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.


Editor Rating: 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+.


I'm pumped for January. Damon and Elena are hott, Stefan is better as a lone wolf. Klaus, Elija and Rebecca must be back also. I want to see Elena fall for Damon in the end. They fit better and make it rain. Haha


best episode since The Reckoning,that's what I was waiting on SUPURB!.


Stefan for the Save! Stefan at the end was so awesome! I guess it was probably Katherine's idea...but still, badass Stefan is HOT! I have to say that I was not a fan of Elena in this episode. And side note...has anyone else noticed that her 'casual wear' is always the same...Jeans and a tight henley tee? Anyway...the fact that at the end she was just all of a sudden ready to give up on Stefan...where the hell did that come from?!! That pissed me off. I felt for Damon...he had a good plan and really wanted to save his brother and then his brother ruins it (though he doesn't know it was for a good reason). I hope Damon will find out the truth soon. on to the most important part...WAKE UP ELIJAH!!!
I felt the worst for Rebekah in this episode. I agree Elena had to stake her, but that was mean.
I don't want to pick Delena or Stelena or whatever sides. I'm kind of getting tired of this 'which brother will she choose this season' storyline. Can she not pick either of them for a while?! Sheesh. Though I have to say that at the end of the show I believe it will be Stefan.
I'm on Caroline's side. Tyler does what Klaus wants. What if he tells Tyler to kill Bonnie, or Jeremy....Tyler is okay with that?! And Caroline should understand?! Sorry but no. If Stefan can fight it, Tyler can fight it.


I agree Delena needs to stop tiptoeing around their feelings. Glad Stef is a badie again, but he's better with Kat. So excited for delena etc! !!




i think liz and stelena are being downright bitches. what the hell was wrong with this episode? and tv fanatic hating on vd? wtf!!!! all i can say is that this episode was epic and i need january 5th to be like tomorrow! for the katherine thing, im so happy shes back! who cares how she is? geez tv fanatic! theyll probably explain it so just hold up. steferine in this episode was so good and so was delena. I just love love love katherine! so excited for january!


intense episode! I loved it! Everyone who dont like it and saying things like how they will not watch the show again, BYE BYE!!! The show is simply amazing! I wish it's February already!


I enjoyed last nights episode and i really wasn't bothered by the flashback.. I knew right away it was Katherine with Matt at the party... and yes they didn't tell how she came back but clearly she didn't die from being fed on.. and she's older and stronger then stefan so she prob just came back with Michael... how else was he to know where the salvatore brothers would be that night. My biggest issue is the 3 coffins at the end of the episode... we know one is elijah, and rebekuh is dead somewhere in the salvatore home.. who are the other two coffins ...there was no mention of them in the flashback scene of the original family.. obviously the mother isn't one of them because she was a witch and therefore couldnt become a it annoys me that they keep showing two family members but refuse to let us in on the secret... and for crying out loud bring elijah back... I'm not upset Michael died..if it came down to it.. i'd rather him die then Klaus.. i know Klaus is evil but i just want him to stick around.. and to be honest other than the compulsion thing with stefan.. Klaus isnt' really doing anything too bad... i don't know.. the rebekuh thing saddened me a bit, because for the first time i was actually starting to like her and you know now if that dagger ever gets pulled out.. she is not going to be so forgiving.. for the new year i want elena and damon to stop tiptoeing around their feelings for eachother.. and i want elijah back


I am so pissed off at vampire diaries at the moment
to the extent that i dont want to watch the new episode when it comes
ive had enough of the whole elena and damon storyline, and all their scenes tonight totally annoyed me and usually i kind of root for them, but i felt nothing for them tonight
i mean stefan is out there saving his brother, granted he doesnt know, but at least he could of stuck around and found out but here he goes again saving his brother who will only end up with being elena for the sake of the show. yes i can understand the whole delena thing, but seriously does it not annoy you that she is being like this, letting stefan go without the full story, giving up on him when she claimed her was the love of her life
stefan has become the most interesting character this season
and dont even get me started on forwood, love them to pieces, but yet no happy ending there either- but i still love them anyway cause they will have to get back together
i feel totally cheated with the flashback! agree with the reviewer on this
usually i dont say anything, but this has annoyed me and beyond
ive been dedicated since season 1 episode 1 and i feel i have been let down this episode
not fair at all


Stefan needs to get back to Elena and stop trying to be a revengeful vamp. and Elena cannot give up on him, that would be too lame and the end of this show.

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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.


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


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