The Vampire Diaries Review: The Nick of Time

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I'm not sure who I feel worse for after watching "The End of the Affair." Elena, Caroline or Klaus?

Okay, it's definitely Elena. The man she loves and would chase to the end of the world has told her to leave him alone; her mere existence is all that stands between relative peace and an army of Hybrids; and viewers even learned that the only reason Stefan fell for her may have been because he was forced to forget the woman who could truly be his soulmate.

Still, we learned a lot about Klaus this week and the intel painted a picture of a tortured, lonely, scared Original who hasn't been killing merely for the sake of killing.

Stefan in Chicago

Klaus is petrified. He's been on the run for centuries. He's been under orders to create Hybrids and I'm guessing it's not for his own personal army. Does that excuse all of his murderous behavior? Of course not. But let's remember the state Damon was in when we first met him. And the past of Stefan that gets unraveled every week.

There's always context to even the most evil of actions and Klaus' appears to be centered around the mysterious man who showed up for a few seconds near the end of this episode, asking after Stefan's forgotten friends. Is he a vampire? Maybe. A werewolf... such as Klaus' biological father? I say yes.

One thing is for certain: Sebastian Roche (Supernatural, Fringe) is an actor familiar with the non-human.

I also take issue with how the show keeps upping the bad guy ante. There was Katherine... and then Klaus... and then now random new guy. Granted, each villain has brought with him or her a different angle; and we need new blood to keep spinning the story in various directions. But it's a bit irritating to continually learn that there's always someone else out there. Nothing ever gets resolved as much as the plot in general gets altered.

Have we finally met the true string puller? I doubt it.

Ripper Road Trip Pic

Let's return to Katherine for a moment: perpetual props to Nina Dobrev for expertly pulling off such contrasting characters, but I'm sick of this one. She's become more of a plot device than an actual person, showing up from time to to time because she serves the purpose of writers in some way. That was never more evident than it was here, as she randomly called Damon with full knowledge of Stefan's whereabouts just because... she's made a lot of contacts over the years? That's pretty thin, Vampire Diaries.

Figure out a direction for Katherine or kill her for good.

Those small frustrations aside, the flashbacks were as fun and engrossing as ever and they culminated in a fascinating new trio. Stefan remembers! Throughout the first few episodes of the season, it was difficult to believe he had returned to his full-on Ripper ways or truly wanted to be a sidekick to Klaus. But with these memories flowing through him now, with the knowledge that he really was close to Klaus and in love with Rebecca, we may truly see a different side to Stefan. His loyalties aren't so clear anymore.

Hence my original sympathy for Elena and hence my one-word reaction to this development: GULP.

Elsewhere, there's not really much to say about the Caroline storyline. It sucks that her father is anti-vampire and it's great that her mother has done a 180 on the subject. It's also nice to see her and Tyler grow so close. I'm assuming Liz's actions will cause a serious divide within the council, but that's for another day. For now, the focus was so squarely on Chicago that this B story felt almost like a Z story. It was rushed through, which is a shame considering it was actually the cliffhanger from a week ago.

Closing thoughts:

  • Have we ever gone an episode without seeing Elena waking up?
  • You want a partner in crime? Forget Stefan. I'm so much more fun. One of my favorite Damon lines in awhile, considering he said when he was near death.
  • When I'm done with him, he won't wanna go back. Seriously, what is Klaus' plan for Stefan?!?
  • I'd watch an entire series based around Klaus and Stefan's life in the 1920s. Call it The Real House-Originals of Chicago.
  • Check out the official CW promo for next week's episode HERE!
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Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (327 Votes)

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

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The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 3 Quotes

You know you were dreaming about me.

Damon [to Elena]

Bringing back memories of the good old Ripper days?

Klaus