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The Vampire Diaries Review: Breaking the Bloodline

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24 has nothing on The Vampire Diaries.

On "All My Children," a heart-pounding episode full of both action and emotion, Damon and Stefan made like Jack Bauer. Except the terrorists were vampires, the full moon was the ticking bomb and the world would actually have been a safer place if they had failed at the mission.

But not their world. Neither Damon nor Stefan could imagine a world without Elena and they turned an innocent woman in order to save her. It was just one of several morally grey acts throughout the installment.

Stefan vs. Bonnie

There really is no black or white anymore on The Vampire Diaries. The show has created such a well-layered, fascinating universe that viewers can endlessly debate the choices various characters make.

Should the siblings have sacrificed Elena in order to remove a killing machine such as Klaus from the planet? Probably. They are partially responsible going forward for every life he takes. But can anyone honestly say you would let your true love die if you had it in your power to save him or her?

Should Elijah have kidnapped Elena? Not if he aspires to be more than a monster, as he so righteously and profoundly put it to Rebekah near the end of the hour. But he was desperate to live. Again, who can say they would do it differently?

A look at almost every character tonight reveals multiple shades and sides, as the past few weeks built to an episode where agendas, feelings and motivations collided. To wit:

REBEKAH: Easily my favorite performance of the evening. She got wake up next to Damon, for starters, and then rub that in Elena's face. She then talked some serious smack in the caves (Why don't you sit down and shut up before I ruin everything by ripping your head off?), but also proved she possessed brains to match her brawn and beauty, dousing Elena with gasoline when her enemy thought she was safe.

Yet behind it all, there was clearly pain. I picked up on it the same way Elena did when she finally talked Rebekah down. This is someone who has been betrayed by her own mother and, prior to that, literally stabbed in the back by someone she considered a friend. It almost seems like years ago, but it was really only a couple months ago, when Caroline really just wanted to fit in at high school.

Elena ruined that. Rebekah was acting out like anyone would, just in a slightly more dangerous way because, you know, she's a vampire.

DAMON: The dude is definitely getting his mean mojo back. It's true, Stefan, he is better at being the bad guy. But it's different this time, there's a sentimentality mixed in to his nefarious actions. He's not killing just to kill or turning just to turn. He's doing it, in this case, to save his brother from a guilty conscience and to save Elena from... dying.

Moreover, he can actually admit that! Talk about progress. This is a Damon Salvatore who is in touch with his sensitive side, yet NOT letting those emotions get in the way of what needs to be done.

THE ORIGINALS: I'm gonna lump the rest of them in to one section here because I just marveled at that gathering outside the old witch house. This is group of people we were conditioned to hate not very long ago, some of whom we only very recently met. Yet an entire scene was built out of their fate and I found myself rooting for... I didn't even know what. That was the beauty of it.

I should have wanted Esther to succeed, right? Just consider the body count on all of their resumes. But the way TVD has driven home the concept of family, and depicted so many sides to both Klaus and Elijah, I simply watched, dumbstruck by how well the show has woven these individuals into the fabric of Mystic Falls. Granted, the conclusion was a tad melodramatic.

Where did Esther actually go after Abby was turned? She and Finn just... left? And Finn scattered? It's hard to imagine we won't see them again, but it felt a bit cheap to have them all just leave off-camera.

Of course, Klaus and Rebekah are still here. And they apparently have something new to fear. A tree. Looks like these two need to take another road trip and do some major gardening again.

MEREDITH: Just kidding. She has no layers. We all knew she was shady all along, didn't we?

BONNIE: She still bores me. But at least the turning of her mother has potential. It could hurt her friendship with Elena and, remember, Bonnie has never really been a fan of vampires. Now she reunites with her parent and just a few days later - bam! - blood sucker central. Who is gonna tell Jaime?!?

Quick bites:

  • Mother made us vampires. She didn't make us monsters. We did that to ourselves. Who doesn't love Elijah?!?
  • I'm surprised you have time to call, what with all this Original sex you've been having? Alaric best not be dead.
  • Does anyone else want to see Candice Accola front a band called Blonde Distraction? We all know the girl can sing.
  • Damon, The Vampire Gigolo. He should put that on his business cards.
  • If Esther had the power to turn all her kids back to human, why not just do that and avoid killing them?

So no more Vampire Diaries until March 15. And, as great as this episode on its own was, I must say: I'm not overly intrigued by the two cliffhangers. There's a new white oak tree and Meredith is the Mystic Falls murderer. Okay. Neither of those, by themselves, leave me dying for the next new episode.

But, on the whole, I love the integration of Klaus and Rebekah into this world, and I think the show has handled the Damon/Elena/Stefan love triangle as well as any show in recent memory. Heck, the relationship between the brothers is more interesting than the one either shares with Elena. It's really at the heart of The Vampire Diaries.

