The Vampire Diaries Season 6 Episode 16 “The Downward Spiral” Recap
Wow. The closing scene of this episode was by far one of the best moments I have ever seen on The Vampire Diaries. I have never felt more excited for what’s to come and I have never felt more relieved in the writer’s ability to give us what we want without actually giving us what we want. Stefan with no humanity is ALWAYS a good storyline and provides Paul Wesley the ability to show off his bad boy acting chops. Combine that with no humanity Caroline, who is clearly amazing in any emotional state, and we have an awesome story ahead of us with the Steroline we never knew we wanted. It’s genius and I have to say I did not see that twist coming. These two are going to be trouble and it’s going to be great.
I don’t want to get too ahead of myself though so let’s dig into the episode.
Roughly five hours after the death of her mother Caroline is getting wasted at the bar. Her switch is off and she feels nothing and frankly doesn’t give a damn about anything. I am a huge Candice Accola and Caroline fan so I was extremely looking forward to seeing humanity-less Caroline..she did not disappoint. The bartender was a little iffy about giving her more tequila but she plays the cancer card and a drink appears. You know who also appears? Liam. Remember Liam? He’s guy that Elena kind of dated when Damon was in the prison world and then completely disappeared. In fact he almost disappeared whenever he was on screen the first time around as well. Too funny.
He’s cute. She’s cute. Why not go make out in a back alley. In vampire speak that means I’m going to bite you and drain you of your blood. I thought that she was going to kill him, but Caroline was not in the mood to drag his body through the woods in heels, so it looks like Liam will get to live another day. Caroline has better plans for him.
Everyone else is trying to find Caroline. Stefan is at her house, which she completely emptied out. Elena is at the dorm wondering if Caroline is trying to cut all ties with her past. Finally, Bonnie shows up. The two embrace in what I think is their third (?) Bonnie’s back from the dead hug. It looks like any old hug to me now, and you can’t help but find the situation a little amusing.
Damon is one of the few not too concerned with Caroline right now. After all, he just saw his dead mother was alive in a prison world. There’s no way that she could be alive though, she died of consumption in 1903. Him and semi decent Kai (with a beard!) are at the Salvatore crypt digging up his mom’s coffin.
Kai is pretty adamant that she will not be there, but Damon is still convinced that she died of consumption in 1903. I keep saying this because Damon must have said it three times during the scene. The only alternative is that she’s a vampire because that woman hadn’t aged a day. Well, it’s no surprise that Damon finds the coffin empty.
His mother is in fact a vampire in a Gemini prison world and he has to find a way to get there. This is also news that he doesn’t feel like telling Stefan right now. This will most likely end up being a bad decision, but no one communicates on this show anyway so it’s no big deal.
Of course the running gag of having a Sarah Salvatore storyline even though there are way more better things going on is still happening. Enzo and Sarah have a conversation at Whitmore Alcohol and Coffee that mirrored Bella’s dramatic realization that Edward was a vampire. I think the writers were pulling our strings just a little bit.
“You’re rich. Strong. Fast. You have weird veins. You can heal people with your blood. What are you?”
“this is a joke right?”
“Does it look like I’m joking?”
“What do you want to hear me say it, fine? I’m a vampire.”
Here is the scene if you want to watch! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyDpGEc-aAQ
So, Sarah doesn’t seem to really care that he’s a vampire. I don’t know if this could become a romantic thing, but that would certainly be interesting yet somewhat typical for this show. I love Enzo and would like for him to have a better story line than what he has now.
Their conversation doesn’t get much further before Caroline turns up. Since she doesn’t give a crap about anything she almost blew Enzo’s secret about why he is pursuing Sarah. Enzo is shocked when he learns that Caroline turned off her humanity, but again she doesn’t care. She invited him to a warehouse rave later that night. Even no-humanity Caroline can’t refuse a good party.
Caroline returns back to the dorm with arms full of shopping bags. She is ready to restart her life. When she sees Bonnie all she retorts is a simple “huh,” and continues about her unpacking. She gives them the entire dish about how she made out and bit Elena’s ex-boyfriend and that she kept him alive. Elena is clearly a little disturbed hearing this news and when Bonnie tries to comment on the situation she is met with a snarky,” “Oh Bonnie, how we all just missed your commentary.”
