Last night's episode of The Vampire Diaries was pretty entertaining in parts — there was an epic silverware fight, and later Damon used bourbon as a weapon! — but it was also an episode in which the onslaught of selfish, short-sighted decisions got a little hard to watch at times.
Actually, the main plot of "The Day I Tried To Live" involves Bonnie — remember her? — who's still trapped in the 1994 repeating-day purgatory, months after Damon got out. Bonnie finally decides to kill herself, but then Jeremy and company mount an intervention, which succeeds at the last minute. (After Bonnie's already had a change of heart.) Jeremy manages to open the garage door when she's about to asphyxiate herself, and also to get her a notation that Damon somehow conveniently left months ago, telling Bonnie to go to Nova Scotia and snag some magic.
But the main engine of this plot is actually Kai, who's now absorbed enough of Luke's traits to have a conscience, and empathy and stuff. And with that, the show gains yet another loveable sociopath that we're apparently supposed to care about. Kai all but joins the Scooby Gang in this episode, and it's sort of funny that we're losing Jeremy (who was whiny but at least sort of human) and gaining Kai instead.
The main obstacle to Kai helping Jeremy to contact Bonnie is his sister Liv, who's pissed that Kai survived the Merge and Luke died. Liv is determined to kill Kai, and very nearly succeeds.
And here's where the second self-centered jerk in this storyline comes in: Tyler, who has been growing by leaps and bounds this past year or so, suddenly seems like a total jackass again. He tells Liv that he will support her, whatever she decides to do, and then a moment later tells her that he won't support her unless she does what he wants. Then after she puts him to sleep and goes off to kill Kai, Tyler rescues her and tells her that he never wants to see her again. Starting to wish Klaus had ripped this guy's head off, after all.
Also entangled in the "Jeremy saves Bonnie" storyline is the latest increment in the Damon-Elena relationship drama — when Kai happens to remark that Elena only chose Damon over Stefan after she turned into a vampire and kinda turned evil. (Which is basically true.) Elena has a freak out over this, then makes some weird speech about how her getting murdered by Rebekah Mikaelson proves that she was meant to be with Damon. Oh, and Elena admits that Jeremy sucks at art, but they're sending him to art school anyway because they just want him to move on.
While Bonnie is nearly killing herself, and everybody else is risking everything to save her, nobody bothers to tell Caroline — who's off in the woods trying dig up Bonnie's teddy bear, which she buried when they were nine. This is sort of a cute idea for a subplot — Caroline processing her unbearable misery and grief over her mom's impending death by doing something silly and symbolic. But Stefan — who, like a lot of people, is being weirdly written in this episode — decides to be kind of a dick to her, over and over, to prod her into having catharsis.
Stefan. Dude. She's had a lot of catharsis lately. Maybe she needs a break from the catharsis. Maybe what she actually wants is a catharsis-free hour. Dude.
Like I said, a lot of the characters felt kind of off last night, Stefan most of all. And I couldn't help wondering if the writers felt like Stefan doesn't have enough of a fan following because he's not enough of a "bad boy" as compared to Damon, Kai, Tyler, Enzo, and a dozen other guys who've come and gone on this show. So this was an attempt to make Stefan more of a jerk, so we'd love him? It was really hard to tell.
And finally, the "Enzo wants revenge on Stefan" storyline rumbles forward — now that he knows that Stefan's great great great great niece is alive, he wants to corrupt her. Which, OK. She's been set up as the most bland character on the show, so I'm on board with that, I guess. I'm just not that interested in Enzo's smirking evil-guy schtick. And it's annoying that Matt, the last remaining human on the show, gets dragged into this plot, as a pawn no less. Matt deserves better.
Maybe it's just because last week's Vampire Diaries was exceptionally great, but this felt like an "off" episode by comparison. And it left me worrying that this show has finally reached Peak Selfish Jerk, and there really will be nobody left to root for. (The Originals still has Marcel and Josh, and maybe Camille, once in a while.)