The Vampire Diaries “Things We Lost in the Fire” Review (Season 7 Episode 11)

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In the latest episode of “The Vampire Diaries,” both Damon and Stefan continued to deal with the after-effects of their time in the Hell-world, while Caroline threw a baby shower-esque party to try and teach the boys the basics of fatherhood and dealing with babies. In addition, Stefan got Damon up to speed on what had transpired while he was down for the count for weeks on end, including what had become of Mystic Falls and Julian in recent times, in “Things We Lost in the Fire.”

While in some ways basically an extension of last week’s mid-season premiere, this episode did offer a few new, somewhat unexpected twists, and a way forward towards the new Big Bad in town- or soon to be, at least. That said, it was overall a step up from that episode, which wasn’t so much bad as it was sort of navel-gazing. Somerhalder gave a perfectly respectable performance, to be sure, but it couldn’t help but have a sort of Civil War-themed “Groundhog Day” feel to it.

This episode was the third directed by star Paul Wesley, and I’ve noticed that his episodes to date tend to involve the characters learning about controlling themselves in some way, shape or form. In “Woke Up with a Monster,” both Kai and Liv strove to control their magic, while “Resident Evil” was about various characters banding together to stop the Travelers from gaining control over Mystic Falls.

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Both also deal with finding a solution to a problem with no easy one- in “Woke,” it was about Elena trying to figure out while she was being held prisoner by Kai, while Caroline was desperately trying to find a cure for her mother; while in “Evil,” Enzo was looking for a long lost love he knew wasn’t likely to return. Little did he know she would, as it turned out to be Lily- but that didn’t exactly go his way, did it? “Evil” also dealt with dreams and alternate realities, just like this episode as well.

So, in other words, Wesley seems to be drawn to episodes revolving around soul-searching and puzzle-solving, which makes sense as it is a common trademark that shares with the character he plays, if not necessarily Wesley himself. Is it possible it’s all just a coincidence and he was basically just randomly assigned the particular episodes?

Sure, but I’m guessing he had a little input into it, at least to some degree. Whatever the case, he certainly did a solid job with this one, as ever, especially if you factor in how much more he was in this episode compared to the previous ones he directed. Multi-tasking in such a way can’t be easy, and I actually speak from experience on this one, having had to co-star in a short film I directed when an actor dropped out.

I was pretty much beside myself the entire time, personally- I can only imagine what that would be like on that much of a bigger scale. In my case, it definitely had an adverse effect on the finished project, but here it decidedly did not, and that’s to Wesley’s credit. Of course, it certainly helped that it wasn’t as much the case on the last two, but still, credit where credit’s due.

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As for the content of the episode itself, as pointed out, it wasn’t that far removed from the last episode, but it was ultimately that much better by not being quite as constrained as that one was. With both of the Salvatores now freed from the Hellscape, the show was free to move about more, dipping back into it as necessary, primarily on Stefan’s end, as we saw what he went through during his own experiences.

Speaking of dipping, in fact, Stefan’s particular Hell involved his drowning over and over again, a la his time spent in the quarry. Only this time it wasn’t in a safe, a la the fourth season finale/early fifth season, it was simply him in the quarry being drowned over and over again by his own brother, Damon, who then would drown himself as Stefan saved him- only for the cycle to begin again as one drowned and the other awoke again.

In order the break it, Stefan had to let Damon die, which had, needless to say, weighed heavily on him ever since. As a direct result, once his spell was broken and Bonnie was able to revive him, he kept guiltily seeing Damon everywhere and having the knee-jerk reaction to kill him, often attacking random people in the process who most definitely were not his brother.

Thinking he’d got it under control, he offered to be there for Damon himself, to help him transition back- hopefully without killing anyone in the process. Well, his re-entry into the real world notwithstanding, of course, in which Damon wiped out everyone in sight, thinking it was still the Hellscape and he could simply “reboot” and start over. Thankfully, everyone was okay in the end, albeit a little freaked out by the occurrence.

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That said, it didn’t mean anyone was keen on being around him, under the circumstances, so he was chained up for a while, then let loose by Stefan, who escorted him around town to show him what had occurred in his absence. It seems that Julian had turned Mystic Falls into a bit of a free-wheeling vampire town, where humans didn’t fare too well if they had the misfortune to wander in, but he had at least bartered a truce with the Salvatores, albeit one contingent on both of them behaving themselves and not killing any of his own people.

Naturally, it didn’t take long for Damon to blow that rule, but even then, Julian gave him one “get out of jail free” card- so long as Damon didn’t do it again. He didn’t but what he did was arguably worse- he blew off Stefan, cornered Tyler and used him to find out the real location of Elena’s body. Once there, he hallucinated Henry yet again, only this time in Elena’s coffin instead- so naturally Damon flipped out, poured gas on it and set it on fire- hence the title. (Or in part, at least- it was also the name of both a book and the movie based upon it.)

Did that really happen? No, it didn’t, but it was as good a metaphor for the dying of the Delena’s fan-base as any, if you think about it. Some were probably cheering it, but the ‘shipper contingent probably weren’t too thrilled about it at the time. But, as we know from the flash-forwards, Elena is still being referenced, so she couldn’t be truly gone or that wouldn’t be the case.

Too bad, because if it were real, it might have given the scenario the closure it so desperately needs. Instead, we’re stuck with a repeating loop of our own- the one in which Damon spends the rest of the series pining over Elena and not moving on with his life, like he should. Oh well-at least we got a visual of what that might look like. Better than nothing, I guess. I’ve given up all hope of the whole Bamon thing at this point, and I’m guessing most of their supporters have as well. What are you gonna do? Hell, what can we do?

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On the plus side, the stuff with Caroline at her baby shower with the guys was a hoot- those guys were all truly miserable with the whole diapering fiasco, am I right? I also liked the ongoing bonding between Nora and Bonnie- excuse me, “Mystic Queen”- maybe they’ll make them a thing now, lol. Nonnie? Bora? Hell, they even referenced Bonnie and Matt being good for a match-up on that dating site. Batt? Mannie? Either is better that than Benzo, as far as I’m concerned.

The last big reveal was that of the Huntress- a vampire bounty hunter that sounds pretty relentless and unstoppable- who we discover that Matt is working for in the future. Might that be the cop that pulled him over? That could be why she did it. If so, I certainly can’t blame Matt for reaching his breaking point, given all that he’s been through at the hands of supernatural beings.

Why the Huntress has it in so bad for Stefan and not Damon is another story altogether. I honestly couldn’t say why that would be. Whatever the case, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. I’ll hold off on any predictions until we know more, because there’s just not a lot to go on in that regard as of yet.

All in all, a decent enough episode, and like I said, a definite step up from last week’s. Hopefully, things will only get better from here, but we’ll see. Unlike Damon and Stefan in their underwater escapades, I won’t be holding my breath waiting for that to happen until it does- if it ever does. I certainly hope the show-runners have something big planned, because this might well be their swan song when all is said and done.

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What did you think of the latest episode of “The Vampire Diaries”? Were you glad to see Stefan and Damon reunited yet again? Did you think Wesley did a solid job with the direction? What do you think about this Huntress business? How about Bonnie befriending Nora? Or Matt turning against everyone? Sound off down below, and see you next week!