What did everyone else think?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
  • 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (627 Votes)

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

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Finally, as I'm getting kinda hungry and would like to stop talking before I'm reported for spam, I just have one little statement to make:
I'm officially over Delena and Stelena.
It's just too dull and predictable. And yes, Elena's become Katherine, but at least Katherine was a bitch and she knew it. Elena's just getting more and more pathetic as every day goes by, she should cut it off with both of them before she completely severs the bond between the brothers(which I used to love more than anything until that too became predictable) and marry a damn human(but not Matt, as he deserves better). Then perhaps people would stop dying or having their lives ruined.

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Elijah - he's my favorite character, he's the only one who hasn't lost his thunder(I'm sorry, Damon) or gotten killed(RIP Jenna, Anna, Pearl and Rose). He's the reason I still watch this show. And though I adored him today, I'm kind of terrified by his words - 'As I will carry my regret, always and forever' - please, Plec, please tell me he's not going to spend the rest of his life in a dark loft somewhere staring into a wall! If the writers are seriously going to send him off somewhere(perhaps he's in Detroit with Katherine, Jeremy and Tyler? Who's gonna be the next to join them - Alaric? 'I kinda need to get a non-supernatural girlfriend, so bye all!') and then have him return at the end of the season and get himself killed, I will become one of those crazy fans that sends JP death threats.

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Then there's Elena's adventures. I'd been looking so much forward to seeing her guilt-ridden after her betrayal, watch her struggle with that until she decides to do the right thing and actively try to save Elijah. But, no. Rather, Elijah had to figure things out for himself, force the truth out of her, listen to her pathetic excuses. He had every damn right to be pissed. And then, Elena got to play damsel in distress - until she found the one vamp-proof cave in an endless web of caves, that is. Girl's got skills!

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As for Klaus' adventures with Caroline, I don't really have much to say about that. The whole thing was just so forced and pointless, he's been reduced to a pathetic brat with a crush on a girl way outta his league. At first, in Our Town, I figured he was planning to use her on some evil scheme, but no! He's genuinely interested in an 18 year old vampire who's already in love with someone else. And lovely and insightful as she may be, I just don't see what she has that has a 1000 year old vampire who's done it all, seen it all, crushing on her.

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Klaus and Kol's interaction was funny and brotherly, but throughout the whole thing I was wondering if Kol's really that shallow. I thought he hated Klaus' guts! And yet there he was, having a good time with the guy who'd shut him in a coffin for a century? And just the day before he'd been ice-cold and hostile. Again, what am I missing? And I'm sick of Originals being killed so easily. Seriously? These guys have been around for 1000 years, they have the best hearing and speed in the world not to mention tons of experience and yet Alaric killed him right there, simply because Kol was distracted by a hot chick. I get that he’s a fun and reckless guy, but that’s bit of a far shot.

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Rather, they gave us that crap at the Grill. Just a few days ago, three at most, Alaric was convinced Meredith was a psychotic killer. And yet now he's hanging out at the bar with her? What am I missing? Did they have some off-screen bonding at the hospital? Why the HELL did Damon leave him with her? Which makes me wonder what made Alaric look through her stuff. That would mean he still suspected her, and if he did, then why did he look so happy at being all alone and unarmed in her apartment?

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And speaking of bad communication - why the hell didn't we get to see Rebekah's reaction to Esther's plan? - this is the little girl who was traumatized by the loss of her beloved mother, whose world was shattered when she learnt the truth of her death. And yet we don't get a single interaction between them or even Rebekah's reaction to her mother's betrayal. Why didn't we get to see that, by the time? Elijah and Rebekah are great together, them putting their heads together would be GREAT, and we could have seen Elijah's face when he told her to hold Elena hostage.

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But onto the episode - which was supposed to be an epic Original showdown, like the ending of Bringing out the Dead. I'd been looking forward to seeing Klaus, Elijah, Kol and Rebekah, all in one room, agreeing to put their differences aside and work together against their brother and mother(speaking of Finn - the suicidal, self-loathing Original - I'd very much like to know more about him, have a little bit more than a few ultra-depressed sentences to work on - sure, he wants to die, but he wants to take his siblings with him? What's made him so hateful? Klaus I can understand, but the others? I'm dying to know more about him). Instead, all we get is an adorable sibling banter between Klaus, Kol and Rebekah, even though they were at each other's throats just yesterday, and then Elijah fetches Kol and Klaus and whatever happens between the three of them before they arrived at the sacrifice scene is unknown, never for any fan to be witnessed.

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I agree with most of the people here - this episode was incredibly disappointing. It was too fast-paced, too rushed, lacked things I'd like to see and too much of things I've no interest in, like Klaroline. What the hell is that, anyway? I've lost every last shred of respect for Klaus thanks to that nonsense. It's pathetic!

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I Really liked to see Klaus and Caroline together or a triangle with them and tyler but to see the bad guy fall for Caroline ....and omg delana was so close to happening..and jeremy come back bonnie needs you ....