The Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 20: “What Lies Beneath”
Written by Elisabeth R. Finch and Holly Brix
Directed by Joshua Butler
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on The CW
The events of last week’s episode left Damon with one less friend and one more enemy, as Enzo was set on avenging the death of the woman he’d been pursuing since his freedom from Augustine. Despite Enzo’s death, however, Damon didn’t appear to be out of the woods, as the former’s thirst for revenge continued with his travel to a destabilising Other Side. This week’s episode sees the two storylines dovetail together, in an exciting outing that opens up the potential for the Mystic Falls group to get more allies in their fight against the Travelers.
Caroline’s reaction to being left out of the loop with regards to Enzo’s death is a fascinating aspect of this week’s episode. Through her time on the show, and especially after being turned by Katherine, Caroline has been a valuable friend and resourceful ally in the numerous fights the group has engaged in. Even in situations where she has not been directly involved, like in the case of Stefan with the Travelers, she has stuck around to make sure her friends are ok, and even taken on tasks others might have balked at. Her concerns over being shut out of the Enzo situation are perfectly valid in light of her actions. It will be interesting to see whether voicing her issues to Elena and Stefan alter their reactions to her going forward. Despite the friendship she has with the Mystic Falls group, she is rarely the first call any of them would make when they’re in danger, something that Elena and Stefan may reconsider after the Travelers issue is resolved. With Caroline having proven herself more than capable, a larger and more important role in the affairs of Mystic Falls is not beyond the realm of possibility, and what shape that role takes would be promising to see. If, however, Caroline doesn’t get a larger role, how she reacts will also be worth keeping an eye on. As someone who has expressed an unwillingness to be taken for granted, Caroline may simply take on a larger role herself if others do not give her one.
The ability of people from the Other Side to be able to touch things is also a fascinating development. Several members of the Mystic Falls group have both friends and foes on the other end of the veil, and it’s only a matter of time before many of them discover their newfound ability to touch and influence things on this end. This is bound to affect how events unfold going forward, as it has the potential to return some old allies to the group, this time in stronger fashion, as the living still cannot see them. How the individuals in Mystic Falls use this to their advantage, and whom they call on, will be worth watching out for. Dead allies such as Alaric, Grams Bennett, and Lexi are likely to be immensely helpful to the group, particularly since they might be able to attack the Travelers in ways the people in Mystic Falls cannot, and if the group decides to take their help, and how they try to communicate, is bound to affect how the story unfolds. In addition, Damon’s promise to Enzo to try and find a way to bring him back is also a promising story. If Damon does manage to find a way to pull individuals through the veil the way Markos managed, he and the others are unlikely to stop at only one. How many people they try to bring back, and how that affects the stability of the Other Side, is bound to be compelling.
Overall, this is an enjoyable episode. The presence of Julian with Matt and Jeremy adds an intriguing new twist to the storyline. With the Travelers seemingly now in possession of both Elena and Stefan, Julian is now the only trump card the group can play. However, Julian will also be aware of this development sooner or later, and how receptive he is towards helping the group at that point will be very telling of the Travelers’ relationship to Markos and each other. Julian’s now-permanent possession of Tyler’s consciousness also means that the group has a lingering issue even if they get rid of the Travelers from Mystic Falls, as they no longer have the knife they need to expel him. Hopefully the group manages to find a way to resolve the issue that doesn’t involve killing Tyler. The relationship between the Salvatore brothers is also a compelling aspect of this week’s episode. While Stefan and Damon have always had a complicated familial bond, the fact that they do care for each other has always been present, and this episode proves that this continues to be the case. It will be worth keeping an eye on the brothers to see if they make an active effort of reconciling once the immediate threat has passed. From Elena to Enzo to Augustine and numerous other issues, the brothers have a lot to discuss and resolve among themselves. How the Mystic Falls group tackles the Traveler threat now that the latter seems to have the upper hand, as well as how they prevent the Other Side from collapsing, will be worth tuning in for over the season’s final few episodes.
– Deepayan Sengupta