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?


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+.


No way Elena choose Stefan. It's the season finale and would death to ratings. Who would tune in to see more of the same? Stelena is just to popular and Stelena to unpopular. I'm not a shipper but she will choose to be alone. Must admit tho, before I retreat back into obscurity...I hope she winds up with Damon.


Let me start by saying that I liked the episode. Alaric is just awesome, good or bad. I am not much of an original fan but kudos to Klaus. He rocked it when he was trying to get into the house and then again when he told Elena that she was coming between Damon and Stefan, Way to tell it like it is, Klaus! I did have a few problems with it: 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? I am also bothered by the fact that when Elena wanted help, she wanted Stefan. My opinion may be biased but it seems to me that Damon has been doing most of the Elena rescuing this season, and what about the epic "I will never leave you again" speech and the motel make-out session? I have to wonder if the triangle is over because Damon never really had a chance.


What a suprise Bonnie had a proper storyline for the episode.
RIP klaus.


This episode was fantastic. I cried when Klaus died :(, I liked him. He was one of my favourites. I'm going to miss him. I don't like vampire Alaric, I liked human Alaric better. Can't wait for the finale!


freaking good episode!


A single tear for the originals. How do we live without them. Klaus, i`ll really gonna miss your presence..


This ep was fantastic. I don`t know where to start. There was simply nothing that bothered me. I`m not the biggest Bonnie fan but i really liked that her storyline in this ep was great. And know it`s pretty clear that this show has a lot of underused characters.


It would be nice to see Bonnie figuring out the fascinating dark side of magic and maybe get addicted to it like Willow in Buffy, even that i don`t like that show very much, that was a pretty good idea. (Please @borednow, you don`t have to comment that. Not everyone in the world is obsessed with Buffy. So you have to respect other opinion. I mean you clearly have a lot of time to watch tv-shows hou obviously don`t like. And what should i say. I wasted my time with Buffy..)


I really liked the bonding between the Salvatores. And now i really calmed down a little with beind pissed by Elena. I found it nice that she was able to say that she`s afraid to choose. I mean i really believe her and it was nice to see her admitting some kind that she love both. What makes this triangle so painfull is that everyone loves everyon. But I´m pretty sure she will decide her humanity and will let both brothers go, but maybe their will be a surprise even for me at the end of the season.


What I didn't like about the show was Klaus being done. I'm depressed that him and Caroline didn't work out. I'm hoping they bring him back next season and eventually, that couple happens. All in all I thought the show was great. I'm almost relieved that the season finale is next week, so I can move on with my life and stop thinking about VD.....I need a break!

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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?