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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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Sad Becca died. Love Delena. Love Elenas new found strength. Love where its goind

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Shocking episode! Sad that Mikael died. Was pissed at Stefan, but understood. I just don't know why Katherine and Stefan didn't explain why they did what they did to Elena and Damon after? I totally hated the Elena and Damon scenes, especially the last one. But I'm a Stelena fan :) They just feel unnatural. But that is my opinion. Felt bad for Rebecca - she played that scene well. I wonder now...how will they ever kill Klaus?

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I do agree DE is being so forced right now and once again Stefan saved his brother's ass who imo really don't care.

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I have a problem with the fact Mikael was killed so quickly imo and this has happen too often where pretty bad ass characters who are so scary seem to meet their ends in 2 seconds, I keep feeling Michael Bay is writing these fight/death scenes. Also Tyler came off as a douche when he was talking to Caroline at the end not really caring as you put it. Also wasn't that the knife or dagger that vampires can not used yet both Damon and Klaus used it.

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Ugh go crawl back in your hole Bored. Buffys dead. Go get laid, or atleast try.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

- Elena is still boring bland and pretty much same person as in ep 1 of s1. Just more boring and irritating.
- DE is as forced as ever.
- Whole DES is as forced as ever.
- Episode was littered with plot conveniences, character inconsistencies and stupidity for the sake of advancing the plot.
- Show dropped interesting plots for sake of cheap twists.(Mikael feeding on vampires for example).
- The "Stefan ripper" farce continuing for longer than needed. Seriously just end it. No one cares already about this since its not steff.
- Episode directing-wise falling flat on its face and having no atmosphere, nor character realism. While not as big of garbage as the Ordinary People, this episode was certainly amongst the worst episodes of this show.

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Does Klaus have to return his feelings and the way he used to sh*t too? I just think that sounds redundant. Lol

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Bravo....all fronts. Most excited for Elenas character growth and inner strength. Loved the way she grabbed Damons face and was the strong one in the end. Love thar Stefan is atleast still far away and doing something bad.

Danielle50

I respect your review but they still left out how could Mikael feed on vampires and now we will never know because they kill that storyline. Even though Klaus let Stefan go, it did not mean that Stefan feelings return because Klaus never compel him to return his feeling, actually he did not compel him this episode.