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The Vampire Diaries Review: Tricks of the Traveler

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The Vampire Diaries turned 100 this week.

And while the series isn't wearing dentures, walking with a cane or eating dinner at 4:30 p.m. every night, it's very clearly showing its age.

Drinks All Around?
Why is the TVD gang gathered around here drinking? In memory/honor of Katherine.

Let me clear:

TVD has lived an impressively long and accomplished life. It deserves a chance to sit back in its figurative rocking chair and reminisce about the good ol' days, which was basically the point of The Vampire Diaries Season 5 Episode 11.

Using Katherine's impending demise as a conduit, characters reflected on everything from the tomb to Uncle John's fingers to Alaric being awesome.

The drinking game was a fun little meta exercise that fit into the episode smoothly and honored this milestone installment properly. And most returns were cute, simple, harmless and fun. Vicki. Jenna. Damon's BFF. All popped in, made viewers smile and made their way out again.

But it was the appearance of The Originals that really started this episode down a bad path.

First, there was no wow factor here. It's hard to be surprised or jubilant to see Elijah, Rebekah or Klaus in Mystic Falls when we see them every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on The CW.

My reaction wasn't "Oh, hey, cool, The Originals are in town!" It was more along the lines of "Wait, who is protecting Hayley?!?"

Second, their cameos made for a rather easy storytelling crutch: Matt is in danger! No problem: Klaus and Rebekah will hear his calls and Rebekah will go fish him out. That was easy.

Third, and most importantly, we must talk about that scandalous sex. Look, I'm in favor of scandalous sex. I'm especially in favor of scandalous sex when Caroline Forbes is involved. But this just came totally out of nowhere.

It felt forced, shoved in merely to make Klaroline shippers happy and to create an obstacle for Caroline and Tyler down the line.

Shows should never write toward their fans. They should always write toward their characters and the best possible storytelling. But that's not what this forest fling felt like. It came across like a desperate attempt to please one fan base and to create a gasp-worthy moment just for the sake of a gasp-worthy moment.

How am I the only person on the planet who's not having scandalous sex?

How am I the only person on the planet who's not having scandalous sex?

Caroline
How am I the only person on the planet who's not having scandalous sex?

At least it was something different, though. I can't recall the last time a hybrid had passionate sex with a blonde against a tree in the forest. I CAN, however, remember many times (MANY, MANY times) when one TVD character was taken over by another.

Which is why I didn't just roll my eyes... I wanted to gouge them out with a spoon after the big cliffhanger centered on Katherine switching bodies with Elena. How many times can the series go to this well?!?

Silas acted like numerous people on The Vampire Diaries Season 4. Matt was taken over by a Traveler this year. Heck, Elena joked on this exact episode about how often Katherine has pretended to be her. The series is literally, admittedly repeating itself.

Seriously, since when did one character acting like another character in order to fool some other characters become the only card TVD has to play?

So, yes, overall I was very disappointed. The Klaroline fornication felt too random and the Katherine/Elena switch way too redundant.

I love The Vampire Diaries. I want to celebrate this momentous episode along with every other fan and I take off my Mystic Grill baseball cap (note: they should totally sell Mystic Grill baseball caps!) to the actors, writers and producers for getting this far. It's an amazing accomplishment and it's only natural for such a long-running series to take a downfall after awhile.

But this was just poor execution all around. The hour was too reliant on returns, on random actions and on a body takover storyline we've seen played out over and over and over and over.

I might have to take back what I wrote up top about dentures. Slowly but surely, The Vampire Diaries is losing its bite.

What did you think of The Vampire Diaries 100th episode?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 2.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (283 Votes)

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

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My two favorite moments: Caroline&Klaus and Elena's "what?" after she heard about Stefan/Katherine sex

Sarah-silva

I was so close to saying this was my favorite episode, right up until the last minute. I do not like Katherine taking over Elena's body.
Kat Graham said the ending would make some people stand and scream and while I did not stand I did yell at my tv....NOOOOOO. LOL
Katherine is not a good person and she always has it out of Elena. It makes the drinking game they had saying the ways they will not miss Katherine, that much more enjoyable.
I did love seeing Vicki, Alaric and Jenna.
I really hope people figure out soon what Katherine did, I mean Damon should realize it quickly, but he was unconscious for most of that time with Katherine and Nadia but still.
We all knew Caroline would sleep with Klaus and now Tyler is back.

