You know, if you forget about everything that sort of doesn’t make sense in this episode — like why in the world the new vampire hunter thought his plan was a good idea in any way, shape, or form; that Stefan could have gone after him with his vampire speed; and…does anyone remember if Katherine has ever not-drank blood straight “from the vein”? — then this is very much the best episode of The Vampire Diaries in the longest possible time. Unfortunately, I cannot not see those things when I watch, so it gets a B+ from me tonight because seriously this was actually not bad at all. I’m so glad that I kept my more optimistic attitude going into this season, because thus far I have been enjoying the episodes a ton more.
Of course, I’m not really a fan of those moments where you have to sort of scoff at the idea that we care about April in any way. You’re friends with April, Elena! That person we’ve never mentioned in ever! This has now become the show where our core group will never die, á la True Blood. But beggers can’t be choosers, I guess. (Also, note, that Meredith nor the Originals were in this episode, which usually make them better. I’m just saying…)
But here’s mainly why I was a fan of tonight’s episode: it truly showcased the show’s ability to mix in plot intensity/insanity with actual moments of character development or…even tenderness. Let’s begin with Bonnie, because I have to, and also because I was actually in complete shock that the show decided to have a scene in which Bonnie was able to express her feelings for anything, with the addition of her living room (we’ve seen her foyer and a pillow in her room before). It doesn’t even matter that Stefan was there just to ask her about the perhaps-spelled bullets he pulled out of Tyler; it’s that he decided to ask her how she was coping with her grandmother re-dying (ugh) that — seriously — makes all the difference, instead of having Bonnie at everyone’s beck and call but always being furious with everyone since they never have before given two shits about her wellbeing, therefore allowing the audience to feel the same way. We get so much insight into how Elena and Caroline feel (and the male counterparts) that the only emotion we ever really get with Bonnie is stone-cold anger; vulnerability is a much better way to help flesh out the character. And I can only hope that it translated through the screen tonight. Otherwise, I think we may have to just throw our hands in the air and go “forget about it! turn her evil! turn her freakin’ evil!” Though, I still kind of want that. Like a lot.
Elsewhere, again I’d have to look back at the mythology with doppelgangers and needing blood from the vein, Elena’s having trouble keeping blood from bunnies and deer down. What I like about this storyline is that we’re getting to see deeper into what it feels like to turn into a vampire, as opposed to Caroline who was basically used as a way to turn a mostly annoying character into one of the more beloved of the series. And while that’s a plus — this is a shocker and you’re not going to expect the following — I think that the better way this is being exploited is with that darn love triangle! That’s right, I said it! Now, I’m not talking about the whole “YOU DRANK FROM HIM!” thing because what? but this has been what I’ve been ranting about for about a year now. I love that Elena feels the struggle between pushing for remaining kill-free and yet getting pulled closer into the depths of her desires, and how she feels a deeper connection with either brother because of it. Seriously, if they keep it up this way (even if the brothers are now a bit regressed), this could be the best mileage they get out of the pesky triangle…and it could be quite compelling, to boot.
But where it all culminates, and where this episode seriously gets the nudge into one of the better (keyword, not just entertaining as this also was) episodes in a long time, is having the characters actually take a little breath and grieve everyone they’ve lost. I know that they also sort of did this with Alaric when he didn’t die last season, but that scene to me always felt so empty (they just stared at him, it was kind of wonky; and the scenes in this episode were beyond cheesy, but whatever), and this was more about the series acknowledging that it doesn’t do that enough. When April was stabbed in this episode, I actually literally laughed. You may call that sick, but I call that desensitization. Are we really supposed to care about her? This show, hilarious. That’s all I could think. And the truth is that it’s because the series is quick to kill off people and then not have the characters care all that much. One of my least favorite is Caroline hardly giving Alaric any grief for her dead father.
And yet this entire episode was about knowing it does this. Caroline tells Tyler having sex after several people have died is greedy. April, at first, seems cold and distant, like she doesn’t even care that her father died, but she quickly realizes that she’s been pushing it aside; all she wants is for people to acknowledge that her father was a real person. (I couldn’t be the only person who caught that somewhat meta-ness?) Bonnie gets a scene where she can talk about her loss for the first time. And then Stefan sort of tells us like, “We get it. We don’t really take human life seriously.” I think this may be the beginning of the series actually sharpening the line between good and evil, further adding to Elena’s vampirism storyline and how she deals with both sides of the coin.
And really, that’s all I’ve been asking for.
- Jeremy sees other things! I’ve really liked this storyline since last season but they just stopped. I hope it continues.
- Trevino’s still MVP.
- Please give Matt something to do, someone.
- Caroline’s “I will kick his ass.” Get it, gurl.
- No, seriously, what was the hunter’s plan?
- Are we intrigued by the ambiguity of the pastor’s plan to blow everyone up or just fret it will be dragged out too long?
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Tags: The Vampire Diaries