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The Vampire Diaries, Ep 5.15: “Gone Girl” is a bad day for antagonists

The Vampire Diaries, Ep 5.15: “Gone Girl” is a bad day for antagonists
Steven R. McQueen, Kat Graham, Michael Trevino, Candice Accola, Ian Somerhalder

Steven R. McQueen, Kat Graham, Michael Trevino, Candice Accola, Ian Somerhalder

The Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 15: “Gone Girl”
Written by Melinda Hsu Taylor
Directed by Lance Anderson
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on The CW

For several weeks, it seemed like Katherine had gotten away with the perfect crime; jumping into Elena’s body in her dying moments, then working with a Traveler to make her possession of the body’s consciousness permanent. It was only a matter of time until someone discovered the ruse, however, and that moment came at the end of last week’s episode as Caroline and Stefan cracked the mystery, just as Nadia revealed her werewolf bite to her mother. This week’s episode deals with the fallout from both pieces of information, in a strong outing that bids farewell to multiple characters.

Elena being infected by the ripper virus has the potential to be an exciting storyline. While not many members of the Mystic Falls group are fond of Damon, they were nonetheless concerned for his well-being once they found that he was infected. Elena, however, is someone the rest of the group is much more emotionally invested in, particularly those who have grown up with her. Given that the situation for Elena doesn’t look good, especially with Dr. Maxfield’s death this week, it will be intriguing to see how the rest of the group reacts to Elena’s newfound hunger. Knowing that the virus Elena is injected with is more potent than the one Damon has means that any rules that may have been established by studying Damon are effectively useless. If the group chooses to chain up Elena, it is likely to be a more difficult decision. At the same time, more people are likely to volunteer their blood to keep Elena from desiccating, which would make the process easier for everyone. It will also be interesting to see what avenues the Mystic Falls group explores for a cure, since the only link to the virus is effectively severed by Damon this week. With the only witch Bonnie knows also being a novice, their immediate fix solutions are not available this time around, making this story all the more promising.

The deaths of both Nadia and Katherine are also highlights of this week’s episode. Despite being the enemy, Nadia’s story is one many individuals in Mystic Falls can identify with, as the search for family and love is a uniting factor among them as well. As Matt pointed out last week, in many ways, Nadia fit in better with the group in Mystic Falls rather than with her mother, and it’s not inconceivable to imagine that she would eventually have come over to their side had she been betrayed by Katherine or lost her once again. Her death is a necessary collateral damage in the fight, but it’s also regrettable, and it’s good to see Katherine show some remorse and try to ease Nadia’s pain before she goes. The sympathy that Nadia gets from Bonnie also illustrates this point.

Kat Graham, Nina Dobrev

Kat Graham, Nina Dobrev

Katherine’s death, on the other hand, is one that comes with noticeably more conflicting emotions. Credit goes to the show’s writers for not making her second farewell of the season a mere rehash of the first one. In the end, however, Katherine’s farewell speeches prove that her self-serving nature is an intricate part of her personality, not a front she put up to ensure her survival from Klaus, and her vindictiveness in giving Elena the ripper virus even when Katherine knew she’d lost simply emphasizes that. The conflicting emotions many felt towards Katherine during her first bout with death get effectively cleared up here by the dismissive tone of Katherine’s rebuttals, and prove that the group ultimately made the correct decision by never trying to understand Katherine or trying to spare her. If she is truly gone, she will be missed, as her presence always added an element of unpredictability that made things exciting on the show.

Overall, this is a very thrilling episode. Despite having somewhat lost their way in the fourth season, the show has managed to recover with regards to their pacing and plot advancement, avoiding drawing out stories such as Silas and Katherine’s possession of Elena for too long. Dr. Maxfield’s death may not spell the end of Augustine as Damon may have been hoping, since his benefactor is likely to be unhappy with his death. Likewise, the Travelers lose two allies this week with the death of both Nadia and Dr. Maxfield, and how the two parties react will be worth watching. Katherine being denied entry into supernatural purgatory before being dragged away hints at a larger story to the afterlife, along with leaving the possibility of her return open, and how this pans out promises to be exciting. The story behind Katherine’s denial into purgatory is also likely to give Bonnie a storyline independent of the Mystic Falls group, which is always welcome. It’s good to see Bonnie return, as well as Jeremy and Liv, and hopefully the three will have a larger part to play in ensuing episodes, particularly as Liv is the only witch the group now knows. Caroline’s rebuke of Tyler is a refreshing change to that type of storyline, and while Tyler’s point is understandable, Caroline seizing her agency is also commendable. It’s somewhat regrettable that Katherine’s attempt to save Nadia didn’t take her to New Orleans, as her presence would have undoubtedly added further fuel to the flames. How the group works around the vampire bloodlust of both Damon and Elena, as well as who emerges as the primary threat with Katherine’s disappearance, will be worth keeping an eye on as the season continues.

– Deepayan Sengupta

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