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Hello and welcome back to another review of The Vampire...wooaaah. What on Earth is going on? This episode was full-on crazy. Not the typical TVD game-changing kind of crazy but more like twist-you-up-real-good crazy. You actually had to pay attention to this episode if you wanted to know what was going on. The episode had no Klaus or Caroline to root for, no Elijah to honor and no Bonnie to dislike, yet it was bloody good. Props should be given to The Vampire Diaries’ writing staff who pulled off yet another stellar episode and managed to do so with very little action and a lot of plot-heavy developments.
Two things need to be cleared up before we jump into the episode: this is not an Original-episode and nobody, including the writers, cared enough about last month’s cliffhanger to see any kind of resolution. In fact, we met Alaric unharmed in a prison cell where he was interrogated by Sheriff Forbes. Apparently Meredith twisted his words around in such fashion that he was considered to be the killer. Honestly, this plot hasn’t been so intriguing. If anyone is familiar with Kevin Williamson’s work (Scream, anyone?) they know he’s good at murder-mysteries. Yet, this half-baked attempt at a whodunnit was hardly worth investing time in, mostly because it has been random people who have been the victim. We didn’t even know the first victim, we hated the second one and, well, Alaric getting killed is like seeing the credits—it happens every week. The most exciting thing about this murder mystery was when Elena was alone in the car and that turned out to be Rebecca. Anyway, this episode was all about the serial killer. Elena didn’t trust Meredith so she recruited Matt to help her find something. Stefan and Damon were sure the past could help them in their search for the killer so they took pretty vivid trips down memory-lane.
The flashbacks on this show are beyond boring. Everything is sepia and the costumes and stories are ridiculous. It always feels as if the writers want to give certain developments useless backstory in order for them to have more weight. This episode, however, Cassidy Freeman came to pay a visit. First of all, she was the best thing to have happened to Smallville’s later years so it can only be a good thing to add her to the cast. Second of all, watching her kick ass was probably one of the better flashbacks this show ever had. Unfortunately, a lot of unnecessary dialogue took place in these flashbacks too and almost none of it really helped in solving what was going on in 2012.
But besides going back 100 years, the Salvatore brothers had a lot of other stuff going on. Damon actually helped Stefan face his issue with drinking blood. It actually made sense for him to push Stefan into drinking blood again. Like any compulsive addiction, it’s better to control it then to fully engage in or distance yourself from it (which is why it’s so convenient that fans are bound to only get their TVD fix one a week). It was Elena, however, who ended up being the least helpful. She made the situation much worse by constantly being disappointed in him, having walked in on Stefan at the precise moment he gave in to his urges. Her blindness concerning Alaric was also a topic, as Meredith sweetly pointed out, that Elena had let him in her life without really knowing what he actually did all day, except for drinking. Regardless, Alaric and Elena’s (platonic, might I add) relationship was one of the highlights of the episode. With Jeremy gone and Bonnie suddenly having feelings, Alaric is all that Elena has left. And Matt, there’s always Matt. With half the cast MIA, it was a surprise to see Matt so present this week. There was even time for a heartfelt conversation with Elena and a brief moment of chemistry in the closet.
Alaric was also full-centered this week. The mystery made several twists before it was revealed that maybe we had been looking at it the wrong way. Maybe Meredith was right all along. It has to be said that this is by far one of the lesser interesting plot-points TVD has ever had. Sure, it’s great Alaric finally has something going on besides whiskey, but there are more pressing matters than a cursed ring. Rebecca supposedly was looking for the tree that could kill her family, but was too distracted by Damon and making fun of Stefan (classic scenes, by the way). Elena had a pretty defining moment of clarity in which she described to all the shippers in the entire world how she really felt, but was actually too busy talking it up with the ex-boyfriend. Great stories, but way too much in the background.
Of course everything was done in great pace, dramatic twists and honest character moments. But considering the show is one of the best on network television, this was not the episode to take to the Emmy’s. Of course, there are only six more episodes left and the stakes are going to be considerably higher as those episodes progress, so it’s no real shame that this week wasn’t the best. It was still better than almost anything on air this week. Some pretty interesting storylines were set up, and with this serial-business cleared up it only leaves room for the awesomeness that is Caroline and all those other characters that have been nowhere (remember when Tyler was a part of this show?) to come back. Yes, flashbacks are backstory and this episode was just one big setup. Bring on the payoff.