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The Vampire Diaries Review: Raging Against Death

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The Vampire Diaries told us this week, in one of a number of emotional scenes, it's okay to feel. That's what makes us human, right?

So allow me to let my humanity shine through and say this about "Do Not Go Gentle:" I feel... torn.

It was mostly a terrific episode. Seriously, I can't think of another show that can pull of such conflict - both emotional and physical - in the course of one hour, causing my eyes to both well up and pop out of their socket. It ended on a shocking note and it set up a clear direction for the final two episodes of the season.

Decade Dance Dates

But it was the best scene of the episode, heck maybe even the best scene in series history, that has left me feeling a bit empty. I'm talking Alaric. Outside of that cave. Torches lit. His loved ones all around. Set to "Be Still" by The Fray.

It was beautiful shot and beautifully acted. It was a fitting farewell to one of my favorite characters. I didn't want him to die, but it's clearly been a possibility for weeks now - both in terms of the storyline and Matt Davis signing on for Cult - and if one half of the best bromance on television has to go, there simply couldn't have been a better way for it happen, right?

Except it didn't happen.

Alaric lives, or at least a far more evil, far more blood-hungry version of Alaric. Was the concluding shot awesomely frightening? Yes. But do I feel a bit like Damon with Elena now, like TVD is just messing with my emotions and jerking me around? Sort of, yeah. And I didn't even get to ferociously make out with a hottie in exchange for this confused heart!

I just got my sofa cushions went with tears.

Another problem I have with Alaric's revival? Esther is just too powerful at this point. Can she ever die? Can she just inhabit whatever body she chooses? Feels like a bit of a storytelling crutch. Death has to stick more on The Vampire Diaries. I don't wanna see any more ghosts (I guess Rose is simply gone now, following her random commentary last Thursday night?). I don't wanna see Esther come and go as she pleases, no matter what happens to her on This Side.

And I don't and this to be the end of Ric and The Dick. Come back, good Alaric!

Everything prior to the final scene - which, to be clear, I am quite intrigued by in terms of where we go from here - was simply marvelous. The idea that Alaric visited Esther on The Other Side every time he died, and that she nurtured this supposed vampire hunter to remember what his mission is meant to be, was fascinating and believable.

The scenes between Stefan and Elena? Sorry, Delena lovers, but also very well done. After everything I put you through, I'm just honored to be your date tonight. Who didn't swoon at that line? Can Damon compete with the history between these two? Stefan may be the safe choice for Elena... but there's something to be said for safety when you're surrounded by supernatural beings.

The guilt Elena is feeling, the bitterness from Jeremy over losing another guardian, the desperate gratitude from Damon. I bought it all this week. It was very much earned all around.

And unlike last episode, the love triangle here didn't feel forced down our throat. It was integrated well within the action all around the Salvatores and their shared love.

Tyler, Caroline Pic

And then of course there was the fun scene above, followed later by the only words Tyler needed to hear:

It doesn't matter how many times I dance with him. I love you. | permalink

There's no love triangle here, folks. Forwood forever.

Other worthwhile moments/scenes:

  • Klaus blowing up at his mother. He's angry, he's brave, but he's really just an unloved son. This is one lonely, sad Original.
  • A white oak stake is the "ultimate weapon" for Alaric, "the ultimate hunter?" Don't tell that to an arrow, a bow and Katniss Everdeen!
  • Gotta give props to Jamie the gentlemen. The guy was invited to spend the night with Bonnie and all clothing remained on. Gotta give him props or mock the heck out of him, that is.
  • The title of the episode "Do Not Go Gentle," was taken, of course, from the iconic Dylan Thomas poem. Rather appropriate, I'd say. Alaric most definitely raged against the dying of his light. Will one of his loved one be stuck sending him to eternal darkness before the season is over?

