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The Vampire Diaries Review: Dancing with the Devil

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Senior prom never lives up to expectations.

You think you have the perfect dress... and then a classmate shows up in something similar. You think you're gonna get some... and then your date passes out drunk. You think you can flip your loved one's humanity switch back on... only for her to attempt multiple murders and for the event to be overtaken by a deranged ancient witch on a mission.

It's the same old story at high schools around the country.

Caroline Prom Dress

"Pictures of You" wasn't an in-your-face, non-stop-action, thrill-a-minute return episode.

It was actually light on blood and gore and surprises and didn't even conclude on an especially intriguing cliffhanger. Sorry, but seeing Silas' scarred face didn't nudge me any closer to the edge of my seat.

But the hour did bring into focus many relationships, from Elena's nearly destroyed ones with Bonnie and Caroline to Rebekah's burgeoning one with Matt to Caroline's briefly revived one with Tyler.

That was Tyler, right? Not Silas? What an odd scene and return. It was used to soften Klaus a lot more than further anything related to the reunited couple, as our favorite Hybrid admitted he cared about Caroline's happiness to such a degree that he was willing to let Tyler go in order to maintain it. Really, nothing says I Love You more than NOT murdering your boyfriend.

Elena, meanwhile, was going in the opposite direction with her friends, doing all she could to tear them down. She stole Caroline's dress. She referred to Bonnie as a "brain washed crazy person." She told Stefan she lacked a heart and she scoffed at Damon's title of "boyfriend." The humanity-free vampire made Katherine seem like your caring next door neighbor.

But while it's a nice change of pace for both Nina Dobrev and this typically innocent character, it's also refreshing that it may be coming to an end soon. As Caroline noted (I know you said to kill her with kindness, but can't I just kill her?), there's only so long such a stone-cold killer can be accepted by those around her before they either give up trying or do something worse to her.

So it's on to Plan C: scaring the humanity back into the blood-sucker. I can only imagine a marathon of The Ring is on tap. Maybe Toddlers & Tiaras.

Matt and Rebekah at the Prom

Let's also hope fan reaction frightens Julie Plec and company into choosing a direction and sticking with it when it comes to this perennial love triangle. Stefan is gonna get out of town... only to remember his feelings for Elena. Damon is confident Elena really does love him... only to wonder and rage when he watches her dance with his brother.

The overall dance of Who Will Elena Pick? has grown very old. It's been pushed to the side over the past few episodes because the Salvatores have had other issues to worry about (Other Sides ending, waitresses being killed, etc.), but it was brought back a bit to the forefront here, much to my chagrin. I don't care if Elena pulls a Kelly Taylor and chooses herself at this point. She just needs to make some decision.

After she stops trying to kill her best friends, that is.

Thee others developments worth noting:

  1. Poor Matt! Dude, you are so much more than a busboy at The Grill. (Seriously, at this point in your tenure there, you better be so much more!) You are the rational, benevolent human being who does all he can to keep everyone around him safe and grounded. The town would fall apart (ummm... even more) without you there. So glad Rebekah picked up on this and so pleased with her evolution overall. She has a ways to go, but she could be "good" yet.
  2. Bonnie may not have smiled in about six months, but at least she's driving the plot now instead of being used to randomly turn it in one direction or another.
  3. The opposite can be said about Katherine. I've often noted how she's really nothing more than a plot device - popping up now and again with no real explanation - but that was never truer than her note to Klaus. She might as well have written: "Yo dude, The CW is considering a spinoff titled The Originals. Get down to New Orleans!"

Overall, not the best episode of The Vampire Diaries Season 4. The ability of Silas to simply turn into anyone is a significant writing crutch, a storyline that makes it far too easy to dupe both the viewers and the characters.

But at least he now has The Cure. At least Bonnie has agreed to help him. There's momentum on this front, there's movement in bringing the old Elena back - and there's Caroline in that dress! Far be it for me to complain.

What did everyone else think?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
  • 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (2035 Votes)

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

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And lastly... You mentioned that Elena was not effected by last nights events. She MOST CERTAINLY was! It stared when they first arrived at the prom & she saw the picture of her & Matt and then the pic of her & Jeremy. She actually had to remove herself from where they were standing so that she wouldn't feel anything. And then when she danced with Stefan... Oh my gosh. That evil, vampy bitch did not expect that. From the moment Stefan moved his hand up the back of her neck until the time that SHE, yes, she almost kissed him. She was effected. Everything she said was a lie. Her heart DEFINITELY felt it but she's so strong & detached right now that she didn't want to admit to herself or anyone else that she was effected and that's why she said "What heart". I give the episode 5 stars! I loved it.

