The Vampire Diaries

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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
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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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Just have to say that I'm an original Buffy fan. Watched from the very first day. I read the Twilight books. But TVD did come out BEFORE Twilight so if the similarity is there it because they had similar ideas of Meyer read a bit of TVD at some point. I don't care. My point is if you want to complain about TVD, do it because it's TVD, don't compare to previous shows. The writers do there best to give fresh storylines. And IMO, this show F*^&ING rocks! As said, loved Buffy. Always will. But TVD is pretty consistently awesome.

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First, I'm glad Klaus is dead, though I give 2 episodes before he's walking around screwing with everybody again. I've always hated Klaus for his painfully predictable villainy since his introduction, he's not done one thing I haven't expected long before he did it since the first time he walked on screen, he's done nothing but drag the show down. I preferred when the show had more of a villain of the week/month format since it kept things fresh, and the lack of restrictions as a result in both characterization and abiliy of the villains meant they could keep upping the ante. Second, I don't understand this love triangle. Why does Elena have to choose between Stefan and Damon? If she truly loves them both, then why not choose both? There would be nothing wrong with that, it would be a lot like a open marriage. 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 they only way to kill him would be the end of the show. Either have him killed or redeemed in the next few episodes, then bring in a new villain, or else, like with Klaus he'll be stale and predictable, and we don't want that. It's no coincidence that this being one of the best episodes of VD ever also was one NOT being about killing Klaus for once.

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BTVS is Scooby Do Tv for g-ups.. This was nice except for the Brothers. Okay I'll leave ,blah blah..*pukes* Sainty Klaus is dead, good riddance.. TeKillya with low blood = hmm , Fun.

Ririe

Seriously why do they have to wear black all the time???? Even Elena? It's dull to watch. Really.

Ilkvomit

Quote -->"Elena is such a special girl, we're just gonna sit around waiting who she chooses, because that's all we care about"? That is lame guys! Come on, you're badass vampires and much better as a team anyways! Leave Elena to her brooding and get the hell out of Mystic Falls! I agree with this statement 100% !! They could be seducing way hotter bitches at the local mall (Does mystic falls have a mall ?) lol

Allison berry barbieri

@BoredNow.. Interesting thought, but I think that those of us that didn't watch Buffy or don't care to make comparisons don't think it's "falling flat on it's nose". And, keep in mind, SOME of the story lines on TVD are from the original Vampire Diaries books that had nothing to do with Buffy. In fact, now that I mention it, the books came out before the Twilight books did. So, you are always saying "Elena is Bella" but maybe it's the other way around? Either way, you may be looking for Buffy/TVD comparisons as you obviously loved Buffy and want to skewer TVD as often as possible. Truly, truly not sure why you watch.

Allison berry barbieri

@DiMyLovely "why does the new improved vampire hunt not killing any of the other Vampires and why can't he walk in the sun? The other Originals can, and isn't Evilaric basically an original too?" When Bex told the story of the Originals, she explained that the son burned them until the witch (what the crap is her name? Ayana or something?) made them spelled rings that allowed them to walk in the day light. Emily made them for Stefan and Damon, Bonnie made one for Caroline, it seems Tyler doesn't need one as he's a hybrid, and Alaric simply didn't have one.

Kitanishi h mcdonald

Anyway, isn't a lot of TV derivative? TV being derivative is one thing. A lot of shows get "inspired" by btvs or do something similar, because that show pretty much defined the genre as well as tv shows in general. A show having awfully identical scenes or situations to another show is way beyond that. Especially that some of that stuff is shot-by-shot identical. TVD is NOT "Inspired'. It tries to copy and BE that. And falls flat on its nose.

Allison berry barbieri

Oh, and I also watch TVD because Ian Smolderhotter makes my eyes happy ;-)

Allison berry barbieri

@TeamElena...lol!! I spend WAY too much time on here because, at work, pretty much every social networking site is blocked so I have nothing to do during lunch hour or, you know, ADHD hour, haha! And I am just narcissistic enough to check back once in a while to see if people replied to my comments, I guess, lol! And curious enough to see if people answered my questions. I'm really not some freak that spends all her time on these site or hours watching TV... I think TV Fanatic, WetPaint and the occasional Zap2it are the only places I go and it' usually only for TVD or the Secret Circle...and I like the reviews of Once Upon a Time...
But, ANYWAY, I do like to analyze the shows a bit, I guess! I am a pretty normal wife, mom, etc with a routine life so TVD and TSC are my guilty pleasures :-) I get kind of critical when the writing sucks because it makes me worry that the shows I enjoy so much could get canceled!

The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 21 Quotes

Rebekah: Sorry about your teacher, seemed like a nice guy.
Caroline: Yeah. He was.

Since when does sire bond equal mover slave?

Caroline