The Vampire Diaries “Postcards from the Edge” Review (Season 7 Episode 12)

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On the latest episode of “The Vampire Diaries,” Damon continued his downward spiral, as Stefan tried desperately to keep him from completely self-destructing, in the aptly-titled “Postcards from the Edge.” Meanwhile, Bonnie, Nora and Mary begrudgingly teamed up to hunt down the so-called Huntress, while Caroline suffered the worst kind of growing pains in the hospital, courtesy of her little ones; and Matt inadvertently let someone in on the growing vampire problems in Mystic Falls.

We began with Damon, still reeling from his assumed destruction of Elena’s body, lying in the road, waiting to be literally be run over by a passer-by. Instead, an unlucky driver stopped the car, and Damon compelled him to give him a ride and then unloaded his woes onto the poor guy before snacking down on him and getting out back in the vicinity of Mystic Falls.

As Stefan frantically tried to find Damon, he popped in on Caroline at her place, who seemed fine at first but it was short-lived, as the babies went from kicking up a storm to causing her to pass out, necessitating a trip to the hospital. Though given a clean bill of health, clearly something was wrong, as evidenced when her hand started to deteriorate out of nowhere.

At the Mystic Grill, Julian and his vampires continued to run roughshod over the town, terrorizing any locals unfortunate to have stayed in town. Valerie paid him a visit long enough to deliver a postcard with a red “X” on it- the trademark warning from the elusive Huntress, aka Rayna Cruz (Leslie-Anne Huff, “Strawberry Cliff”).

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Meanwhile, Bonnie and Nora did a locator spell to find the Huntress, who cropped up in Ohio, so they headed there, with a none-too-happy Mary, who feared the former two were an item. Though Bonnie realized early on that Nora was intentionally trying to make Mary jealous, she insisted on coming anyway.

Damon crops up at the Mystic Grill, immediately killing one of Julian’s vamps, despite warnings not to. Clearly looking to fight, Julian was furious at first, before he got to talking to Damon and realized what his real problem was, at which point he decided to have a little fun with Damon instead of killing him outright, showing him a vampire “Fight Club” set-up he had going on in the back, where vamps fought homeowners for the right to live in their houses.

Julian invited Damon to vent out some of his frustrations in the ring, noting that it was a fight to the death, no weapons allowed. All was going fairly well until Damon cheated a bit with an assist from a hottie in the audience, who slid him a stick to finish off a particularly intimidating opponent, which Julian flipped out about and opted to fight Damon himself over. Stefan did attempt to intervene, but was summarily tossed out before it had any impact.

Back at hospital #1, Valerie determines that Caroline’s kids are feeding on her from within, attracted to the magic in her blood. She does a spell to stop them, but it proves only temporary, as Caroline later has a relapse of sorts and the pain strikes again- only this time no one is there to help her, as Valerie has gone off to aid Stefan at Caroline’s insistence.

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In hospital #2, in Ohio, Bonnie and company find Rayna, who is supposedly somewhat immortal thanks to magic and is in possession of a sword blessed by a shaman to vanquish her enemies, but what they see is a woman on the brink of death, old and alone, strapped down to the bed. They think it’s a trick by Rayna to fool anyone who comes looking for her, but since the locator said she was there, they split up to look for her on the premises.

Matt, after being quizzed by Officer Ares, aka Penny (Ana Nogueira, “The Michael J. Fox Show”), who has found his stash of vampire killing items, which he claims to have lifted off of crazed zombie apocalypse-fearing survivalists (!), is let go and heads to a lead given to him by Penny. However, when he arrives, the lead proves dead, and he catches a vampire there, which he quickly dispatches- with Ayes having witnessed the entire thing.

This, of course, means that she’s now aware that supernatural beings actually exist, which is not something she was expecting, to say the least, leading to a serious drinking session with Matt as she takes in all of this as he explains what they’re actually up against. Though taken aback, she’s surprisingly accepting, and impressed by Matt’s bravery- and perhaps a bit smitten as well.

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After searching for Rayna with no luck, Bonnie returns to the old lady’s room to question her and see if she had any idea what was going on. Turns out it actually is the Huntress, who calls her out for the company she’s keeping. Bonnie tries to use her magic against Rayna, but to no avail, as she is completely immune. Just in the nick of time Enzo arrives and saves the day, stabbing Rayna in the throat with something or the other.

