February 19, 2015, 8pm (EST), The CW
After the death of Caroline’s mother last episode, a host of other characters go through their own transformations in “Let Her Go.” We say goodbye to the old Caroline and welcome back to Bonnie, among other transitions including engagements and career opportunities. Bonnie’s return is particularly welcome since it has been strung along since the season began, but she also brings back startling news from another one of the prison worlds – Damon and Stefan’s mother has been alive in one of them for more than a century.
Overall, with so many moving parts, including an emotional funeral, this episode tackles a lot of plot fairly effectively. Liz got a fitting tribute from the town of Mystic Falls, having served as a police officer for 12 years. Candice Accola’s portrayal of Caroline in grief was very well done and one of the most memorable moments for her on the series. Of course, upon her mother’s death, Caroline reverts to her Type A leanings and arranges everything for her mother’s funeral over the course of a day. She throws herself into planning the funeral largely to avoid coming to terms with the grief that Damon warns her will get even worse when she’s no longer surrounded by loved ones.
But there’s also more to it. Elena sees the real reason behind Caroline’s plans to expedite the funeral, figuring out that Caroline is rushing to hold it so quickly because she plans to turn her emotions off when it’s done. And, after a kiss with Stefan last episode, it seems only he would be in a position to talk her out of it. Unfortunately, Stefan is still divided on what the kiss meant to him, since his feelings for Caroline are so different for what he felt for Elena. However, after seeing Caroline sing at the funeral (potentially a weird time to have a big romantic revelation), Stefan realizes that he has real feelings for Caroline. However, when he seeks her out, it’s too late. He finds an unconscious Elena, after Caroline attacked her to proceed with her plan to turn off her emotions to avoid going through the grief of her mother’s death.
Meanwhile, Kai visits Jo because he claims he’s been feeling sicker and sicker since doing the merge with Luke. Jo too has been feeling ill, and Kai determines that they’re both suffering because he didn’t do the merge properly with his twin, but instead with another sibling. He talks Jo into giving her his magic, which she reluctantly agrees to, in an attempt to prevent the end of the Gemini line. Kai then says his farewell, but he’ll likely be back soon, especially since Jo will be sticking around for at least a little while longer. It’s revealed that she’s pregnant with Alaric’s child, and the two are engaged soon after.
We also learn from Kai that there are multiple prison worlds, not just the one in which he was stuck. Bonnie is finally ready to escape that one – after having obtained the magic Damon helped guide her to a few episodes back. Unfortunately, Kai’s ill health causes the prison world to start falling apart too – transporting Bonnie to another one in Mystic Falls from over a century ago. But she still continues with her plan to escape, not wanting to spend another moment away from the real world. Right as she’s set to make her escape back to the real Mystic Falls in the present – she encounters a woman who Damon later identifies to be his mother, who was believed to have died when he and Stefan were still young.
Overall, it’s a relief to see Bonnie back and the reunion with Damon was touching (although perhaps Caroline could have benefitted from seeing her face more in that moment). And it seems when we return to Mystic Falls next, a lot will have changed. Caroline has dropped her humanity, which promises to be an interesting development, since she’s always been reliably decent – even as a vampire. While Bonnie is back, we’re likely still not done with the prison worlds since the Salvatore’s mother is a prisoner in one of them. Though we’ve heard very little about her until recently – since Damon and Stefan have shared stories while Caroline was dealing with her own mother’s death, including a flashback to Damon struggling with her eulogy in this episode – we have reason to be concerned about her reappearance. Kai claims that everyone stuck in a prison world is there because, like him, they did something bad to deserve it.
Also looking for a change were Matt and Tyler, who in this episode are inspired to follow in Sheriff Forbes’ footsteps and become police officers.
This season has dragged in a lot of places, focusing on the Gemini witches and putting most of our main characters on the sidelines. Kai was a highlight, but the rest of the characters were largely just spinning their wheels for a chunk of episodes. The worst offender was Elena who has done little else but express indecision about her feelings for Damon. So, it was a particularly welcome change to see her supporting Caroline this episode and start acting like a real friend to her. (Enzo has also been pretty pointless this season, but thankfully did not appear in this episode). The reveal with the Salvatore’s mother is a bit out of left field, but at least has the potential to bring the main storyline back to being squarely centered on the characters in which we’re most interested.
- “Welcome to the world of awkward sympathies.”
- “Are you drunk?” “That depends. How many days in a row can someone drink before they’re just normal?”
- “This is the last call for Sheriff Forbes.”
Overall, with so many moving parts, including an emotional funeral, this episode tackles a lot of plot fairly effectively.