Synopsis: Nora and Mary Louise celebrate their anniversary while Lily plots to kill Julian. After a betrayal ruins Lily’s plans, Lily stabs herself. In the meantime, Caroline tells Stefan she’s pregnant. He does not handle it very well.
I read an article on how this episode supposedly empowered Lily in confronting her abuser and ending her cycle of abusive relationships. Which would be awesome, if it were actually true.
This entire episode is a testament to writing a pseudo-strong female character who is a repeated victim of domestic violence and never frees or reclaims herself from this victimhood. What’s more infuriating is that I think the episode is trying to make the viewer feel good about the entire situation. Lily sees abuse; she decides to kill her abuser; story ends tragically, but Lily feels justified by protecting her loved ones.
So here’s my issue with that.
Essentially, though the story does not romanticize Lily’s abuse, it does nothing to empower Lily, who, even after realizing her victimhood and vowing to reclaim her power, **spoiler alert** takes her own life at the end of the episode in an attempt to kill her abuser in an ultimate act of victimhood.
What kind of message are the writers trying to send here? Because I dearly hope that message wasn’t that Lily was so tightly bound (magically, even) to this horrible victimization that she had to sacrifice her own life to free herself, and the world, from her abuser. That she had to commit suicide to find a way out. Because that sounds a whole helluva a lot like victim blaming.
After all, Lily got herself into this mess so it must be her duty to punish herself to get any sort of absolution, right? She put her sons through this, for fang’s sake!! What a terrible mother!
So even though Lily makes the conscious decision to realize her own power by killing her abuser, she never accomplishes her mission. No, instead of being empowered, she ends up completely powerless at the hands of Julian. Who she believes that she’s still tied to, both physically and emotionally, even when she’s free. And the cycle ends tragically with her slow, painful death.
But more on that later.
This episode’s soiree is Mary Louise and Nora’s anniversary. Of course, Julian makes a huge to-do about the entire affair in order to endear himself to Lily’s family. He even ends up giving Mary Louise an opulent engagement ring for Nora.
Throughout the episode, the Salvatore brothers and Lily plot to kill Julian at the party. Julian brought the compelled Mystic Falls blood-bag residents as hors d’ oeuvres and pretty much turns the entire family against Lily with his superfun party games. *retches*
Lily decides it’s best to tell the family what Julian did to Valerie to get them on her side. Everyone believes her, except the newly engaged Mary Louise, who ends up freeing a tied up Julian from captivity. Nora ends the engagement, and Julian exacts revenge by kidnapping Damon and Valerie and telling her she has to kill one of the two to be with him. She takes option three and stakes herself, hoping that the magical link between her and Julian will also cause Julian’s death.
Surprise! No such luck. Julian unbound himself in case one of the brothers managed to kill him so that Lily wouldn’t get hurt.
Lily dies (slowly. painfully.), and Damon refuses to forgive her in her final moments. Three years later in the flashforward, we see Damon apologizing to a violent Lily, only to discover that Damon is hallucinating from werewolf venom and Lily actually did die all those years ago.
In the meantime, Caroline finally tells Stefan that she’s magically preggers, and Stefan ditches her to go kill Julian. After awhile, Stefan comes around and acts the supporting boyfriend role we all know and enjoy from season 1.
Also, Enzo gets to kiss Lily for a hot second but then gets kidnapped by Matt and his merry band of SWAT goons. I will be so upset if the stupid Whitmore vampire research storyline reemerges.