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Vampire Diaries: All My Children

“Pot, kettle, brother.”

What a weird episode. Awkward plotting and non-surprises mixed in with beautiful character moments that are simultaneously tragic, hopeful, and perfect for each person making his or her own very idiosyncratic mistakes. Yet while the first 10 minutes and last 10 minutes were perfect, the middle part just wasn’t quite right, was it?

Part of my discontent—and discontent is an overstatement—comes from my frustration with some of the Original drama. I discovered, courtesy of the internet, that there are fan rumors of an Original spin-off series, and I can’t imagine how that would work. Part of what makes our heroes loveable is their own lack of responsibility for the craziness that happens to them. Elena, Caroline, Bonnie, Alaric, even Stefan and Damon must fight against evil outsiders, at least most of the time. They don’t generate wacky antics by themselves. Not much, at least.

The Originals, on the other hand, are deeply bratty, especially Rebekkah, Kol, and Klaus. Kol teasing Rebekkah, Rebekkah throwing a tantrum, Klaus’s smarmy lothario act... these people drag their emotional immaturity around the world with them. No wonder they’re so grumpy: they’ve been forced to live with themselves for at least a thousand years.

That’s not to say that I want them gone. The Originals are interesting counterparts to our heroes, Elijah is fun, and I do take pleasure in my own horror at Klaus’s pathetic attempts to seduce Caroline. (“Tell me about your hopes and dreams”? A thousand years, and that’s the best he can do?) But I’m rather glad that Esther and Finn are on a mystical hiatus—too many Originals were spoiling the broth. Having said that, I’m surprised that Esther featured in just two episodes before blooping out of existence.

Despite the blink-and-you-miss-it disappearance of Esther and Finn (seriously, I missed it the first time because I was eating a complicated dinner), and the anti-climax of Bonnie’s mom getting turned, two moments in this episode are some of the most interesting of the season:

1. Damon giving up Elena. Wow, talk about baggage! Elena spoke briefly in anger last week, and Damon has turned her ambiguous statement (“Maybe that’s the problem”) into the motivation for giving up on her entirely. And it’s not like he’s just walking away: he chose to kill Bonnie’s mom, knowing it had to be done but also knowing that, by doing it, he would once again place a moral barricade between himself and his beloved. Damon’s combination of brotherly self-sacrificing love and his own inferiority complex certainly makes for emotionally complicated long-form storytelling.

2. Alaric getting shot. Alaric won’t die, right? And there’s got to be some other element at work in the murder-mystery subplot: I continue to hold out hope for the Fell ghost. But Alaric’s ring has been iffy at best, of late, and a doctor with a handgun hardly qualifies as a supernatural injury. Plus, as Elena said last week: surely no one’s love life can be that tragic.


• What’s cuter than a bad-boy vampire? A bad-boy vampire with a farmer’s tan.

• They’re not even making a pretense of attending school anymore, are they?

• So there’s a new white oak tree, eh?

And Pieces:

• Elena: “She tried to kill me less than 48 hours ago!”
Damon: “Can’t we just move past that, Elena?”

• Caroline: “I can hear every word you’re saying about Damon the Vampire Gigolo.”

• Damon: “You don’t have to judge her. Just tie her up.”

• Damon: “How superspecific of you.”
• Rebekkah: “Somehow everybody seems to want to bend over backwards to save your life, which is incredibly annoying, but makes you the perfect hostage.”

• Caroline: “Just to be clear, I’m too smart to be seduced by you.” Oh, how I hope that is true. I never thought I’d say this, but I hope Caroline goes back to Matt.

• Caroline: “Put yourself in her shoes. Everything that happened tonight, happened to save you.”

The Vampire Diaries doesn’t return until March 15th, which is a terrible amount of time to wait. I’m particularly disturbed that I can’t quite figure out what to expect: Esther’s disappearance was so sudden, Damon’s reversal came so soon, and while Stefan’s gradual return de-Stefanus-ization has been pretty obvious, I’m not quite ready to start rooting for Elena to get back together with him. All of that make this hard for me to rate, so I’ll leave it up to you:

How many vampire gigolos out of four?

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


  1. Fantastic review, as always!

    Am I the only one who finds Elena annoying? She can't have her cake and eat it, yet she is getting all pouty about BOTH boys!

    Is Jeremy coming back, do we know? Or did they want rid of the actor so have written him out?

  2. For me Elena is turning into a Bella now... well, at least both characters are lovable.

    Apart from that, I liked the episode. One question: Why didn't anything happen to Klaus when they were daggered? Or if he is immune to that, did Damon and Stefan not know?

  3. Rish, because Klaus is a hybrid the daggers have no effect on him. Damon and Stefan know about this, which is why they sent in Caroline to distract him.

  4. Another great review Josie.

    Firstly, I have to say I loved the dinner line. It's the one downside to eating in front of the TV, sometimes you're way to engrossed in your food that you tend to miss a few things!

    Nice point about the shooting at the end. I never thought about it being supernatural or not.

    I have a theory that Meredith is possessed or something, and its not her really doing all this. She was sleeping so contently just moments before he started snooping.

  5. Another great review.

    Damon has issues; we all know that. But, I agree that his complete surrender seems just a tad off. Other than Elena, he seems to get just about any woman he wants, so why is he so self-esteemless (is that even a word?) when it comes to her? I, too, am not at all keen to see Stefan and Elena together again - at least not for a while. The triangle is way too much fun.

    As for Ric - I will deeply mourn his passing if he is gone. In the meantime, I will use every ounce of self control I have to stay off the spoiler sites and wait with bated breath for the 15th.

    Once again, Josie, thanks for your reviews. They have really added to my enjoyment of this show.

  6. Hi Josie (et al),

    I have loooved reading your reviews along with my beloved VD episodes! I can hardly wait for the next one. I was wondering if you (and the other Billie writers) know about the Nerdist Writer's Panel podcast on iTunes. I've only listened to one, but it is an extremely interesting series of interviews with fabulous writers, many from television shows covered right here! I listened to the Vince Gilligan/Julie Plec podcast, and I was blown away by their insights into VD and Breaking Bad. Just thought I'd stop by my favorite site and hopefully open a new doorway of VD obsession for you! Here's the link, but it's also on iTunes: http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/vince-gilligan-julie-plec/id455020248?i=111027626


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