Review of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES – The Turning Point (2009)

What’s more exciting than vampires? A rogue vampire and a rogue vampire hunter!

Living up to the episode’s name “The Turning Point,” this was the kitchen-sink episode. It had a little bit of everything for everyone. We had a person returning from the dead and dying all over again, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) actually getting along and working together (gasp!), a star-crossed love affair, mesmerism, a rogue demon hunter and a surprise accident. It was an adrenaline rush from one scene to the next.

This was indeed the turning point for everyone. It was no longer a show about the discovery of vampires. This is now a story about how virtually everyone knows there are vampires and how they interact with them. For clearly, Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Bonnie (Katrina Graham) both now know. The council, which includes the Sheriff and the Mayor and a host of others know about the vampires. And Alaric Salzman (Matthew Davis) knows a lot more about vampires than he has let on. While Jenna (Sara Canning), Caroline (Candice Accola), Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen), Matt (Zach Roerig) and Tyler (Michael Trevino) are perhaps the few that do not consciously know, they certainly have had their fair share of vampire encounters and some of them have taken turns at being victims of vampire mesmerism (Caroline, Tyler and Jeremy). Additionally, Jenna and Matt are closely associated to vampires through their connections to Logan (Chris J. Johnson) and Vicki (Kayla Ewell).

Jenna also nearly became dinner for the newly-turned Logan, but was wise enough to not invite him into the house. Unfortunately, this did not bode so well for the woman jogging down the road. Logan was the loose-cannon throughout the episode. While not as emotionally unstable and erratic as Vicki was – especially since Logan had the sense to acquire a gun and filled it with wooden bullets to take down Damon when he came calling — Logan was stupid enough to leave the body of the jogger behind out in the open. It was pure stupidity that he left it behind thinking that he was just too tired to drag the body of the jogger back to his lair to hide it along with the others he had been accumulating. It was exactly that kind of sloppiness that put him on everyone’s radar: Damon and Stefan who wanted to keep their presence invisible to the local vampire-posse; the town’s founding father’s group who were on the look-out for vampires, and a newly arrived
self-appointed vampire hunter. With so many enemies out to stop him, Logan never had a chance.

So, just as Stefan and Damon were debating where they should go after leaving Mystic Falls, the Sheriff (Marguerite MacIntyre) stopped by bearing bad news that there had been another attack. Damon then stated the obvious, “There’s another vampire in town.” To which Stefan quickly replied, “That’s impossible” knowing Damon had staked the only other vampire who had been in town – Lexie. But Damon simply retorted, “Obviously not.” Despite their plans to the contrary, it was clear that they were not going anywhere with a rogue vampire on the loose.

Pulling from his bag of tricks, Damon “recruited” Caroline to aid in using the pocket watch to locate the new vampire – especially since if he tried to use it, it wouldn’t work as his presence interfered with the signal. What was not so clever was rushing head-long into the warehouse just to be shot by Logan, with wooden bullets no less. Ingenious, though it seems a bit crazy for a vampire to feel the need to protect himself from other vampires.

Despite Damon’s protests, “I killed you. I didn’t turn you,” Logan was not too sure and was furious to have been turned, abandoned and left to fend for himself. With a stash of dead bodies piling up, he just could not get a handle on this vampire-thing. And the one thing he really needed to know was why he couldn’t walk in the sun like Stefan and Damon. If he was going to be stuck being a vampire for eternity, that was the one skill he really wanted.

But after being shot with nearly a dozen wooden bullets, Damon was not feeling so helpful. Instead, he was incredibly pissed off and feeling a bit vengeful – particularly after Logan kidnapped Damon’s tasty-treat, Caroline. So once Damon and Stefan had Logan corned, Damon evilly grinned and said, “Payback is a bitch, isn’t it?” after shooting Logan. But just as Damon was about to deliver the death blow, Logan quickly said, “You think you’re the only one who wants to get into that tomb under that old church?” It was this little crumb that enticed Damon into granting Logan a temporary reprieve. However, Alaric Salzman, rogue vampire hunter, had another plan in mind and promptly staked Logan the first chance he got.

So with a whopping cliff-hanger in the balance, namely Elena pinned under her car after fleeing from Stefan after discovering a photo of Katherine and a shadowy figure approaching ominously, we also were left with the image of the Sheriff believing that Damon was the hero of the day (again) when she told him, “This town owes you so much. So do I.” Watch out Damon, hero-worship can be a dangerous thing.

What Worked

Following up on the quasi-romantic interlude between Matt and Caroline, there were quite a few funny moments as everyone began to notice their new-found close friendship. In particular, it was hilarious when Tyler accused Matt of becoming a “we”-team. But the real cheer-worthy moment came when Matt stood up to Tyler declaring, “Look, I like Caroline. She’s got this thing. This way about her and I like her. I’m not going to defend or apologize about it.” Matt is turning out to be quite the romantic and his willingness to declare his feelings for Caroline was heroic in another way.

What Didn’t Work

After Caroline inadvertently overhears Matt tell Elena, “We’re friends. It’s no big deal,” Caroline had further insult to injury when her own mother decided to squash her dreams of becoming a broadcast journalist by saying, “You don’t even read paper.” With both her boyfriend and mother crushing her tender young heart, Caroline was easy prey for Logan. This episode was all about the emotional pain. It was just awful that Caroline is the emotional punching bag for everyone. Why should she have to bear the brunt of her mother’s misguided disappointment and Matt’s insensitivity? It’s bad enough that Elena and Bonnie do not consider her intelligent enough to rank at their level and have hid the fact that there are vampires in Mystic Falls. Of all of them, Caroline is the one who needs to know the most. She’s already been the human-of-choice for Damon’s feeding habits and inadvertent ally in his activities. She should have at least been warned so that she would not have so willingly gotten in the car with Logan. Forewarned is forearmed. It’s about time that Caroline got a bit more prepared to live in a world with vampires lurking in the darkness.

And where was Bonnie in the midst of all this?!

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

‘The Turning Point’ teleplay by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec, story by Barbie Kligman, and directed by J. Miller Tobin. ‘The Vampire Diaries’ stars Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Steven R. McQueen, Candice Accola, Katerina Graham, Michael Trevino, Zach Roerig, Sara Canning, Matthew Davis, Chris J. Johnson and Marguerite MacIntyre. ‘The Vampire Diaries’ airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.

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