TV REVIEW: The Vampire Diaries Season 3, Episodes 18 and 19 – The Murder of One and Heart of Darkness

After yet another hiatus, the show (and I) are back for the final stretch leading up to the season finale on May 10th.  Here’s a two-fer to catch up on the last two episodes, and then back to single reviews for the final three.

Everyone’s favorite original family is back in Mystic Falls, which is surely an indication that some serious stuff is about to go down.  Stefan and Damon put Operation Let’s Kill Klaus into action, but Klaus enlists Bonnie to help him stay a step ahead of the game.  Shortly therafter, the gang makes a discovery that puts their whole plan in jeopardy.

Episode 18: The Murder of One

When we last left the MF gang, they’d just discovered that Rebekah hadn’t entirely thorough in destroying all the white oak scraps.  They set about making weapons to finally finish the job, and prepare themselves for several different scenarios.  What they don’t count on, however, is Rebekah’s grudge against Damon; shortly after returning to MF, she exacts her revenge by capturing and torturing him at their mansion – she wants to bleed the verveine out of his system so she can compel him to kill Stefan or Elena.

The rest of the team perseveres, though, and they manage to stake Finn after he is distracted by a reunion with Sage.  Their celebration is short lived when Elena gets a call from Bonnie telling her that Klaus forced Bonnie to use her powers to break the binding spell.  She also reveals that Klaus has sent Kol to keep an eye on Jeremy, meaning he is in some serious danger. There’s an added complication when Sage comes after Stefan to avenge Finn – she drops dead in the middle of her attack, leading to the discovery that if an original dies, everyone in their bloodline (i.e., everyone they turned) will also die.  Because Stefan, Damon and Caroline are all from the same bloodline and they don’t know which original they descend from, their plans come to an abrupt halt.

Finally, Stefan goes to the mansion with 8 of the stakes, intending to trade them for Damon. Klaus suspects him of lying (he’s right – there are more) and compels Damon to tell him the true number.  Rebekah agrees to let Damon go, provided they hand over the remaining stakes.  That proves to be a problem when they discover that Alaric’s evil alter ego has hidden the stake Alaric was given.

This was a fairly good episode – not as strong as I would’ve like for the first show after a 3-week break. Still, it definitely had its strong points.

Matt is probably the most underutilized character in the whole show, and it was nice to see him get some time in the spotlight.  He’s actually the one who stakes Finn, making him the first to successfully kill an original.  He’s gone from being an outsider as the only human, to reluctant accomplice and now finally an active member of the team, all with a self-deprecating kind of charm about the whole thing.  Kudos to Zach Roerig for doing such a great job with so little to work with.

Caroline and Alaric have a lovely, touching scene together in which she forgives him for killing her father while in his fugue state.  It just goes to highlight how much Caroline has grown as a character.  She is a far cry from the spoiled, entitled girl she was when the series started.  In many ways, becoming a vampire was the best thing that could’ve happened to her.

There’s also a climax (no pun intended) approaching in the Stefan/Elena/Damon love triangle, as Stefan and Elena finally admit that they still love each other, but Stefan calls her out on her feelings for Damon.  It’s a good thing, too – she’s starting to get a bit boring as she fights the classic Elena fight of denying everything because she doesn’t want to hurt anyone.  Hopefully, we’ll have some resolution soon.

Episode 18 Rating: 3/5

Episode 19: Heart of Darkness

Damon and Elena set off on a road trip to see Jeremy and ultimately to bring him home.  The tripe serves two purposes: saving Jeremy from Kol and also enlisting his help in contacting Rose’s ghost, who may have information on which original bloodline they belong to.  Rose manages to give them some information, but the trail literally stops dead when Klaus gets wind of their plans and has Kol murder their only source of information.  Elena also uses the trip to try and sort her feelings for Damon.  They wind up sharing quite an enthusiastic kiss, which is interrupted by a disapproving Jeremy.

While Elena and Damon are away “researching,” Caroline and Matt devise a plan to distract Rebekah while Caroline goes to find Tyler. Their reunion is a happy one, until Caroline reveals that if Damon confirms that Klaus didn’t sire them, he will carry through his plan to kill him.  If that happens, Tyler will also die.  They return to Mystic Falls, where Caroline promises Tyler she won’t let anything happen to him.

Esther makes a brief appearance, coming back to tell Rebekah that she is dying.  When Bonnie’s mother died, the connection to the witch that was preserving her body was severed, and she doesn’t have much time left to live.  In fact, she dies almost immediately, clinging to Rebekah as she goes.

Stefan and Alaric are hard at work trying to draw out Alaric’s alter ego.  When Klaus grows impatient for news of the remaining weapons, he and Rebekah pay them a visit.  Stefan explains the bloodline problem, and finally tortures bad!Alaric out of hiding. He reveals that he hid the stake in the cave that has been spelled to keep vampires out.  Rebekah takes him there to retrieve it, and he tries to strike a bargain with her – help him, and he will make sure she is not the original to die by his stake.  We then find out that Esther’s spirit has taken over Rebekah’s body, and she wants Alaric to help her kill all her children.

The big twist at the end of this episode – Esther’s body swap – was disappointingly predictable; the random, short reappearance, her insistence on touching Rebekah as she was dying.  The most interesting thing about it is getting to see Alaric as his evil self.  Matt Davis is surprisingly chilling as the mad vampire hunter, a far cry from what we’ve gotten used to. Really looking forward to seeing more of him in the next few weeks as the consequences of their alliance play out.

We finally get the moment DElena fans have been waiting for – Elena finally gives in to her conflicted feelings for Damon.  To anyone who’s read the books (or the spoilers on Wikipedia), this is no surprise.  But Elena and Damon have a strong, angsty chemistry between them that really makes the whole thing work, regardless of what you’re expecting or which camp you fall into.  Sadly, the writers nearly ruin it by attempting to over-justify it – Rose’s ghost makes a special appearance to Jeremy for the sole purpose of listing all the reasons why he should support their relationship.  It felt unnecessary, and only served to take away from what was otherwise a pretty intense moment.  They should’ve just let Nina and Ian’s chemistry speak for itself.

We’re coming into the final stretch for the season, which is both bad and good news.  Bad because yet another season is coming to an end; good because if past finales have been anything to go by, things are about to get really intense.

Episode 19 Rating: 3/5
GS Reporter: Mirjana

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