Something’s not right in and beyond Mystic Falls. The Other Side is greyscaled. Forces beyond one’s comprehension pulls supernatural folk who’ve been in The Other Side into a black void—even an original vampire is afraid of what’s happening on the other side. Grams tells Bonnie that something happened when the dead travelers touched her, affecting the other side in ways no one understands. In Mystic Falls, visions of domestic bliss and contentment overwhelm Stefan and Elena. Marcos is responsible for the overpowering force of the black void on the other side, as well as the visions of happiness for the doppelgangers. The vampires, witches, hybrid, human, and former vampire hunter, try to find out what’s wrong and why, and what the Travelers want.
Damon and Enzo meet Marcos at a house (the address given away in one of Elena’s visions of Stefan’s—their twin vision) and ask him why he came back and what he wants to which Marcos responds that the answer is long and difficult. Goody. Marcos is another Big Bad introduced last in the season who will likely stick around for next season. The reason The Travelers make up most of the town’s population and hold the advantage over the others is because they’ll stay around for quite awhile. The explanation of the aforementioned visions includes 1500 years of history. Marcos cast a spell 1500 years ago for the doppelgangers to find each other and made the reason true love because people are driven by the hope for true love, which may be as cursed and illusory an idea as finding peace on the other side. Marcos ends the spell responsible for the visions after meeting with Damon—right when Stefan and Elena were happily married and proud parents of two children, one a biter.
Elena and Stefan conversed about true love and what their love for each other means, which was juxtaposed with the Damon of it all in “Resident Evil.” Damon sulked and complained about his lot with Elena. Damon wants what he can’t have which is an Elena free of all Stefan, and when it happens he rejects it. Stefan and Elena conclude that they have a connection beyond magic spells, that they made happen what happened between them. The visions shared by the former couple are idyllic, like scenes out of the third act of a Frank Capra movie. The vision world they experience includes all human beings, living family members, a perfectly ordinary existence that doesn’t buckle when there’s an address from the real world or an instance of someone biting someone else. The alternate world of theirs is a way to convey a philosophy about love: its unrealness, its illusion, its narcissistic pull that deludes a person into thinking his or her coupling is the centerpiece of the fates, preordained from the time the cosmos was an infant, spitting out galaxies and stars, expanding infinitely. That’s not the way it is. The spell breaks for a reason between people.
Damon’s freaked about the spell, about the infinite union between the doppelgangers, and mistrusts Elena when she tells him she’s his; of less concern is the Travelers’ situation. Once again the final act of a TVD episode includes a scene of rejection for Damon and Elena—this time Damon rejects her friendship. Elena stand still, struck by his words. Damon’s experience of his brother’s and his ex-girlfriend’s visions is the best part of the episode. Ian Somerhalder’s groans, eye rolls, and delivery of certain lines, specifically when he needs to know more about the specifics, were funnier than any scene in the last five years of How I Met Your Mother.
Relationship insecurity motives the characters more than the Travelers’ nonsense. For example, Bonnie’s concerns about someone crossing over from the other side, in addition to concerns about the entire other side sucking everyone there into a void, fall away upon seeing Liv at Jeremy’s. Jeremy won’t tell her why Liv’s involved in his life, because talking about the Travelers will alert the Travelers about something nonsensical—that the witches are on to them. Steven R. McQueen acts shady , like Jeremy has cheated on Bonnie with Liv. Perhaps in a way he has because Liv is the new witch in town, and Bonnie can’t do magic. Another character motived by LOVE is Enzo. He explains why he wants to meet Maggie again. Lingering, unfulfilled feelings on The CW is crack rock for its teenage viewers. No doubt many young girls clutch their heart during Enzo’s heartfelt lines regarding his Maggie and then make fan videos.
The Travelers remain an elusive bunch that has hijacked the majority of Mystic Falls, including Tyler’s body. Matt’s set to figure out the other side after seeing his sister go the way of Katherine (which, of course, means Katherine should return in season six). All the other characters feel about someone else not liking them. Besides Somerhalder’s comedy, the highlight of the episode was the visual style of the visions and the other side. It expanded a world that, narratively and visually, is quite often claustrophobic. Paul Wesley’s an impressive director.
-Ah. It seems I misspelled Markos in the review. I’ll correct that next week.
-Caroline Dries & Bryan Young wrote the episode. Paul Wesley directed it.