The Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 19: “Man on Fire”
Written by Melinda Hsu Taylor and Michael D’Ambrosio
Directed by Michael A. Allowitz
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on The CW
The elimination of the Augustine group earlier this season freed up Damon’s friend Enzo from decades of captivity. However, the vampire continued to work with the Travelers and Dr. Maxfield, who now sought his help in return for helping him find Maggie, an observer from his days at Augustine. This week’s episode opens up the mystery of what happened to Maggie since her departure from Enzo’s life, in an enjoyable outing that sets in motion the true plans of the Travelers.
Enzo’s turn to the dark side is a compelling aspect of this week’s episode. Despite his presence in Mystic Falls, Enzo has barely interacted with anyone other than Damon, with Caroline being the only exception. Thus, it would be understandable if the characters in Mystic Falls didn’t have any real reaction to Enzo other than indifference or simply associating him with Damon’s worst impulses. His actions this week, however, mark Enzo as a clear antagonist to the group as a whole, giving the rest of the team a clearer place to stand with regards to him. With Enzo clearly poised to return to avenge Maggie’s death at the hands of Damon, it will be interesting to see, in light of Damon’s declaration, how the group reacts to his possible return. This is the first time Damon has been interested in someone’s redemption with no benefit to Elena, which could signal growth on his part. However, with Enzo now actively targeting him, and the rest of Mystic Falls not inclined to see Enzo reformed, it will be a true test of Damon’s resolve, as well as his relationship with others, how he reacts to this situation. While it’s good to see Damon remain loyal to a friend, especially one he feels guilty for abandoning, it will be a true test of his character to see if he chooses to stand with his former friend against the Mystic Falls group, or if he recognises who truly has his best interests at heart this time around.
The impending fight between the Travelers and the vampires is also an intriguing development. Last season’s search for the cure showed that many vampires see their current state as a curse, and would not be averse to reverting back to human form. However, the Travelers’ potion reversing the effects of vampirism rather than curing it means that the group is unlikely to find any allies in their quest, pitting them squarely against vampires. While the Travelers could have possibly used the help of vampires to break their own curse, particularly since the doppelganger blood is a key ingredient, Markos’ declaration is a clear signal that they have no intention of doing so. It will be intriguing to see how long the Travelers support Markos in this quest, particularly if the vampires begin to turn violent. An attempt at eradication is likely to cause the vampires of Mystic Falls to put aside their differences and work together, making them a formidable force that the Travelers may not be able to fight off. In addition, how the group goes about procuring the blood of Elena and Stefan, as well as how the Mystic Falls gang fights the Travelers now that they no longer have the knife, are both storylines with a lot of promise.
Overall, this is another exciting episode. The reveal of Maggie’s death helps give Enzo a more concrete purpose than his prior search, and how he goes about getting revenge in death will be interesting to see. Liv’s pessimism about keeping the other side intact and Bonnie’s imminent death when it happens threatens to rehash her storyline from the beginning of the season, and hopefully the writers can make her current arc unique enough that it doesn’t fall into that trap. Caroline’s absence this week is a glaring one, particularly with three of her close friends in peril at the hands of Enzo. Tyler’s attempts to wrestle for control of his consciousness with Julian will have a huge effect on how the fight between the Travelers and the Mystic Falls group goes in the ensuing episodes, and if and how Tyler manages to defeat the Traveler will make for a compelling story. With the Traveler knife now gone, and the impending threat of Travelers attacking vampires growing with their discovery of how to reverse spells, the gang is at its biggest threat now without its sole weapon. Thus, how they fight the Travelers who are passengers in the bodies of their loved ones, especially without killing the host, will be worth keeping an eye on as the season continues.
– Deepayan Sengupta