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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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Did any one else loved the look on klaus face when Micheal killed elena aka Katherine. right then he thought he was going to be alone for ever.

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i also hate how the writers are confessing us with the Stefan and Elena relationship. the first episode back when Stefan made the phone call to her and she said i love you Stefan hold on to that never let that go. it was touching. and then when Damon, Elena AND ric went to look for him and when she was in the car he was watching her. and then when she was in Chicago and he found her in the room and the look they share and the hole senior prank night when the other thing that was stranger then his blood thirst was the love for Elena. the bond fire night you saw something between them when he catch her, you know her was feeling something then. but after that i feel like they made it seem like there love was greater then anything else but now Damon is the only one can save him not Elena. its just so confessing i wish the can just pick someone and stick with it.

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@Leila I completely agree. WOW. On point mama, word!

Amy-jackey

it sucks that klaus didnt get killed but in a way im glad he didnt die because if he did damon would have died also. I thought it was elena not kathern. I forgot that kathern has curly hair lol. I thought it was funny that stefan kidnapped klaus's family lol.

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Am I the only one wondering why Damon doesn't just rip Klaus's heart out? This is the first episode of the season that I have actually enjoyed. I saw the Katherine trick coming, and I was totally okay with that. But I really wish Klaus had died and Michael had lived. Thank God Elena is finally willing to let Stefan go. I was so tired of her fighting for a lost cause.

A

I have allot to say about this episode but I guess The most important of the episode about function was that It started Fast and ended slow and a little boring whit no big surprise or on a big way like on other seasons, I mean Its the mid season finale. Other thing I really hope Katherine Is gone for good until she brings a strong story...

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The Vampire Diaries is the hottest show ever! I was so caught up that I didn't know who to watch. The most humorous part was when Bonnie gave Damon and Tyler a migrane. Damon comments crack me up every time...Best cast ever!!!

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The saddest thing for me was poor Rebekka getting ready for her first prom and then getting staked. Sooo sad.
But yes, I was completely mystified by the end of the episode, didn't knw who I was watching or when and whatever the heck was going on.

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All things turn into something great and i`m still wondering how it could be that nina dobrev has such great chemistry with damon when she plays the elena part and on the other side with stefan when she`s playing Katherine.
Just a small sidenote.. I really love the new Stefan and i think it`s important that Damon have a strong part beneath him. Because they both work together much better than each one alone.
With all this questions about dumb couple names, i think this show is on the highest level if it come to the very complicated love-hate-thing between the salvatore brothers. I`m pretty sure that they both love nobody more than each other and i`m really sad for Stefan that he wasn`t and isn`t capable to say it to his brother. Damons face was so so heartbreaking when he realized that he lost his brother. I really hope for them both, when all this couple-stuff is gone, all enemies are combated and they both live with they wifes and vampire kids (well i must discuss this with Stefanie Meyer because she brings us all to the idea that a vampire can have a baby with somebody-must admit i`m still perplexed how this is possible??)in the Salvatore mansion they both will figure out how much they mean for each other. A girl can dream..smile..
Besides..love Damons development..He`s still a jerk but now he`s a jerk you can count on..Hope the writer won`t change that..
But now to the main part..
Even that i see many plot holes and be still disapointed about the misuse of the character Katherine i`m crushing more and more into the vampire diaries.
Let`s take a look back. How this TV-Show started. Do you remenber this shit diary-stuff from the first episode? Caroline who was a totally annoying controllfreak on crack? Stefan who was just a boring puppie who`s hiding his real personality? Damon who was desperatily trying to make sure that nobody will ever pull his humanity out? And the only villain of the first season was, ok i think maybe no one. And were are we now, and what great new characters they create.
Can`t wait for Rebecca and Elijah comin back. Love the bad ass Klaus. Kind of tragic that my interest for the character Jeremy and Matt and also Bonnie really cools down. They need to get better storyline, because it`s hard to care about them if you got the Salvatore brothers, Elena/Katherine, the damned avesome ooriginals and Caroline/Tyler.
Hope the writers will be carefull with the storylines. I`ll be very upset if they will screw it up with my favourite tv-show.
Beside writes..please get Damon and Elena together..they both want it..the audiens want it..so than we can all move on..
It´s time before you overplay the delay because the audience should be cook on a low heat.
We all know they will get together and you will soon find a way to get them apart. That the sad way of TV-shows. They want to keep the audience clamoring

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You know, I was tired of Klaus long before he ever physically appeared, his plots and his action were far too predictable and too cliche evil mastermind for me by the time he possessed Alaric. While he has redeemed himself somewhat during season 3 he's turning back into predictable for me. While I was genuinely surprised by everyone else's actions this episode, I knew practically every move Klaus was going to make during this entire episode. Have someone, probably Tyler, disrupting and moving the dance? Check. Show up there unexpectedly and at a very bad time to screw up whatever plan the Heroes have? Check. This one is a cliche the entire series has been milking to death, I admit I can't blame Klaus for this one. Predict the Heroes are planning something probably before they even called to start it? Check, and another series staple. Have hybrids that obey his every word as backup? Check. Have the heroes' plan very nearly succeed and kill Klaus ridding us of him forever and thus leaving room for a new and much better villain to fill the gap, but someone conveniently shows up out of nowhere to save him so they can stay with the same boring old villain? Definitely check. This one is a staple of Klaus specifically, no matter how little sense it makes (and it made no sense at the beginning already) the writers will make sure Klaus survives no matter what because they can't be bothered to come up with a better villain. At this point the whole "Klaus is an unkillable hybrid" thing doesn't hold any water whatsoever, they killed like what, a dozen hybrids in this episode alone? They could just rip Klaus' heart out, throw a wolfsbane grenade at him or just go with the old standby CHOPPING OFF HIS HEAD!!! Heck, they could have done any of those except the grenade his first appearance. Don't get me wrong, I still love the Vampire Diaries as much as ever, but it's because of everybody except it's main villain. Before, VD was average in everything but the villains, they were it's strongest aspect, they used to jump from villain to villain on an almost by episode basis, and that was a good thing, it kept them from getting stale and predictable. However, now that everything else is great the villain has become it's weakest link, the one thing that prevents the Vampire Diaries from becoming perfect, and everything else about this episode was perfect except for Klaus.

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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