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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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@borednow...I don't get why you watch the show at all..honestly, you seem to hate it and slaughter it in every comment on TV Fanatic. I do agree with you about "Supernatural" though...one of my favorite shows sadly jumped the shark two seasons ago :-( I also agree that Klaus sired Rose..maybe. It would make the most sense, as, who really wants to see Joseph Morgan go? Plus, it would prevent them from killing off Tyler...so two birds and all...

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

And now If I am right(and I am sure I am) - Rose will be made to have been sired by Klaus and they all will just accept Klaus into Mystic Falls, making this whole entire season entirely and utterly pointless and Klaus will be put into similar role as Katherine and Damon before that, have been put - pointless background existence, while show hypes up its new villains, which, going by the template i posted below, implies the possessing thingies being the next villains.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

To add to that, there's another tendency in this season of resetting the status quo in every episode. Everyone should ask themselves - what purpose did Elena's fake death serve? What purpose "bad steffie" serve? Gloria? Necklace hunt? coffin hunt? coffin opening? Mikael? white oak tree? Originals? Oak stakes? no purpose. Because at the end of every one of those plot lines, it was all reset, making that plotline NOT MATTER. its the same problem as with latest two seasons of supernatural - the show keeps throwing ideas at you and then forgetting them, hoping to fill up the whole season with that. There's no sensible progression.

Kitanishi-h-mcdonald

I don't think they are recycling storylines
Damon/Katherine/Klaus enters the show and appears threatening and is searching for necklace/moonstone/necklace to perform an important ritual. along the way Damon/Katherine/Klaus joins the main cast and stops being villain. That eventually leads to introduction of Anna-Group/JonahandElijah/GloriaSteffieKlaus who eventually lead to introduction of Pearl'sGroup/Werewolves/Originals. This latest group then eventually gets killed off, leading to the introduction of next-season villain, usually with a flashback episode, who appears in finale just as some huge ritual is performed. How many TVD season fit into that? All of them so far.

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*Not reviews I AGREE to read, reviews I WANT to read...how narcissistic did I accidentally sound?

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I don't think they are recycling storylines and I am quite glad that I was finally reminded WHY we need to kill at least Klaus: he ruined Stefan's life, he tried to kill Elena, he is using Elena as a "human blood bag", he is creating extremely dangerous hybrids and, above all, he'll kill anyone to look out for #1. I couldn't remember how evil he was for a while. Though, I still don't see why Elijan and Kol have to go... Bex and Kol might be a problem, though, as they might avenge the death of their brother. Or, maybe not...after Klaus so clearly demonstrated his lack of allegiance to Bex in last night's episode.
No matter, because they can't kill Klaus without killing Tyler, and they can't kill any other OV until they talk to Rose.
Looking forward to next week's episode...though, I didn't know Jeremy could still see ghosts!

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I also loved seeing Stefan acknowledge OUT LOUD to Elena that he still loves her, that he knows she loves him....and that he sees her relationship with Damon...and that it was HIS fault for pushing her away. I have to admit, I was fully on-board the Delena train, but that scene reminded me why I loved Stefan and Elena so very much in Season 1. This episode has left my shipping desires very, very torn...and that makes me excited to watch more..
I do agree with you on the Bonnie front. So easily made to do spells..liability! And, I sure with the writers WOULD stop cheating and doing some spell to change the storyline or drive the plot. It's like..."Oh no, what shall we do?!" Then, BAM! Bonnie comes win with some spell she found in her grimoire and problem solved. Too easy! I like Bonnie, but either give her depth or get rid of her, seriously.

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I was thrilled with this episode for a few reasons: the first being that Julie Plec & Co finally wrote something that felt like it made absolute logical sense (I've been questioning her logic and mythos recently)...that all the vampires would die if the Originals die..that the spell that made them vampires goes for ALL vampires.

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Matt Richenthal...it's odd, I usually agree with your reviews..in fact, you and Wet Paint are the only TVD reviews I agree to read. But I think you missed the mark with your dislike of this episode. For me, it was one of those episodes that lingers the next day...one that I found myself rewinding over and over to watch the pain in Stefan's face, hear the snarky comments, relive the shock of the realization that killing the OVs would eliminate the entire vampire (as Elena put it) species.

Matt-richenthal

@slymong: Not sure what you mean by separating out Bonnie from the writing. When I single out Bonnie, I'm really just referring to how she's written, considering, you know, she's not a real person.
As you rightly point out, though, the difference in her being manipulated versus other characters being manipulated, is that she can just cast a spell that changes the entire storyline. It's a cheat the writers can just always go to.

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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