The Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 17: “Rescue Me”
Written by Brett Matthews and Neil Reynolds
Directed by Leslie Libman
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on The CW
With the reveal earlier in the season that Silas and Stefan being lookalikes was not a coincidence, there were hints that a younger doppelganger in that line would be present somewhere, closer in age to the latest Ayana doppelganger Elena. This tidbit took on a note of urgency last week as the Travelers began hunting for the last doppelganger via Stefan, putting Caroline in a delicate position of having to kill a stranger to save her friend. This week’s episode picks up on how Caroline deals with the situation, in a strong episode that brings the threat of the Travelers to the fore.
Hearing Liv’s true objective this week is an intriguing storyline. The Travelers’ issues with the doppelgangers have been well-documented this season, but with Silas alive and almost unreachable, and Ayana established as the anchor, they were understandably powerless until the cure came into effect, as further doppelgangers would continue to be created. The death of both original doppelgangers, however, along with Tessa’s demise, not only opens up a way for the Travelers to do what they think they have to, but also makes them more powerful. The Mystic Falls group have faced wayward witches before, most notably Tessa. However, the depth of the Travelers makes them a new kind of foe for the group, and it will be interesting to see how they react to this new threat. With Liv and Luke on their side yet not completely trustworthy, the group’s only advantage is somewhat tempered, and their inability to guess what the Travelers may be up to is likely to put the group on the defensive before they can effectively strike back. It will also be intriguing to see how Bonnie fits into this story. As an ex-witch, Bonnie will be able to provide helpful guidance, and as the anchor, she is likely to be immune from the Travelers, making her a potential secret weapon in the fight.
Watching Caroline come to terms with her vampire personality is also a fascinating aspect of this week’s episode. Like a number of people in Mystic Falls, Caroline was thrust into this supernatural world without an ability to properly acclimatise first. For much of the show’s run, this meant Caroline had to reconcile her newfound blood thirst with her humanity, without as much of a support system as others like Elena had during their transition. Her ability to cope with these changes, however, have often been put on the backburner, as Caroline has focused on her friends’ well-being ahead of herself. As this episode shows, that part of her hasn’t changed, and it will be interesting to see whether Caroline focuses on herself once the immediate danger to Stefan and Elena have passed. While Caroline has kept herself distracted by looking out for others, as well as insisting on a semblance of a normal life for her and her childhood friends, her vampire nature is something she will have to come to terms with at some point. How she fits in among vampires other than the ones she knows in Mystic Falls is a question she will have to answer at some point. It will be interesting to see how a self-examination affects Caroline, particularly as her interactions with Tyler indicated she’s no longer going to be apologetic for how she feels. As a character that has often been a highlight of the show, Caroline focusing on bettering herself is an exciting prospect.
Overall, this is a compelling episode. Meeting another doppelganger of Stefan is a fun treat, and it’s sad to see Tom go so soon. It’s also good to see Paul Wesley get the opportunity to play a third character, and even in Tom’s brief time, Wesley infuses him with enough distinctive traits to easily separate Tom and Stefan. It’s also good to see friendships get a focus this week. The Stefan-Caroline friendship has been a strong aspect of the show, as both have continued to help each other with no expectation of reward, making their friendship solid without being co-dependent. This shone through even when Stefan lost his memories, and the conversation between the two about the kind of person Caroline is now is no different in this regard. Likewise, it’s good to see Bonnie and Elena converse this week outside of an emergency situation. Bonnie’s death at the end of last season, coupled with her absence for large parts of this season, means that there hasn’t been much interaction between her and the elder Gilbert lately. Their conversation about Damon this week, however, works well in reinforcing why the duo are such good friends, and hopefully their paths will cross more frequently in upcoming episodes. Jeremy, Tyler, and Matt have all seen themselves sidelined in recent fights the Mystic Falls group have had, and the trio entering the fray with the Travelers head-on is a welcome change. With Jeremy once again being the key to the situation, it will be intriguing to see if he’s learned anything from his time as a Hunter. How the group tackles the Travelers, as well as what part Bonnie plays in the proceedings, will be worth keeping an eye on as the season moves to a conclusion.
– Deepayan Sengupta