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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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Elena really pissed me off in this episode when she was telling damon that they should let stefan go and that they will survive it,i can't believe she can say that or even believe she can give up on stefan,and if i can remember she told ric in episode 2 that stefan wil never give up on her no matter what and she can't give up on him too,but what happened now elena gilbert.I can't believe that katherine give up her own freedom to save damon's life and that she even loved him too,that bitch is unpredictable and by this she has shown she can be selfless.I hope damon will find out why stefan did what he did or else katherine.The episode was great though,can't wait to see stefan's and katherine's next move and what klaus is gonna do about it.

Justmythoughtstranglyenough

I miss Elijah and wish the writers would stop sniffing the glittter glue and get back to the story..and get Elena a hobby that doesn't require her to fall in love with either one of the brothers that gives her attention and bows to her every whim...like Damon said once, her and Katherine have more in common then just their looks....minus that Katherine is badass and Elena needs to see a shrink...maybe when Damon finds out what his brother is now doing for him, he can feel like crap and reunite with Stefan...Its like 1864 all over again with the Elena/Katherine thing and both guys deserve better...anyway, I like Rebecca and can't believe that Elena was so ignorant as to use a dagger on her like that, especially when it seemed like Rebecca seemed to honestly like Elena, I hope Elena finally gets her ass kicked...sorry to those of you who love Elena, but she needs taken down a few pegs..Oh and Nina said in an interview that she didn't want Elena to be with Damon because she was worried(afaid) it might cause problems between her and Ian and of course they have chemistry on screem, both Ian and Nina are in love with one another off screen. She just doesn't want it brought home to them..you know it is kinda tense when you have a fight with you boyfriend/girlfriend on a show that you are playing that role anyway and it stays with you sometimes and that can cause problems in the relationship...Wow I am annoying...But I hope Stefan brings Elijah back and they let Daniel Gillies(Elijah) become a regular also...I also hope they find a way to put Damon with Rebecca(stupid I know but) and they can go ahead and put Stefan with Elena, as long as he doesn't become too much of an old version and I want my badass Damon back...this new one is so not attractive and considering Ian is attractive, as is Paul, plus the two original guys, thats saying something..Oh and both Stefan and Damon can be jerks and they both have been selfish and have killed alot of people most likely...but I can't wait till the 5th of January...Perhaps I should stop writing every single thing that pops in my head so these post can be shorter...anyway done rambling...hope i somehow made sense, sorry if i didnt...

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This episode was too confusing to deliver the emotional weight it could have because the writing was lazy. Matt, I agree with you, the flashback mechanism they used to tell the story of why Stefan stopped Damon from killing Klaus was cheating. It was also ineffectual. It lacked the urgency of seeing Damon in serious danger and Stefan coming to save him, in real time. Although that would interfere with the writers' goal of keeping Stefan's motives a secret and Damon and Elena thinking that Stefan's gone crazy on them. What didn't disappoint was the confrontation between Klaus and Mikael. That played out beautifully.

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that last episode was alittle lame. But the way daddy made son cry, AWSOME. But ol hybred wolfboy, he has to follow his sire, yet he gets carolyn out of the way of danger, Elena needs to move on to Damon, they can't seriously think after all Stefan has done, that Elena is just going to forgive and forget. Lets move onto jeremy,they need to let him come on as the bad ass we all know he can be. lets unstake elijah and rebecah and let them tear klaus up, while we are at it lets unstake klaus whole family, and lets see if we can bring mikael back to life. this season has so much to work with, we want klaus to go down but go down BIG AND HARD,and i so want Damon and Elena to explore a relationship. let katherine have stefan. they really are two of a kind.

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i like on grey A. they have dr.grey n her sister appart so they wont have the same jobs

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I loved the episode, until those last few minutes with Stefan and Katherine. Katherine going away? Awesome. Stefan taking out revenge on Klaus? Okay. But all those flashback scenes? Awful!! They completly ruined the episode for me. Lately TVD just haven't been as great as normally. The keep twisting and turning the storylines, just as usual, but they twist too much and everything ends up feeling forced. I'm hoping for better writing and storyline development in the next half of S3.

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my favourite part of Homecoming was at the very end where Klaus came to find his family gone and Stephan goading him with the fact the he now not only had them, but also the upper hand against Klaus. I can't wait to see where that will take the show.

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Firstly, i agree that this was a weak review. There is so much more left to talk about.
I also agree it was bad on the writting of the episode, there were so many ways that broke the rules set in seasons 1 and 2.
With the stake for example. What was with that? how could Klaus use it to kill Mikael? Why did the ash and the dagger kill the vampire using it but the stake didnt? They really should have answered that. Another thing, i reackon Mikael was killed off far to fast. He was only really alive for what? 2 or 3 episodes? there could have been so much more there.
I really hope that the writters have already thought up what they are going to continue the storyline with.
Katherine. Katherine, katherine, katherine. She really does never fail to suprise us. I love her character and she has been used in so many plans as a fake Elena. I liked how Damon thought that up, but i dont like that the questions present in the review were not answered. And if Stefan needed someone to bring him blood to wake him up, who brought blood to katherine? This show is also not great at showing time periods clearly. Who knows how long has passed since Damon and Stefan ran into Mikael at that bar.
Fantastic point being brought up where Mikael and Damon and the hybrids are concerned? that wasnt thought over very well.
I always love flashbacks, it adds so much more mystery to the show. But the ones in this episode just seemed to be there because they couldnt think of anything at the time.
I loved the Elena and Rebekka scene. I just hope elena isnt there when Rebekka is un-daggered.
I also love the fact that Stefan has gone and i really hope Delena starts to form a relationship. Although i really think its unlikely. I never used to like Damon but ever since Stefan has turned full ripper i am beginning to like him more and more.
Forwood: These guys are the perfect couple. i could not see Caroline with anyone else at all.
When Stefan unstakes Elijah, which he will, i hope they come up with the best plan and make this season so much more amazing.
All i can really say is I hope something good happens here and i hope Klaus goes down. I also hope that when he does we have a much better story line to replace him.

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That episode cemented my love for Klaus. There just was no words to describe that scene with his father. Damon was literally pushed aside by Joseph Morgan's acting.
I was a little sad at the end of Forwood.
I hated Elena for what she did to Rebecah. It might have been necessary but I still hated it.
As a Bamon fan I find no interest in both Delena and Stelena. I actually dislike Elena as a character so very much I do not see her appealing in any couple. So whenever there are shipping disagreement I, for once is a standbyer.

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No offense but a lot of stelena fans say Elena must be with Stefan....why?!! Its fine to have an opinion but they come across as super young (mostly children) and don't know what romantic love is. Oh well, they're definitely an extreme minority so who cares. Great episode and I love Katherine!!

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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