by Josie Kafka
I’m going to put it all on the table, go out on a limb, cash in my chips, and lay it on the line: this was the clumsiest episode of The Vampire Diaries I have ever seen. And that includes the dreadful silly pilot. I know you can do better than this, VD. I know it.
It started promisingly enough. We began nowhere near where we left off last week: 200 miles off the coast of Nova Scotia, on the island that contains the magical well under which Silas is allegedly buried, according to Caitlyn, Shane’s dead wife, or possibly according to Silas himself, disguised as Caitlyn, working his witchy magic from beyond the grave. Well, I guess just from the grave, as he’s still in it.
Which is probably a good thing, as Silas wants not just one or two, but three total massacres—one of which has yet to happen. Could that be a part of why Shane wanted such a large contingent to go with him to the island? It must be, given that we don’t have many other cast members left.
Of course, we didn’t get much more information than that, since Elena stopped Damon’s exposition-generating torture just soon enough to leave us wondering what was going on. In general, start-and-stop was the order of the day: over the course of two days and a night, our heroes only managed to walk a lot, wander off, talk about Damon’s butt, divide into nonsensical factions, and give each other (or the camera) emotional yet inscrutable looks.
As we’ve left it: Rebekah, Stefan, and Elena have teamed up and decided to trust each other. (Or not—I don’t understand the looks Elena and Stefan were giving each other in the tent. Was she just now realizing why he wanted the cure? Had she sussed out a lie and wanted to back him up?) Jeremy has been captured by a dreadlocked, painted he-witch who is working with Shane, who managed to trick Bonnie into the woods using her own magic. (Or something.) Damon, out a-wanderin’, has had his neck broken by a hunter.
I can only hope that all those factions exist for a reason, although I cannot imagine what it would be, given the general refusal to stand back, take a deep breath, and say, “Hey, raising the dead? Can someone remind me why we think that’s a good idea? Or when, in the history of mankind and horror films, it has ever turned out well?” Right now, everybody wants the cure; Shane seems to want to keep the vampires away from it, and likely wants to sacrifice Bonnie and/or Jeremy. But if he wanted to keep the vamps away, why not invent a pretext in Mystic Falls for keeping them off the island? Tell them it has been anti-vamped, or something.
Anyway, back in Mystic Falls Caroline is in peril of dying, Tyler is working on his leadership skills, Kol is still in the Gilberts’ kitchen, and Klaus is deciding whether or not to be a good guy. Two guesses as to what he chooses.
This is a mean, snarky review, but I cannot find anything good to say about this episode. And that concerns me: we’ve all been worried about this show for a while, although for different reasons. But this is one of the first times where I started to notice serious structural flaws in pacing, acting, cinematography, and emotional logic. Has VD lost its magic? Am I overreacting? I’d love to hear from all of you, in the comments—especially if you can convince me I’m wrong about this episode’s quality.
I don't know what to rate it. Is this a one out of four he-witches?