“The Vampire Diaries” puts a twist on Fight Club with the Friday, Feb. 12 episode, 712, “Postcards from the Edge,” as Damon tries to deal with the pain caused by his actions following his return from his own personal hell. Meanwhile, Caroline suffers a rather painful (and potentially deadly) side effect of her pregnancy, and Bonnie goes on a road trip with two of the heretics to try to find the vampire hunter that could mean trouble for everyone. Plus, Matt gets to give someone the “vampire are real and this is what’s wrong with Mystic Falls” talk.
First up, Damon is introduced to Fight Club-“TVD” style through Julian. Following drive-thru, vampire style (as in, getting a ride from a stranger and then killing him), Damon dismisses Julian’s threat if he killed another one of his men and then basically brushes aside the 10 seconds Julian gives him to live to say his final words. But instead of killing him, Julian offers him an outlet for his pain caused by his self-destructive post-hell world spiral: Vampire Fight Club. Two vampires enter, one leaves holding a heart. The real remedy for extreme mental anguish is raw physical brutality, Julian says, offering Damon a turn in the ring. And Damon takes it.
After he takes care of his first opponent relatively easily, Julian puts him up against one of the champs. In fact, this big guy gets the upper hand – until someone throws a stake in and Damon uses it. After that, no one is really volunteering to have their heart ripped out, so Julian steps up instead. That’s when Stefan shows up, having heard from Valerie how his brother seemed to have a death wish when she saw him with Julian. This is what he deserves, Damon insists, letting Julian’s men take Stefan away and facing off with Julian. But when Julian gets the upper hand on him and Damon tells him to rip out his heart, Stefan appears right next to them, having been cloaked thanks to Valerie, and Valerie takes Julian out of commission for the time being with her magic.
After they leave, however, Damon tells his brother he killed Elena. In turn, Stefan hits him and walks away. Once in his car, he gets angry and upset; sure, he and Elena may have been romantically over for some time, but she was still an important person in his life. When Valerie joins him, he’s had enough of being “smart.” He wants Julian dead. With Valerie’s help, he makes that happen. That staking was a long time coming (and definitely has a sense of finally to it. Julian could only hang around for so long, especially with what’s coming, both in the present and future.)
As for how Damon copes after all of this, he turns to bourbon again, but the woman who tossed him the stake during Fight Club has another offer: tequila and her. When she kisses him, he hesitates, but he ultimately kisses her back.
Meanwhile, everyone’s getting a postcard with a red X on it. (Well, if everyone means the heretics, but Bonnie knows that her friends could end up on the list.) Bonnie and Nora use magic to locate Rayna, and Mary Louise joins them for the trip, her jealousy shining bright like a vacancy sign at a motel on the side of the road. Once at the psychiatric prison, they find Rayna, only she’s an old woman who just wants a cookie – or so they think. Once the heretics go off to see if Rayna’s there under another name, she attacks Bonnie, who learns that her magic doesn’t work on her. (Maybe they should’ve just killed her like Mary Louise wanted.)
To Bonnie’s surprise, Enzo is the one to save her, but he’s not just being her guardian angel; by the time she returns with the heretics to get their help in cleaning up, he and the body are gone. While the aftermath of this trip sees Nora and Mary Louise at least getting along well enough to share a drink (of the non-blood kind), Enzo burns Rayna’s body, and from the smoke emerges the hunter, youthful once more.
Elsewhere, Caroline’s enjoying the fries Stefan brought her when the babies kick her – but when she stands in hopes of alleviating the pain, she instead collapses. He brings her to the hospital, where, thankfully when the doctor isn’t in the room, they notice her hand desiccating. When Valerie looks her over and tries to fix her, her hand is healed, but not because of anything Valerie did. She realizes the babies are likely siphons, feeding off the vampire magic in her body. Valerie tries to divert the babies’ magic-seeking attention with a talisman, but by episode’s end, Caroline’s hand and leg are desiccating. But here lies the problem with the flashforwards on here (and similarly, with Oliver the flashbacks on “Arrow”); thanks to them, you know that Caroline is fine in three years, so obviously they’re going to find a way to fix this that won’t harm the babies.
And as for Matt and the officer he met last week, he apparently told her the bag of weapons in his truck was from zombie apocalypse survivalists and expected her to believe him. (Well, it does help that everyone seems to know that Mystic Falls is a magnet for supernatural seekers these days.) And while Matt may be getting lots of matches on his dating profile and she’s not, they do have one thing in common: they face off with a vampire. When he goes to check on her friend that was called back to town to reclaim his house, she follows and learns that regular bullets were so last year (and so not this town) for officers. Welcome to the world of vampires, Penny. (Maybe she should’ve stuck to the dating app since, given how Matt is in the future, it doesn’t look like things are going to end well for her.)
Finally, three years from now, Stefan shows up at the news station, and Matt finds him to tell him Caroline’s safe – and to knock him out. He then confirms with the hunter watching on camera that he’s out and never has to see her again. Oh, Matt, what have you gotten yourself into?
“The Vampire Diaries” season 7 airs Fridays at 8 p.m. on the CW. What did you think of episode 12 “Postcards from the Edge”?