The Vampire Diaries 3.03 "The End of the Affair" ReviewA tv review article by: Shawn Hill
While in Chicago with Klaus, Stephan runs into a vampire from his past, someone still interested in him after decades. In a flashback to 1920s Chicago, Stefan recalls a troubling chapter in his life. Following a tip, Damon and Elena follow the trail of Stefan and Klaus. Wondering what's happened to Caroline, Tyler asks Sheriff Forbes for help.
The Vampire Diaries airs Thursday nights at 8:00 on the CW.
Oh, TVD, how dare you do this to me? How dare you make Klaus (Joseph Morgan) interesting? I admit it, I never thought you could. But, a flashback episode, to a time more current than his murky Renaissance origins, in a country more relevant to this show's very American nature (Mystic Falls may be steeped in tradition, but it's a tradition that dates back to the Revolution, no earlier; the Founding Families have held onto their pioneer ignorance as long as possible, as we learn elsewhere this week). Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) first met him in the roaring twenties in Chicago? Well played, show, well played.
Not only do we meet Nicklaus and Stefan, both enjoying the clandestine freedoms of Prohibition, but we get a whole supporting cast as well: the well-preserved witch Gloria (Charmin Lee), and "Nick's" sultry sister, Rebecca (Claire Holt). A Harlow-esque flapper, she immediately takes to Stefan, only slightly moreso than her brother, who contemplates destroying him (Klaus defines territorialism, must be his wolven side) but is instead taken by Stefan's style and flair for the vicious gesture. It's a demonic bro-bonding moment, and damned if it doesn't finally give Klaus some dimension and context other than "Do what I say or I kill everyone immediately."
He was boring as the Alpha Hybrid, but as a being capable of jealousy for his sister and friendship with fellow blood thief Stefan, Joseph Morgan is finally given some nuances to play. Are those looks of longing and even fear and worry that cross his countenance? It's about time, and it makes his usual swagger much easier to take. Could it be possible that Stefan was once worse than any of the Originals? Of course it could. Could something even worse than Klaus be chasing him? Of course it could.
We also get a welcome dose of Katherine (Nina Dobrev) this week, calling from points undisclosed to give Damon a tip about Stefan visiting old haunts in Chicago. While Dobrev's Elena is a compelling heroine, her Katherine is a blast of subversion and sneakiness. You always believe what Elena says (she only lies to the bad guys), but you're never quite sure about Katherine, so she and Somerhalder's Damon get to chew up the scenery to their actor-ish limits with innuendo and double entendres.
The flashback to the 1920s is an obvious choice (what have we got left, World War battle scenes?), but the show does it with flare. The costume department has fun with the dresses and suits, and props roll out some spiffy vintage cars. It's also of course the nascent era of American cinema, so seeing all these young people dress up like silent screen sirens has its own charm, especially given that now they can talk so much.
On other fronts, we abandon Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) and his hauntings (still no Bonnie (Kat Graham) around to clear things up) so that we can focus on Caroline (Candice Accola) and her very bad daddy. Seems Mr. Forbes (Jack Coleman) is convinced he can burn the vampire out of his daughter's body (not with anything religious, just w/behavioral application of sunlight); to Caroline's credit she doesn't try to appease him, insisting that she's already coping with her changed nature and that there's nothing wrong with her.
Bill is decidedly old school when it comes to vampires (and the torture chamber he uses is apparently a family tradition), but Tyler (Michael Trevino) (with last week's carefully considered demonstration of his own nature to his mother and this week's steadiness regarding his girlfriend, he's the unsung hero of the moment) brings help. Caroline's mother (Marguerite MacIntyre) is the Sheriff, after all, and she's more than willing to use her gun to rescue their daughter.
The best line in the episode (or at least the best delivery) comes from Damon, who shows up uninvited to Gloria's Chicago speakeasy in order to give Elena one more chance to appeal to Stefan. On being greeted rudely by Klaus, he responds: "Oh, honey, I've been called way worse." Only Somerhalder can spin that effeminate putdown in a way that sounds both insulting and full of bravado.
There's more mumbo jumbo about who's chasing Klaus, if he can solve the hybrid mystery, but I'm more interested in how he stakes Rebecca at the end of the flashback (for the crime of choosing Stefan over him), and only revives her this week, still in her flapper dress. The whole family of Originals just lets him put them all on ice at his whim? For decades on end? Culture shock much?
Stefan also makes a good point to Elena, who thinks he can come back from the dark side like he's done before. "Last time it took me thirty years, Elena. Your life will be half-over by then." Guess Stefan isn't into mature ladies, which only bodes well for the revived Rebecca. How did he ever forget her and Klaus in the first place, you wonder? Only if like me you keep forgetting that vampires can compel other vampires.
Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at http://cornekopia.net.