So that’s how it is, Vampire Diaries? We get one great twist and three weeks of waiting.
The impending gap between “The Murder of One” and the next episode of The Vampire Diaries should have indicated the overwhelming frustration headed our way. TVD is notorious for saving up big reveals for scattered intervals, leaving us with our jaws on the floor and a lack of any clue as to how the gang will get out its latest pinch. This murderous episode was no different. Right out of the gate, the hunt is on for the Original family, but that momentum is quickly bludgeoned as every conflict is flipped on its head and the Salvatore brothers’ love triangle woes are back. Which is a sentence that could apply to roughly one third of all TVD episodes.
Of course, any TVD fan knows the hook of the series is that it never allows viewers to get comfortable. Something is always amiss. There’s constantly a steadfast law of vampirism no one managed to learn by now. Romance is always threatened by certain death, bloodthirsty disregard for human life, or sireship to an Original Vampire who also happens to be a werewolf. It’s a murky place. And while some twists and roadblocks, like this week’s realization that killing an original vampire kills any vampire turned from their bloodline, are genuine shockers, the majority of the show’s latest developments feel cheap. Fans crave that constant drama, but not when its only purpose is to drive us batty.
After recovering the commemorative Wickery Bridge sign, which just happens to be made out of White Oak, Damon and Stefan fashion it into 12 stakes and enact a plan to murder one of the linked Original vampires, in effect killing the entire original family. But that part was in the trailer for the episode, so of course that set up goes completely to pot. The jilted Rebekah kidnaps and tortures Damon for sleeping with her for information; Klaus kidnaps Bonnie and forces her to unlink the Original siblings; and Damon convinces Alaric to put his evil life-saving ring back on. Also, Stefan broods. Excessively.
The Salvatore brothers’ big plan to kill all the originals (and in the process lose the whole purpose of Season Three) gets a stake in the heart when Damon’s frenemy Sage and her Original love Finn are on a date and spy Stefan leaving the bar just as they drink vervain-spiked tequila shots. Luckily, Stefan has backup and Elena saves him from certain death with her White Oak-charged crossbow, killing Finn but not his recently unlinked siblings. But then comes the shocker: Sage and the lackey she turned both die as a result of their Original bloodline’s end. If all the originals die, then all the vampires die.
That should be the end of it. Stefan, Elena and Co. should stop trying to kill the Originals and deal with the Elena-as-a-life-force-for-hybrids issue later. What’s going to happen when if they spend weeks trying to figure out which Original bloodline Stefan and Damon are from only to find out it’s Klaus’ and they still can’t kill him? And we already know killing Klaus will kill Tyler, the hybrid. Plus, it’s not like Stefan to want the blood of thousands of innocent vampires on his hands. Even with all that logic to back up a more rational decision, like a truce, Stefan attempts to trick Klaus and when he fails, that “a pox on both your houses”-style threat is reinstated. At least Klaus is consistent.
Sensing that this plot twist wasn’t quite enough, the writers threw in one more extraneous issue: Rick’s ring is overpowering his nice-guy herbs from Bonnie, and his psychopath, vampire-hating alter ego has hidden the last White Oak stake. Rick’s mean-streak could make him kill anyone who is a vampire, an Original vampire, or vampire sympathizer. In one quick flick of the wrist, every character on this series is in danger. And the final knife in the coffin comes with the lack of resolution for Stefan and Elena. We finally get a tender moment between the two and it’s dashed because Stefan doesn’t want to share. He’s convinced Elena loves Damon too, and he doesn’t want the girl he fought the original hybrid for because she might also really care about his brother. It’s a pretty weak rationale on Stefan’s part. What happened to the guy who decked his only brother for kissing the girl he loves? Where is kickass Stefan? This mopey version needs to get some of his chutzpah back. Still, if his stubbornness yields some intense Damon and Elena scenes in the coming episodes, then it will all be worth it.
Did you feel cheated by Alaric’s final twist? Don’t you think Stefan would have let his passions get the best of him for even a second? Isn’t he being a bit weak with this Elena decision? More: Vampire Diaries Brings Aunt Jenna Back From the Dead? Vampire Diaries Recap: Bloodlust, White Oak and Murderer Most Foul Vampire Diaries at Paleyfest: Stelena Spoilers, Bye-Bye Katherine and More