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The scenes between Rebekah & Matt were perfect! When she listed his qualities and told him he was so beautifully human... Can anyone say upcoming super couple. We all know that Rebekah has been interested in Matt for a while. She redeemed herself last night and Matt recognized that. Bonnie is NOT stupid for not recognizing that Jeremy was really Silas. She JUST found out that he was dead. She's greiving and she's a witch. In a town like Mystic Falls it is absolutely possible that a Jeremy ghost or something similar could appear to her.

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Apparently I was watching an entirely different episode than everyone else because I LOVED it. Mystic Falls needed a little bit of love & passion and that's exactly what we got. Can I just say before getting into anything else that the scene where Stefan was trying to make Elena remember their love was one of the sexiest things I have ever seen on TV. Could it be because I'm invested in the Stefan/Elena relationship and want them to be together? Probably... But the chemistry between Nina & Paul is undeniable, intense and BEAUTIFUL. Moving on. I'm shocked that people were not impressed with the episode. How could anyone think that Tyler returning was really Silas? It WAS Tyler. No question. I teared up when I saw him standing there. I was thrilled for Caroline! A little dissapointed that we didn't get to see a Klaus/Caroline moment at the end but if the show gave us everything we wanted when we wanted it then there would never have been a season 2,3,4& upcoming 5. I smell a super couple coming between Rebekah & Matt and I LOVE it!!! When she listed his qualities & told him he was so beautifully human, it was perfect! I mean we all know that Rebekah has been interested in Matt for a while regardless of other things that have happened. She redeemed herself last night and Matt recognized that. Bonnie is NOT stupid for not recognizing that Jeremy was really Silas. She JUST found out that Jeremy was dead. She loves him and she's a witch. It is ENTIRELY possible that he could really appear to her. She wanted to believe that it was Jeremy because she misses him. When it first happened I thought it was Jeremy. Also, you mentioned that Elena was not effected?!?!?! She MOST CRETAINLY was! It started when she arrived at the prom & saw that picture of her & Matt. Then the pic of her & Jeremy. She had to remove herself from where they were standing because of it. And when she danced with Stefan she absolutely WAS feeling it. From the time he moved his hand up the back of her neck until the time that SHE, yes, SHE almost kissed him. Everything she said was a lie. Her heart remembers and she WANTED him but she is SO strong & detached right now that she doesn't want anyone to know that it effected her so she said "What heart". I give it 5 stars & an A+++.

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Bonnie needs to go. I was rooting for Elena to kill her. She has the same face for every emotion. Awful actress. So annoying. Dislike Jeremy & Bonnie together. I MISS JER! A Vampire Episode is almost perfect when you have both Salvatore's, ELIJAH, JEREMY & Klaus; all it needed was Alaric.
Also, anyone else notice this show is SO MUCH BETTER when Elijah is in it?

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Also, I feel like I was jipped as a Delena fan. I know they have to keep the triangle alive (but do they really?) but Elena was with Stefan for a long time. She was so infatuated with him and they had several really romantic scenes when they were together. Then they build up her and Damon for years and have them have one scene that is ruined by the sire bond. I think they could have thrown that in later... given us maybe at least two episodes where they were passionately in love. Are these two actors NOT really in love? Would that NOT make for good on screen chemistry? Oh, and not to mention that vampires are supposed to be even more passionate. This was a let down. The way that Elena and Damon immediately started acting like buddies and greeting each other like brother and sister while looking for the cure (boring) was a huge disappointment. Writers, what are you doing?

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I think that the bottom line is that I no longer care if I miss an episode of this show. I am forgetting that it is on and uninterested to see how things will play out. I feel like the build up to this cure has been a whole bunch of filler episodes. The previews make it look like something will finally come to a head and then nothing does. I feel like the one good moment of this season was when Elena screamed and shut off her humanity. I felt for her in that moment because she was truly broken, which is what all of these shows usually build up to. I was excited to see what would happen next. But several episodes and 2 week BREAKS later, I am bored by Elena. I was bored by Elena and Damon's passionless relationship before this happened and I am feeling screwed as a viewer that now she will somehow not be with Damon by the end of this season for the sake of the overdone love triangle.

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I knew that all the dances end up disasters and with all this trouble happening,there's not much doubt that the show will get better again. ;P ;P

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This used to be my favourite show. I would look forward to watching it every week, now it just boring infact if it wasnt for Klaus and Caroline I would have given up by now. The originals pilot looks amazing and if I was Julie Plec I would be worried about losing viewers of the TVD to the originals should it get picked up. Im also hoping Caroline decides to study in New Orleans next season.

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@Lauren, I agree with everything you say - sad, but this really seems like the beginning of the end!

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I don't know how it's even possible, but Vampire Elena without humanity has even less personality than plain old human Elena.
Please, Caroline, do us all a favour and kill her.