It’s not a particularly reviled storyline. At first, viewers received the mid-series run without much pushback. But now that enthusiasts are taking to social media to discuss their series rewatches, the reaction is somewhat different. Plugged-in fans likely know where this is going: We’re talking about the Travelers.
The Travelers made for relatively weak villains in ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Season 5
The Vampire Diaries Season 5 introduces the Travelers as the next big recurring villains, according to Fandom. The show initially hinted at them in the season 2 episode “Katarina,” when Katherine Pierce appears as a Traveler witch before becoming a vampire. DTV fleshed out and revisited the concept for season 5, beginning with the episode “I Know What You Did Last Summer.”
The Travelers are a disbanded coven of ancient witches banned from gathering and performing Earth Magic. They spent the past couple thousand years finding exceptions to those rules and making enemies with the vampire world. The group resorts to increasingly twisted methods to regain power, with Silas, Amara, and Qetsiyah as central figures in the plot—until all three die.
The core issue: The Travelers were far too easy to kill, making them unthreatening relative to other DTV baddies. After their convoluted, mostly inconsequential recurring presence in season 5, the Travelers faded from the series almost permanently. Katherine returns as a Traveler in the season finale, “I Was Feeling Epic,” as the only nod since the middle of DTV‘s eight-season run.
Fans are unimpressed by the Travelers in ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Season 5
Since The Vampire Diaries ended, viewer opinion of the Travelers has only declined. It’s the worst kind of criticism for a show as wild as DTV Often was: Many fans thought it was simply boring.
Reddit user Mandymae72 started a thread on their rewatch three months ago. They wrote, “Am I the only one who hates the whole ‘Traveler’ part of season 5?? I just think it’s dumb!”
The many replies range from agreement to tips on when to skip the rest of season 5.
A more recent Reddit thread by user buffyandwillowbtvs mirrors that sentiment: “Am I the only one who literally doesn’t remember almost everything about the Travelers’ arc during Season 5??”
Other fans agree. This time, they get into specifics about how they feel confused and bored, even calling the plot “lowkey racist.”
Were the Travelers necessary to the show’s overall arc?
Looking at all that wall-to-wall fandom hate, is there anything positive about the Travelers? Were they at least valuable to the series overall?
According to Screen Rant, at least one moment counted: Wes Maxfield’s Ripper serum. The Travelers helped invent the vampire-killing formula, which had repercussions for the rest of the series.
But outside that one detail, the Travelers are largely irrelevant to The Vampire Diaries. Another Reddit fan, Icy_Emerald, explained it best:
“All of the other villains in TVD are given flashbacks — the Council, Klaus, Esther, Silas, Kai, and the Sirens/Cade. The only exception is Markos and the Travelers.”