Did Bonnie seem OOC in her scenes with Enzo in this episode to you?
I wouldn’t say she was OOC. Rather, imo they’re writing her in a direction that I don’t personally enjoy or relate to. Here’s my take on where we stand now, and more or less how we got here:
At the inception of s7, we were still riding high on the transformative wave that was Bonnie’s character arc in s6. She was very much standing on the brink of a brave new world, a world where she stood up for herself, valued her own life, where she was learning to be selfish when needed. Damon was a very large influence on all of that, perhaps even more than I’m happy with (let me explain, lol).
It’s been written about in the past, but Bonnie used Damon as a template for how to be selfish. We saw that first in s6 when she began coopting many of the motifs which in the TVD verse had up til then been reserved almost exclusively for Damon himself: the leather jacket, the Camaro, the boardinghouse, the bourbon.
This continued in s7, where we saw her relying on him very heavily, and also adopting some of his mannerisms: most notably, the snark.
So when Damon desiccated in 7x15, not only was he abandoning her with the implicit misunderstanding that he simply didn’t care enough about her to stay by her side… he was unknowingly tearing away the template, solace, and support that he had been providing her.
Bonnie’s brave new world was untethered, turned upside down.
(This is the part that I had a lot of trouble with. For a long time in seasons 6-7, I put a lot of effort into believing that even though Damon was acting as a positive influence on Bonnie on her road to selfishness, she would be able to stand tall in her own worth even if he wasn’t there. This didn’t really end up being the case, and I hate that… because while I absolutely agree that certain people bring out the best in us more than others, what you do and what you learn is still yours. By implying that Damon’s presence was necessary for Bonnie to fight for her own life, that means it’s more Damon’s accomplishment than Bonnie’s, and I just can’t get with that.)
So she struggled. She eventually latched her hopes and affection onto Enzo. This happened out of circumstance (the forced isolation), out of a budding mutual attraction (as evidenced by their scenes earlier in the season, despite their antagonism at the time), and out of the vacuum created by the Damon-shaped hole in Bonnie’s heart.
I don’t say this to imply that the love and connection that developed between that pair wasn’t real, or unimportant to her. Quite the opposite, tbh.
But I feel that this interpretation best explains why we saw so many BD/BE parallels (both to compare and contrast), why the writers were so adamant on leaning into this “hate sparks” angle where the pair were antagonists for far longer than made sense for a pairing you plan to make romantic by episode 18, and why there was such a pervasive feeling among BD fans that the writers were pushing Enzo as a replacement for Damon (rather than building BE as its own entity from the start of the season).
Damon leaving compounded on the abandonment issues Bonnie already suffered thanks to Abby’s abandonment, Rudy’s neglect, and the loss of her Grams. So much like Damon uses Elena as a symbol of his redemption, as the proof that he is worthy of love, Bonnie used/uses Enzo as a symbol of her self-worth, as proof that she’s worthy of not abandoning.
(And here’s a part that I’m not sure how I feel about: what does that mean for her use of Damon as a template? A year ago I would have said that that was empowering her, not making her dependent on him. But seeing how she reacted to losing him, I’m not sure anymore if that’s true… the writers seem to be telling a different story, where the reason people seek love is to soothe our insecurities alone, where love as a solace must be codependence. Needless to say, I’m not a fan.)
This is also reflected in Bonnie’s extreme emotional reaction to Damon’s return, which even Enzo noted was not the way you react to someone who you don’t care about anymore. But by then, the damage was done. Bonnie and Damon’s relationship was harmed, and thanks to Sybil it still hasn’t been given any chance to recuperate, to find a new normal between them.
So for Bonnie, Damon is just a loose end now, and losing Enzo makes her want to die, literally or figuratively. It’s not OOC based on this interpretation of the story, but then it doesn’t have to be OOC to suck. :)
To borrow some words from Gabi, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this is not a show that was written for me. It’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to accept that. I’m not sure who I resent more at this point: them for baiting us into believing otherwise, or myself for falling for it.