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The Vampire Diaries Review: A Deadly MiStake?

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It's done. It's over. I'm right back where I started.

I feel your pain, Stefan Salvatore.

Following "The Murder of One," for as much as I've tried to fight it over the past few episodes, I must now admit: The Vampire Diaries is running in place. It's not really going anywhere. It's burning through storylines so quickly that it's then forced to go back and recycle old ones... only to quickly finish those off and move on again.

Stefan's Soft Touch

Last week's TVD installment, for example, ended with the meant-to-be chilling line from Damon: let's go kill some Originals. Except all I could think at the time was: really?!? Why? What have the Originals even done in the recent past? Isn't that arc over with?

Heck, Damon has slept with Rebekah, Caroline has flirted with Klaus, Elena and Elijah have a cute little bond going... Aren't these groups practically closer to friends than enemies at this point?

Here, meanwhile, I experienced the same unfortunate feeling of deja eww, not again! Case in point: Klaus is now back to his plan of building a hybrid army using Elena's blood? Again, didn't this storyline come and pretty much go nowhere? Many weeks ago? Does the show expect us to get re-invested in it? Or to come up with a new way to tell it?

The fleeting/ever-changing stakes has been an issue for most of the season. Mikael came and went. Then the Original Witch came and went. Then the Originals were linked, only to be unlinked within a couple weeks. TVD keeps moving the target on us, unlike previous seasons where there was a consistent build-up to one or two major events: the tomb/Katherine on season one; the arrival of Klaus/his hybrid ceremony on season two.

I may have also been finally pushed over the edge when it comes to Ms. Non-Independent herself, Elena. One moment she's pleading with Stefan to change plans because Damon is in danger; the next second she's telling Stefan how worried she was that Klaus might kill him. She's torn. We get it. That's fine. It's even interesting when woven well into ongoing, overarching storytelling - but it's now become tiresome, shoved down our throats in what feels like every other scene.

I don't know what I feel, Elena told Stefan near the end of this episode. And it may have been a major blow to his ego, it may have been a total shock to his system (although, come on, he knew they kissed. Was Stefan really surprised his ex sort of has a thing for his brother?), but it's been hammered home to viewers for most of season three. Was anyone surprised to hear Elena utter these words? Did anyone feel like it moved the story along?

And this moment wasn't even the worst love triangle-based scene! That dishonor would fall to Damon's dream, where Elena came to save him, fed him her blood and was about to kiss him before we were snapped back to reality. Fantasy sequences rarely accomplish anything aside from filler. Again: what did we learn here? Damon fantasizes about Elena? Damon loves Elena, something he's already told her and the audience? It was simply a waste of three minutes.

One final gripe before I focus on the positives from the hour: Bonnie has to go. If she can be so easily convinced to use her magic for evil, she's a perpetual liability. All Klaus had to do was threaten Jeremy and her mother and - presto! - Bonnie is at his service? What would stop him from doing this at all times? Why not just have Bonnie living in his mansion, casting spells left and right that would help his cause?

Fortunately, her role did serve one purpose aside from irritation. It led to the funniest Vampire Diaries quote of the episode, courtesy of Rebekah: Thank you, Bonnie. See you in physics class.

What did I like about "The Murder of One?" The overriding narrative it left us with: kill an Original and all its bloodline members also perish. That was really the only takeaway from the episode, but at least it's an intriguing one. Where do the Salvatores go from here? How does Alaric's psycho alter ago possibly come into play? And, the question that will likely have many fans creating family trees tonight: WHO TURNED ROSE?

What did everyone else think? Are you still intrigued by Elena/Stefan/Damon? Or do you wish she'd hurry up and pick already? Do you, like Caroline, miss well-adjusted Stefan? Does this season feel far more aimless than seasons one and two? With just four episodes remaining, what is it all building up to?

And how much will you miss Troy?!? Let's all take a moment of silence now in honor of that brave vampire.

