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Vampire Diaries Review: We’ve All Died But We’re Over It

It’s always been a challenge being a man and explaining that yes, I do indeed watch Vampire Diaries. Furthermore, sometimes, it’s the most entertaining spectacle to show up on my television all week. Fans will always have to deal with the Twilight fandom and the correlations, as well as being immediately casted as a lesser Buffy the Vampire Slayer (which it is, but then again, so is everything else on television ever). Still, while there’s been some sloppy roads and a few plot holes baring their nasty teeth, The Vampire Diaries has always been able to remain at least somewhat entertaining. The fourth season pushed me a bit to the limits, and I’ll admit I pondered if I should continue.

But hell, who am I kidding, I’m on Team Damon.

The high school years are over for our main characters, and they didn’t do too well, did they? Caroline  (Candice Accola) and Elena (Nina Dobrev) are all pumped, exclaiming how they “finally made it!” as they move their things into their new dorm at college…but did they really makTVD 1.4e it? Their physical presence is there, their beauty made it, they had the academic integrity, some of their sass made it, but they’re vampires. I have to believe you get docked some points for not making it to college in your original form. But hell, at least their bodies made it; Bonnie (Kat Graham) is off in La-La land where she views the ways of Mystic Falls and all that’s around it. So, our three healthy, human girls from season 1 went to vamp, vamp (who “turned it off” for awhile but came back), and dead witch. The celebration makes it all the more humorous.

Elena has been spending the whole summer with Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), doing the sexy stuff immortal forever-teens do. We can just presume Caroline spent most of it leaving messages for Tyler and planning exactly how her college career would go. As for Bonnie…like I said man, she’s been dead. But hey, she can still talk to Jeremy! In one of the more shocking scenes, we saw Matt (Zach Goerig) going all uber-stud with his new plaything/vamp girl/lover/etc. Rebekah, and enjoying a healthy threesome. The threesome proved a bit costly, as Matt’s “come back to life lulz” ring was stolen. Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen) spent time getting even more muscles (he’s practically mini-Hulk), becoming more hunter-ish, and doing the same brooding thing he’s been doing since his first troubled episode.

Speaking of brooding, Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) was getting more time to do that these days, what with being locked in that safe by Silas, forced to drown all the time. Most had just assumed he went off to “find himself” after Elena made her choice (and it wasn’t him). Little did he know, he had returned to Mystic Falls, or at least so people thought; yes, Stefan is nothing more than Silas’ doppelganger. This allows Silas to freely bounce around and surprise the towngoers, like in a nice, chilling scene with Sheriff Elizabeth Forbes.

Getting down to business, we get our first chink in the college life when Elena and Caroline find out they have a roommate, Megan. This problem is exemplified by the fact that ten seconds before Megan knocked on their door, the girls were looking to toast to the room with a couple of blood bags. While Caroline and Damon are steadfast in their disapproval of the uninvited guest, Elena finds it a good challenge and and an acceptable change, and decides to keep her around. Things escalate quite a bit when Caroline goes for one of Megan’s waters, and hurls it back up in a bloody spew (it’s ravine). Still, Elena sticks with it, and decides to try another challenge and an acceptable change; a frat party.

TVD 1Sadly, the party isn’t all that great either. First off, they have a little trouble getting in, because they don’t know the owner/who to ask permission from. This is also something Megan sees, which isn’t the second vampire coincidence these ladies have displayed to her. While they freaked out over it, they got a call from their roommate, screaming for help. The help didn’t come, and her body went flying out of a window. The girls took one look and said it’s the work of a vampire. However, the police do their investigation, label it as a suicide; there is a note, after all. Caroline had been able to grab the phone, and when one of the detectives asked if they knew where it was, she lied and kept it. There’s obviously something going on here, some bigger group at work here; there wouldn’t be a scene of concealment of evidence to the police, without there being something juicy after. This theory was proved quickly when they got back to the dorm and found Megan’s tablet was taken. When they looked through the phone, they found a picture of Megan with Elena’s dad. DUN DUN DUNNNNN!

