The Vampire Diaries, Ep 5.22: “Home” bids farewell to some notable characters

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Kat Graham, Jasmine Guy

Kat Graham, Jasmine Guy

The Vampire Diaries, Season 5, Episode 22: “Home”
Written by Caroline Dries and Brian Young
Directed by Chris Grismer
Aired Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on The CW

Over the course of the season, the threat of the Travelers has loomed over the Mystic Falls group, first from Silas and Tessa then from Nadia Petrova, before Markos finally emerged from the Other Side. The group’s plans were finally revealed and came to a head in last week’s episode, before the sudden death of Stefan brought it to an abrupt halt. This week’s episode sees the group try to open the gate and bring people from the Other Side back to life, in a highly entertaining season finale that shakes up the series as a whole.

The return of Alaric and Enzo to the land of the living, as well as the apparent deaths of both Bonnie and Damon, are great ways to shake up the existing dynamic of the show. Not only does Bonnie’s death sever any real ties the group has to witchcraft, it also signals the end of her time as the anchor. The collapse of the Other Side makes death a more permanent issue in the Vampire Diaries universe, rather than a large obstacle that can occasionally be overcome. While others making the trip back from death may still be possible, it is likely to be more difficult now, leading to fewer individuals making the trek.  The death of Bonnie also means one less friend for the Mystic Falls group to rely on. While many of them already said their goodbyes to Bonnie earlier in the season, her return and presence as anchor had clearly given many hope that she had been properly resurrected. As someone who grew up in Mystic Falls and was always willing to go the distance to lend a helping hand, the way Bonnie’s death affects others, particularly those she grew up with, has the potential to be a compelling story.

Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder

Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder

The death of the elder Salvatore, on the other hand, has the possibility to permanently change up the relationships of the Mystic Falls team. As the individual both willing and powerful enough to take major risks, such as single-handedly staring down Markos, Damon’s death leaves a major hole in any fights the group engages in going forward. However, the removal of Damon’s emotional instability is also a major advantage for the rest of the people in Mystic Falls. While being a helpful asset in numerous situations, Damon himself has often been a volatile presence, causing a number of problems that others have had to clean up. It will be interesting to see how the group juggles its grief over his passing with the relief of no longer being on edge in anticipation of something he might do. It will be particularly interesting to note the reactions of people like Jeremy and Caroline, who had very contentious relationships with Damon, but are close to individuals who will truly miss him, like Stefan and Elena. Damon’s death also leaves a big question in the form of Enzo. As someone who survived previously in Mystic Falls solely due to his friendship with Damon, what role Enzo takes now will be worth keeping an eye on, especially since he’s antagonised other people in the town.

Overall, this is a thrilling finish to the season. It’s good to see both Lexi and Grams make a return this week, and the permanent loss of both characters is lamentable, as they have become integral parts of the show during their time and have always been enjoyable presences. Likewise, Silas’ return makes for a few enjoyable moments, and it’s fun to see the character get a comeuppance of sorts from Bonnie. Alaric’s return opens up some new storytelling possibilities; freed from the curse put on him by Esther, Alaric is likely to be human once again. As a trained hunter, and a human with years of expertise in the supernatural, Alaric has the potential to once again become a valuable member of the Mystic Falls group, and possibly be a mentor to Jeremy and Matt while providing a parental figure to the Gilberts. Elena’s character arc over the course of the season has been a somewhat disappointing one. Unlike past seasons, the bulk of her actions have revolved around her relationship with Damon, rendering the elder Gilbert a passive spectator in many of the season’s plot proceedings, even ones she was involved in, such as Augustine and the Travelers. While the possession of her consciousness by Katherine left Elena out of one of the season’s arcs, the character has nonetheless not been up to par this season and hopefully the next season will see Elena take a more independent and active role in the storylines weaving around her. Tyler’s return as only a werewolf is also a potentially intriguing story. It’s been no secret that Tyler has found solace in his hybrid nature, particularly in how it allows him to control if and when he turns into a werewolf. Whether or not he seeks to become a vampire once again, and how he wrestles with once again regaining his werewolf nature, will say a lot about how Tyler has changed. Despite some ups and downs, this is a strong finish to a largely enjoyable season, and there are a lot of fascinating directions the characters and stories can go from here in the next season of the show.

– Deepayan Sengupta