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The Vampire Diaries Review: A Case of Klaustrophobia

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Before delving into one of the greatest Vampire Diaries episodes in history - The action! The emotion! The ethical dilemmas! - I must start by correcting Damon:

We did make Elena a pros/cons list. But it's gonna take more than that, man. She didn't seem closer to a decision after reading through the comparisons. Sorry.

Staring at Klaus

Okay, now I can truly start reviewing "Before Sunset," and I'll do so by asking: Are we sure this wasn't the season finale?!? My. Goodness.

The episode wasted no time getting into the action - okay, it wasted a tiny bit of time, giving us a blonde-off between Rebekah and Caroline, but no warm-blooded male in his right mind would consider this a waste - as Dark-laric was instantly on the attack.

He grabbed Rebekah. He was staked by Caroline. He responded by breaking her neck and, a short time later, proving there actually is something worse that can be done with pencils in a classroom other than fill out those tiny little holes on a Scantron. Ouch.

This sequence led to Ethical Dilemma #1 of the evening: to kill Caroline or not to kill Caroline? Granted, it wasn't actually a choice Elena entertained, but it did pose an interesting debate. I mean... is Dark-laric totally wrong here? If we can somehow remove ourselves from the affection we feel for the vampires of Mystic Falls, can we really argue that the town as a whole would be safer without them around?

Major kudos to Julie Plec and company for creating a legitimate villain - in the eyes of any true TVD fan, there's no question that Dark-laric must be stopped - and yet still painting him with a morally grey brush. Let's face it, the guy has a point.

All of this led to the return of... Abby!!! Okay, that may be three exclamation points too many. But she was needed on the scene because Elena somehow figured out that Dark-laric was tied to her (who else figured Damon would be the first to tie up Elena?!?) and the team couldn't actually kill him. They needed to desicate him, like Abby did with Mikael. This was actually an effective, necessary use of the witch-turned-vampire and a nice callback to an early plot point.

It's here we can stop again and focus on Ethical Dilemma #2: Elena could have killed herself and put an end to Dark-laric. That's a mighty major step, no doubt. I'm not saying I could do it. But the show did a masterful job this week of depicting situations that actually did have alternate ways out, albeit ways that would lead to the deaths of major characters.

It's one thing to make viewers' heads spin via non-stop action. It's another to make the brains inside those heads consider what they would do if faced with similar circumstances. Great work throughout when it came to the latter.

So... Elena is tied to Alaric. And Stefan, Damon and Tyler are all tied to Klaus. (It was pretty clear he was telling the truth about their bloodline based on Stefan's reaction when he actually reached inside Klaus' chest). But Tyler is no longer tied to his maker, as Ethical Dilemma #3 involved the decision this hybrid arrived at in grand fashion:

I'm not your little bitch anymore. And why isn't Tyler Klaus' little bitch anymore? How did he break the sire bond?

By breaking every bone in my body a hundred times for the girl I love. | permalink

Once more, with feeling: Forwood. Forever.

Klaus at the Door

I've been delaying it for as long as possible, but now it's time to say goodbye.

Bonnie did succeed at the spell, but she did so with Klaus, who was trying desperately to flee town with both his real family and the ability to make a new one - and we all know why, right? At heart, this is simply one lonely hybrid. He yearns for attention. Why do you think he throws so many hissy fits? Why he continued to have faith that his old friend, Stefan the Ripper (sorry, Stefan the Rippah) would return to him?

Klaus just wants to be loved. And while that will never happen in Mystic Falls, it happened in living rooms around the country. Joseph Morgan brought this character to life in every conceivable way: he was scary, he was funny, he was sympathetic, he was vulnerable and, in what I have to imagine will be his final scene for a long time, he was in a state of shock.

Klaus didn't utter any final words. But his eyes - and the perfect, heartbeat-based score - said it all. A perfect exit for a perfect villain.

I raise my own shot to you, Niklaus Mikaelson, but I do it out of sadness and respect, secure in the knowledge that we have to see you again at some point... right?

Finally, we arrive at Elena. I've been as frustrated as anyone over the last few weeks - railing against her in my previous TVD review - regarding this dragged-out love triangle. She was just going back and forth on a seeming whim, teasing both the brothers and Vampire Diaries fans on a weekly basis.

But it was saved for me here when Elena just came right out and acknowledged her hedging. If I choose one of you, I lose the other. And I've lost so many people, I can't bear the thought of losing you. That's it. Two sentences, one salient point and I understand. This is Ethical Dilemma #4 from the episode, but it's the only one without a resolution at the moment.

It seemed a bit random and far-fetched for Damon and Stefan to simply agree that the loser would leave town, like the two were simply raising the stakes for the season finale just because. But whatever. That's a miniscule complaint in what was a whirlwind of an enthralling episode.

Where do we stand heading into that finale? Dark-laric has outed himself, Tyler and Caroline to the town council. He wants all vampires dead, and he has to somehow neutralize Elena in the process so she doesn't become collateral damage or sacrifice herself for her loved ones (hence whatever the heck happened at the end... I assume?).

