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The Vampire Diaries Review: Not Having a Ball

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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:

Eh.

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.

That's Katherine!

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.

Masked Vampire

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?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (251 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Ok so i was kinda Hoping they would kill that witch......but in my heart of hearts i new they wouldn't especially Damon....who is that weirdo that took Elena.....i think this was a good show but i know its not the last of Katherine they will most likely need her to get Elena back (maybe)... and what the hell she loves Stephen but doesn't want to get back with him even after she thinks Katherine's dead Hmmmm i Smell Fish....(boy is she gonna be mad when she finds out katherine isn't dead....)Overall i had a great time watching it i only wish i had someone to talk to about it....

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Well obviously, views are going to be agreeing and disagreeing with the review. It's normal and it's sane: we all don't react similarly. I think we should thank you for the amazing work you do though: Thanks!! And it makes us all think... Actually, that's one of the questions I asked myself too. How the heck do they explain all these deaths every week? I know it's bound to happen, and I LOVE the fact that Kevin and Julie don't go all lovey-dovey and don't hesitate to kill off characters; but at some point, doesn't anyone in the whole town wonder about the number of deaths since Stefan and Damon came? It's weird, and am sure, highly unusual in such a small town!! Coming to Stelena, I personally didn't find it forced. I mean come on, don't we all understand Elena? She didn't tell him she's never going to be with him... She just asked for some time - technically actually - one day. She said she wants to wake up tomorrow and feel safe. Too bad that's not in her destiny, or day at least... I loved the Bonnie-Jeremy pairing. It's actually fresh and new and different- away from all the super-natural people pairings (even though Bonnie's a witch). I get a good vibe from them, and am liking that! And I loved how Jeremy was: "Am not a kid any more you know!" Perfect! It's cool to see that they add subtleties in their plots. That's one of the reasons I so love TVD. Bonnie can't just come one day and start liking Jeremy. She always ever saw him as Elena's little brother. It was excellent to add that line. Personally, I thought they would have staked Katherine. But I understand she's got to stay. Plausible for the storyline, and obviously they weren't going to kill her yet. However, I DON'T like how they hinted at she might actually be the "Snape-type-good" character, protecting Elena or whatsoever. I have a feeling she is, and I don't like it. She's supposed to be the bad girl, keep her bad. She'll die protecting Elena or whatever later on, and I don't want it turning that way. But this is TVD we're talking about, anything can happen, that's why we watch it!!!! And she loves Stefan, and Damon loved her so much. That was obvious too. He had moist eyes when he closed that tomb. God can Ian Somerhalder get any cuter? And any more of an amazing actor? And look at the irony of the situation: he opened that tomb to get her out, he was the one who closed her in. Beautiful! I see a growing relationship between Caroline and Tyler too. That's going to be interesting to watch too hopefully. Let's see. Though am always still rooting for Caroline-Matt, or even Stefan-Caroline (they looked and acted gorgeous together!). In my honest opinion, the pending questions are important. And TVD always resolves them and never mixes them up. Kuddos to Kevin and Julie for that. So I personally think it's worth the wait. Agreed there are quite a few questions now, but they'll be answering some in Episode 9 'Katerina' and the rest I guess are for keeping the coming episodes gearing up. So personally, throw it in, am waiting...

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OMG This episode was AHMAZING!! Loved Damon, he was SO unpridictable and he looked GLAMOROUS in his mask. I hve to say, i am going to miss Katherine. The Stelena break wasnt that bad, i personally think Elena needs some time off, and to a certain extent, Stefan. Overall. GReat Episode!!!
XoXo

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I don't agree with the rating you gave this episode,sure it wasn't as good as last episode but it all made sense to me.What i 100% disagree with you is the whole Elena/Stefan break up.I think she needs some time,she just can't get over everything that has happened in a minute.And no,she hasn't forgiven Damon yet(for all i know.KTHANKSBYE

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I actually agreed with the reviewer on several points, although i felt the overall quality of the episode warranted more than a 3.5 score. The stefan/elena conversation felt completely contrived, elena has had fears for the safety of the ones she loves since finding out stefan is a vampire so for that to be an obstacle now seemed fake. Not killing katherine was a let-down and as damon said himself, not something that he would ever do, so it didnt fit with the characters. Am glad matt survived though - the series needs ordinary people as well as the supernatural. The death of 2 students on the same night would surely cause concern?? And finally im already a fan of jeremey/bonnie-both are troubled characters who need someone to lean on and j has grown in maturity these last few eps

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Oh and yeah i felt it was forced for Elena to stay broken with Stefan, but im glad they are both single and it somewhat allows hope for new love interests, Doubt that will happen.
Is Matt going to die or were the producers just teasing us when they said someone was going to die ? Nawt kewl dude.
I think they couldnet touch the moonstone or they'd die as well? RIght and thats why they left it with Katherine. If not then yeah it was stupid to leave it with Kat

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I am so suprised this episode didnt get five stars and last weeks one almost did, cuz i thought last weeks one was one of the worst this season(Worst probably best in mostother shows) I loved how everyone pulled their weight this season, And yeah We're all expecting Katherine to come back too but very interisted to see what happens to Elena next week! Not a fan of Jeremy and Bonnie, i liked Donnie better but im sure the show will change my opinion

Picazo

@ M.L. House: Fear enough to me :) Hey I have put myself in your position many times and I can’t ever do what you do. I think you do an amazing job……

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First let me say that I really enjoyed this episode. The fight scene between Katherine, Stefan, and Damon was FANTASTIC! However, I do agree that I don't like the way they let Katherine off the hook and locked her in the tomb. I agree with the reviewer completely about this. I loved the fact that she had herself magically connected to Elena...THAT alone should've been the reason they didn't kill her. The spell attaching them to each other shouldn't have been broken until AFTER Katherine was released from the room. The new witch could've easily kept part of her deal with Katherine and then turned on her after Damon and Stefan couldn't get to her. I don't know, but that was the only part that really disappointed me. They had no reason not to kill Katherine once she was incapacitated and the connection to Elena was broken.

Matt-richenthal

@Picazo: Awww, thanks!
You're not being too hard on me at all when it comes to disagreeing with my reviews. I love the feedback. I simply don't like being accused of not paying attention.
I missed one line about Jenna and I immediately went back and corrected that. I can't think of that ever happening before in any of my reviews. I'd simply like the focus to be on everyone's opinion of what went down on the episode, not on how closely I watched it. Is that fair?

The Vampire Diaries Season 2 Episode 7 Quotes

You aren't gonna kill Katherine... I am.

Stefan

Tell Damon and Stefan to give me the moonstone or I will rip this town apart until it rains blood.

Katherine
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