The Vampire Diaries Review: Raging Against Death

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The Vampire Diaries told us this week, in one of a number of emotional scenes, it's okay to feel. That's what makes us human, right?

So allow me to let my humanity shine through and say this about "Do Not Go Gentle:" I feel... torn.

It was mostly a terrific episode. Seriously, I can't think of another show that can pull of such conflict - both emotional and physical - in the course of one hour, causing my eyes to both well up and pop out of their socket. It ended on a shocking note and it set up a clear direction for the final two episodes of the season.

Decade Dance Dates

But it was the best scene of the episode, heck maybe even the best scene in series history, that has left me feeling a bit empty. I'm talking Alaric. Outside of that cave. Torches lit. His loved ones all around. Set to "Be Still" by The Fray.

It was beautiful shot and beautifully acted. It was a fitting farewell to one of my favorite characters. I didn't want him to die, but it's clearly been a possibility for weeks now - both in terms of the storyline and Matt Davis signing on for Cult - and if one half of the best bromance on television has to go, there simply couldn't have been a better way for it happen, right?

Except it didn't happen.

Alaric lives, or at least a far more evil, far more blood-hungry version of Alaric. Was the concluding shot awesomely frightening? Yes. But do I feel a bit like Damon with Elena now, like TVD is just messing with my emotions and jerking me around? Sort of, yeah. And I didn't even get to ferociously make out with a hottie in exchange for this confused heart!

I just got my sofa cushions went with tears.

Another problem I have with Alaric's revival? Esther is just too powerful at this point. Can she ever die? Can she just inhabit whatever body she chooses? Feels like a bit of a storytelling crutch. Death has to stick more on The Vampire Diaries. I don't wanna see any more ghosts (I guess Rose is simply gone now, following her random commentary last Thursday night?). I don't wanna see Esther come and go as she pleases, no matter what happens to her on This Side.

And I don't and this to be the end of Ric and The Dick. Come back, good Alaric!

Everything prior to the final scene - which, to be clear, I am quite intrigued by in terms of where we go from here - was simply marvelous. The idea that Alaric visited Esther on The Other Side every time he died, and that she nurtured this supposed vampire hunter to remember what his mission is meant to be, was fascinating and believable.

The scenes between Stefan and Elena? Sorry, Delena lovers, but also very well done. After everything I put you through, I'm just honored to be your date tonight. Who didn't swoon at that line? Can Damon compete with the history between these two? Stefan may be the safe choice for Elena... but there's something to be said for safety when you're surrounded by supernatural beings.

The guilt Elena is feeling, the bitterness from Jeremy over losing another guardian, the desperate gratitude from Damon. I bought it all this week. It was very much earned all around.

And unlike last episode, the love triangle here didn't feel forced down our throat. It was integrated well within the action all around the Salvatores and their shared love.

Tyler, Caroline Pic

And then of course there was the fun scene above, followed later by the only words Tyler needed to hear:

It doesn't matter how many times I dance with him. I love you. | permalink

There's no love triangle here, folks. Forwood forever.

Other worthwhile moments/scenes:

  • Klaus blowing up at his mother. He's angry, he's brave, but he's really just an unloved son. This is one lonely, sad Original.
  • A white oak stake is the "ultimate weapon" for Alaric, "the ultimate hunter?" Don't tell that to an arrow, a bow and Katniss Everdeen!
  • Gotta give props to Jamie the gentlemen. The guy was invited to spend the night with Bonnie and all clothing remained on. Gotta give him props or mock the heck out of him, that is.
  • The title of the episode "Do Not Go Gentle," was taken, of course, from the iconic Dylan Thomas poem. Rather appropriate, I'd say. Alaric most definitely raged against the dying of his light. Will one of his loved one be stuck sending him to eternal darkness before the season is over?

Get an idea of what's to come via the official TVD promo for next Thursday's "Before Sunset" and then sound off: What did you think of all the twists, turns and tears this week?


Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (342 Votes)

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


Well, this episode has just really made my day! It could be better only if Stelena kissed, but it was awesome anyway :) I enjoyed every single minute of it.


