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The Vampire Diaries Review: Ring the Alarm-ic!

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Turns out, Beyonce had it wrong: if you like it, you really should not put a ring on it. At least not in Mystic Falls.

Indeed, The Vampire Diaries may have returned this week with a visit to the past, but "1912" left viewers wondering instead about the future, specifically: what the heck will now happen to Alaric?!?

Damon in a Bowler

The stunning revelation that this mild-mannered history teacher has been responsible for various killings in town - due to a ring that's caused him to come back to life so many times he now makes Charlie Sheen look stable - takes the series in a whole new direction.

How will Alaric react? Will he turn himself in? Lock himself up? Make the ultimate sacrifice? What help can Meredith, Elena or any of the supernaturals possibly offer?

Considering the news that Matt Davis has been cast on another CW show, we can watch assured that something major will come of this storyline. It won't be neatly solved with a couple of spells next Thursday. Alaric may die, he may go to jail, he may send himself far, far away... but, for one reason or another, Mystic Falls High School should prepare a Help Wanted ad in the near future.

I watched this episode inside a packed auditorium of TVD fans at PaleyFest, and the screams lasted for a solid 10 seconds upon the concluding reveal. Alaric has been such a fun character specifically because he's been used so sparingly, creating a beloved bromance with Damon; awkwardly encountering Elena on the way to sexing up her aunt; acting generally exasperated at all times by his role in the battle between good and evil, yet never to the point where he backs out of any action.

Quite the opposite, in fact. Alaric is always around. He can always be counted on - by both viewers and other characters - to crack a joke or team up with Damon to execute some desperate plan. He's just never at the center of any conflict. He's the guy picked almost last for kickball, yet the guy diving for every stop in every game.

I've always referred Alaric as a reluctant hero. But now that the hero aspect of that description is in question, through no fault of his own, I can't wait to see what the arc brings out of Davis as an actor and Alaric as a person. And one final set of questions before we move on to the brothers, their bowling hats and their beheadings:

What about Jeremy?!? We've seen him die, what, two times already? How crazy will he go? And what will Elena do to prevent a similar fate for her long-suffering brother?

Now, on to Damon and Stefan: In Vampire Diaries lore, it's rare for flashbacks to take a backseat to current day adventures, but I was far more intrigued here by Damon's role as sober coach than anything we witnessed in 1912.

Salvatore vs. Salvatore

Sure, it was interesting to meet Sage, and to witness how Damon went from the sullen blood sucker we saw in 1864 to the passionate, human-hungry man we know today, the same guy who fed on vulnerable women throughout season one. (Man, remember when Caroline was one of those vulnerable women?!?) And, let's face it, both siblings can rock an early 20th century suit.

Still, it's the ever-evolving relationship between Damon and Stefan that is truly at the heart of The Vampire Diaries, and it was fully on display in 2012. Their shared love for Elena has actually brought the pair closer - in a unique, often bloody kind of way - while we learned this week that Stefan isn't the only Salvatore to suffer from some serious guilt. Damon actually took pleasure in unleashing the Ripper 100 years ago. He did nothing to stop it, and when he first returned to Mystic Falls, Damon did all he could to return Stefan to his non-bunny devouring ways.

Now? It's the new Damon Salvatore, doing his best Dr. Drew impression and hilariously guiding Stefan through steps to control his thirst. Yeah. It's gonna take Elena a bit to get over that blood-soaked image.

Forget Stelena or Delena. I'll take all the Stamon (Defen?) I can get... as can Elena, of course, who did a masterful job summing up her feelings for both brothers in a heart-to-heart with Matt.

Smaller bites:

  • Rebekah just hung out this week. Most distracting darts player ever. How did Damon even hit the board?
  • Sage is totally the Dr. James Naismith of the time-honored vampirical "challenge stronger-looking people to a fight for money" pastime.
  • Matt is sort of invisible in Mystic Falls, it's true. He should hang out in the girls' locker room.
  • Take a look now at next week's all-new Vampire Diaries episode!

So no Klaus, Caroline or Bonnie this week. And still no Tyler. But as much as I adore each of those characters (okay, three of those characters), I appreciate it when a show zeroes in on a select few and tells such a tight narrative. There will be plenty of time for us to complain about Klaroline again or wonder about the fate of Bonnie's mother.

