Damon’s Southern redemption tour of 2016 continued in Memphis, Tennessee where he went to find Ambrose, the psychotic serial killer vampire who chose to inhabit Stefan’s body, before he made people at frat party people kill each other and before Stefan died in the dying Marty’s body, while trying to rehabilitate his dead friendship with Alaric, without giving a thought about how he’d even begin to try winning Bonnie back.
Damon’s redemption tour’s more tolerable than his spiral of nonsense in which he thought he ruined everyone’s lives. By thinking he ruined the lives of the people he cares about he ruined their lives by acting abandoning them. The thing is none of the characters should continue as friends, except for the brothers. They make each other’s lives a living hell. A vampire hunter kidnaps some to use as bait, and old friends betray other friends. Alaric’s the only one with sense, realizing that his life dramatically improved by not hanging out with vampires that constantly get into blood feuds with hybrids, hunters and huntresses, original vampires; however, he’s doomed never to have as good a best friend as Damon. The Mystic Falls group should never hang out, but they’re the only ones they should hang out because they’re the only ones that can save each other. They’re each other’s biggest weakness as well as greatest strength.
Stefan mostly lay dying in “One Way or Another” as his brother made another bad deal with a psycho for Stefan’s sake. Ambrose wanted Rayna’s dead for Stefan’s body. Enzo got to Rayna first as part of the Armory plot, which keeps going and now involves a vault sealed by the Bennett witches. The audience is spared from another melodramatic heart-to-heart between brothers. Stefan contemplated his future with Valerie and his regrets about Caroline. He failed writing an apology letter for her in The Philippines, but he tried to write another in the ambulance. His three years were never as much about Valerie as they were about Caroline. Valerie called her Stefan’s true love. (Stefan’s had three true loves, not including Valerie), and she freed him, in a very Dawson’s Creek scene, after nearly dying to save his life. Stefan expressed with his eyes that such a thing wouldn’t be worth it for her, because he didn’t love her enough to do the same.
The Valerie-Stefan relationship was a bad idea, so it ending is good, but it ended in a way to continue the idea that Stefan and Caroline share a once-in-a-lifetime true love. Again, she’s number three, but Julie Plec and her writers never conceived a non-life-altering relationship in the series. Everything’s momentous and written in the stars, however much it’s filler and a dressed up plot device.
The reprieve from the brotherly angst was welcomed. Damon’s interactions with Ambrose were amusing, not because of Ambrose the character, but because Ian’s great at delivering Damon’s quips to villains. One of these antagonists will, eventually, stop engaging the Mystic Falls gang in long, expository conversations. Rayna talked Stefan’s ear as she chased him across multiple states. Ambrose revealed his psychology along with a significant plot point about his ability to jump from a body into a transitioning vampire. Ambrose will be back in another male model’s body to kill Rayna. We learned that he’s the Angelus in her life—he destroyed those she loved, and she hates him and wants to kill him. No character seemed concerned about where Ambrose’s soul would go, as if he won’t come back to make their lives unpleasant. Ah, but he will.
Damon failed to renew his bromance with Alaric, which may’ve affected me more than any relationship in this series (besides the brothers Salvatore). Alaric confessed his life improved with Damon around. Of course, he spent a day with him tracking down a violent vampire serial killer. Alaric’s meant to live a life of supernatural nonsense with his best friend Damon. His parting gift to Damon was information about Bonnie’s whereabouts, which followed Alaric’s helpful exposition to Damon (and the audience) about how Enzo and Bonnie became a thing. It’s not great. It’s about the Armory and that damn vault which will bring forth some fell beast for the gang to half-fight and half-befriend next season. Bonnie’s dying from the pills made from Rayna’s blood. Damon surprised her with flowers. She slammed the door on his face. What shocked him more: he door slam or the romance between Enzo and Bonnie?
Anyway, “One Way or Another” concluded the filler mini-arc of Stefan as the human Marty and transitioned into the nonsense of the final four episodes of a disjointed, aimless season.
-Ian Somerhalder caused a stir last week by announcing the show would end next season. He recanted his announcement in a statement, saying the decision makers hadn’t made any decisions. Season 8 will be his last. Kat Graham will also leave after season 8. I bet the show will receive a season 9 to show the naysayers the show can continue without Ian. The CW shows are the shows that never end. See Supernatural.
-Rebecca Sonnenshine wrote the teleplay. Penny Cox received the story credit. Rashaad Ernesto Green directed.