Vampire Diaries: Down the Rabbit Hole

“It’s like trying to bend stone.”

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?

Bites:

• Caroline: “What? I’ve seen the Da Vinci Code.

• Klaus: [speaks Aramaic]
Caroline: “What does that mean?”
Klaus: “If only you spoke Aramaic.

And Pieces:

• 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?

12 comments:

Juliette said...

I was wondering what was up with Jeremy's dramatic death, given he wears a resurrection ring - I'd forgotten it doesn't work on supernaturals. I agree though, he's probably human enough again now for it to work.

Tyler, on the other hand - did they just write him out? That last scene felt very much like (True Blood spoiler alert) Hoyt's farewell on True Blood. I have to say, I'd be pretty fine with that development (and he can always come back in later seasons if they really want him to). I loved the Klaus/Caroline scenes in this ep, plus anything involving the Aramaic!

Thank goodness Elena finally talked about the fact you don't just go back to being the person you were because of a biological change. What's happened has still happened.

It was nice to see them use Jeremy's ability to see dead people too. Silas is clearly the First Evil from Buffy, crossed with an Anne Rice ancient vampire, with a hint of The Mummy. Dumb as they all are for letting him loose, he could be kinda fun. But then, the First Evil was by far Buffy's worst villain - maybe tied with Adam - so it could go boringly wrong.

Mark Greig said...

The cast and crew have been hinting for a while that a major death was coming. Jeremy would certainly fit the bill. He's important enough that his death would have impact, but not so important that the show would suffer from his loss. And at this point the guy has had more deaths than Rory Williams. Isn't it about time that one of them stuck? Killing Elena's family members has become something of an annual tradition after all.

Tyler is unlikely to be gone for too long. He does this every season, disappear for several episodes for one reason or another, only to reappear just in time for the season finale. Once Klaus has left for spin-off land I'm sure Tyler will (unfortunately) be back.

Anonymous said...

So, if Jeremy's death "sticks" this time, are we going to see a fight to the death between Elena and Katherine soon? Or can anyone imagine Elena not wanting to avenge her brother's death?

Anonymous said...

Oops, I forgot. Killing Katherine would kill Damon as well...and thereby Elena herself. Unless she does take the cure herself. But that would still leave Damon dead. Oh what a tangled web...

Mark Greig said...

Killing Katherine would not kill Damon or anyone else. It is only if an Original is killed that their bloodline dies as well. Killing Katherine would do nothing but seriously piss me off because I love Katherine.

Anonymous said...

Ah, I forgot about that being restricted to the Originals. Wouldn't that have been a nice motive for Katherine wanting the cure, though? As long as she had it, Klaus could never kill her without killing Elena.

PlatinumRosebud said...

Would love if they'll just kill off Elena and bring in Katherine. :)
It would be more fun.

Julia said...

This episode was better than last weeks (not very hard to accomplish) but it still seemed off to me. I was especially annoyed by the fact that even though they were in a race against time (before Klaus got free) and each other to find the cure nobody seemed to be in a hurry and and they seemed to have time to walk aimlessly around instead.

For a show whose twists and turns used to leave me in breathless awe it now seems to have lost its direction and pace. And I don't know if it's just me or do even the actors, who used to be so great, seem kind of uninspired?

Please VD, bring the magic back!!

TheShadowKnows said...

I've now been mentioned in the text of an actual Doux Review. My life is complete.

CrazyCris said...

MUCH better episode! Hopefully this season is finally changing for the better!

It was so intense that although the first thought that popped into my head when Elena met "someone" in the cave was Katherine, by the time she joined up with Jeremy and Bonnie I had completely forgotten about that possibility and truly thought it was Elena! :p

I sure hope Jeremy was wearing his ring! Elena's already way too "down", imagine how she'll be if she loses her brother as well!!! :o(

LOVE Juliette's description of Silas! And yeah, I hope he's a better villain that The First! :p

Now they'll all have to chase after Katherine for the cure so they can kill Silas! More teamwork between enemies?

ChrisB said...

As soon as we learned that there was only one cure, my first thought was of TSK. What a prediction! I humbly share kudos. Thanks, Josie.

I literally cheered when Elena launched into her speech about accepting who she is now and getting on with it. Long, long overdue. Perhaps we can all now move past the whiny, depressed creature she has been all season.

I'm so glad Katherine is back! We need someone to spice things up a bit, and life is never dull whenever she is around.

Anonymous said...

Hey, I just had a thought! If Silas can raise the dead, maybe he can bring back Alaric. That is, if he takes requests...