The Vampire Diaries 3.17 ‘Break On Through’ review: Raising stakes and burning stakes

This week has been crazy in the Vampire Diaries fandom. Something happened and then people went crazy. Including me. Although the show must go on, I still feel as though these are issues this season must address. And soon, seeing as there’s not much time left.

For example, why are we still so concerned with killing the Originals at this point? Truth be told, the fact that the series has had two episodes consecutively without Klaus (nor Finn, nor Kol, no Elijah, nor Esther…) and contained the same amount of storytelling throughout is enough proof to tell you they are not a threat. At this point, we’re watching Rebekah search for trees to burn — and I suppose we should be feeling remorseful that they may die some day, but I don’t. So, that’s the problem. The Originals are not an immediate threat to anyone in Mystic Falls and I, certainly, would not feel the least bit saddened if they died. So what are the stakes (har har har) here? Why should I be invested?

The series answers that question by bringing in Sage. Their idea to couple her with Finn 900 years ago (ugh, love interests again — can we just continue to have weirdly pseudo threesome scenes like we did in this episode?) comes off as just a quick (god, is it awful if I say desperate?) attempt at conflict. So she loves Finn and doesn’t want to see him die. And also, if Damon tries to kill him, she’ll tear his head off.

Okay, great, I guess… if I even cared about Sage. Her love is irrelevant to me. And her morals even less so. Should we be rooting for someone that speaks of “taking” whatever you “want” and kissing those that just had recreational activities minutes ago? Either be creepily sexy or be gothic soap opera, but you can’t have it both ways, TVD.

That said, I feel as though that story will finally be going somewhere beginning in the next episode, that the Originals disappearing won’t be all for not and we’ll finally realize there is a direction to this. And if not, I’ll just cry, because I can’t continue to state the same thing week per week. (I mean, I could and I can and I will. But I’m beginning to sound repetitive to myself.)

Elsewhere, Elena is dealing with her creepy not-father, nor uncle Alaric who is becoming crazy. Truthfully, it’s just a way of getting her and Stefan in the same room — and for her to hug Bonnie at the end… and to call Jeremy for 30 seconds. Did they really need to spend money on affording Jeremy this episode if they weren’t going to tell him about the rings? Seriously? Because I’d rather have seen Elena and Matt do Regular Human missions yet again. But I digress, there was no point to the Stefan and Elena scenes. Being a fan of the Stefan and Elena pairing, that may sound weird… but there was nothing he told her in this episode that he hasn’t said previously. He just cannot be with her at this moment. Understandable. Now please, spend more episodes struggling internally. These scenes imply a sense of certainty… as if Stefan is only really trying to find whatever middle ground he intends on reaching, mostly so that he can be deserving of Elena. But I don’t care about that. I want him to be deserving of himself, to see that he is human and not a beast. His relationship with Elena is mostly an afterthought when it comes to Stefan’s actual character development. But even then, as I think about that precisely, I’m still not sure if “middle ground” is yet another thing the audience should be rooting for. Biting, drinking, compelling: those are all evil things. Yes, they’re vampires, but being a vampire is a curse. They are evil by nature. And once again, I feel as though Vampire Diaries is confused about whether it should veer into a teen gothic soap opera territory with this predicament, or continue with the sex orgy scenes with pints of blood flowing from compelled humans’ veins into bloodthirsty vampires’ mouths.

I just cannot see Elena being okay with Stefan drinking unsuspecting humans’ blood. And truthfully, can we fault her for that? It’s downright dark. What will the resolution be here?

Meanwhile, Alaric is cray cray. And I like it. As per usual. The scene in which Meredith was running away from a stab-ready Ric was probably my favorite in a while. I don’t care about Meredith at all (do you?), but seeing her being thisclose to that knife made me literally yell “RUN!!!” Like it or not, this ring story is the most suspenseful thing this show has done in a while. TVD isn’t a suspenseful show — it’s thrilling, exciting, and so on. But suspense isn’t usually part of the package. Tonight, it delivered by putting regular humans in normal irregular situations. And that scene where Elena and Stefan find the evidence and the note: creeeeepy.

But, no, seriously, someone should tell Jeremy that he might be killing people in Denver. His newfound friends might all be goners soon.

And finally, Bonnie is there to provide more plot devices. “Hey! Here are some magic herbs, Elena! By the way, I forgive you because I have to. Bye! Will probably not be in the next episode.”

Just. Ugh. (Although, I don’t think she should be mad at Elena, regardless.)

Anyway, I cannot get over whatever they’re doing with Bonnie. They introduce her mother, but only to have her open the coffins. Then, they make her a vampire which could have been interesting seeing as witches aren’t all that keen on vampires. But that happened offscreen. Now that we are given about three lines on how Bonnie wants to make it work with her mom… she’s just gone? Does anyone know why? She’s leaving to…? Uh…? Ummmmm…? It’s a definite problem. Maybe I’d be more caring of whatever Jamie thinks if we had seen more than five minutes of him prior. Literally, Bonnie had to ask him who he was in this episode for the audience to remember. There are so many new characters with about no characterization that it’s hard for me to care about anything they have to say or if their lives ever hang in the balance.

It’s about the weirdest paradox that could happen ever. This show is moving too slowly and yet not taking enough time to develop any new character correctly. Oh, look, Damon wants to kill Originals for the tenth time this year. Well, yeah, we know. And oh look, Sage (who?) loves Finn (that suicidal guy?)! Hey, let’s keep these coffins here for half a season to the point where you guess who’s in the final one. But, by the way, Jamie almost died twice and I still don’t care. The trick is balancing it correctly, and I just don’t think it’s done that this year.

