Well, there’s good news and there’s bad news in the Friday, Feb. 5 episode of “The Vampire Diaries,” 711, “Things We Lost in the Fire.” A flash forward reveals that a certain someone survives to three years in the future. However, in the present day, Stefan and Damon deal with life post-hell – and it’s not kind to either. Oh, and Julian and his drag racing/biker men have taken over the town. (Two possible CW crossovers right there: “The Flash” with drag racing, and “Supernatural,” with Sam and Dean giving Stefan and Damon some advice for handling life after a hell experience.)
“The Vampire Diaries” introduces the world’s worst hangover in the form of the hell world hangover, the symptoms of which are interrupted dates, hearts in hands, bodies on fire and crazy hallucinations, for Stefan and Damon. Upon snapping out of it and realizing that he is truly out of the stone, Damon hurries to give Matt and Bonnie his blood to heal them after his attack, before Caroline strikes and he ends up chained up while Stefan chooses to wait for him to calm down enough to not kill the only friends they have left. Damon insists he’s fine, and sure, he’s fine if “fine” means “seeing a fellow soldier from his Civil War days hanging around Mystic Falls like it’s totally normal and taunting him.”
Stefan’s not doing too well himself. As he slowly reveals – to himself, since the Damon in the car is not actually there with him, and then to Caroline – he saw Damon everywhere. And since he thought he was threatening Caroline on their celebratory date, he even attacked the waiter at the restaurant. All he saw was “Damon,” to the point that he even pushed Caroline away and nothing else mattered, not even their town. He just wanted “Damon” to go away and finally arrived on a solution: burning his real body to stop him from haunting him. If not for Caroline intervening, he would have.
As for what Stefan saw in his own personal hell, Damon dragged him into the quarry, and the only way to keep himself from drowning was to let his brother go. He sees this as the stone trying to tell him that he’ll never be happy until Damon is out of his life for good. But does he really believe that? It doesn’t matter because, above all else, as he tells Damon, he’s still his brother and he’s not giving up on him, “not now, not ever.” “You’re stuck with me,” he promises.
Since Damon isn’t really in the car with Stefan, where is he? Well, he pays a visit to Whitmore College to see Tyler, who’s in town for Caroline’s baby shower. He insists he take him to see Elena (or else), and so Tyler does (and then gets knocked out). However, instead of seeing Elena in the coffin, Damon sees Henry. He’s still denying his true nature, according to “Henry.” The Phoenix Stone frees you, he explains, so you’re reborn as your true self. Damon then proceeds to set him on fire to show his “true self” – only to then realize he really set Elena on fire. (But doesn’t the flashforward from the premiere suggest that something else is going on here?) She held him back from being the monster he really is, “Henry” whispers in his ear as Elena’s body burns (supposedly).
Meanwhile, Caroline and Bonnie throw a pretty awesome baby shower, complete with a blindfolded Alaric, Matt and Tyler trying to put diapers on dolls (Tyler’s loses its head somehow) and drinks in bottles. Nora shows up, having been invited by Bonnie, but Matt’s not shy about how much he really doesn’t want to see her. (Matt’s just all around had it with vampires and the supernatural.) His day just gets worse when he swerves while driving after looking at his phone, and he’s brought in for driving under the influence. While he’s free to go after a while, the offer who brought him in does have one question: What’s with the bag of weapons she found in his car?
While Caroline and Alaric share a sweet moment over the babies kicking – and of course she can tell them apart – she’s surprised to discover that he’s planning to leave with the babies once they’re born. Sure, she may not want to be on call 24/7, but it’s clear that she wasn’t planning to not be in their lives at all. But his plan is to raise his kids far away from Mystic Falls, Whitmore College and, yes, vampires. (Perhaps this is laying out the groundwork for their relationship three years from now?)
And while Matt may not be happy to see Nora, Bonnie is the one who invited her and they do seem to be hitting it off, sort of. They’re at least at the stage where they’ll work together, which is what’s going to be necessary based on the card the heretic received in the mail with a red X on it, a warning from the Huntress. The sword was custom-made for her, and she’s the one who put Julian (along with thousands of other vampires) in the Stone. Once a vampire is marked by the sword, she never stops hunting for them. She’ll come for all of them, and that means that Bonnie and Nora are teaming up to find a way to stop her.
Finally, the episode ends with Caroline being let out of the box she’s put in following that news broadcast – by Matt. But her relief at seeing him is short-lived, when he reveals that she did what they needed, as in Matt is working with the Huntress. He had a family too – a girlfriend (the officer he meets in the present maybe?), a life – and now he doesn’t. So stay out of sight until the Huntress gets what she wants, he advises. Woah, Matt. These three years have changed you.
“The Vampire Diaries” season 7 airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 11 “Things We Lost in the Fire”?