I’d like to begin with a special announcement: the Reader of the Week award goes to the aptly-named TheShadowKnows, who made a great guess last week that was completely spot-on. Mr. Knows, please collect your fuzzy kitten at the door—great work!
Now that we know that there is only one dose of the cure, the stakes have increased dramatically—at least for some characters. As ChrisB (Reader of the Week runner-up) pointed out in the comments on last week’s review, “The cure, if and when they find it, could prove a really interesting character study in terms of who takes it and who doesn't.”
I think that’s what Vampire Diaries wanted to do in this episode, although they sacrificed some character development for amped-up tension. It was interesting to discover that Stefan feels that “even the good parts [of being a vampire] kinda suck, too,” and even more interesting to discover that Elena doesn’t hate vampirism quite as much as she previously had. But Damon and Rebekah didn’t reveal anything new. Caroline doesn’t want the cure, and that fits her personality and the positive changes she’s made since being turned.
Despite those interesting, brief moments, the comment I kept thinking of as I watched this episode was one that just landed in my inbox this morning. Anonymous posted on the “Catch Me If You Can” review that he or she wishes “the writers hadn't done that to [Stefan’s] character.” I’m taking the comment out of context, but it stuck with me since it’s a variation on something many of us have been saying this season: not “I wish Stefan hadn’t done that,” but “I wish the writers hadn’t forced the character into that bizarre contortion.”
In other words, some of us—perhaps many of us—are all too aware that these characters are tiny finger-puppets for the showrunner’s hands to manipulate. We all know this isn’t real, but a show like VD depends on our ability to suspend that disbelief. Becoming hyper-aware that it is a human creation is a sign that we’re losing that ability to believe.
For instance, last week’s illogical divide into factions struck me as silly. This week, I realized what I’d feared: the factions existed so that people would reach Silas’s grave at different rates, with different levels of knowledge, to create suspense. I started to wonder if there was a discussion in the writer’s room: “How do we make Elena vulnerable?” “Why not have a hunter attack Damon with a nifty, complicated weapon that incapacitates him?” “But what about Shane?” “Oh, break his leg with a falling rock.” Many actions and results didn’t feel earned.
It was a pleasure to see someone realize that Silas is capable of causing delusions. Way to go, Jeremy! I’d mourn his death, but I’m not convinced he’s actually dead: his death-defeating ring was prominently on his finger in “View to a Kill.” And some internet theorists hypothesize that Bonnie “un-supernaturaled” him, so the ring should still work if he’s wearing it. On the other hand, perhaps he’s dead—the last bit of Elena’s family gone. That would be terribly sad.
A few things did feel earned: Katherine’s return, for instance. There’s been someone else operating in the background since at least “Catch Me If You Can,” when a vampire compelled that guy to bite out his tongue. I assumed it was Elijah at the time, but in retrospect Katherine does seem more likely: we’ve seen her compel people to do bizarre and terrible things before. Does she want the cure for herself? Or to use on Klaus, to finally stop running from him?
Speaking of running from Klaus: Tyler once again must flee his rage. Candice Accola did a wonderful job being sad about Tyler leaving, and I feel terrible for wishing Caroline would realize she can do better than Tyler. I’m also curious to see how this story will end: will Klaus kill Tyler? Or will that story, like last week’s “Will he cure Caroline or not?” cliffhanger, fizzle out off-screen?
As always, we’re left with many questions: will Silas “catch” the Hunter’s Curse and go crazy? Is Jeremy really dead? What about Bonnie—how badly is she wounded, and does that affect her ability to do expression? Will anyone consider just leaving Shane in the cave? And can someone give Caroline a hug and some chocolate?
• Caroline: “What? I’ve seen the Da Vinci Code.”
• Klaus: [speaks Aramaic]
Caroline: “What does that mean?”
Klaus: “If only you spoke Aramaic.
• Since Damon called Galen Vaughn the Vampire Hunter “Shrek,” I assume that he was supposed to be Scottish. According to IMDb, the actor playing Galen Vaughn is from London. Does that explain why I was mystified by his accent, or do I just need more Scottish people in my life?
• When Vaughn said, “I hate to kill you,” did anyone else want Damon to reply, “And I hate to die”?
• Still missing Alaric? His new show, Cult premieres next Tuesday, the 19th. Someone here (I think it’s me) will review it.
Again, I leave the ratings to all of you. How many "cryptexes" out of four? And how does one pluralize that godforsaken neologism?
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