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An old villain returns to enliven The Vampire Diaries

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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Matt ringing the magical MacGuffin bell 11 times allowed Kai to come back to Mystic Falls from hell, but not all the way – he’s more of a psychic imprint of himself than actually all there. He immediately wants to make a deal with Damon and Ric to help them get rid of Cade for good if they’ll help him come back all the way. The sweetener in the deal? He’ll help them get Elena back, too.
  • Kai’s worst nightmare is being in a place where food doesn’t taste like anything, and I’ve never related to a fictional character more.
  • In a very, very fun twist (that I should have remembered was coming): When Stefan became human, everyone he ever compelled got their memories back. One of those people was Dorian, who remembered that Stefan killed his family during the Ripper spree of season three.
  • The Dorian story is actually the first thing tied to the “redemption” touchstones of the past few seasons that feels like a fully realized thought. Here’s someone who was directly harmed by Stefan, whose life was ruined because Stefan had to “play along” with Klaus and be the Ripper. Everything Dorian says makes sense: In the human world, mass murderers are put away for life. They don’t get to try to somehow get redemption. Where this fully realized thought gets muddy is when Dorian shoots Stefan and then has regrets, turning the story into something where Stefan basically gets to show Dorian that killing isn’t fun and Matt gets to half guilt Dorian into choosing forgiveness. Once again, moral confusion and messiness prevails.
  • In order to find Enzo’s soul, Bonnie has to open her mind to Cade. In the history of terrible ideas on this show, this idea feels like the most terrible. Opening your mind to the devil feels like a bad thing, Bon Bon. At least Enzo had the smarts to tell her to cut it out when she does find him.
  • Bonnie’s grief scream created a private love dimension for Enzo to hide in. If he isn’t brought back somehow for Bonnie to get her happy ending, I’ll eat my hat. (If I owned any hats.)
  • The reason Kai was one of the best villains TVD ever had was that he wasn’t around long enough for the show to be forced to humanize him very much. Kai is evil, and Kai enjoys being evil most of the time, and all of that is supremely fun to watch. Keeping him evil pays off in great dividends here, with Kai stealing Elena’s body right out from under Damon’s nose. This is the kind of fun bad guy the show has sorely missed since he left. Welcome back, you evil, magnificent bastard.