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The Vampire Diaries Review: When Humanity Happens...

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The Vampire Diaries delivered an outstanding midseason finale, an extraordinarily tight, tense episode that kept viewers guessing into each commercial break, building the suspense until a climatic daggering that pitted brother against brother and planted the seeds for a vengeful 2012.

But there was a rather big problem with "Homecoming:" It cheated.

Dastardly Duo

First, there was the use of Katherine, as we've talked about for weeks in our Round Table. She's the epitome of a plot device at this point. Here, after last being seen as a snack for Mikael, she simply showed up and jumped right into Damon's grand plan. How did she get back to Mystic Falls? How did she possess any strength following her loss of blood? How much time has gone by since Mikael approached Damon and Stefan at the bar, and then Katherine returned, and they all formulated this scheme?

The show skipped right past all these key questions and just inserted Katherine where it was most convenient to move the story along.

Second, this was an example of manipulative storytelling. Writers can't purposely keep information from viewers and then fill us in later via flashback. That's cheating, that's a lazy way to pull off a big surprise, especially when you consider the most vital line of dialogue in the episode: when Klaus informed Katherine (posing as Elena) that his Hybrids would take out Damon if he were killed.

Look, we all know there are writers penning these stories. But strong storytelling hides the strings being pulled by these puppet masters. To depict the conversation above only partially, later filling in a vital blank, is a form of lying. We were shown an incomplete scene, based our assumptions on it, and then were told we actually lacked all the pieces of the puzzle. That's just bad writing.

Which irritates me to no end, as you can tell, because I absolutely loved everything else about "Homecoming!" I was on the edge throughout the hour, as one swerve followed another. Rebekah was bonding with Elena... then she was staked. Tyler was an evil, sired Hybrid... then he was actually a caring, complicated boyfriend. Klaus had finally aligned his army... then Mikael proved he could compel them.

I loved every twist and turn and legitimately had no idea where it was going - and I even loved where it went, with Stefan shocking us all by saving Klaus' life; Damon reacting with rage; Elena comforting him, actually seeming okay for once with the idea of letting Stefan go (!!!!!); and an emphasized focus on family, via the layered Salvatore brother relationship and the fact that, as his core, Klaus just wanted his back.

Due to Katherine and the misleading way the plots came together, though, I just didn't like how we arrived at those places.

Other highlights:

  • How can Caroline even make the term "evil blood slut?" sound adorable?
  • Remind me never to invite Damon to a party. I'm scared of how he'd RSVP.
  • The Mikael vs. Klaus showdown, with the former pulling every Bad Daddy card in the deck and the latter reduced to tears? Beautifully done.
  • How is it possible that no student would have asked Rebekah to the homecoming dance?!? Didn't all the football players see her cheers, flips and - gulp - splits?!?
  • When did Tyler start hanging out with Dexter Morgan? That was some fine injecting, kid.

So that's all for 2011, Vampire Diaries fans. We now have a few weeks to debate all the possibilities going forward and for me to move past my issues with this finale. It shouldn't be too difficult, not with such an intriguing, revenge-based conclusion hanging over us.

And you know what they say about revenge, right? It's a dish best served... by hot, blood-thirsty vampires, as teased in this preview for 2012. I can't wait.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
  • 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (608 Votes)

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

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David-and-sabrina-2014

I thought of this episode ok,compared to other dancing episodes that I've seen throughout the show and it seemed surprising to see that Katherine was helping out. Who knows what she's up to,even if she's been gone from the show a while and if she seems trustworthy. This season just builds up more and more mysteries everytime. =/ ;/

Amygirl

Elena was under the impression that Stefan saved Klaus. She considered him, as of that point, beyond saving. While I don't think she maybe should have said that, she was tired of her and Damon getting hurt over someone that will never change. I consider her, agreeing to let go of Stefan, a strong point in her life. It shows that she does have the strength to let him go, and isn't going to take his bullsh!it. Again, I am saying this in Elena's POV. Stefan being "evil" wasn't his fault and he did what he did to save his brother, including saving Klaus. But Elena doesn't know this. (I speak this as a DE shipper. So I am all for Elena letting Stefan go, js).

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No matter what, ever action Stefan has had on this show has been to protect Elena and Damon. Stefan's bond/love for his brother is what saved him and his love for Elena will bring him back to the Stefan we originally met. I don't know whats going to happen in the future but this is my prediction for the rest of the show, til the series finale (whenever that is). On another note I like the chemistry between Elena and Damon but will forever be a Stelena fan. Not only do they have chemistry (IMO, you dont have to agree), they also have a connection beyond the physical that I just dont see between Damon and Elena.