We have to express the Jeremy thing; it’s a little silly. Jeremy was dead to all, and there was even a school memorial for him. Instead of going the look-alike twin route (even more silly), they decided to announce Jeremy had simply faked his own death, due to being angsty. Even Kurt Cobain didn’t burn his place down, so this angst runs deep. Jeremy seems less than pleased to be forced to go back to school, and becomes even less enthused when some kids start to kick his books around and harass him. The laughable thing here is that the kids who go after him are these scrawny little boys, and they’re messing with a man possibly packing more pounds in muscle than I have in my entire body. Still, it was nice to get to see Jeremy’s Hunter fighting in action, and he kicked some good ass and got himself expelled (this gets erased shortly thanks to Damon compelling those in charge).

Interestingly enough, the woman who answered the phone to news of Jeremy’s expulsion, was Katherine, Elena’s doppelganger. Being human hasn’t worked too well for our Katherine since she was forced the cure, and she’s running throughout Mystic Falls with sloppy eye-shadow and overly teased hair. She tries to work her charm on Damon when she encounters him in the Salvatore mansion, and initially, he’s less than impressed. When Damon confronted Jeremy at the Grill over his actions, they were approached by Stefan, or at least, a creature Damon thought was Stefan. Jeremy felt something when it touched him, and he was sure it was Silas. Silas is headed home, Katherine is here; perhaps things might change a bit, eh? To the Salvatore Mansion, hurrah!

We get a showdown back at the mansion, where Damon tells Jeremy to flee the scene with Katherine, choosing to go up against Silas himself. Silas wants Katherine, for reasons that at this point, only Silas and Katherine are really aware of. He’s even offering to trade Damon’s brother, whose whereabouts are revealed (sort of) to his family for the first time in months. This is an obvious “trade” situation, and he calls Jeremy and orders to have Katherine brought back. Sadly, Jeremy didn’t think to bind her in any sort of way, and she’s free to cause a whole big commotion, leading their truck straight into a tree trunk. Katherine escaped from the scene and from her captors, but she was pretty badly damaged. Jeremy was laid out in a stream of his own blood, a scene where they wanted us to think he was really going this time, but we knew better, and sure enough, Damon came along and gave him his blood. Nice of Silas to just let Damon go off on errands, wasn’t it?

TVD 1.2Matt found his girl at the party at the Mystic Grill. Not Rebekah, his third-party friend, Nadia (Olga Fonda). When he approached her in a random street corner, she offered him his ring back. This was quite nice of her, but then a man’s hands held him, and said stuff that made Matt’s eyes go completely black, and caused him to pass out. This wasn’t so nice. Obviously this is going to lead to some supernatural thing with Matt, which I’m completely whatever about. As much as I hate the “KILL ALL HUMANS, OR GIVE THEM POWERS!” approach that Vampire Diaries has clearly gone for, you may as well do it 100% and just go all the way. At least we won’t have anymore episodes centering around Matt’s humanity anymore.

The party had quite the shocking end, as Silas decided to make an appearance, interrupting Bonnie’s dad in the middle of his fine speech. He displayed his super-powerful compelling powers, causing everyone in attendance to bend to his own will. Bonnie’s spirit body happened to be viewing the event, and she ended up with a front-row seat to her father’s murder, as Silas slit his throat. You just can’t get enough death, can you? Silas’ encore was to announce an exciting scavenger hunt, where their new town target was the girl who looks a lot like Elena.

This episode of Vampire Diaries is one of the reasons I am quick to defend the show. At its best, it is a witty, sexy, fun and campy show that goes around like a corkscrew rollercoaster. I’m happy to be relieved of all the heavy exposition and mythology that led up to Silas; it became mind-numbing and viewers almost had to keep notes by the end of it as to who wanted what and just what was it. A little bit can go a pretty long way when you do it correctly. Each scene between Damon and Elena (and even moreso the Stefan and Elena dream sequence) had plenty of romantic tension that continues our battle of emotions that fuels the show (and I’m assuming, the reason most younger girls watch this). Due to The Originals (it’s good, by the way), we probably won’t be seeing Klaus & Co. for awhile, but that’s not a bad thing. They were deliciously wicked, but even good villains wear out their welcome after so long. We’ve already seen evil Paul Wesley (as evil Stefan), but his work in that department was pretty good, and I’m sure he’ll give us some more memorable scenes with the mischievous glare as his new character, Silas.

As for where this show is going, it’s all up-or maybe dow-ah, hell, who knows, it’s The Vampire Diaries. All I can promise is that each week you’ll get to hear at least fifteen minutes of alternative pop!

Season 5, Episode 1: “I Still Know What You Did Last Summer” (originally aired October 3rd, 2013)

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8 pm

Images courtesy of The CW.

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