He agrees to stay with her as Bonnie goes to fetch the others, but when they return, both Enzo and Rayna are gone. We discover that it was actually Enzo who sent those postcards with the red “X” on them, intending to use one of Julian’s family members to lead him to Rayna, which is exactly what they did. Oddly, he takes her to the crematorium, where he burns her body- but instead of killing her, it actually revives her and she’s miraculously young again.

Not sure how that works, but as we see in the three years-ahead bit, it’s Rayna who actually uses Caroline to put her in touch with Stefan, with an assist from Matt, who sedates Stefan when he arrives at the news station and presumably leaves him for Rayna to add to her collection, which also includes a tied-up Damon. Not sure what she wants with them, but I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

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Back at the Grill, Damon is in danger of being killed by Julian- and quite frankly, wants to- when Valerie and Stefan intervene on his behalf, using magic to subdue Julian long enough to get Damon out of there before he’s dead for real. Julian obviously isn’t happy about this development, and orders his vamps to kill them on sight if either of them returns.

Damon finally admits what he did to Elena to Stefan, who punches him repeatedly before returning to his car and freaking out a bit. Valerie joins him and Stefan says he’s had it with Julian and wants to kill him for real, blaming him for near-everything that’s gone wrong in their lives. He gets no argument from Valerie, who agrees to help him do so.

Nora finally admits she was intentionally trying to make Mary jealous and the two make up somewhat, with Nora inviting her to have a drink together, which she accepts. Back at the Grill, Valerie puts up some sort of invisible shield that obscures Julian from his vamps and Stefan confronts him, ultimately staking him. Is he for real dead, or is he merely staked in a way similar to the Originals? He looked pretty dead to me, but who knows with this show these days?

Damon returns to the mansion, where he discovers that the woman who saved his bacon earlier has trailed him back to his place. We don’t get a name on her yet, but she and Damon get tanked and end up hooking up, in spite of Damon’s continued grief. That was about it for the episode, save the aforementioned flash-forward, which, like I said, identifies the Huntress as the one who’s after Stefan for whatever reason.

This was an okay episode, I suppose, but definitely a step down from last week’s Paul Wesley-directed effort. My main problem with it was that the whole neo-“Fight Club” thing has been done to death in the years since that film/novel and, as such, was a bit of old hat. But really, my main gripe was that, after all the build-up, Julian’s death (?) was a bit rushed and somewhat anti-climatic. It also seemed unfair not to have Damon there, either, after all the pain Julian had caused him as well.

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I suppose it’s possible that it’s not over and that there’s more to the story there, and that the staking was only temporary, as with the Originals, but to the best of my knowledge, the Originals are the only ones who can survive that sort of thing, but I could be wrong. I mean, he didn’t disintegrate, so there’s that. It could be that it was a temporary measure to get Julian out of there so that Stefan could take Julian back to his place to further deal with him there, where there were less outsiders to contend with. I guess we’ll see.

On the other hand, I am curious to see where all this Huntress stuff is leading, and that was pretty neat when she didn’t die upon being burned alive, and instead came back all young and hot, looking a bit like Davina from “The Originals,” in fact. Also interested to see why Enzo was so intent on getting to her himself. He clearly has some sort of nutty plan he’s executing, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see what that is as well.

All in all, I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t grab me, either. I wanted to like it more than I did, but instead I was just left a bit cold by it all. The whole thing just seemed a bit recycled and somewhat of a letdown, what with all the build-up leading to it. On the other hand, that was nothing compared with the ongoing build-up with the whole three-years-forward thing, so if they deliver on that, I guess I can live with the rest.

What did you think of the latest episode of “The Vampire Diaries”? Were you also a little disappointed in Julian’s send-off? Do you think that he’s not quite dead and will be back eventually? What does Enzo want with the Huntress? What is up with the Huntress in general? Is she a witch? If she’s immortal, how did she get older, and why does fire seem to revive her? Is there a love connection in the making with Matt and Penny? What’s going on with Caroline and the babies? Sound off on this and more down below and see you next week!