The Vampire Diaries, Season 6, Episode 12 “Prayer for the Dying”
January 29, 2015, 9pm (EST), The CW
As the title suggests, death was a major theme in “Prayer for the Dying.” Indeed, we saw death in many of its incarnations throughout the episode – sad and slow, sudden and surprising – effectively woven together at the end. It was also one of the stronger episodes in this season, as it finally connected the Gemini coven plot with the rest of our main characters in an intriguing way, as opposed to them merely serving as bystanders or love interests.
Most importantly, it also featured the much-talked-about “twin merge,” so the episode gets points for finally moving on from that particular plot. And, unsurprisingly, Kai was victorious and now has gained significant power from the merge. Somewhat less surprisingly, it wasn’t Jo who lost the merge. Instead, Luke seeks out Kai to do it, even though they aren’t twins, reasoning that it may still be possible because they come from the same bloodline. In a fairly anti-climactic merging ceremony – both get knocked out, the first to wake up wins while the other dies – Kai triumphs and Luke dies in Jo’s arms. Jo, who was supposed to do the merge with Kai, is left furious with Damon for releasing Kai from the coma they had him in after the last episode. In a simultaneously clever and absurd move, Damon released Kai to suck out the magic in Liz’s system after Caroline fed her vampire blood at the end of the last episode.
This leads us to the other person dealing with death in this episode – Caroline’s mother, Liz. At the end of the last episode, we see Caroline’s attempt to save her mother’s life backfire, as the vampire blood she fed another cancer patient ended up killing him. It turns out that the vampire blood hastened the spread of his cancer and left the other patient as a vampire in constant pain from the disease in his system. While this development doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, given that we’ve seen vampire blood cure other diseases on this show without leaving any remnants of that disease, the prospect understandably frightens Liz and prompts the rest of the gang to scramble to rid her system of the blood.
Liz’s cancer diagnosis and slow decline has led to some truly touching and heart-wrenching moments in the past few episodes, mostly between Caroline and Liz. After Kai’s magic-sucking act, Liz falls into cardiac arrest and Caroline, for a moment, finds her mother unresponsive and desperately, frantically tries to resuscitate her. It’s a tragic moment, particularly because it follows a sad anecdote by Stefan on how he misses his mother and would do anything to have another day with her. The moment pulls at all the right heartstrings, despite being somewhat undercut by a heavy-handed dream sequence of Liz saying goodbye to Caroline.
But Liz lives to fight another day, though she still has cancer and her death will be coming very soon. The close brush with death prompts her to make Stefan promise to emotionally support Caroline after she’s gone. It also makes Elena realize that life is short and, therefore, she’s ready to jump into a relationship with Damon. Using death as a device to force or accelerate certain relationships was one of the more underwhelming aspects of the otherwise solid storyline.
So, we’re now left with a very powerful Kai, who will surely become a greater menace in upcoming episodes. And Liv is now grief-stricken at the loss of her twin brother, sticking with Tyler instead of running off with her father to evade her psychopath older brother. Granted, her father had just tried to force her to merge with Luke, which likely would have killed her. But the Liv/Tyler relationship has fallen so flat that it would be a welcome change to see them apart. It has kept Tyler divorced from the rest of his friends, which is not particularly satisfying, especially at a time when his ex, Caroline, is watching her mother die. Bonnie was also absent again in this episode, hopefully getting more and more pissed that her friends aren’t doing more to get her back.
- “Magical neck snap. Never gets old.”
- “So I guess adding the words ‘twin merge’ to my vocabulary was pointless because they ain’t twins!”
- “You win some, you lose some. Except for me. I always win.”
We saw death in many of its incarnations throughout the episode – sad and slow, sudden and surprising – effectively woven together at the end.