Vampire Diaries regained some of my faith this week, with a fun episode that created forward momentum and had a bevy of pop-culture jokes. Those of us who were worried that VD was getting to twisty might be able to breathe a sigh of relief, especially if next week is as resolve-y as it looks like it will be.
Let’s start with the good: Kol is dead! At first, this felt like a major event—then I realized that it’s not Kol who matters, but how his death affects everyone else. How? Klaus’s angry reaction, which should have some bloody consequences, and Jeremy’s hunter’s mark, which is finally complete. Kol served his function as an exposition machine (“be afraid of Silas!”) and vengeance-starter (“be afraid of Klaus now, too!”).
And what about Rebekah? Will she be as calm and low-key as Stefan hopes? I’d like to see Rebekah do something other than whine about her family; perhaps her desire to be human will stick, although she does tend towards the moody and the swingy. Perhaps Stefan is good for her, even if just to make her realize she wants to be loved by someone as much as Stefan loves Elena, or Lloyd Dobler loved Ione Skye.
The tight timeline of Bonnie’s spell-trap for Klaus—three days, four max—means that something big must happen soon. Will it be the raising of Silas, the discovery of the cure? I doubt it. Nothing ever goes quite as planned in Mystic Falls. Then again, Elena and Jeremy did manage to kill Kol, so that’s a good sign.
Now that I’ve written all that, though, I realize that I’m more excited about what this episode sets up than what it was about. I never worried Elena and Jeremy would die—we got a clear shot of Jeremy’s ring, and Elena is the star of the show. Stefan and Rebekah’s 80s dance was cute, then annoying. (The Princess Bride reference was fun.) The conversation between Klaus and Damon was a surprising highlight; it felt like the writers were responding to the fandom. Especially on the question of how forgivable Damon is, and why so many of us (myself included) have a double standard when it comes to vampire blame.
Most of the episode’s tension came from various characters killing time or having it killed for them. Stefan kept Rebekah occupied just long enough for her to realize she wants humanity. Elena stalled Kol, then stalled out on keeping him distracted. Damon was locked in the basement, playing the role of cell potato. And Bonnie was trapped in an awkward family meeting that even I wanted to escape from.
Bonnie’s parents have realized how bad expression is for her, but she is resistant to their attempts to help. The return of Bonnie’s mom was a surprise, and would have been more appropriate if Bonnie had, at some point before her return, mentioned wanting a cure to save her mother from vampirism. Bonnie may be super-powerful, but she’s also constantly, inappropriately, angry. No one should care that much about a dance being canceled.
But while we know Bonnie’s magic is a terrible idea, everyone else seems to have forgotten that April (remember her?) nearly died because of Bonnie’s expression. Elena et al. are willing to use Bonnie’s power to trap Klaus. Aren’t they worried she’ll blow her top?
And how concerned should we be about Klaus’s claim that he never wanted the cure in the first place, and wants to destroy it? Much as I want our heroes to finally succeed at something, my money is on Klaus. He tends to get what he wants.
• Mayor Bonnie’s Dad: “Would you like me to read you a list of the names of people who have gone missing or died in tragic accidents in your senior year alone?”
• Stefan: “Why don’t you two enjoy a little villain-bonding time?”
• Damon: “You know how hard it is to get the X-box brains to focus?”
• Klaus: “How is it she manages to look over every horrific thing you’ve done? Is it willful ignorance, or perhaps something more pathological?”
• Damon: “If you’re gonna be bad, be bad with purpose.”
• Rebekah: “I think I saw a horror movie that started just like this.”
• Damon: “It’s one of his trademarks. Like brooding, and his hair.” This felt like an Angel reference.
• The song playing over Stefan’s morning-after sneak of shame was pretty awesome.
• Kol’s line about liking this world reminded me of Spike: “Billions of people walking around like Happy Meals on legs.”
• Was Elena asking Kol to teach her how to make a gin and tonic? Because that’s not one of the most complicated drinks ever.
• Stefan’s Bon Jovi love was a nice callback to one of his Season One conversations with Lexi.
• Do you think Stefan knew that the bottle of water her gave Damon had vervain in it, so Damon couldn’t be compelled by Klaus?
• No one seemed concerned that killing Kol would kill any of their vampire friends. Did they choose not to care, or have I forgotten something?
Three and a half out of four koala corsages.
Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)
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