Vampire Diaries shows how to conquer your grief: embrace absurdity

The slowest episode of Vampire Diaries is full of whiplash-inducing twists and crazyfuck moments — but this was an especially frenetic outing, full of "what the hell" moments. And weirdly, it was an episode about grief and dealing with death. The message? Maybe that learning to love absurdity is the only way to live with death.

This episode was one of those nutso outings that's almost impossible to summarize without writing a freaking book. But in a nutshell, Bonnie drops "the veil" to the Other Side, bringing back all of the dead supernatural creatures from (basically) Purgatory — while at the same time, Elena is realizing that turning on her emotions wasn't enough. She has to start to process her grief over Jeremy's death. These two plotlines intersect in a way that's actually pretty intricate and unpredictable — and by the time the resurrected Jeremy runs into Elena, she's already gone through about 327 stages of grief.

Stefan tries to tell Elena that loss is part of being a vampire — if you live for hundreds of years, you're going to watch a lot of people die, and it's never going to stop hurting. But you have to confront your grief, and work through it, and so on. To which Elena responds by punching Stefan out.

Elena's plan for avoiding coping with the death of Jeremy is to keep focusing on her revenge against Katherine, but she happens to get the drop on Katherine at the exact moment when Katherine is tied magically to Bonnie — and anything that happens to Katherine happens to Bonnie, too.

And meanwhile, everybody supernatural who died in MysticFalls (except Aunt Jenna?) is back and processing their feelings about being dead — Kol wants revenge on Elena, Jeremy wants to protect Elena but takes his time, Alaric wants to drink with Damon to celebrate no longer having to scowl at Cult members, Lexie wants to laugh with Stefan, and Grams wants to tell Bonnie for the one-millionth time that Bonnie is powerful enough to do whatever she wants, except that she can't do anything she wants to do because she's not powerful enough. (It's complicated.)

It all culminates in Bonnie finally putting the kibosh on Silas, without us ever learning what Silas really looks like or what his deal is. And Bonnie telling Elena that it's okay that Elena tried to kill her, because "you weren't yourself," and Bonnie wasn't herself for a long stretch of time either — but then Bonnie immediately goes and does the dumbest possible thing, trying to resurrect Jeremy permanently. So is Bonnie still not herself? Or is her self just kind of a lunatic? In any case, it leads to not just Jeremy, but all the mean vampire hunters, being back for good.

Oh, and Bonnie is apparently dead — although this episode proves that's not always the most meaningful line of demarcation on this show, and there will probably be 20 more twists regarding Bonnie next week.

The most interesting bits of the episode, though, might involve Matt and Rebekah. Rebekah is still being the nice girl, even rescuing Caroline from being forced to keep cutting herself (love the slap and the "Bitch!" in response). And Rebekah seems not even to protest when Kol points out that she only mourned him for 24 hours.

Matt is trying hard to be helpful to all and sundry, as usual, but he gets a shoulder-full of broken glass, courtesy of Kol. And Rebekah offers to heal him, the quick and easy way, with her blood — but Matt says people in this town have a nasty habit of becoming vampires, and he wants to graduate high school as a human. But the only way that would become a factor is if Matt is killed while Rebekah's blood is in his system — meaning that Matt is saying he'd rather die than become another one of these vampires.

In an episode that's crammed full of people dying, coming back from the dead, coping with the death of loved ones, trying to kill each other, and obsessing about the downside of immortality — to the point where, yes, it does start to seem a bit absurd — Matt's simple declaration that he's willing to die to keep his humanity almost gets lost in all the noise. But instead, it stands out, as the most profound embrace of death in the episode, by one of the few people on the show who's technically still alive.