For some reason I think that Stefan and now Caroline will be the only characters that can pull off the humanity switch persona. Everyone else just aren’t as good of people in the real world that the transition comes off more of annoying than exciting.
The two are trying to do everything that they can to convince Caroline to flip her switch back on and she is having none of it. All Caroline wants is a year. A year to be left alone and not feel anything the she will flip it back. As long as no one tries to convince or trigger her humanity all will be swell. However, if anyone tries to get her to turn it back on, she will become their worst nightmares. I believe her. With that she’s off.
I immediately knew that Stefan was going to ruin this plan because no one communicates on this show whatsoever. Turns out I will be right, but before we can get to the rave we have learn more about Damon’s mom. The only way Damon can get the answers he needs is to get to the 1903 prison world, and the only way he can get there is Kai. Kai has no problem doing the spell and sending him there but he wants something in return: the opportunity to apologize to Bonnie. At first I didn’t see why this would be a big deal because their days in the prison world were a little fuzzy, but Bonnie will remind us all later.
Stefan quickly stops by the hospital to get some information from a compelled Liam. He is hoping to find out what exactly Caroline compelled him to do but comes up short. He does find out about the rave and calls the girls so they can all get there to hopefully find Caroline. Again, probably a good time to tell Stefan the whole she will kill everyone if we try to change her mind.
At the rave, Bonnie is having some trouble adjusting to the real world. She has been alone for a long time and attending a loud and crowded college rave is probably not the best transition method. She gets roped into dancing with some guy and is saved by the phone when Damon calls her. He wants to talk about Kai and she basically tells him to shove it. When he tells Kai that the apology is not going to happen, Kai tells him just enough information about his mother to spike Damon’s interest. Basically, she was captured on a NYC dock in 1903. Kai’s got the info, but he’s not telling anything else until he sees Bonnie.
Elena spots Caroline at the rave and gets with Stefan to figure out a game plan. Stefan thinks he has a plan and brings Caroline over a shot. He takes this moment to tell Caroline how he really feels and that he was an asshole at the funeral but went to her house shortly after, but it was too late. He’s actually being genuine but I couldn’t help but think that his plan would backfire. No matter how he feels it looks like he’s just saying these things to get her to flip the switch. He reaches towards her and asks her to come back so that they can give it a shot.
You see her face alter just a bit but not enough. She sees what he just did and it broke the pact that she made about people not trying to change her mind. She walks off. Stefan, clearly proud of himself, walks over to Elena and tells her that his plan worked. He is her emotional trigger. He saw how Caroline reacted to his confession and knows that he is what will get her to flip the switch. Once he says that last part Elena understands what has happened. Since SHE DIDN’T TELL HIM, Stefan had no idea that any attempt to convert Caroline would result in her going full on psycho. Uh-oh. Communicate, people!
Caroline grabs Liam in the hallway on her way out of the rave. She asks him if he if is good at performring surgery in which he says that he’s just a pre-med sophomore so…no. She brings him anyway. They run into Enzo outside. Caroline and Enzo realize that Stefan had compelled Sarah not to care about or be scared of vampires. She also tries to make a move, which Enzo denies because he doesn’t like her when she’s not “her.” It doesn’t really matter because all she wanted to do was steal his phone so that she could get to Sarah. She wants to hurt Stefan.
Now at Whitmore Coffee Shope and Alcohol Bar, Caroline calls Stefan and tells him that she is going to kill Sarah Salvatore, and at that moment Sarah walks into the bar looking for Enzo. Stefan and Elena are now in panic mode. The decisions Caroline makes now will affect her whenever she turns her switch back on.
While all of this is going on, Bonnie is on her way out of the rave when Damon shows up…with Kai. He apologizes to her but the whole time Bonnie is just flashing back to their time in the prison world where he severely hurt and tortured her multiple times. She looks Kai dead in the eye and tells him that if he ever comes near her again she will melt his face off, and she totally means it. She gives Damon the evil eye too, he definitely made a mistake bringing Kai there against her wishes.
Damon follows Bonnie back to the dorm to apologize and instead of accepting it all she wants to do is really show him what it was like for her. Show him what Kai did to her. She doesn’t care about Damon’s mom, she cares that her friends understand what actually happened to her and why she isn’t so willing to forgive.
