When we last saw Damon and Enzo, they appeared to be in thrall to something evil, but more or less enjoying themselves. This season opens with still plenty of thrall, but decidedly less enjoyment. If it feels like a retcon, give it some time.
They’re playing the old roadkill game, standing in the path of an oncoming car, then attacking the traumatized driver who stops to check on the person they ran over. This time, it’s two on two–the driver and his date vs. Damon and Enzo. No contest, obvs, and the sorry couple are escorted to the slaughterhouse. (I was about to come up with a scary nickname, but it’s a slaughterhouse, literally, so it’s about as scary as it needs to be.)
Here’s the twist, though: Damon wearily explains he and Enzo are unwilling servants to a dark force, and they’re only interested in bad people. Now, there’s a chance the dark force simply prefers evil flavor in its food, but I think it’s likelier that Damon and Enzo have made a choice to only serve it the worst people they could find, because they’re trying not to hate themselves too much, which means they’re not 100% mind-controlled.
The couple both die, of course, but the girl’s sins are minor enough to merit a quick exsanguination; the guy is a total POS who gets dropped into a supernatural piranha tank.
Enzo is showing too much spirit, so the thing in the tank drags him down for an underwater tete-a-tete. I assume it is reasserting its dominance over him, or trying anyway. Damon explains that flipping the humanity switch is the best course of action, because dude, no one wants to live with the stuff they’re doing. He’s also reading Fifty Shades of Grey, which is a hilarious image, because Ian Somerhalder was the fan-favorite to play Christian Grey back the movie was first announced.
Back in the slightly more normal world (relatively speaking), Caroline is ranting about the “hot nanny” Alaric hired, expressing a degree of concern that would drive a mere mortal crazy with jealousy, but Stefan can deal. (The hot nanny, incidentally, is the wonderful Kristen Gutoskie of the limited series Containment.)
Alaric has taken over the Armory, and he’s got some hip, new assistants, including flirtatious Georgie (Warehouse 13’s charming Allison Scagliotti). With their help, Ric gets through the secret passage Damon and Enzo apparently used to escape the vault months ago. (Presumably, the Armory crew Bonnie trapped inside back when she was forced to open the vault were unsuitable hosts for the dark force; only immortals were sturdy enough to possess and use to escape.)
Bonnie is despondent, longing for Enzo, helplessly missing Damon, and still unable to use magic. She and Stefan go to investigate a death, and there are clear signs of vampire involvement…more specifically, of Enzo’s involvement. The good news is that Bonnie can tell Enzo intended her to understand the clues he left, which means he’s still in there, reaching out to her.
Meanwhile, hot nanny Seline calls Caroline, so Caroline is on the line to hear Seline being attacked by none other than former Armory scion and psychiatric inmate Virginia St. John!
Caroline vampire-zooms there in time to give Seline her blood (I was never worried, because they wouldn’t cast that great an actress only to kill her immediately), then attempts to interrogate Virginia. But Virginia is stunningly resistant to interrogation. Let’s just say, Caroline is getting nothing from her…ever.
At the slaughterhouse, there is a very depressing conversation between the Salvatore brothers. It seems like Damon has given up on himself entirely, like turning off his humanity has left him with no hope for the future. He’s convinced that the dark force he serves is the ultimate evil, and he has come to believe that no matter what, he’s just doomed. Elena no longer provides him with a goal or dream, because he’s sure she will go to a happy afterlife, and he will not. Their future together, already postponed by Kai and rendered finite by her taking the Cure, now seems like nothing more than a fantasy to him.
Stefan tries to forcibly remove Damon from this horrible place, but hey, here’s Enzo. Damon holds Bonnie hostage as Enzo menaces Stefan…but not really. Enzo, unseen by Bonnie, is carefully instructing Stefan to get Bonnie out of there. When Bonnie can actually see Enzo, he acts remote and inhuman. Sadly, Stefan is too self-absorbed to tell her about Enzo’s moments of clarity. In case you might have wondered about that, they make it clear with Bonnie’s comment that Stefan hasn’t spoken a word since the slaughterhouse. He’s just torturing himself about Damon.
Lucky for Enzo, Bonnie is as focused on him as Stefan is on Damon. Thinking back over the clues she discovered throughout the day’s horrors, Bonnie realizes Enzo has been trying to convey the identity of his captor. What Damon has mistaken for the devil is merely a siren. Now, she has hope.
Damon seems almost like himself again as he counsels Enzo to reconsider the humanity switch option, because their master is a mind-reader, and if it detects things you care about, that can be dangerous. Clearly, Damon’s not so far gone. He’s still trying to protect his friends, and he’s begging Enzo to help him.
Back at the slaughterhouse, the supernatural piranha tank is bubbling fiercely. Something is coming out. A beautiful woman emerges, accompanied by an unearthly sound. It is the siren herself.
Here’s where a shared universe would come in handy; the Winchester brothers could totally help take out a siren.
Are you as bummed as I am that this is the last season? What was your favorite part of the season premiere? What do you most hope will happen before the end? (If you’re wondering about Elena’s potential return, check out this interview with Julie Plec.)