I think everyone just needs to RELAX! lol This is a television show and i feel like everyone is taking everything so seriously? lol Everyone just thinks way to in depth about every little detail of the show that your no longer enjoying it. Of course there holes in plotlines and sometimes stupid crap happpens that doesnt make any sense but it doesn't take away me enjoying the show each week because it's just a show. As for it feelings like Twilight? are you on crack? I'm a fan of Twilight, a super fan you might say but it is no where near as good as this show is. Just because theres a love triangle involving a human girl and a vampires? oh wait twilight revolves around a love triangle between a girl, a vampire and a werewolf? i dont see that here! the situation is different from twilight then vampire diaries, that characters are different, the personalities are different. I really dont see any similairities other then two guys being in love with a girl. And for those upset about Alarics goodbye should have been an actual goodbye i get it but they the point was to say goodbye to Alarics former self because he's gone now and I don't think he's coming back and they also want to bring back the character of Alaric at some point thats why Matt Davis has a contract with both shows that allows him to come back at some point to VD. But as for Klaus he definatly needs to die, i really liked the chemistry with Caroline but after last nights episode her and tyler are amazing and klaus is just loosing his cool factor a bit after his desperate attempt to get her to leave with him!


If you compare last weeks episode with the Damon & Elena scene in the motel and this weeks episode with Stefan & Elena, the relationships with one another are vastly different. With Damon & Elena it seems to be sexual attraction whereas Stefan & Elena it is more of an emotional connection. She can cry on his shoulders & be vulnerable. Their connection is much deeper and is more about love rather than lust. STELENA FTW

Allison berry barbieri

Finally (isn't it AMAZING what a beautifully placed song can do to a TV show or movie??):
Song: “Medicine�
Artist: Daughter
Music moment: Stefan and Elena share a moment in the gym after Alaric locks himself in the tomb
Pick it up, pick it all up. And start again. You've got a second chance,. you could go home.. Escape it all. It's just irrelevant. It's just medicine. It's just medicine. You could still be what you want to. What you said you were when I met you. You've got a warm heart. You’ve got a beautiful brain. But it's disintegrating from all the medicine, from all the medicine, from all the medicine..

Allison berry barbieri

This was the best (as was Florence & The Machine last week):
Song: “Be Still�
Artist: The Fray
Music moment: Alaric says goodbye to Elena and Jeremy
Be still and know that I'm with you, Be still and know that I am here, Be still and know that I'm with you, Be still, be still, and know, When darkness comes upon you, And sleep no longer finds your bed, Remember all the words I said
Be still, be still, be still, If fear falls upon your bed and sleep no longer comes, Remember all the words I said, Be still be still and know, And if you go through the valley, And the shadow comes down from the hill, If morning never comes to be, Be still be still be still


the first amazing episode since 3x09! there were some good eps but this is wOw!
So here we see where Klaus got his planning skills! Esther was grabbing for Alaric for quite some time! She went all Gaga!
it was a pretty good emotional episode! Matt Davis is a tremendous actor!
And the first time that Klauses performance got to me, as he screamed to Esther's body! Really moving!
StElena RULES BiG way BTW !
Will Alaric slide between good and bad again!? Is this the end of Esther!? who from the Orignal line will die?

Allison berry barbieri

Can I actually make one really positive comment? Whoever chooses the music for the show is incredible..always finding the perfect good, the lyrics to perfect, the tone creating/adding to such emotion. Here is some from last night:
Song: “You Do Something to Me� Artist: Sinéad O'Connor Music moment: Elena and Stefan dance Lyrics: You do something to me. Something that simply mystifies me. Tell me, why should it be, You have the power to hypnotize me. Let me live 'neath your spell. Do do that voodoo that you do so well. For you do something to me


I hope Stefan and Elena end up together in the end. Stephan is her epic and true love! I also love that Caroline is team stephan. The moment with Alaric & everyone in the graveyard and last moment with Stephan & Elena together in the gym had me in tears.


I loved this episode! It made me cry!
I have to laugh at Bored Now, what else is there to do with him/her? I do not read their posts as it is a waste of my time reading posts from someone that claims to hate this show but yet is one of the first to post, not just 1 time but several times on every article that there is on here about the show, be it recaps, roundtable, previews for the next episode etc. I guess they have nothing better to do with their time then put so much time and effort into a show that they claim they hate. I used to get pissed off at how pathetic they are but now it is just way way way to funny!.


I just want Damon to be happy.

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The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 20 Quotes

Elena: I didn't tell you that so you could torture me about it.
Caroline: What are friends for?

Damon is too arrogant to think his only friend would betray him.