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The Vampire Diaries Review: Breaking the Bloodline

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24 has nothing on The Vampire Diaries.

On "All My Children," a heart-pounding episode full of both action and emotion, Damon and Stefan made like Jack Bauer. Except the terrorists were vampires, the full moon was the ticking bomb and the world would actually have been a safer place if they had failed at the mission.

But not their world. Neither Damon nor Stefan could imagine a world without Elena and they turned an innocent woman in order to save her. It was just one of several morally grey acts throughout the installment.

Stefan vs. Bonnie

There really is no black or white anymore on The Vampire Diaries. The show has created such a well-layered, fascinating universe that viewers can endlessly debate the choices various characters make.

Should the siblings have sacrificed Elena in order to remove a killing machine such as Klaus from the planet? Probably. They are partially responsible going forward for every life he takes. But can anyone honestly say you would let your true love die if you had it in your power to save him or her?

Should Elijah have kidnapped Elena? Not if he aspires to be more than a monster, as he so righteously and profoundly put it to Rebekah near the end of the hour. But he was desperate to live. Again, who can say they would do it differently?

A look at almost every character tonight reveals multiple shades and sides, as the past few weeks built to an episode where agendas, feelings and motivations collided. To wit:

REBEKAH: Easily my favorite performance of the evening. She got wake up next to Damon, for starters, and then rub that in Elena's face. She then talked some serious smack in the caves (Why don't you sit down and shut up before I ruin everything by ripping your head off?), but also proved she possessed brains to match her brawn and beauty, dousing Elena with gasoline when her enemy thought she was safe.

Yet behind it all, there was clearly pain. I picked up on it the same way Elena did when she finally talked Rebekah down. This is someone who has been betrayed by her own mother and, prior to that, literally stabbed in the back by someone she considered a friend. It almost seems like years ago, but it was really only a couple months ago, when Caroline really just wanted to fit in at high school.

Elena ruined that. Rebekah was acting out like anyone would, just in a slightly more dangerous way because, you know, she's a vampire.

DAMON: The dude is definitely getting his mean mojo back. It's true, Stefan, he is better at being the bad guy. But it's different this time, there's a sentimentality mixed in to his nefarious actions. He's not killing just to kill or turning just to turn. He's doing it, in this case, to save his brother from a guilty conscience and to save Elena from... dying.

Moreover, he can actually admit that! Talk about progress. This is a Damon Salvatore who is in touch with his sensitive side, yet NOT letting those emotions get in the way of what needs to be done.

THE ORIGINALS: I'm gonna lump the rest of them in to one section here because I just marveled at that gathering outside the old witch house. This is group of people we were conditioned to hate not very long ago, some of whom we only very recently met. Yet an entire scene was built out of their fate and I found myself rooting for... I didn't even know what. That was the beauty of it.

I should have wanted Esther to succeed, right? Just consider the body count on all of their resumes. But the way TVD has driven home the concept of family, and depicted so many sides to both Klaus and Elijah, I simply watched, dumbstruck by how well the show has woven these individuals into the fabric of Mystic Falls. Granted, the conclusion was a tad melodramatic.

Where did Esther actually go after Abby was turned? She and Finn just... left? And Finn scattered? It's hard to imagine we won't see them again, but it felt a bit cheap to have them all just leave off-camera.

Of course, Klaus and Rebekah are still here. And they apparently have something new to fear. A tree. Looks like these two need to take another road trip and do some major gardening again.

MEREDITH: Just kidding. She has no layers. We all knew she was shady all along, didn't we?

BONNIE: She still bores me. But at least the turning of her mother has potential. It could hurt her friendship with Elena and, remember, Bonnie has never really been a fan of vampires. Now she reunites with her parent and just a few days later - bam! - blood sucker central. Who is gonna tell Jaime?!?

Quick bites:

  • Mother made us vampires. She didn't make us monsters. We did that to ourselves. Who doesn't love Elijah?!?
  • I'm surprised you have time to call, what with all this Original sex you've been having? Alaric best not be dead.
  • Does anyone else want to see Candice Accola front a band called Blonde Distraction? We all know the girl can sing.
  • Damon, The Vampire Gigolo. He should put that on his business cards.
  • If Esther had the power to turn all her kids back to human, why not just do that and avoid killing them?