Though, I think that I may be thinking about it too much. At least I did have fun this episode, right?

What did you think?

Tags: | Categories: Recaps
About the author: Michael Collado
Michael Collado
Mike's a television junkie located in Miami, where he spends all of his time watching TV with his best friends couch and cable access.

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  • Hannah

    Anyone who knows me knows I’m not, I dunno, the biggest Bonnie fan there is out there, but even I found this episode iffy.
    For starters, where was Bonnie this episode though? I kind of felt
    like she had almost no lines at all. No substantial ones, anyway – other
    than the ones with Elena.
    Half the things Caroline said in the episode to Abby should have been
    Bonnie’s. I mean, how else am I supposed to really feel an impact by
    Abby leaving Bonnie just when she’s found her?
    And I was SO looking forward to her being all bamf-y and witchy with
    the spell on Alaric. But all I got was Damon’s snarky bedside manners a
    groggy Alaric and Damon being all ~sup viewers Bonnie did a spell, you
    don’t get to see it tho.
    Seriously.

     

    • http://nowhitenoise.com Michael Collado

      That completely killed me. WHY!? I get it, Caroline is there for Bonnie. But that was COMPLETELY Bonnie’s scene. I don’t care how much Caroline can relate to having shitty parents — THAT’S BONNIE’S MOTHER! What is this show…? UGHHHHHHHH!!!!

      • Twanz

        well on tumblr sumone screen grabbed some stuff julie said .. a fan asked who do you like writing for the most.. she said damon,alaric,and caroline.. and i think it really shows.. thats why caroline gets so many lines love interests and so on.. i think alaric is on screen more than the other kids and he shouldnt be and lets not forget last season was the delena show..

        • Twanz

          i meant damon show**

  • Ginbell

    You are right  I just want this show to do and be better than it is this Ep was another in a long line of let downs on TVD

  • Michelle

    I need someone to help me understand why Caroline was in pivotal emotional scene with Bonnie’s mother. Seriously, I need help with this. The woman is leaving again and Bonnie doesn’t get to have that emotional scene! Instead Caroline gets the emotional scene with Abby! Why is Caroline always speaking for Bonnie now?!  Something is wrong, something is very wrong here!

    • Twanz

      somethign is definately wrong.. but as i mentioned in my previous comment i think julie is havign so much fun with caro character she gives everything to her

  • MikaelSikk

    I really disliked a lot of this episode.There was too much… Elena, and her hero complex, her love for Stefan, her lies to Jeremy, it was too much of her and too little of Caroline even her bits were, in my opinion, bad executed.

    BUT, I loved the MERIC scenes! (see what I did there?)

    For the first time in a very long time, TVD made it really suspenseful I wanted to scream “RUN” when Meredith was just there talking to creepy Alaric and when was giving him her back and couldn’t see his creepiness. And when she ran to the bathroom, I was like, “People die in the bathroom!”, but she couln’t hear me!
    Their scenes were really creepy (*ejem* half-dead Meredith *ejem*) because they felt more real without any vampires around.

    BTW I think I could see something going on between Mer and Elena, maybe they’ll become friends like in the book? I don’t know.

    I can’t say really much about Bonnie, cause I don’t wanna be mean.

  • http://www.facebook.com/camilamjt Camila Miranda

    well, I agree with what you said. but one thing: I think there is something wrong with TVD but slowly (reeeeeally slowly) it’s getting back on its trails. I mean, I had fun with the Damon/Sage/Rebekah scenes. it was weird, didn’t feel much like TVD, but it was fun. and the scene where Alaric went psycho and attacked Meredith was awesome. I’m starting to like Meredith. the new characters have no characterization, like you said, but Meredith is getting some. I may really start to care about her in a few episodes.
    I don’t need to say more because you said what I thought. xD especially the Bonnie thing. seriously, Caroline had more lines with Abby and Jamie than Bonnie.

  • Beatrice

    There are two things I really don’t like right now about the show:

    1. The plot is not going anywhere: there’s no horizontal plot, it’s seems that each episode has is own plot, there’s no continuity nor coherence; see the greatest menace in the world: Klaus, where is he? And his family? And all this killing thing, what’s the point in that? I mean, it’s fun ok, but there’s nothing else going on in MF, it’s kind of disappointing. 
    It seems they’re trying to put a lot of things in the plot, but all this stuff is so messy and disconnected and the result is nothing. 

    2. They are not developing the female characters at all: it’s seems that we all agree about what they’re doing with Bonnie, the thing is I don’t like what they’re doing with Elena and Caroline either. They’re stuck where they were at the beginning of the season despite the Elena’s badass moment. It’s all about Stefan struggling for his humanity and at least Damon is still fun, but with the girls nothing.

    About the rest I totally agree with you.

  • Eric Pharand

    Bonnie got a cameo in her own story again! Bonnie’s a lost cause. Even Kat Graham’s given up. The dark magic mention might mean Bonnie getting an actual storyline but who cares at this point?
    Don’t tease a threesome and don’t deliver. 
    Freeman/Sage are awful.
    White/Abby are awful.
    Mer and Elena are delusional?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000156811218 VanVan Joyce

    i think one of the “maybe” reasons the brother still want to kill Klaus is because they don’t Elena to be a hybrid-making blood bank for the rest of her life.  I am not sure I am making any sense, but I  think that’s one. I don’t think they wanna kill all of them, but since they are linked, if one has to go, then all of them have to die. The brothers don’t really care about the safety of the town, they want to keep elena safe, and with klaus in the picture, they feel like that’s never gonna happen.