The Vampire Diaries Review: A Case of Klaustrophobia

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Before delving into one of the greatest Vampire Diaries episodes in history - The action! The emotion! The ethical dilemmas! - I must start by correcting Damon:

We did make Elena a pros/cons list. But it's gonna take more than that, man. She didn't seem closer to a decision after reading through the comparisons. Sorry.

Staring at Klaus

Okay, now I can truly start reviewing "Before Sunset," and I'll do so by asking: Are we sure this wasn't the season finale?!? My. Goodness.

The episode wasted no time getting into the action - okay, it wasted a tiny bit of time, giving us a blonde-off between Rebekah and Caroline, but no warm-blooded male in his right mind would consider this a waste - as Dark-laric was instantly on the attack.

He grabbed Rebekah. He was staked by Caroline. He responded by breaking her neck and, a short time later, proving there actually is something worse that can be done with pencils in a classroom other than fill out those tiny little holes on a Scantron. Ouch.

This sequence led to Ethical Dilemma #1 of the evening: to kill Caroline or not to kill Caroline? Granted, it wasn't actually a choice Elena entertained, but it did pose an interesting debate. I mean... is Dark-laric totally wrong here? If we can somehow remove ourselves from the affection we feel for the vampires of Mystic Falls, can we really argue that the town as a whole would be safer without them around?

Major kudos to Julie Plec and company for creating a legitimate villain - in the eyes of any true TVD fan, there's no question that Dark-laric must be stopped - and yet still painting him with a morally grey brush. Let's face it, the guy has a point.

All of this led to the return of... Abby!!! Okay, that may be three exclamation points too many. But she was needed on the scene because Elena somehow figured out that Dark-laric was tied to her (who else figured Damon would be the first to tie up Elena?!?) and the team couldn't actually kill him. They needed to desicate him, like Abby did with Mikael. This was actually an effective, necessary use of the witch-turned-vampire and a nice callback to an early plot point.

It's here we can stop again and focus on Ethical Dilemma #2: Elena could have killed herself and put an end to Dark-laric. That's a mighty major step, no doubt. I'm not saying I could do it. But the show did a masterful job this week of depicting situations that actually did have alternate ways out, albeit ways that would lead to the deaths of major characters.

It's one thing to make viewers' heads spin via non-stop action. It's another to make the brains inside those heads consider what they would do if faced with similar circumstances. Great work throughout when it came to the latter.

So... Elena is tied to Alaric. And Stefan, Damon and Tyler are all tied to Klaus. (It was pretty clear he was telling the truth about their bloodline based on Stefan's reaction when he actually reached inside Klaus' chest). But Tyler is no longer tied to his maker, as Ethical Dilemma #3 involved the decision this hybrid arrived at in grand fashion:

I'm not your little bitch anymore. And why isn't Tyler Klaus' little bitch anymore? How did he break the sire bond?

By breaking every bone in my body a hundred times for the girl I love. | permalink

Once more, with feeling: Forwood. Forever.

Klaus at the Door

I've been delaying it for as long as possible, but now it's time to say goodbye.

Bonnie did succeed at the spell, but she did so with Klaus, who was trying desperately to flee town with both his real family and the ability to make a new one - and we all know why, right? At heart, this is simply one lonely hybrid. He yearns for attention. Why do you think he throws so many hissy fits? Why he continued to have faith that his old friend, Stefan the Ripper (sorry, Stefan the Rippah) would return to him?

Klaus just wants to be loved. And while that will never happen in Mystic Falls, it happened in living rooms around the country. Joseph Morgan brought this character to life in every conceivable way: he was scary, he was funny, he was sympathetic, he was vulnerable and, in what I have to imagine will be his final scene for a long time, he was in a state of shock.

Klaus didn't utter any final words. But his eyes - and the perfect, heartbeat-based score - said it all. A perfect exit for a perfect villain.

I raise my own shot to you, Niklaus Mikaelson, but I do it out of sadness and respect, secure in the knowledge that we have to see you again at some point... right?

Finally, we arrive at Elena. I've been as frustrated as anyone over the last few weeks - railing against her in my previous TVD review - regarding this dragged-out love triangle. She was just going back and forth on a seeming whim, teasing both the brothers and Vampire Diaries fans on a weekly basis.

But it was saved for me here when Elena just came right out and acknowledged her hedging. If I choose one of you, I lose the other. And I've lost so many people, I can't bear the thought of losing you. That's it. Two sentences, one salient point and I understand. This is Ethical Dilemma #4 from the episode, but it's the only one without a resolution at the moment.

It seemed a bit random and far-fetched for Damon and Stefan to simply agree that the loser would leave town, like the two were simply raising the stakes for the season finale just because. But whatever. That's a miniscule complaint in what was a whirlwind of an enthralling episode.

Where do we stand heading into that finale? Dark-laric has outed himself, Tyler and Caroline to the town council. He wants all vampires dead, and he has to somehow neutralize Elena in the process so she doesn't become collateral damage or sacrifice herself for her loved ones (hence whatever the heck happened at the end... I assume?).

Tyler loves Caroline. Caroline loves Tyler. Rebekah has supposedly fled. Jeremy is painting and having his heart stopped on occasion. Bonnie is spell casting. And Damon and Stefan are actually together and happy. Why do I have the feeling that won't be the case a week from now?

What an hour of television. What did everyone else think?


Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (527 Votes)

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


Well this was a great episode! This show is awesome!
Bored Now do you realize how silly you are? You are always the first to post AND You post multiple times and every week it is the same thing, how much you hate the show BLAH BLAH BLAH. STOP WATCHING THE SHOW! There are shows that are recapped on here that I do not watch and do not waste my time reading etc.
Kol Devil in Disguise, are you and Bored Now related?

