TV Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' Episode 415 - 'Stand By Me'



the vampire diariesThe Vampire Diaries Episode 415
“Stand By Me”
Written By: Julie Plec
Directed By: Lance Anderson
Original Airdate: 21 February 2013

In This Episode...

Elena is relieved to see that Jeremy was wearing his ring. She takes comfort in this, even as Damon and Stefan whisper that, as one of the five hunters, Jeremy is considered a supernatural creature, and therefore the ring won’t work on him. Damon sends Stefan back home with Elena and Jeremy’s body while he sticks around on the island to find Bonnie.

Back home, Caroline is shocked to see Stefan carrying in Jeremy’s limp body. Elena instructs him to take Jeremy upstairs, where they lay him in bed and she waits by his side for him to wake. Stefan talks in hushed tones to Caroline, who is in shock. Elena appears and insists that she is not stupid; she is just clinging to hope, however slim. His tattoos disappeared when he died, so Elena is hoping that he is no longer a supernatural and therefore the ring will do its magic. Caroline is desperate to do something, so Stefan sends her to get Meredith. As she is leaving, she smells something strange: the smell of Jeremy decomposing. When Meredith arrives, she explains in clinical terms what is happening and why she needs to take Jeremy and Elena loses it. Stefan has to physically restrain her from killing Meredith. Matt shows up and they cry together and commiserate over dead siblings.

On the island, Damon can’t find Bonnie. He does, however, find Rebekah and Vaughn. He can’t kill Vaughn, but he can torture information out of him. He admits that he was tracking a nest of vampires through Colorado when Katherine found him. She had a werewolf on the inside (Hayley) who she found in New Orleans. Rebekah decides she is going to go back to New Orleans and track down Katherine - and the cure. (Conveniently, she will be all lined up to appear in the backdoor pilot for The Originals.)

Elsewhere on the island, Bonnie wakes to discover Shane has healed her stab wound with local herbs, and Silas has healed his broken leg. Bonnie is overwrought when Shane tells her that Jeremy is dead. Shane assures her that Silas will bring him back and she will help with her expression. She just needs to help Shane orchestrate a third massacre. Bonnie is horrified at the thought, but then she trips over what she imagines is Jeremy, begging to be saved, and kind of loses it. Shane calms her down, and convinces her that Silas is all they need. Damon is about to give up and go home to care for Elena while Stefan comes back for Bonnie, when he finds her - and she has a way to help Jeremy. This offers Elena a tiny glimmer of hope.

Bonnie, Damon, Matt, Elena, Stefan, and Caroline all converge on the Gilbert house, and we get a Rashomon-style tale of what the whole Silas thing is. As Shane explains to Bonnie (back while they were on the island) Katsia, the witch who imprisoned Silas, knew that he would choose death, but still wanted him to suffer, so she created a kind of purgatory for all supernatural beings in the afterlife. As Katsia’s descendant, Bonnie can make that side disappear and allow every supernatural to return. Damon explains this to Stefan with an intense seriousness tinged with fear. As Bonnie relates it to Matt, Caroline, and Elena, this is a great idea, it means all their dead loved ones will be back, and everything will be right as rain. Caroline thinks she is crazy to want to kill 12 people, and Matt is inclined to agree - until she mentions that Vicky would come back. Elena sits there, frozen, as her friends argue amongst themselves. The phone rings, snapping Elena out of her reverie. It is April, asking for Jeremy. A long pause. “Jeremy... can’t come to the phone right now. He’s... he’s dead.” Elena hangs up and goes to Jeremy. She gathers her strength, pulls back the blanket, and sees her brother - dead. The full truth hits her. She wonders how long he has been rotting there and demands Damon bring him downstairs. Everyone backs up while Elena becomes full-on manic. She grabs lighter fluid from beneath the sink and starts dousing the house in it, rambling about how they need a cover story, how she doesn’t want to live here anymore, and, heartbreakingly, how there is no room in the family plot for his body. Elena lights a match as her friends frantically try to calm her down. The match burns down to her fingers, and she instinctively drops it. Damon catches it before it hits the fuel, and Elena collapses into a hysterical mess. “It hurts! Make it stop!” Clearly, she isn’t talking about the match. Stefan encourages Damon to use the sire bond to comfort her. He does - by telling her to turn it off. Stefan is alarmed, and Elena grows stoney and still.

Matt takes Bonnie home. Shane is waiting for her at her front door. He himself seems a little manic, but Bonnie gets swept up in his energy about Silas being their savior. But Rebekah is still on the island (I have no idea why), and she stumbles over a body. Shane’s body. He’s still alive, but suffering from massive blood loss. Silas seems to have doppelgangered Shane. Yay.

While Stefan and Damon are outside discussing the merits of Damon’s chosen path to healing, Elena is staring at photos of her and her brother. Damon promises that after a time, he will sire bond Elena back to her humanity. The boys share a borderline-cheesy moment where they say how much they love each other without actually saying they love each other, then go back inside to see Elena with another lit match in her hand. Stefan asks her what if she wants to come back here one day. “I won’t.” She drops the match and the three leave. The fire consumes Jeremy.

Dig It or Bury It? I am not exactly a person who enjoys emotional TV but this was a gooooood episode.    I am lucky enough to say that I haven’t lost anyone close to me - just grandparents at age-appropriate times, but to me, this felt like an authentic death. In so many TV shows, someone dies, the character cries, and then they move on. A full episode devoted to, essentially, all five stages of grief really felt like an authentic way to approach it. It reminded me a bit of the episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer where her mom dies. It was handled in much the same way. And there was something even more chilling about the way she just set the house on fire. Not so much for the property loss, but all those little things that one day she will miss. As the fire leapt up around Jeremy’s body, I really wanted to see him sit upright, gasping for breath and realizing he is about to die - again. Is that wrong?

Dear Diary

The bright side to all this is that, in the final scenes, as the house is consumed by fire, the camera lingers on a shot of someone’s fucking diary going up in flames. 


The Vampire Diaries is on hiatus for a few weeks, but when they return, it is Vamps Gone Wild, as Elena turns into a bad girl. Her first task is to eat the opposing team at a cheerleader competition. Seems reasonable.