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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
  • 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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This episode was only save by one thing. Damon and Stefan. The brotherly bond is stronger than ever, and watchin Damon giving Stefan back what he wantet most was heartbreakin. Stefan needed his humanity back, and Damon knew if Stefan will go that far. Their wouldn`t be a turnin back for him, either towards Elena nor to his humanity..really love that..but the rest..don`t remind me on that..

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I'm sick of Elena mucking up other people's lives... if she had only kept her big mouth shut, then they would have died. Why does it matter that Elijah should live?? She just blows me away. The one person you wish was just a tad smarter and less emotional. Now she has vampire blood on her hands via Bonnie's mom. What a stupid wank.

Uncle-jackass

As for the magical White Oak tree that has re-grown from a seedling, my thoughts keep thinking that somebody would have known the existence of a BIG White Tree in the middle of Mystic Falls somewhere. It's more likely been carved into furniture or town structure pieces. Therefore, I'm leaning a big Gazebo in the middle of town. Just hock off a piece and you got yourself a convenient Original Slayer weapon. Then again, it is just as likely it was made into a wooden outdoor toilet facility (period base wise).

Uncle-jackass

@Sa'ad702, Hmm, I get the feeling that Esther wasn't going to be sipping on margaritas in Hawaii with the knowledge of having murdered all her kids in the original plan. If it succeeded I doubt she would stayed for long. As for reset to default ending, it seemed to be a completely plausible narrative tool. After all, by this point in the storyline (book comparison), Elena is not suppose to fall head over heels for Damon. Stefan is not a villain. Damon is not a dog on a leash. @Fruit Salad, reaction wise, the purpose of placing Elena and Bex together was to portray that Rebekah placed all the blame and her abandonment issues directed towards Elena. In a pseudo-Klaus insane logic, she also blames the lack of a happy endings on Elena.

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I'm really annoyed at Elena. She constantly needs to be saved and others have to face the consequences. I'm really sick of it. What's the point in saving Elena anymore? Maybe it's time for her to die and maybe that would be the best for all characters and for TVD.
I love Damon. Elena doesn't deserve him at all. Hopefully the writers will soon give him a love interest who isn't as pathetic and as ungrateful as Elena.

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I just want Alaric to survive one episode without being killed. He's the new Kenny...boo. That's all.

Saad702

I didn't care much for this ep. It was brutal especially to Bonnie and Abbie. I really felt for her cuz she always gets caught in the cross fire of the vamps and Elena and looses someone because of it. Its wrong. Esther needs to do something and make her human. Bonnie has really become a plot device to show how brutal life can be esp with vamps all around. I hate Damon for what he did. Maybe its time Elena just dies already. What I find strange is that Esther can't realize that she caused the problem. They didn't have a choice of becoming a predatory species. She wrought the curse on them and as far as I am concerned, SHE should die. The witches incl Bonnie should kill her completely.

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I have to admit that as much as I love this show, I am a little bored of Elena. Every episode she needs saving or somewhere along the line someone is sacrificing something to keep her safe. Im also no longer particularly interested in who she ends up with. I was excited to see Stephen go evil and the building up of E/D (even if, eventually its Stephen who she loves) but we are right back to square one again. Enough already. I love Klaus and Elijah and would have liked to have seen more of those two. Not sad to see the other 2 Original brothers gone as didn't like either of them. I'd quite like to see Klaus and Elijah each having a love interest (big C/T shipper but I have to admit C/K intrigues me). Alric is killed again. Since its like the 5th/6th time it no longer has any impact. This does have to be the one episode that didn't really interest me - a first for VD. Another long break then - and then how many episodes are left?

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So I really am loving the whole Klaroline thing. I really am loving that coupleing. I don't see them being one of those annoying couples but cute because she can out smart his seductive ways. He probs isnt use to that. I'm over Elena. She kisses Damon but wants Stefan back? He hurts her! Has Damon ever done anything to you? They really need to bring something new in or something from season 1 to the show. I LOVE the originals! But maybe shake it up a bit. Like bringing back Katherine. That would shake things up and be a good twist. When Stefan was evil it was better because it was something NEW!

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I agree that SE is to Twilight and another reason if ends up with a brother it should be Damon. Its obvious though that SE is winning the battle not the war. Short term SE, long term DE. Its the lame way they chose to temporarily end DE that is so stupid. The brother relationship will always be my personal fave though. What Damon did for Stefan thois just another cop out by the writers. It really does come down to DE. As much as I love the originals, Elijah will always be my favorite. Klaus is interesting around Caroline tho. Never thought Id say that! They have an interesting dynamic and its nice to see him smile. Oh and where the hellz is Katherine? Nina and Daniel have great chemistry and lord knows I don't wanna see any other man fall for E.....I miss Tyler and don't care for Bonnie. The Damon episode 3/15 will be awesome, how couldd it not?