The Vampire Diaries “Cold as Ice” Review (Season 7 Episode 9)

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On the latest episode of “The Vampire Diaries,” Christmas was in the air, but there wasn’t a whole lot of Xmas spirit going around, at least from anyone not named Caroline, in the aptly-titled “Cold as Ice.” Actually, even Caroline was a bit mean-spirited at times, come to think of it, thanks to her ever-spiraling hormone-induced up-and-down emotions, thanks to that nutty witchy pregnancy she was having to contend with, courtesy of the Gemini Coven.

We began with the by-now typical opening of the season, a flash-forward to three years in the future, as we saw that Stefan was, in fact, no longer with Caroline- which we basically knew already- but now we saw why: he was clearly involved romantically with Valerie again. We’ll just have to wait and see how all that went down, as that was all we got, save the fact that Stefan was headed to Caroline’s location in Dallas from Chicago to save her from whoever the current threat was.

All we know is that it’s a female, from the quick glimpse we got on the last episode, and she’s not too happy with Stefan for whatever reason. Lily would have been a good guess, or Caroline herself, but we now know that they’re out of the running, so it pretty much has to be Nora or Mary at this point. I’m honestly not sure which to pick, as both Mary and Nora certainly had their reasons to be ticked at both of the Salvatore brothers, but it did appear to be someone with a darker complexion, so I’m going with Nora.

I suppose it could technically be Bonnie, but we know she’s with Enzo in the future, and she didn’t seem to be pissed at anyone, so I guess that rules her out somewhat, right? Though she did seem to feel guilty for someone she’d wronged, so there might be a connection there somewhere. If so, though, you’d think mystery girl would be after her, not Stefan, so who knows what the connection is there? I guess we’ll just have to take a wait-and-see on all that for now.

In the meantime, we returned to the present, where Stefan and Damon laid Lily to rest in the graveyard, with Nora and Valerie in attendance, but not Mary, Beau or, of course, Julian. Everyone says their goodbyes, though Damon is clearly still not into it and could care less. Meanwhile, Caroline and Bonnie are doing the charity thing for Christmas, via a Toys for Tots drive, which Nora eventually joins them in doing, much to Bonnie’s initial chagrin.

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Caroline is also taking pregnancy classes or what have you, which is going well until someone mouths off about her being a teacher’s pet- as in Alaric- and she very nearly wipes the floor with them until Alaric intervenes. We discover that Caroline is having trouble controlling her emotions, thanks to her pregnancy.

Cut to Stefan and Damon, participating in a pub crawl/Julian search, having narrowed his location down, courtesy of an assist from Bonnie, to a little town called Sunbury, which they later discover is one of the places Julian used to live.

Eventually, they stumble into a particular bar, only to find everyone there dead, indicating Julian has clearly been there at some point. He returns by chance shortly thereafter, having forgotten his “cellular telephone” and a ruckus almost ensues.

However, it turns out Julian’s stalling until his back-up arrives in the form of various vamps that he’s turned over the years, who promptly surround Stefan and Damon. Despite Damon’s drunken state, he thinks fast and sets the place on fire, allowing them to escape, after which he announces he’s done with dealing with Julian and is headed back home, as he just doesn’t care anymore.

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After the initial charity winds down, Bonnie heads to the hospital to continue things there, with Nora in tow, and the two are clearly starting to bond- and possibly even flirt a bit, at least on Nora’s end. Indeed, when Mary corners her and expresses her desire to get back together, and expecting an apology, no less, for Nora going against Julian, Nora snubs her and sends her packing, as Bonnie had suggested earlier.

Mary sulks off and Stefan later tracks her to a bar, where, with an assist from Valerie, he drugs her and takes her as bait to get Julian to meet him alone, sans his horde of vamp buddies. Julian alerts Nora as to the state of things, which she misinterprets as Bonnie having been keeping her occupied all this time to make happen and subsequently knocks her out.

So much for that burgeoning friendship. The potential Bonnie/Nora love-in is officially over before it had really begun in earnest. Sorry, ‘shippers, I’m guessing there will be no Bora or Norrie or whatever. Deal with it- I know I had to with that whole dreadful Bonnie/Enzo thing. Ugh.

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Julian goes back to the Salvatore mansion, where he finds a clueless Damon, who has no idea about the whole Mary kidnapping thing. They fight anyway, and Stefan arrives just in time to save Damon’s bacon- for now. They team up again to combat him, but it doesn’t go well, as Damon ends up on the business end of Julian’s magic sword, which is not a euphemism.

