The Vampire Diaries Recap: Yellow Ledbetter

The Vampire Diaries Recap: Yellow Ledbetter (6×02)

Synopsis: Elena reenacts Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind to forget Damon with Alaric. In the meantime, Damon and Bonnie discover that they’ve been transported to Mystic Falls circa 1994 where they’re living the same day over and over. Caroline and Enzo track down Stefan before the both of them and the audience figure out that Stefan’s a selfish child who’s not worth anyone’s time.

Rating: ★★★★★

There must be something in the water in the writer’s room this season, because this show got awesome again.

There’s this great thread of retrospection running throughout the entire episode as Elena works with Alaric to erase her memories of Damon.

Since Elena’s memories of Damon are so deeply entwined with Elena’s identity over the past three years, Alaric decides the best way to erase his role in Elena’s life is to find the moment Elena fell in love with Damon and change that moment. The removal of this moment will cause a domino effect, erasing Damon from Elena’s mind entirely.

It’s all very Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and it works. It works really, really well. The flashbacks throw back to the characters’ epic romance throughout the seasons, and they remind us just how far all these characters have grown and all they’ve lost along the way.

We’re taken back to all Delena’s greatest hits before we get at the pivotal memory. We start when the two met on the road outside of that high school party and gradually move toward when Damon and Elena kissed for the first time at the motel.

Finally, after some real talk with Caroline, Alaric gets at the moment Elena fell in love with Damon: when Damon gave her Stefan’s necklace at Caroline’s party. Elena relives the memory in her bedroom while Damon remembers the same experience from The Other Side in Elena’s house.

Ric changes the memory and then Damon changes from “my boyfriend” to “a monster.”

It’s also the moment when I almost start crying. Nina Dobrev delivers this performance perfectly- she makes audience feels the character’s pain and loss and the process makes her final emotional distance that much more heartwrenching. Even though the writing hasn’t always been up to par on this show, Dobrev has always been consistently on point.

I will always be a Dobrev cheerleader.

Meanwhile, Caroline and Enzo spend the episode confronting Stefan, who has set up a new life in a small town and completely forgotten about trying to bring his brother and Bonnie back from The Other Side. Essentially, Stefan spends the episode being a selfish manchild who clearly doesn’t care about anyone other than himself.

Car's face=my face dealing with Stefan. [the-vampirediaries.com]

Car’s face dealing with Stefan=my face dealing watching Caroline deal with Stefan.
[the-vampirediaries.com]

I can’t even emotionally sympathize with the character at this point, because Stefan’s brand of repression is downright mean spirited. He ignores Caroline’s voicemails, which on its own might be understandable, but he also pushes new girlfriend Ivy away even though she is in no way connected to his past in Mystic Falls.

There’s a lack of consistency here in Stefan’s emotional response, but I’ll give you a hint. It all adds up to Stefan being a dick. (Sing it, Caroline!)

Stefan makes Caroline cry and Enzo is having none of it. Enzo tells Stefan that he will make Stefan’s life a personal hell because he abandoned his brother. To prove his point, Enzo Ivy and snaps Stefan’s neck before he drops the mic and rides off with Caroline into the sunset. I’m loving Enzo this season.

He's not bad to look at, either. [the-vampirediaries.com]

He’s not terrible to look at, either. [the-vampirediaries.com]

Finally, Damon and Bonnie are living out their days in purgato–I mean, 1994 Mystic Falls. Bonnie thinks that her Grams sent them both there because she made a sacrifice before The Other Side disintegrated to ensure Bonnie found peace. Unfortunately, Bonnie can’t do magic to get them out, and they’re not alone.

We end with Mr. Citizen’s Brigade killing vampires en masse with his mobile vampire prison-unit truck. Proving, yet again, that the neighborhood watch takes itself way too seriously.

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