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I loved this episode. Lots of past favorites showed up and I loved the Klaroline moment! (Jenna & Alaric are my 2 favorite dead cast members.) And the reviewer got it wrong - Katherine took over Elena's body, she didn't "switch" bodies. As the preview for next weeks episode clearly showed that Katherine wants to push Elena out permanently and keep her body. And there will never be enough of the Originals. Although more of a plot surrounding their appearance would be nice. (Hell, even Rebecca has grown on me! )

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I thought it was okay. Like mother like daughter. I thought it would be too much for her to give her mom the body. I don't think it will be a secret because of bonnie saw her disappear and not cross over. Pookr Matt he is the only human so everyone has to save him all the time. I wish katherine would have died because really katherine is doppalganger to katherine and it ended when stefan turned into vamp.
I liked caroline and klaus because it was unfinished business. She said she is too young school wants experiences. He is 1000 years old way to heavy . She stopped lying to her self and admitted they had a connection because he said he would not come back. But like the Doctor does he always lie? Werewolve and vampires alike would know about romp in the woods.

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Speak for yourself, thought this was actually one of TVD's best episode this season and its partially due to the Originals returning. I watch the Originals faithfully and I was worried them returning would be confusing and a cop out, however it was nicely done and i'll be the last to complain about Klaus and Caroline (finally!) What made this episode enjoyable was bc it centered around a secondary character that literally brought everyone together. This goes for all shows, they're usually at their best when the entire cast is in the same room or working on the same goals. Katherine surviving is def a cop out but hey, you can't kill off the only character that can bring your entire cast, dead or alive, together. Rather be bogged down by only some characters having a storyline and they only showing up for five mins i.e. Matt, Tyler, Bonnie the entire episode allowed everyone their fair screen time, and too be honest nothing seemed forced. A very enjoyable episode.
Also, Katherine hallucinated the Elijah part, he was still in New Orleans protecting Haley and more no doubt.

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I actually really liked this episode... And i'm pretty sure Elijah was in New Orleans protecting Hayley as he was just an illusion created by Damon, and not really there. The only issue I had with this episode was the dumb body switch. Sometimes they really do just need to let people die. It would have been kind of sweet to see Katherine go on such a redeeming moment like that she ahd with Elena. Much like they should have just let that beautiful goodbye scene to Alaric be his finale, but they ruined it by making him actually turn evil. It would have just been more effective to finally let her die. So hopefully this won't last too long. And being one of those who does ship Caroline and Klaus, I have zero complaints... She was just stating earlier that she wanted some sex herself, that's it. She was just having fun. Klaus has always loved her. Why would he not try to go for it? And he was just trying to show her what he really would do to be with her. So i don't think it was too forced. I wish we would have seen more of him and Rebekah though. Originals or no originals, it's always nice to see them interacting with their original cast members. And seeing Alaric again was another bonus! So overall, a great episode to me!

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For me - it was really amazing episode just like from the old times.
I was sad only cause we haven't seen Lexi, but short scene between Alaric-Damon was great. The same with Vicky and Matt. For me a big positiv was that there wasn't any Delena scenes, but thats me. Damon was being Damon which I love, but the moment when they play in "drinking goodbye Katherine" game wasn't really great. Matt said "She is the reason Vicky is dead" and next Damon lines - really all of this is Katherine fault cause "Damon was angry because her"? Like he did a lot of terrible things as well. The Original Family - Elijah scene with Katherine was so beautiful, these smiles between Matt and Rebeka also. And the last - Klaroline, their scene was really perfect but I think I wish it would end with a kiss. I'm a big shipper of this couple and for me it wasn't over. We love Klaroline cause all the magical moment they had (and Forwood is just a sex, sorry but thats true), the quote "He is your first love, I intend to be your last" and all of that. In this episode - their smiles, Klaus saying he would pick her and not revenge, his promise.. amazing. I don't accept this scene as their goodbye.
It seems like the writers don't have idea for Caroline. She should be in The Originals with Klaus. Lots of people are saying that Klaroline is a slut etc. yes, you are right that Klaus killed Tyler's mother, make him a werewolf, killed Jenna - and was killing all the people, but if this couple is weird for you let's think about Damon&Elena - he was playing like a toy Caroline when she was human, he killed Elena's brother Jeremy (and he didn't know that he had had a ring), he killed Bonnie's mother, he turn into a vampire Matt's sister, Vicky, and then she died. Isn't it all creepy? I really hope it isn't over for Klaroline.

