The Vampire Diaries Review: Dancing with the Devil

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Senior prom never lives up to expectations.

You think you have the perfect dress... and then a classmate shows up in something similar. You think you're gonna get some... and then your date passes out drunk. You think you can flip your loved one's humanity switch back on... only for her to attempt multiple murders and for the event to be overtaken by a deranged ancient witch on a mission.

It's the same old story at high schools around the country.

Caroline Prom Dress

"Pictures of You" wasn't an in-your-face, non-stop-action, thrill-a-minute return episode.

It was actually light on blood and gore and surprises and didn't even conclude on an especially intriguing cliffhanger. Sorry, but seeing Silas' scarred face didn't nudge me any closer to the edge of my seat.

But the hour did bring into focus many relationships, from Elena's nearly destroyed ones with Bonnie and Caroline to Rebekah's burgeoning one with Matt to Caroline's briefly revived one with Tyler.

That was Tyler, right? Not Silas? What an odd scene and return. It was used to soften Klaus a lot more than further anything related to the reunited couple, as our favorite Hybrid admitted he cared about Caroline's happiness to such a degree that he was willing to let Tyler go in order to maintain it. Really, nothing says I Love You more than NOT murdering your boyfriend.

Elena, meanwhile, was going in the opposite direction with her friends, doing all she could to tear them down. She stole Caroline's dress. She referred to Bonnie as a "brain washed crazy person." She told Stefan she lacked a heart and she scoffed at Damon's title of "boyfriend." The humanity-free vampire made Katherine seem like your caring next door neighbor.

But while it's a nice change of pace for both Nina Dobrev and this typically innocent character, it's also refreshing that it may be coming to an end soon. As Caroline noted (I know you said to kill her with kindness, but can't I just kill her?), there's only so long such a stone-cold killer can be accepted by those around her before they either give up trying or do something worse to her.

So it's on to Plan C: scaring the humanity back into the blood-sucker. I can only imagine a marathon of The Ring is on tap. Maybe Toddlers & Tiaras.

Matt and Rebekah at the Prom

Let's also hope fan reaction frightens Julie Plec and company into choosing a direction and sticking with it when it comes to this perennial love triangle. Stefan is gonna get out of town... only to remember his feelings for Elena. Damon is confident Elena really does love him... only to wonder and rage when he watches her dance with his brother.

The overall dance of Who Will Elena Pick? has grown very old. It's been pushed to the side over the past few episodes because the Salvatores have had other issues to worry about (Other Sides ending, waitresses being killed, etc.), but it was brought back a bit to the forefront here, much to my chagrin. I don't care if Elena pulls a Kelly Taylor and chooses herself at this point. She just needs to make some decision.

After she stops trying to kill her best friends, that is.

Thee others developments worth noting:

  1. Poor Matt! Dude, you are so much more than a busboy at The Grill. (Seriously, at this point in your tenure there, you better be so much more!) You are the rational, benevolent human being who does all he can to keep everyone around him safe and grounded. The town would fall apart (ummm... even more) without you there. So glad Rebekah picked up on this and so pleased with her evolution overall. She has a ways to go, but she could be "good" yet.
  2. Bonnie may not have smiled in about six months, but at least she's driving the plot now instead of being used to randomly turn it in one direction or another.
  3. The opposite can be said about Katherine. I've often noted how she's really nothing more than a plot device - popping up now and again with no real explanation - but that was never truer than her note to Klaus. She might as well have written: "Yo dude, The CW is considering a spinoff titled The Originals. Get down to New Orleans!"

Overall, not the best episode of The Vampire Diaries Season 4. The ability of Silas to simply turn into anyone is a significant writing crutch, a storyline that makes it far too easy to dupe both the viewers and the characters.

But at least he now has The Cure. At least Bonnie has agreed to help him. There's momentum on this front, there's movement in bringing the old Elena back - and there's Caroline in that dress! Far be it for me to complain.

What did everyone else think?

Pictures of You Review

Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (2036 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 4 Episode 19 Quotes

Caroline: I have a real crisis on my hands: Elena stole my prom dress!

Hey Bonnie, hear you got your mind wiped. That sucks.