep their relationship present in the show. Ian Somerhalder’s portrayal of Damon in the scene at the Salvatore crypt is wonderful and director, Chris Grismer does a great job capturing the raw emotion of the scene. When Damon arrives to the crypt and tosses the bench into the wall, Grismer makes sure to have the camera follow the bench as it hits the wall and also lets viewers see the crypt is empty. He makes great use of camera angles zooming in on Damon’s eyes and facial expressions at just the right time to capture the emotion of the scene.
Throughout the episode, Grismer gives viewers just the right camera angles to enhance the emotion of each scene.His use of night vision as the Whitmore college students look for supernatural elements in Mystic Falls’ cemetery gives viewers same perspective as the students and transports us into the scene. Then in Alaric’s classroom as he prepares to destroy the Phoenix Stone, Grismer makes sure to show the acid and stone in Ric’s hand. And when Ric stops to look at a photo of him and Jo Grismer focuses on the photo showing it to the audience. This coupled with an outstanding performance from Matt Davis and the camera’s focus on Alaric’s expression really gets the feels going for viewers. Add in Jimi Charles Moody’s “Other Man” into the scene, a selection from music supervisor, Chris Mollere, and we can’t help but feel the pain Alaric feels having lost Jo and their babies. Despite Young recycling a few concepts in the episode from past seasons, “Never Let Me Go” has an nice pace keeping viewers’ attention and leaves us with an intriguing cliffhanger to bring them back for next episode. And if Damon does what he does best, there will plenty to discuss after round two with Mama Salvatore and her family of heretics.
Questions, Comments & Concerns:
- What the hell happened that they can no longer go to Mystic Falls??
- WHO is Caroline’s fiance’ if it’s not Stefan?
- Wonder if Alaric is able to resurrect Jo, does that mean the babies would be alive again too? And if so does that mean the rebirth of the Gemini coven?
- LOVE Mary Louise (Teressa Liane) and Nora (Scarlett Byrne). They are definitely helping sublimate the occasional cravings for a little Katherine Pierce naughty sass.
- Interesting that Stefan’s memories of Valarie have been compelled away….why?
- Nice to know that Tyler (Michael Trevino) is with Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen). Possible spin-off name: ‘Dog n’ the Vampire Hunter’
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES 6×03 airs THURSDAY, OCT. 22 at 8|7c. on The CW
The Vampire Diaries 7×02 “Never Let Me Go” REVIEW