Get an idea of what's to come via the official TVD promo for next Thursday's "Before Sunset" and then sound off: What did you think of all the twists, turns and tears this week?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (342 Votes)

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

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The twist with Alaric was the beginning of the end for me with this season...I don't like it. His character was always underused and then BAM...he's a killer. And Meredith Fell just needs to go. The Elena/Damon/Stefan triangle is an intriguing concept that is terribly executed. Elena running into Stefan's arms so swiftly after what just went down with Damon is not realistic. When people say what they don't like about the series, it does not mean that they hate the actual show...it just means that they are disappointed in what it has become and are hoping that things will change for the better. Right now, realistic character development and character depth are suffering for the sake of twists and turns.

Amie

d) Not interested in Alaric as the new villain (is he THE VILLAIN everyone was talking about)..they should have just let him go and introduce someone better or more exciting..cos now I feel like this is going to drag on forever. e) Why are they doing this to Klaus? Why does he have to be so desperate for love and attention...no, just no! Anyway, next week Elena is getting smashed into a locker - yay! Caroline getting tortured again - BOO!

Amie

Other thoughts on this episode: a) they need to kill this "love triangle" of Klaus, Caroline and Tyler because 1. there is nothing to base this triangle on and 2. it is making me dislike all three characters more, which sucks, cos out of all these 3 characters are the most tolerable and exciting. b) I think this should be the last decade dance because they all end the same and I feel like saying either do an episode solely based on a dance or solely based on someone dying...dance and tragedy do not mix well unless you are a fan of "They shoot horses, don't they?" c) It took them 3 seasons to have an episode where we finally found out Bonnie lives somewhere, I hope it does not take them as long to tell us something else about her, however, most ppl don't really care anymore. d) Not interested in Alaric as the new villain (is he THE VILLAIN everyone was talking about)..they should have just let him go and introduce someone better or more exciting..cos now I feel like this is going to drag on forever. e) Why are they doing this to Klaus? Why does he have to be so desperate for love and attention...no, just no! Anyway, next week Elena is getting smashed into a locker - yay! Caroline getting tortured again - BOO!

Amie

I suggest a question for the Round Table - best line of the episode! Tyler made me laugh so hard with his "What's he gonna do? Draw you another picture"....I am just glad Klaus wasn't standing right behind me at that moment..I wonder what would he have said?

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Im sorry that was rude but seriously you really seem to no longer like this show, so why do you continue to watch it? If I didn't like where a show was going anymore i'd stop watching.

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I have a solution for you then: DONT WATCH IT!! if your so disapointed with it all the time seriously why do you watch? If im no longer enjoying something like "rotten steak" i wouldnt eat it anymore. I would find something new to enjoy!! so go on and do that!!! but seriously please tell me why you keep watching this show?

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I adore Klaus. He steals every scene. Stelena is sexual ambien and needs to end.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

Not to mention that bad writing, inconsistencies and characters acting OOC and overall fact that plot or plot progression just does not exist also makes it venture into twilight territory. The only difference TVD has from Twilight is that Nina Dobrev is a better actress. Which, sadly does not matter as the material she is given to work with is essentially quite...rotten.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

As for it feelings like Twilight? are you on crack?
Unbearably dull characterless girl in love with two wimpy "vampires" with one being touted as some sort of "legendary" EPIIIIC Love(which already comes off as quite campy) and neither pairing in the triangle makes any sense. Add to that that every plotline focuses on aforementioned mary sue and yet the show completely ignores her life or possibilities of character development in favor of sexist propaganda and misogyny. That DOES sound like twilight.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

veryone just thinks way to in depth about every little detail of the show that your no longer enjoying it. Of course there holes in plotlines and sometimes stupid crap happpens that doesnt make any sense but it doesn't take away me enjoying the show each week because it's just a show
Actually yes it does take away from that. Just because one ignores that the steak he is eating is slightly "rotten" does not change the fact that one is about to have stomach problems from it. The inconsistencies and bad writing takes away from enjoyment and makes the show-viewing more akin to eating sawdust than entertainment.