The Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 10: “Fifty Shades of Grayson”
Written by Caroline Dries
Directed by Kellie Cyrus
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on The CW
Over the past few episodes, the Augustine society has become a compelling entity, as their true nature and the extent of their actions have come to light. As a group clearly committed to more than just the simple eradication of vampires, Augustine has established themselves as a new breed of enemy for the Mystic Falls group, and one who may already share a history with the group, given the membership of Elena’s father. It is this history that gets explored in this week’s fall finale, in a good episode that nonetheless falls short of the standard set by some of the show’s earlier fall finales.
The return of Katherine’s mortality, and her humanity along with it, continues to be a compelling aspect of the season. The idea of someone like Katherine looking for redemption for their actions has a lot of promise, as her many years of self-serving actions have left a lot of issues for her to atone for. As Stefan indicates this week, forgiveness is not going to come easily for her, and the difficulty of the situation, combined with her rapid aging, is bound to have an effect on some point, and how Katherine reacts when the pressure builds is something to keep an eye on.
It will also be interesting to see how far Katherine goes for redemption; as this week shows, her concern lies more with Stefan’s feelings towards her rather than Nadia’s, which the latter is clearly unwilling to tolerate. Stefan and Damon fall on the lower end of the spectrum of the many people Katherine has wronged, and even then, the former has a difficult time letting go of all the ways her actions have hurt him. As Katherine works her way up, the forgiveness is bound to be more difficult to come by, and it will be intriguing to see whether or not she does try to atone for all her actions over the past 500 years, and if she does, whether or not she soldiers on despite the difficulties she faces. Her actions in this regard will go a long way towards showing whether Katherine the vampire’s actions were a result of her humanity being turned off, or if she has always been the way she was.
Learning more about the Gilbert family history this week is also fascinating. While the family’s prior involvement in anti-vampire activities, such as their place on the Founder’s Council and their vampire hunting equipment, has been alluded to, the full extent of their actions have never been revealed until now. The Gilbert patriarch’s diary makes it clear that his actions, unlike that of Wes, were intended to help humans, despite his callous disregard for vampires. It will be interesting to see if Elena picks up on that thread and begins to use her own capabilities to try and cure humans, and whether or not she solicits or receives any help in this regard. It should also be fascinating to see how the reveal of his family history affects the younger Gilbert. While Elena has embraced vampires in all aspects of her life, Jeremy’s relationship with vampires has been much rockier, as he has seen, and been less forgiving, of their evil side. Combined with his past position as a vampire hunter, Jeremy’s reaction to the true nature of his father will be very telling, and it will be worth watching to see how Jeremy deals with this knowledge, if he ever finds out.
Overall, while not being up to par with the fall finales of previous seasons, this is nonetheless an enjoyable episode. Nina Dobrev has done some excellent work with Katherine’s expanded role this season, continuing to play both her and Elena as two completely distinct characters whose only similarity is their appearance. The continuing saga of Damon’s periodic refusal to be in a relationship with Elena has become quite tiresome, and it’s unfortunate that it rears its head this week once again. Hopefully the writers have something else in mind with that story, instead of running a familiar pattern with it once again. It’s good, however, to see Matt once again make a return, and the possession of the knife would seem to indicate that he’ll have a larger role to play before long, which is hopefully the case. As someone who has crossed paths with Katherine the least out of everyone in Mystic Falls (as Katherine’s compulsion of Matt to force Tyler into killing someone stands as their key interaction to date, and one that Matt won’t remember), it will be interesting to see how the relationship between Matt and Katherine develops going forward. Bonnie’s absence this episode is also a disturbing aspect, particularly with Elena missing, and the Salvatore brothers on campus looking for her, something Bonnie could have no doubt assisted in. Caroline and Jeremy’s absence is also saddening, particularly the latter’s in an episode that deals heavily with the Gilbert family history, and hopefully all three characters make a big return, along with the rest of the Augustine society, when the show comes back from its hiatus.
– Deepayan Sengupta