Tyler loves Caroline. Caroline loves Tyler. Rebekah has supposedly fled. Jeremy is painting and having his heart stopped on occasion. Bonnie is spell casting. And Damon and Stefan are actually together and happy. Why do I have the feeling that won't be the case a week from now?

What an hour of television. What did everyone else think?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
  • 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (527 Votes)

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

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The ironic part is, before they brought Klaus into the picture and even a little bit after, TVD was a world where everybody can die. Pretty much everybody in the cast was dispensable except for Elena, Stefan, and later Damon, which was enjoyable to watch because people that you'd never expect to die actually do. Now they hardly ever kill anybody important, and even if they do they come back somehow anyway.
I'd say this problem began with the Season One Finale. They went "OMG PEOOPLE DIE!!!" and then at start of S2 they just...backed away from all of that and started to pull their punches, introducing pointless characters for the sake of killing them off, while getting new ways to keep the existing ones alive...That was the start of the downfall of this show. Writers were unable TO CHANGE the show and wanted to just keep doing more of the same. Katherine's apeparance SHOULD have changed everything. They made sure it did not and started to break the show.

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Klaus didnt die, he's dehydrated. So he may appear later on if sb hydrates him with blood.....

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WellI liked the episode but im confused. Ithought if Klaus died Tyler and everyone else in his blood line dies along with him

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Amazing episode. I loved every scene and every minute of it, everyone had made a great job. Everything was awesome and all the characters had a good storyline in this episode. I loved, loved it & loved it. I can't find words to tell how much I enjoyed and loved tis episode. :) :) ;)

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This is what I think. When they stopped Klaus' heart he was transferred into Jeremy. So, Jeremy is really Klaus. Evilaric could not kill Elena because he still cared for her. When Elena said if I die you die, Evilaric agreed because he did not want anyone to know he still had a side that cared. As Jeremy, Klaus will win over Caroline. When everyone realizes that Jeremy is really Klaus, they will get Klaus' body back and do a transfer. Then the actor that played Klaus will be back.

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I keep getting cut off! As I was saying, as for this "Last, Evilaric is shaping up to be a good villain, but I fear that they are going to do what they did with Klaus and keep him around too long, considering that the only way" to kill him is to kill Elena, which they obviously can't do, so the writers have written themselves into a corner and they'll probably have to use a certain walking deus ex machina witch to get themselves out of it.

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@Lizzie "Julie Plec and Co have attachment issues. They don't know how to let go of characters. And nearly every single character has now become a plot device., it's not just Bonnie anymore." The ironic part is, before they brought Klaus into the picture and even a little bit after, TVD was a world where everybody can die. Pretty much everybody in the cast was dispensable except for Elena, Stefan, and later Damon, which was enjoyable to watch because people that you'd never expect to die actually do. Now they hardly ever kill anybody important, and even if they do they come back somehow anyway. The reason Klaus is such as problem is that his predictability kills interest. In most every story with a hero vs a villain you already know that the the hero is going to win, people don't watch/read entertainment for that, they watch to see HOW the hero will win, and if the villain, hero, or both is predictable, the story loses any entertainment value it could have. Oh, and as for this "Last, Evilaric is shaping up to be a good villain, but I fear that they are going to do what they did with Klaus and keep him around too long, considering that the only wa" I meant to write next, the only way they can kill him is to kill Elena, which they obviously can't do, so the writers have written themselves into a corner.

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I agree with this (BoredNow)...Last, Evilaric is shaping up to be a good villain, but I fear that they are going to do what they did with Klaus and keep him around too long. Julie Plec and Co have attachment issues. They don't know how to let go of characters. And nearly every single character has now become a plot device., it's not just Bonnie anymore. When Tyler was breaking his sire bond, they didn't even show the effect it had on his mom, like they did when she found out he was a hybrid. He just disappeared and came back as the finale drew near. And I agree with this (Amie)...You know watching how Klaus was busy destroying Elena's and Jeremy's house I couldn't help but notice that...WHY THE HELL IS THIS HAPPENING IN BROAD DAY LIGHT? This scene was juvenile and made no sense. Klaus should have tried to get Elena in a more creative and badass way. But that would have been too much work for the writers.

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@Allison Thanks for the clarification. One thing that I really love about this show is that they really try to be consistent. I am now thinking that Alaric has a major weakness, the sun. I wonder if it would be possible for them to get him out in the sun long enough that he would get to a point where he would be incapacitated. Could he heal after a prolonged exposure if he were deprived of blood? It would be gruesome. Maybe Ric will have to get his own daylight ring. Just a thought...

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@Guilty Pleasure
1) Klaus is not dead. They made his heart stop beating, so he's "asleep" like Mikael was (and the tomb vampires in S1). So he can be among the living again as soon as someone drops some fresh blood down his throat :-)
2) You're right. Kill the Original -> all of his/her offsping die too. But as mentioned: Klaus is not dead. 3) I guess they are partying because Klaus needs help so walk and talk (and murder) again. Remember that Katherine gave Mikael blood to revitalize him. Rebekah and Elijah are (at this point) unaware of their brother's fate, so there's no help (yet). So the Mystic Falls gang won a battle, not the war ;-) But I couldn't understand the party either. To freeze the one vampire able to help stopping Badlaric seems kinda stupid to me...