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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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I am soooo disappointed by Sage and Finn's deaths, they were actually pretty nice characters and could have help destroy Klaus once the freaky Original bond was erase. The good storyline for that episode would have been Bonnie uses Klaus obsession with destroying the bond, once this is done, our little adorable Mystic Falls residents kill Klaus. That would have actually been a plausible story than just killing all the Originals at the same time!! By the way, this whole 'you kill an original, his whole bloodlines dies with him/her' is ridiculous and stupid because if you kill all the vampires, there is no point in having 'The VAMPIRES diaries'. Also, it would be nice if Elena and Damon could get over themselves and be a couple for real!!

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Im sorry, face it people, this show is terrible. No continuity, no like able characters, and soon there will be no show. Hope Ian is auditioning for other parts, he's the only reason to watch.

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I completely agree with you, this will be my last VD season unless some major changes are made. I am sick of Elena, she is a pain in the bum pretending to be all nice. Not a fan of the alter ego alaric, it was nice having a human character who wasnt useless. The originals need to go, there is no where for there story to go which I think is why this season has been so dull. Come on writers, you cannot coast a show on reputation alone, eventually fans will turn! x

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Vampire Diaries used to be my favorite show but now I'm over it. At it's core, it's the same episode over and over and over. This will be my last season to watch it.

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I loved the episode. Last week was such a let down, it was nice to see the show get back on track. However, there are several story lines they need to drop. No more hybrids. No more Operation: Kill Klaus. No I'm not intrigued by the triangle anymore. It's tired. I don't care who Elena ends up with. I love crazy Stefan. If he becomes more centered, I hope he retains a bit of the bad boy in him. No more mopey Stef! Yes, this season has been all over the place. I have no idea what the season is building up to, but if I cold guess I'd think that Elena might get turned. Something about Damon's fantasy reeked of foreshadowing to me. Who's Troy?

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

You did the same with Glee - loved it to start with and then complained about it every single week.
and frankly while I have not seen those reviews, that seems to be entirely deserved, since from what I hear that show went downhill fast after its first season.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

I'm fed up of these TV fanatic reviews, you complain about absolutely everything! If story lines were simple and didn't change, you'd be calling them boring.
That's because THEY WOULD be boring.
Just because its another extreme of BAD WRITING, does not change the fact that it IS bad writing. You can overcrowd your show with predictable twists and have utterly horrible writing quality or you can sit still and have utterly horrible writing quality. TVD as of now does both at once.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

I think ratings are a complicated thing and CW made big mistake with the stupid hiatus. HBO for example shows the episodes of every season in a row, so the audience is every week on fire. That`s much better. But this year CW sucks
that has nothing to do with ratings. Sure HBO is better at scheduling, but 99% of HBO shows not named True Blood, also happen to have top notch quality writing, great actors, huge budget, plot consistency and critical acclaim. None of which TVD seems to have.

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@rose. Agree with you.. For me the best recaps are from Carina MacKenzie form Zap2it. Very fair..And also E.W. (entertainment weekly).. Sometimes i think TV fanatic talkin our shows down.. They gave the third season the grade D. But most ratings from them are between 4 and 5 stars. So where is the D Grade??

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I'm fed up of these TV fanatic reviews, you complain about absolutely everything! If story lines were simple and didn't change, you'd be calling them boring. You did the same with Glee - loved it to start with and then complained about it every single week. I'm definitely not reading any more reviews on here, and simply going to watch preview videos.