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.


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+.

Allison berry barbieri

*Rules not roles of the spell

Allison berry barbieri

Man, I have been procrastinating my work day way tooooo much today by being on this site...that said: Lana: I was super confused at first, too. But I think the deal was that the ash-and-dagger weapon could keep them dead while it was in their chest, but an actual white oak stake (like the weapon Mikael had, which also eventually lead to his burstingintoflames demise) actually KILLS kills an Original. What I wonder is, if the bloodlines are linked, why can you kill every other vamp with any old stake to the heart but not an Original? Shouldn't all roles of the spell on the Originals apply to all vamps? Do I think way too deeply about the writer-invented mythos of a TV show instead of actually concentrating on the real-life work on my desk?


@Kyra:Biased Much?


What I'm confused about is why did Finn burst into flames and die? I thought that the white oak "killed" an original by putting them out of commission until it's pulled out and then they come back to life. Am I missing something?


The only reason i still love the show is because the parts of Damon were so well written. These character is far away from being just a part in this triangle. I wish they would gave other characters the possibilty to shine a little bit. Bonnie, this girl got on my nerves every day with her murmuring in stupid languages. Elena, this self-righteous character who`s kind of controlfreak with her brother and don`t know what she feels. Stefan who`s still in process to handle the fact that he`s a vampire. Own it, live it, love it. They have so big and great storylines but instead to follow them and complete it the writes switch to another storyline. Too many lost threads there. And Stelena fans, i don`t understand why you want them both together. Forget Damon, but this relationsship based on lies and wrong hopes. And Elena don`t want to be a vampire. Are you all not living in a relationsship?? A bird and a fish can love eachother but only in their dreams they have a future. To please every fanbase this should end with Damon or Stefan compelling Elena to forget them and have a normal life.


Personally i feel more potential with Damon. He definetly turned a light on in Elena and she seemed to be more human with him. But, hands down, just my opinion. For me the storyline is the most importand thing. Anyway. I liked the episode. The dream-feeding-part was kind of sexy. The talk between Stefan and Elena great. And never before was a silence after his " i want you to look me in the eye and tell me that you don`t feel something for him"..Well played, Nina. Please writers, take youself time for the storylines..


Bonnie needs to go. How come Klaus' blood reversed it. Someone said it below. It should have been Elena's blood that would reverse the spell. Bad part on the writers. Again, Bonnie is useful for one thing. Getting the Vamps and humans in an okay (but, yet somehow new sticky situation). I love this show and will always be on the fan base wagon, but some things need to change. Anyone else miss the normal relationship of Jenna and Alaric. Hopefully, we see Jenna in the flashback that is coming soon.


i think elijah or klaus turned rose


The only part of the triangle i'm sick of is Elena fawning over Stefan. She needs to step back and let him go for at least a little while, good lord. He makes her so dependent. Also, I think the originals are dragging the storyline down and need to go. Take Klaus, and if Tyler must go down with him, I'm willing to make that sacrifice. I just hope Elijah turned Rose - I want to keep the Salvatores and Caroline and Elijah. He's the only original I truly care deeply about. But him bring around, with no family...that sounds so sad. I'm so conflicted.
Oh and please dear god DO NOT make Alaric die. Especially at the hands of one of our beloved crew because they have to. I would never get over it.

Allison berry barbieri

Tatiana: Bonnie = Fictional Character...criticism is more for the writers use of the Bonnie character.

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The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 18 Quotes

Elena Gilbert, savior of the curse and the damned.


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