The Vampire Diaries Review: Not Having a Ball
Only The Vampire Diaries could kill off two students, transform one character into a werewolf, lock another inside a tomb and prompt the following reaction from this critic:
Indeed, it speaks to the show's credit that I found "Masquerade" to be a bit slow. I also found there to be more holes than usual, so while it remains one of my favorite programs on television, and while even a mediocre episode of The Vampire Diaries is better than almost anything else out there, I'm gonna spend most of this review focusing on the negative for a change.
First, there was a major question left unanswered: what does Jenna think happened to her? This woman plunged a kitchen knife into her gut last week. It's important that the series explains her reaction to this. Does she actually think she's suicidal? Was she compelled to believe it was a freak accident? Just a quick line or two on the episode could have resolved this issue.
(** Thanks to astute readers/viewers, I've been told that Jenna did make a comment about running into a knife by accident. I missed it. Thanks to all who pointed it out!)
Next, two students were killed at the party. Both served a purpose - setting off the werewolf curse for Tyler and proving how bad ass Katherine can be (Paralyzed from the waist down... and dead) - but this would result in major fall-out.
It still might, of course. There may be future investigations into these deaths, but I'd be surprised. It's hard to imagine the police questioning everyone at the party next week, trying to find the first girl's missing body, etc. I love how the show plays with serious stakes and isn't afraid to kill characters off - but at some point, it gets very hard to believe that there aren't more consequences to these actions.
Then, there was Elena's reaction to Katherine's supposed death. The best aspect of The Vampire Diaries is how it manages to make every twist and turn feel organic. It brings in new characters, reveals various alliances and plans, ends each week with a great cliffhanger... and none of it feels forced. It all fits together very well. For the first time, however, a storyline felt contrived.
I don't buy that Elena would give Stefan some lame reason for wanting to remain apart. Katherine is gone (more on that below). She was the reason they broke up. One can sense the writers just trying to come up with a new obstacles to get in the way of Stelena, one that feels less natural than typical storylines on the show. I hope these two get back together soon.
Finally, let's deal with Katherine's fate. I'm fascinated by the idea that the brothers actually need her and that the "doppleganger must be protected," as she put it. What does that mean? For what purpose? Who was the dude in the mask that kidnapped Elena? All major questions, all a result of Katherine needing to be placed in a situation where she could plead with Damon and reveal this information.
So I get that the show couldn't kill Katherine off yet. But it's still very hard to believe Damon and Stefan wouldn't do so. That had been their plan all along, and for very good reason. After all she's put them through, it felt like a storyline-related cop-out to just lock Katherine in the tomb. It's not something the characters would do - it's something the writers needed them to do in order to keep Katherine around.
Because, let's face it, does a single viewer believe we've seen the last of her?
A few closing thoughts/questions:
- Stefan is a Bon Jovi fan?!? I may need to switch vampire teams now. Sorry, Edward.
- Why does Katherine want to break the werewolf curse? Will we ever find out?
- It wasn't just me getting a romantic vibe from Bonnie and Jeremy, right? Who now finds themselves rooting for Jonnie?
- Seriously, being a student in Mystic Falls is more dangerous than being a porn star in a hotel room with Charlie Sheen.
- Note to Stefan and Damon: when aiming to kill a vampire, perhaps you should not leave the man who was introduced to us as a vampire hunter at home. The brothers could have used you on the scene, Alaric. And, no, I still refuse to call you Ric.
Not my favorite episode of The Vampire Diaries overall. But, as I said above, I'll take a disappointing installment over almost anything else on TV any day of the week. What did everyone else think?