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Vampire Diaries: Before Sunset

“Going darker, huh?”

Dark original magic, like politics, makes for strange bedfellows. Well, not actual bedfellows—just temporary allies. When Alaric went over to the psychotically grumpy side of the force, our heroes had to band together to fight the person they once loved and had already mourned. And because this is VD, the best laid plans make us feel like tiny mice hiding from the evil cat of fate.

Alaric is a scary vengeful vamp, and I was horrified to see my favorite history teacher torturing my favorite vampire, Caroline. Luckily, he has one weakness: no sun-protection ring, which kept him trapped in the school long enough for Bonnie, Stefan, Damon, and Klaus to formulate a vampire-desiccation plan. I’m glad that Bonnie finally got some use out of her failure of a mother, but I wonder if Dark Bonnie is now going to present a threat: that veiny thing she did was creepy.

Alaric, Klaus’s threat to take Elena, even Rebekah lurking in the corners were all emphasized in the first part of this episode. The sudden switch in plans once Alaric’s second weakness was revealed caught me completely off-guard. I never expected Klaus’s death (well, sorta) to happen now, before the season finale.

Alaric is linked to Elena’s life: a nice contractual loophole on Esther’s part—especially since it creates the awkward tension of everyone wanting to protect Elena, except Elena, whose only superpower is her willingness to sacrifice herself. Klaus, on the other hand, is willing to sacrifice Elena just to get rid of the pesky doppelganger problem (and to prove himself loyal to his family, especially Rebekah). That does make him the bigger threat, I guess. Although everyone is so busy saving other people that no one saves themselves.

When I watched this episode, I was dog tired, and that may have influenced how I reacted to the sudden shift in everyone’s plans. Honestly, it confused the dickens out of me: one minute they’re trying to kill Alaric, the next minute Elena is being drained, then Klaus is dried out. Watching it again, I realized that it did make sense, however odd it may have been.

But I still wish Alaric had been allowed to “die with dignity,” as Damon said. And Klaus’s personal tragedy of feeling unloved because he is unloveably jerky has never really tugged my heart-strings. While it’s great that Stefan and Damon have rekindled their bromance, I felt like that happened through exposition rather than action.

What I did really enjoy, though, were the human interactions. (“Human” in this context includes Caroline, since she hasn’t been very vampy lately, and Tyler, since he’s Caroline’s boyfriend.) Jeremy’s defense of his older sister is adorable. Tyler said it best: “real love is stronger than fake loyalty.” And the core group of high schoolers had a great moment in which they showed the strength of their devotion to one another at the end. Since there’s another episode before the end of the season, I can only assume that someone will die. Like I said, the evil cat of fate.

Bites and Pieces:

• Caroline: “Since when does sire bond equal moving slave?”

• Damon: “Because I do stupid things, Bonnie. I do things like let my friend die with dignity when I should have killed him.”

• Stefan: “There’s a 100% chance that Tyler dies.”
Damon: “I’m good with that, too.”

• Damon: “Bonnie, what does that mean? I don’t speak witch.”

• Stefan: “Digital locator spell.”

• Klaus: “Just between us girls, who would you have picked?”

• Is there something extremely weird about an original vampire sorting trash into a recycling bin at 8:02 in the morning?

As we’ve left it, Stefan and Damon are on the run with a desiccated vampire in their backseat. Elena is unconscious from a head injury and tequila shots. Alaric is still out there, unkillable and outing the vampires and hybrids of Mystic Falls to the council. Bonnie can’t use the same spell twice because there aren’t any vampires left in Mystic Falls strong enough to take Alaric in a fight. I have no idea what to expect for the season finale, but I’m guessing it’ll leave us with a painful cliffhanger in true VD tradition. Until then:

Three out of four Klaus-free lives.

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

6 comments:

  1. This episode switched gears faster than A.J. Foyt. We had everyone allying with Klaus to save Caroline (Caroline is safe with Klaus! It was like how I laughed when we said, Dawn is safe with Spike!) and then we're all conspiring to kill Klaus... and succeeding?

    Loved the Klaus eradication party. Loved the symbolism of Elena and Jeremy painting Alaric's room in a dark color because they had nothing else. And for some reason, I kept looking at Stefan and Damon and thinking, they're completely in sync now, and have never looked more like brothers.

    So -- uneven, but I really enjoyed it.

    Except why do they keep hurting Caroline???

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  2. Great review, as always, Josie.

    I, too, got confused about who was doing what to whom and it took a second viewing to sort it all out. But, the writers have certainly set up an interesting season finale (thank God, it's not the series finale...).

    I am very interested that Klaus is gone before the finale, which (call me cynical) leads me to believe that he may not be. As Jeremy's heart started up again before Klaus' stopped beating, do we have a loophole? Will he pop up behind the boys next week?

    I am sorry that Alaric is now the Big Bad, but I must commend Matt Davis. His eyes seem to bore into anyone looking at him and his menace, first with Caroline and then with Elena, was palpable. Interesting that he would get the council involved. Should we expect the villagers with their torches and pitchforks next week?

    But, my favorite part was the victory party. All those kids standing around drinking tequila -- made me smile.

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  3. When Bonnie went all vein-y did anyone else have an eye rolling "good witch use powers bigger than her and goes bad, BTDT" moment? I hope they don't try to go Dark Willow with her because I don't really like Bonnie and I don't really want to see more of her.

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  5. Love your reviews, Josie. I'll miss them when the season is over!

    I have no idea what will happen in the season finale, but i still hope they find a way to save Alaric, I can't quite accept the thought of him dying - and as a bad guy..! It's just not fair!

    ..and speaking of Buffy (comment above); Damon said "once more with feeling", and after seeing the episode, I just had to find the musical clips on youtube ;) (Anya's bunny song is still stuck in my head, days later)

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  6. I have nothing to say except that "Because I do stupid things, Bonnie!" was really inappropriately funny to me. I think it had something to do with look on his face + tone of voice + moment of clarity bordering on the meta, but I could not stop laughing.

    I was also really relieved that Caroline was so jolly about Klaus getting the ax. Between the drawing and the moment at the high school, I was a bit concerned we were going to get sad with a side of sublimated attraction from her, and I was happy that wasn't the case. Klaus is a bad dude, even by VD standards where one of our main heroes makes bad life decisions that involve a lot of killin', and it's nice that neither the characters nor the writers forget that.

    And hey, Tyler got one bright, shining moment of not boring the crap out of me.

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