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First of all: I stopped watching TVD at the end of last season. But I still read reviews and some spoilers, so I was actually looking forward to this episode and watched it. Because I thought maybe there would be something that could catch my interest again. (And because it was hyped so much, I guess.) In short - I was just reminded of why I stopped watching in the first place. Elena still somewhere in-between the brothers. Still the one who needs saving.
Katherine, again, surviving. (I love her character, but seriously, it's just too much. Keep her or kill her, stop this she-might-die-or-not-bullsh*t.)
Bonnie and Jeremy continue their on/off relationship.
The potential of a Klaroline reunion wasted for some steaming sex instead of interesting character development on Caroline's side (like 'embrace your darker side and maybe move to New Orleans in the near future'). Even worse, the short appearances of Jenna, Alaric and even John reminded me of the times I really enjoyed this show.

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@ San

Couldn't say it better myself. That's exactly how i felt after watching this episode.

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@ mncella

Same here. This show has not been able to renew itself, unfortunately.

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I actually loved the originals showing up (PS - Elijah was watching Hayley cuz it was just Damon messing with Katherine's head), they were a large part of the series running for as long as it has. Caroline was feeling lonely & Klaus was the perfect remedy. I also do love me some Matt and Rebekah. I loved all of the others that showed up - Alaric and Damon, BFFs forever! Not too interested in Tyler being back, I hope that Caroline finishes up the season here and eventually makes the trip to New Orleans. But... I do hate that they went back to the possession well. I hope it does not drag out for too much longer, it's time to let it go!

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for a BIG 100th episode i had noo problems with noo actual storytelling just rehashing things and bringing back WAAAAYYY TOOOO OVERUSED but of course loved characters such as Rick, Vicky, Jenna- but i have to say after 5 season TVD just lost its credit for me with its incapability to kill-KILL off a character! Jennahad such an impact cause you didnt believe they WOULD actually kill her:) but now its like: yeah..she or he is dead! so?! give it 1 or 2 epi and he!she will be back ( like, Matt,Jeremy,Bonnie,Katherine...OK i wont continue cause i thought about it and THE ONLY character who didnt died and come back is Sheriff Forbes!!!)
I called the Katherine-Elena traveler switch a mile away- sooo the big game changer was NOT TVD :(
AAAANNDDD im a big Klaroline fan and of course that im happy with my fan survice sex scene ( lets face it-it was sooo fan survice ) but if i only wanted to see Caroline having sex than the going off on his way i would have to just watch some Forwood scenes! ( sorry that was mean) i like Klaroline because there was a real connection and build up and its hard to accept that the writers dont see the gold in KC and are giving up on it - and even if its just temporary- im not shure i will wait it out :( Caroline dont have a serious SL on TVD andi dont like wher they are going with her (and Klaus's character on TO :(
i dont want to do "teen drama" but this was it for me with TVD!!! :( im just NOT interested in any storyline and there not much character development going on for Caroline who is my fave character! :( i will still watch TO bacuse of Joseph Morgan - but i still shudder with every scene with Hayley :( the baby plot was just another proof for me for TVD/TO writers downhill :(
woa- this turned out guite negative but i just dont feel the TVD magic anymore!

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@ HotHybridSex

I love the baby plot. I couldn't stand Hayley on TVD but love her on TO. Especially with Elijah even if that pairing is a teeny tiny bit icky. But then I cant get enough of the Original brothers... (Not even Damon out does them IMO)

The Vampire Diaries Season 5 Episode 11 Quotes

Elena: You memorized my breakup?
Caroline: Of course I did.

Matt: Who spends two years pining after a girl?
Damon: I can hear you, dumbass.

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