Aaaandd it’s back! Last nights episode kicked off the mid-season premiere and return of The Vampire Diaries on a new night!, and it’s another doozy. This season continues what its becoming quite known for, time jumps. The present timeline is a hazy subject and may or may not be an illusion. However, the center of the episode is Damon trapped in the Phoenix stone and reliving many of his past timelines
“You made your bed, have a nice nap.” Damon’s parting words to a dying Lily in last years finale seem ironic as the episode starts. Damon is trapped inside the Phoenix stone and relieving all his own trespasses; so we travel back to his time in the Civil War. Seems visions of a dead Lily haunt his visions of the past, and the crimes he committed and never spoke of. A few certain farmhouse murder are another one of his well hidden secrets. As he committed them to get back to his brother.
Soon though Bonnie wakes up Damon from the Phoenix stone, but not much has changed with everyone else. Caroline is still at Whitmore (Very pregnant, and hiding the real life pregnancy of Candice King), Alaric is teaching (and absent from the entire episode), and Matt is still trying to protect the town. However, Stefan is still trapped and Bonnie is too weak to bring him back. Sadly, this means his dead body was easily stolen by Julian who decides to set Stefan on fire. This means that Damon views are suddenly….
….DUN DUN DUN !!!!!! Damon is actually still trapped in the Phoenix stone. Damon will keep reliving the same incidents over and over again; the farmhouse murders, and Stefan’s kidnapping. When after a series of the hellish loops finally breaks the cycle, a new timeline has Stefan awake first. Damon realizes though that death is the key to resetting his punishments so killing Stefan sets him back at square one. Damon believes there is a pattern and by mastering it he can solve the puzzle of the stone’s punishment.
In real, REAL time Stefan is really awake first (and a little worse for wear from his time in the stone), but it seems like they can’t hook Damon’s spirit to pull him out. Damon isn’t ready to succumb to the pain his deeds can cause him, so the Phoenix stone doesn’t feel he is being properly punished. Thus the never ending loop of civil war hair styles, even if they’re pretty great to keep looking at (*wink*). Multiple resets later the stone does finally get him to admit one thing; that he has always just wanted his mommy back. Thus the illusion makes a small change to the scenery, and gets Damon to truly admit every reason he hates his mother. As he watches her die again, but this time on a battlefield, he admits to just only wanting her love and forgiveness, but he will always lose her to everything else before she could give these things to him. She dies in the middle of his confession, and continuing pain of never being able to admit his real feelings to the one person he always needed to.
In real, present time, Damon is released from the Phoenix stone after the tearful end with his mother. Yet now he fully realizes everything he needed to do to make the loop stop. He had to succumb to the pain of loss and make it right. But instead the stone released him and he believed that the stone has only brought him to a new hellish scenario and he’s determined to reset and fix what he nows knows. In his haste to return to his mother and apologize he nearly kills Bonnie, Matt, Caroline and Stefan. ‘Hell Is Other People’ ends with Damon not resetting and slowly realizing he may have just killed all those he cared about most.
- This episode had to have been utterly hellish for Ian Somerhalder to shoot. Especially since he is every single scene.