The Vampire Diaries Review: Garden of (Getting) Even

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Despite what you may have read on Twitter or been told in The CW promo for "Original Sin," the Ripper did not return to The Vampire Diaries tonight. Stefan managed to suppress his blood thirsty past self.

Instead, viewers were introduced to an entirely different kind of dangerous being: a crazy, controlling, paranoid, dream-implanting, spell-binding witch named Qetsiyah. And she was totally awesome.

Janina Gavankar as Tess

Janina Gavankar (always a TV Fanatic favorite) played this character as both vulnerable and violent, dangerous and deranged. She's not a villain. She's not a protagonist. She's simply a woman scorned... who happens to be a very powerful witch, meaning those that cross her don't end up with their faces cut out of photos.

They end up with their one true love's heart cut out of her body.

Qetsiyah was the driving force behind an episode that managed to be both very focused and very scattered. There was no Bonnie, no Jeremy, no Caroline and only sort of a trace of Matt (more on that below). The hour told just one story, but what a bat $hit crazy story it is....

  • Silas was in love with Amara, the first Petrova Doppelganger. He wanted the two of them to live forever, so he pretended to be in love with Qetsiyah in order for her to make them an immortality spell.
  • Then he stole it. He took it with Amara and Qetsiyah created The Cure in retaliation, which she fed to Amara in what we'll affectionately call The Garden of Getting Even.
  • She then tried to force Silas to take it, but he refused... so she locked him away for 2,000 years and watched from The Other Side (which she also created as a barrier for Silas), growing more and more frustrated when he was freed and The Hunters she sent after him failed to do their job.
  • When Bonnie lowered the veil, Qetsiyah escaped and set her sights on Stefan because she could use his mind to get inside Silas' and prevent him from compelling everyone and their grandmother.
  • Which she succeeded in doing this week... and here we are.

It's complicated stuff. All the exposition bogged down the episode a bit, especially when we're talking more doppelgangers, curses, witches, other sides, lowered veils, shadowed selves, mind compulsion and Travelers. Not exactly your everyday fare.

Yes, this is what often makes The Vampire Diaries so great, its total craziness and off-the-wall storytelling. But the momentum train (choo-choo, right, Damon?) is forced to slow down when viewers must hit rewind multiple times just to make sense of everything. So let's cut to the bottom line here:

Qetsiyah - sorry, not calling you Tessa, that's too simple a name for an admittedly complicated creature - is after Katherine to use her blood as The Cure than can finally kill Silas. And Silas is also after Katherine to purportedly drain her blood and rid the world of The Cure once and for all.

Oh, and the universe wants Stefan to end up with Elena. Or at least the doppelganger who looks like Stefan to end up with the doppelganger who looks like Elena. It's an interesting twist. It throws an interesting obstacle into the whole Delena 4 Eva thing.

Damon has taken on werewolves, hybrids, evil professors, mean uncles, angry hunters, blonde cheerleaders and Jeremy. The guy is good. He's tough and he's got charm that could even make Hayley on The Originals smile. But can he defeat destiny? And is destiny really working against him? Let's remember the source of that revelation here: Qetsiyah. She isn't exactly the most stable individual.

But while Qetsiyah was thoroughly entertaining, the destiny issue casts new questions over the show's perpetual love triangle and I appreciate the tight narrative at play here, I did have two major beefs with the installment:

  1. Enough with various characters taking on the personas of other characters already! It was a lazy storytelling crutch for Silas to constantly fool those around him on The Vampire Diaries Season 4 when he magically appeared as their friends or loved ones and it's a lazy storytelling crutch now to have Gregor inhabit Matt's body... especially because we know nothing about Gregor and Nadia. These Travelers have just been dropped in our laps and Katherine spoke for all of us when she screamed: Who are you and what do you want?!?
  2. The amnesia angle is dumb. Stupid. Ridiculous. Awful It's the most tiresome cliche in the soap opera world and it's rather depressing that The Vampire Diaries would actually resort to it here.

What did everyone else think? Where does "Original Sin" rank among craziest episodes in Vampire Diaries history? Are you buying this Damon vs. Destiny thing? Do you find the amnesia development and mind-numbingly lame as I do? Was Caroline off hooking up with Jesse while all this was going on?

And, seriously, how awesome is Qetsiyah?!

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Review

Editor Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (472 Votes)

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

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The Vampire Diaries Season 5 Episode 3 Quotes

I know I said it doesn't bother me that you have a psychic connection to your ex-boyfriend, but I don't need the play by the play.

Damon

Play nice. Or I'm gonna revisit the deep, dark well idea.

Damon