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@OiVey-i have absolutely NO IDEA what you're on about!! vampire diaries is like 100x better than twilight-one of the reasons being all the vampire diaries cast are good looking and nina dobrev is an excellent actor. i congratulate her for being able to pull off the shy laid back elena character as well as the loud, ferocious katherine! and you cant say ian somerhalder is as annoying as his character when you dont even know him, probably have never met him in your life! gosh the answer is simple-'dont like the show, dont watch it' stop wasting your time commenting on something that you 'hate' or even watching it for that matter. thats what previews are for-watch them. if u like it, watch the real thing, if u dont, forget it and never think of it again. its as simple as that.
in my opinion, yeah i guess its getting a bit confusing at times but it isnt going to die off very soon at all. there are so many fans of vampire diaries plus it has won quite a few teen choise awards
i think vampire diaries is a great show and the flashbacks are my favourite :)
better than twilights stupid story by FAR-team Delena all the way ;)

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Yes, Stefan did save Damon's life, and I really liked that! Don't get me wrong, now I'm talking about their bond which is I think maybe even stronger than their love for Elena. That's one of the main reasons that made Ordinary People one of the best episodes maybe of the entire show for me, it was so great to see them as 'real' brothers. Their bond is an important part of the show, I think (or at least hope) both Delena and Stelena fans can agree on this. So I'd really love to see more "Stamon" scenes like those.

Stefelena

i like DE fans like isabella that are honest and not bias,you see even as a Delena shipper she wasn't happy when elena said they should let stefan go and she completely understand that stefan will never give up on them no matter what and he proves that so many times.I know DE must happen one way or the other but if u look at it in a different perspective it won't be fair to stefan coz through all of these everything he's done was for the two of them.He's done so much and made alot of sacrifises for the two of them.People tend to forget why stefan was in this whole mess,it was coz he saved damon's life and even with his humanity been shut off,he still care enough to save damon's life.If elena said she won't love a ghost for the rest of her life,fine that's her own choice,but people should stop applying that to stefan only,it applied to both damon and stefan,and i don't even believe her for saying that.

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Missy, I don't really understand why you can't believe Elena would let go of Stefan, and I personally don't think she's given up on him, she just "won't love a ghost for the rest of her life" - as she said. She loved only the good Stefan, who BTW wasn't even honest with her since she didn't really know what he really was! If I were Elena, I'd be really mad at him because of this. That's why I'm 100 percently a Delena fan: they at least don't have such problems. :)

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I am totally Team Stefan, although I do love Damon now he is sort of good and he is too funny! But I found myself having to re-watch season 1 again just to rmember good Stefan! I do not like evil Stefan and he needs Elena. They belong together they have been through far too much to just give up and walk away they have fought and fought for the last 2 years, it can't be for nothing? Loving season 3 other than that and cannot wait for it to re-start next year. Vampire Diaries is a brilliant show and the acting is AMAZING! xoxo

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I am absolutely flabbergasted as to why there are ANY good reviews on Vampire Diaries. The only reason I painfully endured watching a few episodes is hoping in anticipation that the directors come to their senses and kill off the whole main cast, but alas, no such luck. I agree whole heartedly with the following review: “Vampire Diaries skips from one shock to the other, to the point where there is absolutely no sense of security regarding the main characters, as they can just get chopped off at any moment. The 'OMG, WTF" moments are quite obviously there to distract everyone from the fact that the story lines don't really move. The writers just keep introducing random badass characters who highlight just how pathetic and unlikable the main cast are. The main characters are too serious for teenagers, and I see they have borrowed from the Dawson's Creek "School of using every single word from the Thesaurus", instead of realistic dialogue by real human beings of that age. The show is NOT as clever or as self-aware as it thinks it is. Quite the opposite. The actor who plays Stefan looks like an old caveman version of David Boreanaz, and the character Stefan is like a wannabe Angel except selfish, vacant and petty. He "had to get to know her" rather than letting Elena live a normal life away from this vampire/werewolf drama. Their relationship is superficial, and has established no basis to be introducing in a triangle with Damon. Oh, don't even get me started on "evil vampire with a broken heart" cliché Damon. Ian Somerholder is annoying as Damon, not sexy and too quirky. Constantly widening your eyes does not make you a good actor. Also, Somerholder cannot do love scenes. Writers, please make him stop! It's embarrassing. And while you're at it, fix his hair - it's awful! This show had the cheek to diss Twilight for it's campy glow in the sun vampires, but these jaundice looking men are running around wearing cheap looking ancient rings which "shields them from the fire in the sky".
Also, the vampire transition process is long and stupid. The flashbacks are terrible. The make-up is too modern, the clothes look like they were made by a GCSE level student in D.T Textiles, and Nina Dobrev is not convincing as the sultry and seductive Katherine; looking like a 10 year old girl walking in her mother's shoes when stood next to the actor who plays Stefan. Thankfully, shows these days get axed a lot quicker now, and there is no doubt in my mind that Vampire Diaries will be next for the snip. Let's hope."

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I mean killing Klaus not Mikael!

The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 9 Quotes

He fell in love with his ghost girlfriend and lied about it. What's done is done.

Bonnie

Whatever father rubbish you're thinking, save it. Nothing you say matters to me.

Rebekah

The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 9 Music

  Song Artist
Dont-stop-2 Don't Stop Only Children iTunes
Free-like-you-make-me Free Like You Make Me Cary Brothers iTunes
You-wanna-freak-out You Wanna Freak Out My Morning Jacket iTunes
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