She gives Damon the same wounds that Kai gave her, sending him into severe amounts of pain. She tells him as he’s writhing around that the only thing she can’t give him is the loneliness she felt when everyone was gone and she was there by herself day after day. She tells Damon to get out.
By the time Stefan and Elena arrive at the Coffee/Bar place, Sarah is no where to be found. All they find is Caroline making them a round of frozen margaritas. Caroline tells them that they broke her rules and so now she has compelled Liam to perform (unsterilized/amateur) surgery on Sarah, who is tied down to an operating table. Liam is yelling how he doesn’t want to do this but under her compulsion he can’t stop.
Elena tries to make a breakthrough by telling Caroline that she regrets everything that she did after she turned her emotions off. Caroline just looks at her and says:
“I compelled a student to perform surgery on Stefan’s niece, and you found a way to make this about you. You truly have a gift, Elena.”
Thank you, Caroline! Elena is seriously self-centered and makes everything about her. I loved watching this version of Caroline call her out on everything that we’ve been thinking.
Caroline is a little smarter without her emotions than they give her credit for. She learned at the same time as Stefan that he’s her emotional trigger and therefore he is a liability in her plan. The solution? She will tell Liam to not perform surgery if Stefan turns off his emotions too! Yes! Genius! Bring back the ripper.
Stefan says no and uses his compulsion over Liam to not perform the surgery and to get a location. Once Liam says they’re at the hospital Elena is on the way. Liam had started to remove the spleen but Caroline tells him to just go ahead and take out her heart and to call her when Sarah’s dead. Elena better move!
Stefan is trying to get control over Caroline and the phone but no avail. She nails him to the ground using a wooden table leg. It’s fun watching them go head to head. Caroline is a force to be reckoned with.
Meanwhile, Elena is running around the busy hospital trying to find the two. Liam is snipping away Sarah’s shirt preparing to take out the heart. Elena can’t find them and when she calls to tell Stefan that she isn’t going to make it in time all he says is “Bring me back. Just remember to bring me back” What a line.
In that moment you know what he is going to do. Elena screams “no!” into the phone and it’s very reminiscent of the exact same line she shouted when Klaus commanded Stefan to turn it off. Stefan closes his eyes.
It’s interesting that he chooses to tell Elena this. I wonder if Stefan still thinks of Elena as his own personal trigger. I don’t know if it’s because she is who he was on the phone with or if it’s because Caroline isn’t in any state to bring him back. I wonder if after all they’ve been through, Elena is still the only one who can bring him back.
Elena finds Liam and Sarah and breaks Liam’s hands before he can take Sarah’s heart out of her body. She feeds Sarah her blood and immediately calls Stefan to tell him the good news. Sassy Stefan is back and the fun rock music is on, and right then Elena knows what he has done.
“Don’t you dare tell me that you shut it off.”
Stefan simply shrugs his head, mixes his margarita and says “Okay. I won’t” and hands the phone off to Caroline who is lounging across the bar top.. She takes the phone.
“He shut it off.”
It is definitely one of my top scenes of this show. And it’s also a great time to say that Ian Somerhalder directed this episode and I think that he did a great job with everything here. The whole episode was well done but knowing that this is how he envisioned and executed it the scene makes it all the more special.
So, here we have the two most human and genuine vampires on this show with their emotions turned off. It’s not the Steroline plot I ever envisioned, but I never saw it as an option. Now, it’s the Steroline that I am dying to see more of.
All while this is happening, Damon learns that Kai won’t be bringing his mom back. This sets him off even more considering he’s still emotionally upset about his last encounter with Bonnie. Kai knows more information now and willingly tells Damon when he threatens his life. Turns out Mama Salvatore is a ripper! Guess we know where Stefan gets it from. She faked her death and went on a killing spree leaving at least 3,000 people dead.
Kai says that for some reason his coven intervened and he is not going to release her. Hearing the news that his mother is a ripper saddens Damon. It tears him apart. He has grown so much as a character that this news actually haunts him instead of thrilling or exciting him. He is a good vampire now and only uses his bad parts to try and do good. This revelation was the perfect mirror to Stefan turning off his emotions and spiraling down into his ripper persona as well.
So I guess we can look forward to a little bit of fun in the coming episodes. Since eliminating the Gemini coven/ psycho Kai story so quickly the show was feeling a little flat. What a revival! I feel like there is life back in the show and we are going to keep chugging along with a pretty solid season.
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