Check out the promo for The Vampire Diaries April 19 return now and sound off with your thoughts.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.1 / 5.0
  • 3.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.3 / 5.0 (480 Votes)

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

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Sarah-silva

I really enjoyed this episode. I do not get the hate for TVD. It is a great show.
I was not expecting the whole bloodline thing! I guess Klaus and company will be sticking around for awhile, while the others figure out who led to the eventual turning into Vampires of Stefan and Damon. I know that Tyler will die if they kill Klaus, and I do see that happening eventually. Bonnie may come up with a spell that can save Damon, Stefan, Caroline and Tyler and allow them to kill the originals.
Just when Damon and the crew and an advantage with the white oak stakes it was foiled by Klaus. If Bonnie would have taken Damon with her when she left the mansion then Klaus would not have found out there were 3 more stakes. Now when they eventually find a way around the whole blood line thing there will have to be some new way to kill the originals.
I liked the scene with Caroline and Alaric.
This show is the best on tv and I think if people are tired of watching it and think it sucks THEN stop watching!

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@Matt: once you agree than anyone can be manipulated, then you should also see that there's no reason to single out Bonnie. Why blame Bonnie when it's the writing that resorts to using magic and witches to convenient manipulate the plot whenever it suits them? Even if Bonnie goes, they'll just bring in random witches to use their plot changing spells

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

just enjoy the drama it creates
Thats the problem. it does not. It goes in circles. Its like a song consisting of two musical notes being repeated again and again - at some point ears just start to friggin bleed from it.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

issue with Bonnie. If anyone of them was being used, someone they loved would be threathened.
The problem is however that Bonnie is walking deus-ex-machina. Considering on how ridiculously lame and without downsides magic has been in this show, the fact that a plot tool like bonnie can be corced into doing something is one of highest dangers in already trainwrecky writing of the show. Anyone can threaten her to do anything, giving writers an easy way out from ANY plotline. its already happening, but this episode increased it thousandfold. The character is under-developed, there's no balance to "magic" and magic/Bonnie is used to solve every plotpoint so far. That's the danger of Bonnie.

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I am personally addicted to the vampire diaries,not all the seasons are predictable.okay I admit elena has to pick between damon and stephan but just enjoy the drama it creates while its lasting.no matter what you say the vampire diaries rocks!!!

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Rose exactly my opinion.
Why does Elena need to chose?
And please for gods sake KILL REBECCA!
I can't stand her ugly duckface one episode longer!

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I agree on most of what you said, but I absolutely loved the confrontation between Klaus and Fin in the beginning of the episode. Probably like most of people I wonder who made Rose and just keep my fingers crossed it was Elijah if they finally decide to kill off the Originals. Don't understand why they want to do it thou... The biggest threat seems to be actually Esther, who wants to kill all of her children ergo all of the vampires. Elena just annoys me, like Rebekah said couple of weeks ago - everybody wants to bend over backwards to save her, for no actual reason. I mean is it such a problem for her that Klaus will have this army of hybrids? Why not to just sit down to the table and negotiate a deal - she gives Klaus her blood from time to time and in return she gets money and safety. I really hope they will bring Elijah back, but not to kill him off. He is a great contrast to his sibling for starters. I also agree TVD burn too quickly through story lines, Mikael to begin with. A huge family reunion including him might have been even better than the one we've already seen :)

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Cont'd... I really don't have an issue with the way the story is going. We are still about killing Klaus because that story arch never got resolved from season two. NOW it can change, only because they have no way of knowing if it will kill damon and stefan in the process. Personally I think Elijah turned Rose, but with our luck it will have been Rebekah or someone Rebekah turned. I really can't stand her, she is the character I dislike the most, not Bonnie. I also don't want Elena to pick either guy, why does she need either of them? I mean really, she has no intention of turning, so what is the point of being with either of them now, she's just denying herself the chance to find the person she will love longterm.

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Okay I have a few gripes about your review. First, your issue with Bonnie. If anyone of them was being used, someone they loved would be threathened. When Elena was in danger, damon took it upon himself to turn Abby to save Elena's life. Klaus threatened Jeremy, therefore, she had an obligation to do the spell. He used her weakness. Stefan and Damon's is Elena, for Elena, it is everyone. We can't hold it against her. Secondly, I really don't care that Finn is dead, or that Sage and Troy are gone lol. The only originals I honestly care about, are Klaus and Elijah. That whole extinction thing, is a pretty awesome side effect though. None of them thought that would happen. It is just lucky for them that Finn only turned Sage and then was locked in a coffin for 800 years. TBC

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I agree with your opinion of these last few episodes, but I have faith. I still expect them to make it work and make it great.