Julian bails immediately, with said sword, thus leaving Damon trapped in yet another hell world, only this time of his own design, which we see begins with a trip back to his Civil War days on the battlefield. I kind of figured this was where this was where this was headed, as we already knew Julian had both the sword and the phoenix’s stone, so it was only a matter of time before he stabbed someone with it.

However, I didn’t see the next twist coming, as someone nabbed Mary out from under Valerie’s nose, then, just as Caroline arrives at the mansion, after having paid a visit to her mom’s grave to break the news to her about her impending twins, Nora appears out of nowhere and also stabs Stefan with said sword. Nora informs a horrified Caroline that even if they survive, she can count of them not being the people she remembered, so we have that to look forward to.

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I gotta say- sidelining one of your leads is pretty ballsy, especially after already doing it with Damon and Bonnie previously, but to do it yet again, this time with both of the main leads- and so soon after jettisoning the show’s leading lady, Nina Dobrev, at that- takes some serious cojones.

Granted, we already know they both eventually get out of hell world into the future we’ve been getting glimpses of all this season, so that knowledge makes it all a bit anticlimactic when you think about it, but who knows, maybe there’s more to it.

It’s tempting to say that the future we’re seeing is the hell world, and all are headed for grisly ends, as we know the sword and stone construct said world out of the minds of whoever is stuck in it via their own memories, but as everyone seems relatively happy, all things considered, I’m guessing that isn’t it.

Okay, granted, we know that Damon was, up until Stefan wakes him up, stuck hibernating in a coffin at his own behest to wait on Elena to return- which is more sad than torturous- but Stefan seems happy with Valerie, as does Caroline with Alaric, and, to a certain extent Bonnie and Enzo, so that doesn’t read as hell to me.

Still, it could be really elaborate and set-up to make them think all is well only to pull the rug out from under them in the end, but that still doesn’t make sense to me, as one would think that Stefan would be with Caroline, not Valerie, but who knows? Also, if it’s either Stefan or Damon’s hell, why would we see Caroline, Alaric and Bonnie and Enzo’s sides of things?

Answer: most likely we wouldn’t. Ergo, the flash-forwards aren’t their respective hell worlds, but rather what happens after them, which means they both get out of them at some point. The only other thing we know is that it involves something about a scar Stefan has “opening up,” which is apparently a bad thing.

Not sure what, but either way, someone female is after them, and she’s clearly not happy with Stefan in particular. I’m open to any theories people have as to what that might be and as to who the female in question is.

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Still, much props to the writers for at least trying to take some chances, in a season that has, in my estimation, been wildly erratic at best, as the show scrambles to try and concoct some worthy villains for the crew to go up against, as well as more or less reinvent itself in the wake of Nina Dobrev’s exit. I’ve had mixed feelings about the whole Heretics and Julian storyline, admittedly, but I do like me some warranted flashbacks and this whole hell-world thing could be interesting in that regard.

It’s all sort of reminiscent of “Lost” in some ways, what with all the flash-forwards and alternate worlds and what have you, but hopefully it will end stronger than that show did. One can only hope. Until then, you have my attention “The Vampire Diaries,” now let’s see if you can maintain it. So far, so good, with this episode. Pity we have to wait damn near two months (!) to find out what happens next!

The show won’t be back until January 29th, at which point it will be airing on a new night altogether, on Fridays, which may or may not be a good thing. On the one hand, competition is stiff on Thursdays, and the ratings have taken a hit as of this season, and Fridays are certainly less competitive in this regard, but at the same time, when has a movie to Fridays ever been seen as a step up?

Instead, it tends to be where a lot of shows go to die, with only Saturdays being worse in the grand scheme of things. But who knows? Maybe the gambit will work for them. Probably not, but you never know. Hey, it worked for ABC’s line-up back in the day. You never know. We shall see, I guess.

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Until then, this was a solid enough episode to leave off on, and it seems likely that those still watching will follow the show, if only to find out what happens next, at least in the short term. I would imagine that a lot of what happens after that depends on what they do next. If they can continue the inventiveness they’ve been showing in this episode, it could be interesting. If not, well…one can hope that they at least end strong. Or is that too much to hope for?

I guess we’ll find out come late January. Until then, let me know what you thought of the episode, make your predictions below, and I’ll see you January 29th- hopefully. Thanks for reading!