Bonnie and Jeremy had their Ghost moment, but without the sexy pottery, and instead with toxic fumes and a garage door opener. That’s about right for the Bonnie-Jeremy relationship. Bonnie wants to die because she’s stuck in a never-ending May day in 1994 while her friends try to celebrate her birthday in Mystic Falls. There’s magic involved to save her. If not save her, then there’s magic to give her hope. Hope’s the key to anyone’s life, especially in a near suicidal state. Hope that something will change. Nova Scotia represents hope. Hope’s the beginning of a transition. “The Day I Tried To Live” is about transitions.
Kai transitioned from sociopath to slightly empathetic sociopath, but he wanted to burn Liv alive for trying to kill him, and he fights to feel nothing. Alas, he feels something. He’s conveniently helpful when Bonnie’s near suicidal. Imagine if the Mystic Falls crew waited the month. Bonnie would be dead. No, Bonnie wouldn’t have tried suicide until the merge happened. Those are the machinations of storytelling. Anyway, Caroline begins to transition into a more independent life. Stefan’s there to help her, to force the ugly stuff out of her and those gory parts that the grieving feel. Caroline beats Stefan with a shovel before finding the object of her dig. She dug holes in the earth to find her stuffed bear from when she was a nine. The bear represents the blissful past that belonged to her vibrant mother and present friend.
Elena and Damon transitioned to a post-kiss experience, which they’ve done twice or thrice already. The fact that Elena changed when she became a vampire shocked Elena. Damon admitted she wouldn’t have thought about him had she not died and turned. The night of her turn she wanted to see Stefan, her love and only and only, but she died. The sire bond then happened. Damon told her that, and she felt hurt or embarrassed. Who knows. The fits and starts of their relationship has last nearly three full seasons with no more than four or five episodes of sustained. Keep milking that cow, Plec and Dries. Their drama happens in the midst of Jeremy’s magical death dive into the alternative isolated hell designed for Kai. If the magic fails, Jeremy dies. Jeremy will take the risk so that, even if it fails, he’ll die with her. Conversely, Liv will die to kill Kai. Tyler tried to stop her from killing him because killing him means she kills herself and the rest of her family. Liv’s consumed with TV emotion and wants Kai to end. The plot of the episode means Kai can’t die. Damon saved him after Liv gutted him. His empathy will run out, of course, and he’ll want to kill everyone.
Jeremy’s heroic magical journey into the alternative loop accelerates his arc to an endpoint. Season six Jeremy drank, slept around, and missed Bonnie. He half-heartedly helped Matt try to kill Enzo. They failed. Jeremy disappeared. His journey to the other other side gave him perspective. Bonnie drank too much bourbon before attempting to her life via toxic fumes. She said goodbye to her friends. She cried. She regained hoped from the thought of her grandmother’s encouragement during hardships: “stay strong.” Grams could’ve added, “Don’t despair.” Stay strong; don’t despair. Jeremy saved her life by pushing the garage door opener. Bonnie couldn’t turn the engine off and couldn’t make it to the garage door opener. The bright light of day restored her, and she saw Jeremy surrounded by white light. Jeremy returned with clarity. He admits to his sister that he felt trapped. Elena immediately suggests he leave for art school, so he will. Jeremy will leave for art school. The beginning of what Julie Plec described as the endgame of the series. Characters will leave. Jeremy’s departure from the series seems more a thing of the writers feeling trapped with the character. It happens in storytelling. Characters don’t always stay around in the writer’s mind. Characters fade as others grow. Gass didn’t create Jethro until the third draft of his first novel. Scholars tell of Shakespeare needing to kill Mercutio before he took over the play. Jeremy faded. He died a lot. He was the problematic little brother, the easy target for little bads and big bads, the convenient anchor for Elena’s emotional state; he was the stoner kid and also a vampire hunter.
So, Jeremy’s the first departure of the final chapter of The Vampire Diaries. Caroline’s way of coping with the impending death of her mother continues that theme of endings and beginnings. Characters have used ‘move on’ multiple times in the last two episodes. Moving on is the mantra for the characters, but the show’s remained the same. The major threats change, but the structure remains. The gang needs to eliminate a threat. I don’t see a shift in the show’s direction. I don’t see showing moving on with its characters. When Liz dies, the writers, hopefully, made it matter. When Jeremy goes, it should matter. It should change things, even if it’s only infinitesimal change. TVD’s a show of extremes, though. Damon and Elena either love without abandon or Elena hates him. Tyler never wants to see Liv again after what she did. When Jeremy leaves, and when Liv dies, both will have an episode devoted to the departure and the death; but, that’ll be it. They’ll be gone. Caroline will turn off the switch or she won’t. Dramatically, it’s tame and, sometimes, uninteresting.
-I regret never titling a journal entry of mine 11 years ago, “The Day I Tried To Live.” In that imagined journal entry I probably would’ve vaguely discussed seeing my blonde crush in the hallways and wanting to dance with her to Saves The Day songs, in addition to writing about the Phillies, Funks jawnin jawn, and racing down to STEVE’s apartment in 30 minutes, or maybe a really embarrassing poem about my high school crush that’s way too similar, stylistically, to 2003 Senses Fail lyrics (which is NOT a compliment about the Senses Fail lyrics).
-The Enzo storyline has purpose but is pointless. His plan is to corrupt Stefan’s niece to the point she begs to become a vampire. Enzo’s a more interesting character than this.
-Chris Woods played reined in Kai very well. Many fans dislike Kai. Many fans actually hate Kai. The scene in which Kai struggles between wanting to kill Liv while struggling with what remains of Luke in him was his best since he joined the show. He can do more than devour the scenery.
-The episode opened with Steven R. McQueen pumping iron. Of course that’s what the character does off-screen.
-Chad Fiveash & James Patric Stoteraux wrote the episode. Pascal Verschooris directed.