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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
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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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My thoughts exactly...

Stefelena

@Kyra:Its pointless having this conversation so i'm just gonna pretend like i didn't hear what u said and by the way i'm not young but i think you are and just so you know sometimes maturity has nothing to do with age....Have a nice life.

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Makes me believe you are very young..What is true love..You feel free and you can be exactly the way you are..What did Stefan.. He lied about himself..So what is the foundation for their love..She fell in love with a guy who didn`t exist..But i don`t care for Stelena..They could be together or die in hell..I just don`t like the attitude of your fanbase..AND REALLY who wants to care for Klaus..He`s not capable for love..The way he treated his family for no good reason and Stefan..And he splitted Stefan and Elena apart and you love him??..how stupid is that..You should read ratings..since they turn the direction back to Stelena their ratings dropped down to the worst ever..only 2,3Million this week..I hope their will be still a fourth season, so you can dream on that true love is to lie about what you truly are..

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And we've done 3 seasons now of Stefan and Elena love and now it's Damon's turn......I've said it many times...I WANT DELENA! stefan was elena's first love, i think its time for someone new......

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I totally agree with your review, and you put it into words better than I could. I read a lot of people who felt like the show is finally back on track, and i don't get that same feeling. This review sums it up nicely for me. Bonnie is used as a plot device and not as a character, which is sad because she has so much potential. I am so sick of the love triangle and want Elena to choose neither brother, because she wants to get married and have kids and grow old. She won't have that with either of them, and I hate seeing Elena sacrifice what she wants for two brothers that fight over her like they're pre-teens.

Stefelena

@Kyra:Oh common love,everybody want a good storyline and my posts are not always about stelena though i'll admit their love is what really hooked me up with this show but i like other characters as well like Caroline and right i care more about klaus,the originals and forwood than Stelena,you might find stelena boring but i don't coz i believe in true love which is what stelena is "True love isn't real unless it is returned".And i don't care how much stefan broods i believe that is his nature its in his character and you're right both brothers are too good for her and i think they are better off without her.

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@STEFELENA Sure i am..I want good storylines ..And now we are far away from it..And you, also baised?..Everything i`d read from you was Stelena over again..This is show is much more as them being together holding hands and pretending to be a normal couple. I love Stefan, nearly as much as Damon. But his boring brooding about his existence sucks. God, yes he`s a vampire. So kill yourself or shut up and love it. And your glorious Stefan and Elena are boring as hell. Nobody would view this show if would be just about them. But for me it`s only important that every character got a good storyline. No Delena? I`m okay with it, if there will be another good storyline. Do you just want to win or do you really have a true view what is important for the show. No triangle, no good ratings, no TVD. As Paul says at the Paleyfest. No one would watch it if Elena makes a endgame descision..And to be honest..I think both Salvatore are to good for her..

Midnighte

Sooooo close! Sooo bloomin close to that kiss we're all (well I know I am lol) waiting for! At least we're making headway, Stefan did at least finally admit to Elena that he still loves her. I was almost willing Elena to tell Stefan that she only felt friendship for Damon- Even though we all know that's not true. Overall though, an amazing episode. How much of a jaw dropper was it, finding out that if you kill an original, the entire line dies out with them! Almost makes you thankful that Bonnie unlinked all the originals before Flyn was killed! Now Dont hate me, but im kinda liking Rebecca at the moment, even though she tried to bleed Damon dry! Inside shes just a little girl who has had to hide behind and do her brothers bidding for the last however many years!. I really want Elijah to come back in- I really liked him as a character in TVD and his last letter to Elena was so heartfelt and so understandable.
Cant wait till next week!

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Good review, although I think while many fans were expecting (dredding might be the better word) Elena's reply to Stefan's demand that he look him in the eye and tell him she doesn't have feelings for Damon, it was still disappointing to hear her actually say it. As Elena said herself, Damon has been dragged through hell by Klaus. And it happended because he was willing to give up everything to save his brother and others. Yet many viewers want him to suffer even more by losing Elena to his brother. Fiction or non-fiction, I just don't get it. I'm probably a lot older than the typical fan of this show and I guess I am more of a believer in sacrifice should bring reward, not "no good deed goes unpunished," which is the lesson that Julie Plec (TVD's Executive Producer)seem to want to convey to everyone.

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To me the funniest quote of the night was when Caroline said "why do I have to be Klaus bait".........now that was funny! I don't mind the love triangle and the constant go around of Stefan/Elena, Damon/Elena yadda yadda yadda. I just wish she would be more definitive w/her answer instead of always "I don't know what I feel". PA LEASE! Who hasn't loved 2 guys at once before and been torn? And we've done 3 seasons now of Stefan and Elena love and now it's Damon's turn......I've said it once and I'll say it again...I WANT DELENA! My biggest issue........these damn waiting periods in between episodes. We friggen just came off an 8 week hiatus and now we have to wait til April 19th of which then we just get 3 more episodes. Apparently the Producer said Elena must choose at the end of the season.........and I know exactly how it will play out. They will do it just like they did on True Blood. She will choose no one. And the only real cliffhanger i can see happening is Klaus kidnapping her to go make his army. So either we are going to get her choosing Damon and then simultaneously getting kidnapped so of course in Season 4 opener........we STILL won't get any Delena...or she will choose neither and still be kidnapped. Oh well...none the less it is still my favorite show and I am committed no matter what! BTW..love the loss of bloodline spin when one original dies. That was creative thinking!

The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 18 Quotes

Elena Gilbert, savior of the curse and the damned.

Caroline

Damon: You know what they say: The way to a psycho killer's heart is through his stomach.

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