Allison berry barbieri

@fenn...because she first grabs her head as if in extreme what would happen with an aneurysm or something. Also, did anyone else catch the thing that I think Bonnie said about witches not being able to truly make an immortal creature...that there is always a spell to undo it? Could this mean that one of vamp bros can eventually become human to be with Elena at series end??!?!


Why is everyone commenting on Elena's nose bleed a result of her fainting and knocking her head? I think what they are (the writers) are trying to say is the nose bleed is THE reason why she fainted, so it must be something in her which is what Klaus might have done while taking her blood. Perhaps she already has been fed vamp blood, and already died (she dozed off, rem?) and now she's transitioning? Hah.

Allison berry barbieri

@Alex, they didn't kill, kill Klaus...they did what Abby did to Mikael by stopping his heart to stop blood from flowing...they dessicated (which basically means "to dry up")...they dried him out so he was just a vampire shell right now, kind of like what happened to the tomb vampires that we saw in Season 1. The only way to actually kill Klaus is the stake, and that is clearly not an option now that we know he is responsible for all of our favorite vampire characters!

Sarah silva

First off I am shocked but happy that Matt gave the episode 4.9/5 stars! The last few weeks he has given it alot less!
The show is always a 4 plus star for me and last night episode was so great 5/5!
Okay so I must be missing something, how did Tyler not die? They killed Klaus.
So Alaric will be around for the foreseeable future as he and Elena are linked and not only does one die if the other does but they also feel each others pain. We all know Elena will be alright but it may be touch and go if she is unconscious all night.
I found it odd that Damon wanted Jeremy's ring, if Jeremy would have given it to him then he would have died and not come back when Bonnie stopped his heart. Also what what happened to Bonnie when she was stopping Jeremy's heart, her veins looked freaky and then it seems that her magic stopped.
I liked the car moment with Damon and Stefan and I found it very fitting the conversation Stefan had with Klaus that all the stuff Klaus is doing is just bring the brothers closer and that they have survived worse than him, and well in the end it turned out to be true as we bid farewell to Klaus. Speaking of which that was a intense moment, Kudos to Joseph Morgan, the was so good in that scene, the tears in Klaus's eyes I actually felt bad for him. Also the Stefan had some tears in his eyes too even with all the stuff Klaus did you can tell that Stefan was still a little upset.
I am so looking forward to next week and then it will be a very long summer!

Allison berry barbieri

And that awesome scene was followed by another awesome broment in the car... Where Damon actually acknowledges that it's a bit crazy that "all this" is over one girl. And they both acknowledge that it's worth it because they feel she is special. Then Damon points out the obvious....the choice is only for Elena's lifetime, so they can get through this (though, do either of them think they will want to be with Elena as she grows old?)... And they both resolved to leave the other alone if she chooses one of them. That is also why I don't think Elena will choose right now...she can't lose them.
Lastly, I think what several commenters said about Elena hitting her head and her bloody nose being the result of a brain injury is true... not sure where that will lead to next week, but it was a great way to end the episode on a bit of a cliffhanger!

Allison berry barbieri

Yay for Jeremy in this episode, offering himself up to save his sister. I was a bit confused why Damon wanted him to take off the ring, though...I mean, if Bonnie couldn't restart his heart and he wasn't wearing it, he'd be DEAD dead. I know the ring may result in Evilaric 2.0, but why would Damon be so quick to risk Jeremy's actual death? And, I also like Jeremy's little freak out early on in the episode that they need "one vampire free day".
Finally, I loved the doorway scene with Elena, Stefan and Damon. We all know the triangle isn't really going anywhere (it's the premise of the show, per Julie Plec, so everyone can stop complaining), but it was nice to hear Elena return to her formally redeemable character by admitting she was being selfish and explaining why. The discomfort and sadness on the brother's faces was so great...just an awesome scene.

Allison berry barbieri

I was also pleasantly surprised to see that they actually explained why Abby didn't have to be invited into the house...nice job with making sure to have some continuity! I LOVED the scene where Klaus is throwing things into the funny and, in an odd way, playful... Candice Accola did a great job as tortured Caroline and, while I didn't get why she could so easily move once freed due to the vervain, I thought it was a nice moment between her and Klaus in the hall. I love, love, loved that they explained why Esther used Elena's blood in the spell and that they tied Elena to Alaric. I do have one minor question...I know that that if Elena dies, Alaric dies...but if Alaric dies first, will Elena die? If so, it looks like dessication spells are back on the table...

Allison berry barbieri

After weeks of worrying that the writing on my favorite show was losing all of it's previous magic, this episode made me feel redeemed. Sure, thee were one or two minor, minor things that failed logic (Elena drinking after losing so much blood, Tyler being able to overtake Klaus), but who cares?!?! Seriously BEST EPISODE OF THE SEASON!
I know we will all miss Klaus but, for a show to be intriguing, there has to be the threat of losing a major character. I'm not sure he was ever meant to be a show regular. It makes sense that he would be gone..for now anyway. And kudos to the writers for remember to tie in past mythos by revisiting the dessication spell that bound Mikael.

Allison berry barbieri

@Charlotte..Joseph Morgan hinted in an interview that he was not confirmed for Season 4 and, if Klaus does return, it would not be in the same way. I think Klaus is, for now, a goner...

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The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 21 Quotes

Rebekah: Sorry about your teacher, seemed like a nice guy.
Caroline: Yeah. He was.

Since when does sire bond equal mover slave?