One step forward, two steps back
In what should have been a ground-breaking episode exploring Elena’s unhindered desire to feed and the surprising revelation that there may be a cure, this episode seemed to undermine itself every step of the way; and it was incredibly frustrating. There was no reconciliation between the super duo of Klaus and Rebekah; Stefan showed little concern or finesse in exposing himself to Connor; Damon and Elena’s foray into wanton vampire feeding was clumsy and ludicrous; Bonnie showed little regard for her own safety in revealing her witch-nature to her professor; Matt was used as a prop (again); and worst yet, there was nothing with Caroline and Tyler. Plus, the flashbacks only took up crucial screentime that could have been better spent on all the things going on in Mystic Falls.
So this episode was a bit like banging your head against the wall. Painful and not at all really helpful.
Points of Interest
1. It was nice to finally find out that Rebekah once had a great love, which may explain why her life feels consumed searching for another great love. If Alexander was her one true love, then Rebekah is doomed to walk the planet heart-broken and unfulfilled for eternity. That explains a lot about who Rebekah is and her wild mood swings between rage and desire.
2. It still feels like there is more to Jeremy seeing those tattoos than him being a future vampire hunter. Jeremy has a vampire hunting inclination, but given that he is now related to one, his future seems more likely to be a vampire protector. Can’t wait to see what explanation there is for Jeremy’s special sight.
3. Then Matt kept the truck that Rebekah gave him. Kind of makes sense since she wrecked his. But are they still teasing the Matt-Rebekah romance angle? Not sure he really feels anything at all for her after she tried to kill him.
The only character that I was actually kind of rooting for in this episode was Connor. Yeah, it surprised me too. But Connor was the only one who was showing some level of intelligence. One could just feel that he was plotting and waiting and gathering all the information he could. Given how lax Klaus and Stefan were around him, it made the villain feel more like the guy to be rooting for because stupidity deserves to be rewarded with a turn of the tables. Plus, Connor had the best line of the night when he returned to the university and asked the professor, “Why the hell did you send me there?!” Connor’s short stay in Mystic Falls taught him a few things and one was that he was not prepared for what he found there. It was not just a nest of vampires, there were other supernatural forces at play (hybrids, witches, werewolves) and there was a wide-established network of vampire-sympathizers as well. The fact that he bailed as soon as he could once he realized he was over his head was smart. It was time to regroup and get more information before walking in so blindly again. A lesser hunter would have lay in wait for Klaus and/or Stefan or gone after Jeremy. Connor is turning into a much more interesting and formidable foe just because he is using his brain. Love it. Smart hunters are much more cheer-worthy.
Then while it was not meant as a compliment by any means, Damon dressed as Jack the Ripper for the frat party was ingenious. Very tongue-in-cheek and snarky humor which fits Damon perfectly. It was also a sly nod to their intentions for the evening, and that was a nice touch too.
Also surprising was watching Damon teach Elena how to assess and stalk prey. We’ve always assumed Damon was more of an opportunist when it came to feeding on humans, but seeing potential victims through his eyes was fascinating. Alas, that went out that window at the frat party where it was a free-for-all feeding on humans. So close to be being a decent mentor, only to backslide into lazy teaching tactics. But it was cool while it lasted though.
Then, as heavy-handed as it was, the reveal that there may be a cure for vampirism was still intriguing. It also cracked the window so that Stefan can still save Elena. Stefan is always better when he has someone to save, and he was already seeing that Elena was slipping away from him. As a vampire, Elena was just too driven by her desires and that aligned more with Damon’s life choices than Stefan’s. So to win Elena back, Stefan will grasp as anything – even the faintest promise of a cure. While Stefan seemed consumed by the idea that Elena would flip her humanity-switch, it is hard to see that happening.
Elena was already showing signs of addiction to the heightened emotions she was experiencing. She was reveling in her power, her lusts, her desires. Her hesitancy and shame lasted for but a moment, then she would revert back to her new vampire state. So Stefan is not really worried that Elena will crumble under the weight of killing someone; he is more afraid that she won’t — that she will embrace her vampire nature and abandon him. Thus, the cure is more for Stefan, than for Elena. Old martyr-obsessed Elena would simply have died and not feed completing her transition into becoming a vampire; or would have refused to feed on innocent humans. New vampire-Elena knows she should feel remorse and repulsion over her new life and urges, but she is surprised to find that she doesn’t. That’s the scary monster that has been unleashed. And Stefan knows it.
What Didn’t Work
First of all, Alexander was not very impressive as a great vampire hunter. He looked the part, but he showed little intelligence that would have been needed in his profession. Sure, he lured Rebekah into bed and fooled her with promises of love, but why? A professional would have not used such blatant and clumsy tactics. No wonder Klaus was able to destroy all five in one night if they were all as intellectually-challenged.
I was also greatly disappointed in Klaus’ decision to re-dagger Rebekah. Complete waste. Much more thrilling to imagine what kinds of trouble they could stir up together or separately. Klaus needs people to challenge him and Stefan is just not as interested or invested in playing Klaus’ games. Rebekah, however, makes for a formidable foe or fantastic ally. They are a better duo together for better or worse, than apart. Especially when Rebekah delivers such perfect zingers as, “Go right ahead. Laugh at the girl who loved to easily. But I would rather live my life than yours, Nic. No one will ever sit around a table telling stories about a man who could not love.”
Worst line of the night was when Elena confessed to Stefan, “I’m becoming someone I don’t want to be. I don’t think I’m going to survive this.” Really?! I didn’t buy that for one second and was annoyed that Elena said it, let alone that Stefan believed it. Who is lying to who?
Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due
“The Five” written by Brett Matthews and Rebecca Sonneshine, and directed by Joshua Butler. ‘The Vampire Diaries’ stars Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Joseph Morgan, Steven R. McQueen, Candice Accola, Katerina Graham, Michael Trevino, Zach Roerig, Torrey Devitto, Claire Holt. ‘The Vampire Diaries’ airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.