So no more Vampire Diaries until March 15. And, as great as this episode on its own was, I must say: I'm not overly intrigued by the two cliffhangers. There's a new white oak tree and Meredith is the Mystic Falls murderer. Okay. Neither of those, by themselves, leave me dying for the next new episode.

But, on the whole, I love the integration of Klaus and Rebekah into this world, and I think the show has handled the Damon/Elena/Stefan love triangle as well as any show in recent memory. Heck, the relationship between the brothers is more interesting than the one either shares with Elena. It's really at the heart of The Vampire Diaries.

What did everyone else think?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (627 Votes)

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

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Just wait until Stefan turns Elena into a vampire because she dies giving birth to Damon's soulmate.

Ronald-simkins

Great episode the weird thing about this show is that Elena is the most boring and dumb character. I realize that she is supposed to be the "star" and was in the books. But ,quite frankly, she is the least interesting and wimpiest character on the show. Bring back Tyler and Jeremy. I agree that Klaus, Elija et al are the most interesting currently.

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I really am intrigued by the fac that esther wanted to turn them back!! That will be a very interesting plot , also did you notice that the only one who wasnt afected by kol being daggered was Klaus he felt it but didnt "die" that must mean something we just need to se what. And also i LOVE Klaus and Caroline i m dying to see more of that but she is really mean with him i dont see how could she foregive him, i really love to watch that side of Klaus like if he were a teenage boy LOVED IT

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Yep called it. Bonnie's mom turning, not surprised, is she going to hang around long? No she will most likely be gone by the end of this season or next. Like I said Vampire Diaries is hell bent on killing off every parent figure on the show. They are introduced so they can be killed off. Moving on to Damon, he love life is probably more miserable then Alaric's. That probably the reason they make such good friends.

Amygirl

@Sodone I wonder where you got those ideas from... (sarcasm). Although they are really creepy! Shudder.

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Great recap! Loved when you said, “Heck, the relationship between the brothers is more interesting than the one either shares with Elena. It's really at the heart of The Vampire Diaries� because that really has been my feeling for awhile. I do enjoy the character of Elena, but it was nice for someone to FINALLY say what I have been wanting them to all along-that because everyone is trying to save her-other people are dying. Is it wrong that my favorite part of the episode was Stefan ignoring her call and Damon hanging up on her? After the last episode and her “get over it� she deserved to see him with Rebekah and he should tell her to get over that. Only so many times I can see Alaric hurt; hope he is okay!

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Wait I've got it. Stefan and Elena fall in love at school. Stefan breaks up with Elena and leaves town to give her a better life. Damon falls in love with Elena while Stefan is gone and at the very least they become best friends. Elena goes and saves Stefan from himself. Elena dumps Damon and even gives up on their friendship in order to be with Stefan again.

Uncle-jackass

Of course, if we are talking about moral ambiguity, the real toast needs to be given to Elijah. Even for a vampire, he deserves a medal. Three Cheers to Elijah.

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Maybe Elena could go to prom with Stefan but have a talk outside the dance with Damon.....or maybe Elena could buy Damon's old truck and drive it to school...

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I absolutely loved Klaus in this episode! I really hope he and Caroline stretch out the tension\love game this season. I really dislike Elena and Damon. I want Stefan to move on and get over Elena and for the show to drop this particular triangle which sucks. Isn't it creepy how Damon has slept with Elena’s great great (x#) grandma Katherine, her bio mom Isobel and now wants Elena? Bizarre. The Originals are the best thing about this season rather than sad sack Stefan and Damon. I vote for an Original spin off with Elijah, Klaus, Rebekah, and Kol. Also loved the idea that Esther’s spell would first turn the vampires into humans (SO VAMPS CAN BE TURNED BACK!!!). Imagine if Klaus was only a werewolf or Elijah only a human? That would be an awesome show too.

The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 15 Quotes

Why do you look like someone just show a panda bear?

Damon

Elena: If you're mad at me, Damon, you need to get over it.
Damon: Oh, I'm over it.

The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 15 Music

  Song Artist
Song Poison & Wine The Civil Wars iTunes
Civil-twilight-fire-escape Fire Escape Civil Twilight iTunes
Song Medicine We Were Promised Jet Packs
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