The Vampire Diaries Review: Tricks of the Traveler

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The Vampire Diaries turned 100 this week.

And while the series isn't wearing dentures, walking with a cane or eating dinner at 4:30 p.m. every night, it's very clearly showing its age.

Let me clear:

TVD has lived an impressively long and accomplished life. It deserves a chance to sit back in its figurative rocking chair and reminisce about the good ol' days, which was basically the point of The Vampire Diaries Season 5 Episode 11.

Using Katherine's impending demise as a conduit, characters reflected on everything from the tomb to Uncle John's fingers to Alaric being awesome.

The drinking game was a fun little meta exercise that fit into the episode smoothly and honored this milestone installment properly. And most returns were cute, simple, harmless and fun. Vicki. Jenna. Damon's BFF. All popped in, made viewers smile and made their way out again.

But it was the appearance of The Originals that really started this episode down a bad path.

First, there was no wow factor here. It's hard to be surprised or jubilant to see Elijah, Rebekah or Klaus in Mystic Falls when we see them every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on The CW.

My reaction wasn't "Oh, hey, cool, The Originals are in town!" It was more along the lines of "Wait, who is protecting Hayley?!?"

Second, their cameos made for a rather easy storytelling crutch: Matt is in danger! No problem: Klaus and Rebekah will hear his calls and Rebekah will go fish him out. That was easy.

Third, and most importantly, we must talk about that scandalous sex. Look, I'm in favor of scandalous sex. I'm especially in favor of scandalous sex when Caroline Forbes is involved. But this just came totally out of nowhere.

It felt forced, shoved in merely to make Klaroline shippers happy and to create an obstacle for Caroline and Tyler down the line.

Shows should never write toward their fans. They should always write toward their characters and the best possible storytelling. But that's not what this forest fling felt like. It came across like a desperate attempt to please one fan base and to create a gasp-worthy moment just for the sake of a gasp-worthy moment.

At least it was something different, though. I can't recall the last time a hybrid had passionate sex with a blonde against a tree in the forest. I CAN, however, remember many times (MANY, MANY times) when one TVD character was taken over by another.

Which is why I didn't just roll my eyes... I wanted to gouge them out with a spoon after the big cliffhanger centered on Katherine switching bodies with Elena. How many times can the series go to this well?!?

Silas acted like numerous people on The Vampire Diaries Season 4. Matt was taken over by a Traveler this year. Heck, Elena joked on this exact episode about how often Katherine has pretended to be her. The series is literally, admittedly repeating itself.

Seriously, since when did one character acting like another character in order to fool some other characters become the only card TVD has to play?

So, yes, overall I was very disappointed. The Klaroline fornication felt too random and the Katherine/Elena switch way too redundant.

I love The Vampire Diaries. I want to celebrate this momentous episode along with every other fan and I take off my Mystic Grill baseball cap (note: they should totally sell Mystic Grill baseball caps!) to the actors, writers and producers for getting this far. It's an amazing accomplishment and it's only natural for such a long-running series to take a downfall after awhile.

But this was just poor execution all around. The hour was too reliant on returns, on random actions and on a body takover storyline we've seen played out over and over and over and over.

I might have to take back what I wrote up top about dentures. Slowly but surely, The Vampire Diaries is losing its bite.

What did you think of The Vampire Diaries 100th episode?

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

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The Vampire Diaries Season 5 Episode 11 Quotes

Elena: You memorized my breakup?
Caroline: Of course I did.

Matt: Who spends two years pining after a girl?
Damon: I can hear you, dumbass.