This week, I was more than happy to sit back, learn the origin of The Ripper and be introduced to another killer I never saw coming: The 'Ric-er.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.8 / 5.0
  • 4.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (445 Votes)

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

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AGREE with lboogie1582: it was AWFULLY CLOSE for Matt & Elena in Dr. Fell's closet, and even that awkward chat about love and other things in the kitchen. I really hope they don't add Matt to Elena's love list AGAIN!

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I enjoyed the episode. I enjoy watching the dance between Stephan and Elena even though their characters have not been so close lately, the love is still there. I also like the relationship between Stephan and Damon. Damon has shown his caring side more and I like that he seems to really love his brother. I always knew it but it is nice to see once in a while. I will certainly miss Alaric if he is killed off, I really like his role. I am hoping that Klaus will return, with Jeremy missing and also Elijah we are starting to see some big gaps. I think the entire cast does a great job every week.

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*Matt and Elena jogging*
"Oh, and Bonnie's mother decided to turn."
"Really? Too bad."
*Keeps jogging* Am I the only one here who's stunned by the lack of Bonnie in the episode? Abby action? A Bennett, Bonnie's mother, which just decided to become a vampire, and we don't get to see it?!
Think this might actually be worse than Alaric becoming a serial killer overnight. Or, apparently he's been a serial killer for some time now, it was just off-screen. And nobody noticed a thing. Hm. Convenient. Almost as convenient as when Elijah couldn't recognize his mother's talisman that his sister had worn for 500 years.

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I've been saying for ages that Alric keeps getting killed and its getting a tad ridiculous - I guess now we know why they kept killing him off! I want to know more about Samantha Gilbert - what killed her so many times, that she went crazy? And when did Damon kill her? (Did that happen in the episode and I missed it?) Never really been a fan of Matt much but I really liked him this episode - and moment there between E/M. I liked that she said a part of the reason why she loved Stefan was that she didn't have to be scared of loosing him to. I miss Klaus. I miss Klaus.

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They need to get to Jeremy, NOW.

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Definitely not my favorite episode and I agree with many posters that found this episode to be slow. I think that speaks very highly for VD that we expect so much from them and they almost deliver every single time. I do not think it was a “filler� episode; not every episode can be filled with action and scenes with Damon/Elena or Stefan/Elena. I liked the break that we were given of the triangle and am happy the flashbacks weren’t as present as in past episodes because I do not care for Sage at all. @bored now-you are entitled to your own opinion and while I find it annoying that you complain after every show, I am used to it. However, you cannot speak for me or an ENTIRE fan base for that matter. I am intrigued by the rings and always have been. Get over yourself!

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QStefelena..is their nothing more than Stefan and Elena that is important for you?..I could read it week by week..How old are you?..Stefan needs to come clean with his dark side..The man Elena knows isn`t himself..It`s the man he want to be not the man he is..If Stelena is everything that matters to you than i`m very sorry for you..Even Julie Plec said that the brotherly love is the epic stuff..and after this ep i totally agree with her..Stelena couldn`t last forever..She don`t want to be a vamp and Stefan will always respect that..The love for his brother is made for eternity..

Geelightning

I think the only good part in this episode was the Alaric going mad thing. I couldn't care less about the rest of it. Makes you see how boring and empty it would be without Klaus or Caroline, yes?

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OMG Bored Now you are such a loser. You really need to stop commenting. You are super pathetic being one of the first to comment on everything TVD when you claim to hate the show. Get a life and stop commenting on a show you don't like!!!!!!!!

Sarah-silva

I know Matt Davis will be leaving but since the ring is causing his "illness", if he removes it then he will get better. But I guess he does have to either turn himself in or flee town as he did murder people. I like Alaric and am sad that they are taking his character in this direction. I guess Elena is not meant to have a parental figure in her life.
That opens up the storyline to have Jeremy come back.
I did not miss Klaus.
I know that Michael Trevino and Steven McQueen were written out of the show for several episodes for storyline purposes but I would like to see them back on the show.
I think Elena and Matt will get back together, Julie Plec said that another love interest 'close to home' will come into the picture for Elena. I wonder what Caroline will think about that, yes Elena and Matt were together first and Caroline wants to be with Tyler but we all know Caroline loves Matt and if she was still human she would still be with him.
I loved every scene with Damon and Stefan tonight especially their last scene.
Looking forward to next week but sad that we will soon see the end to Alaric, it one way or another.