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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?

Review

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+.

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Sarah-silva

I forgot to add that I feel bad for Elena and Jeremy for the fact that they lost their parents, Aunt Jenna and now the last Adult that cared for them Alaric. However maybe just maybe in the end it will all work out and we can have sweet vampire Alaric. I would be okay with that.

Sarah-silva

I meant looking forward to the next 2 episodes.

Sarah-silva

I love this show!
I was not expecting the one to die to be Alaric however the whole Alaric alter ego etc makes sense now that we know it was all do to Esther who was turning Alaric into this badass that would kill the originals. So it was not just the ring that turned his alter ego evil. So at least we know Jeremy will not meet the same fate.
I was crying like a baby for a good part of the show from the moment Elena realized what had happend to Alaric, to Jeremy saying good bye to him, then I really lost it when Alaric goes outside and sees everyone standing there, torches lit sending him off to death. Then when Damon came in and sat with Alaric and the tear that ran down his face then Damon get teary eyed! All I can is WOW!
I loved the scene with Stefan and Elena in the gym, it just solidifies why I have been team Stelena since day 1.
I liked the scene at the Grill with Matt and Jeremy.
I could go on about all the things I liked as there was so many!
I am so looking forward to the final 2 episodes!

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we, the viewers, can handle ACTUALLY losing a character forever (no ghost reappearances or resurrections) and we can still love the show without a ton of confusing mythos and horrible villians.. Amen! But besides all of that, I still think this episode was better than many others this season. So I hope for the best.

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I totally get what people are saying about Klaus and how he has gone soft, the last dramatic thing he did was.....? however if he was to go back to his old evil self that would mean killing one of our main characters. Hopefully. I was totally bored during EVERY Bonnie scene in the last episodes. Well, in the entire season, actually. Couldn't care less for her losses and suffering, just because the writers don't invest anything in that character. So a "Bonnie dies and Klaus gets badass again" scenario would be my perfect season ending ;-) didn't anyone at the school see the salt being poured, and couldn't they have just kicked it away with their foot or something? I WAS THINKING THE SAME :-D I mean, there was SO MUCH salt on the ground, someone just HAD to notice. And there where loads of people. we, the viewers, can handle ACTUALLY losing a character forever (no ghost reappearances or resurrections) and we can still love the show without a ton of confusing mythos and horrible villians.. Amen! But besides all of that, I still think this episode was better than many others this season. So I hope for the best.

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Well you are definitely crazy Crazychickie - Klaus is just evil, Caroline deserves better. Get over it.

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I have to agree 100% - how man times has Esther been killed and her 'sisters' just keep bringing her back. Enough already.

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"there's no love triangle" HAHAHHAHA there is always a love triangle. it was a two second scene... but you've got to admit that klaroline dance was HOT. Also, Damon always gets the short end of the stick... Elena just uses him and runs back to stefan.. so over than love triangle, which is why Forwood vs Klaroline will this seasons love triangle.. Klaus is freaking brilliant and Klaroline is my fav ship!!

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Also the bonnie getting a lot of screentime this episode?I approve..yes she was being used a plot device yet again but at least the show addressed that issue and gave us time to see bonnie the person and not only bonnie the witch..I'm happy she has jaime,someone who can see how awesome she is and doesn't judge her for what she has to do

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The whole stefan/elena thing just felt very real to me,it wasn't forced and I cudnt stop smiling at all their exchanges of the night..alaric dying and all the previous scenes w/ him jeremy and elena had me crying a lot..it was beautifully done and I never expected to get so attached to alaric of all ppl but I was

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.

Alaric
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