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The Vampire Diaries Review: When Humanity Happens...

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The Vampire Diaries delivered an outstanding midseason finale, an extraordinarily tight, tense episode that kept viewers guessing into each commercial break, building the suspense until a climatic daggering that pitted brother against brother and planted the seeds for a vengeful 2012.

But there was a rather big problem with "Homecoming:" It cheated.

Dastardly Duo

First, there was the use of Katherine, as we've talked about for weeks in our Round Table. She's the epitome of a plot device at this point. Here, after last being seen as a snack for Mikael, she simply showed up and jumped right into Damon's grand plan. How did she get back to Mystic Falls? How did she possess any strength following her loss of blood? How much time has gone by since Mikael approached Damon and Stefan at the bar, and then Katherine returned, and they all formulated this scheme?

The show skipped right past all these key questions and just inserted Katherine where it was most convenient to move the story along.

Second, this was an example of manipulative storytelling. Writers can't purposely keep information from viewers and then fill us in later via flashback. That's cheating, that's a lazy way to pull off a big surprise, especially when you consider the most vital line of dialogue in the episode: when Klaus informed Katherine (posing as Elena) that his Hybrids would take out Damon if he were killed.

Look, we all know there are writers penning these stories. But strong storytelling hides the strings being pulled by these puppet masters. To depict the conversation above only partially, later filling in a vital blank, is a form of lying. We were shown an incomplete scene, based our assumptions on it, and then were told we actually lacked all the pieces of the puzzle. That's just bad writing.

Which irritates me to no end, as you can tell, because I absolutely loved everything else about "Homecoming!" I was on the edge throughout the hour, as one swerve followed another. Rebekah was bonding with Elena... then she was staked. Tyler was an evil, sired Hybrid... then he was actually a caring, complicated boyfriend. Klaus had finally aligned his army... then Mikael proved he could compel them.

I loved every twist and turn and legitimately had no idea where it was going - and I even loved where it went, with Stefan shocking us all by saving Klaus' life; Damon reacting with rage; Elena comforting him, actually seeming okay for once with the idea of letting Stefan go (!!!!!); and an emphasized focus on family, via the layered Salvatore brother relationship and the fact that, as his core, Klaus just wanted his back.

Due to Katherine and the misleading way the plots came together, though, I just didn't like how we arrived at those places.

Other highlights:

  • How can Caroline even make the term "evil blood slut?" sound adorable?
  • Remind me never to invite Damon to a party. I'm scared of how he'd RSVP.
  • The Mikael vs. Klaus showdown, with the former pulling every Bad Daddy card in the deck and the latter reduced to tears? Beautifully done.
  • How is it possible that no student would have asked Rebekah to the homecoming dance?!? Didn't all the football players see her cheers, flips and - gulp - splits?!?
  • When did Tyler start hanging out with Dexter Morgan? That was some fine injecting, kid.

So that's all for 2011, Vampire Diaries fans. We now have a few weeks to debate all the possibilities going forward and for me to move past my issues with this finale. It shouldn't be too difficult, not with such an intriguing, revenge-based conclusion hanging over us.

And you know what they say about revenge, right? It's a dish best served... by hot, blood-thirsty vampires, as teased in this preview for 2012. I can't wait.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
  • 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (608 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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I should be doing laundry or raking leaves but no I'm writing a review of TVD. I didn't find the flashbacks all that tragic or Katherine's mysterious appearance as unexplainable. Michael kept her alive possibly because she saved him - I mean that's a big freaking deal - and guess she could fill him in on everything and lead him back to Mystic Falls. She was valuable to him, Katherine is ultimately valuable to everyone because that bitch is smart. But her reveal about loving Damon rang untrue. I liked it that she loved Stefan and he was a distinct weakness for her. But she has been slowly building a new relationship with the brothers and I think the writers did that without overdoing it in past episodes. Katherine saving Damon instead of allowing her arch nemesis Klaus to be killed was the most unbelievable thing since we know Katherine is all about self-preservation. Unless ofcourse she figured out what a colossal creep his father was and decided he was the bigger threat. STANDING OVE for Klaus crying in the face of his father's ridicule. Found myself rooting for him I did. Katherine and Stefan running off together, teaming up, my dream. He belongs with Katherine, too boring with Elena. I love Stefan's caring, domestic side, he manages to make it seem sexy. And yes what a load of crap NO ALARIC, missed him dearly.

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You can enjoy the full video of this episode at the given link below: Vampire Diaries Season 3 Season 9 have fun :)

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Klaus can never go...he's just TOO great to watch. Love him to bits, and what a great job he did this week.

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A highlight for me: Katherines trademark smirk and her "Baboom".
On another note I'm sort of glad Tyler and Caroline are over (he had turned back into season 1, only now sired to Klaus), but I am going to miss Forwood. Still, Caroline can do better now. Maybe try again with Matt (it's not that i exactly liked them together, but Matt really needs a girlfriend)...?

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A highlight for me: Katherines trademark smirk and her "Baboom".
On another note I'm sort

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Something just occurred to me...we'll never know WHY Mikael starting hunting Vampires :-/

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Love Delena, esp the last scene. Stefan is better without her, Damon is better with her. End of story

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Good show!But honestly whats up with d/e?they used to sizzle and now they fall so flat and their scenes are bleh.I was a shipper but they have totally bored me to death.Is it because ian and nina are a couple now?idk their whole dynamic and chemistry has changed.Well anyways on to klaus,stef,and kat..WOW!!!Stefan is so enticing as a bad boy with his caring and very complex layers.An klaus is..now on stefs revenge list.Should be great showdown!!Throw in becca and kat an elijah and its ON!An speaking of kat,her and stef were smoking this ep!!!!!

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Its nice that I saw humanity in Klaus. I will miss the hell outta Becca, I miss Elijah. I adore Damon and Stefan and rot for them to be close again. I don't ship but because I'm not bias I have a clear understanding. Stelena was innocent and cute, "true love" that can't be maintained and isn't realistic long term. They will always love each other but they were to much alike. Stefan could never be himself and was never really happy. He needs a strong vampire like Rebecca or Katherine. Elena couldn't grow and mature with Stefan, in a way they kept each other from their proper journeys. Stelena can't be endgame because they can't be the yin to yang. In comes Damon, a vampire who is in almost every way Stefans opposite. The in your face and "bad" brother hiding behind his in your face mask because he can't take getting hurt again. He can't be controlled because he never got what he wanted. The love of the woman he wanted. Kat loved him but was in love with his brother, he's used to this. Damon loves harder and stronger then anyone but he needs a sustainable, female who loves just as hard. Therefore is no doubt Elena is meant to be with Damon, she is slowly finding herself. Elena will grow into a strong woman and Stefan will learn to accept his dark side but wont and shouldnt end up with Elena. He makes one hell of a lone wolf and works better with Rebecca or Katherine. I adore Forwood but I'm afraid one of them will die and if so It would be Tyler. If that happened he could also end up with Caroline. Course this is all very long term but I have no bias and well....

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Last night episode i saw humanity come out of klaus. i kinda like that side of him.