The Vampire Diaries 3.10 "The New Deal"

A tv review article by: Shawn Hill

Because Stefan has hidden the coffins containing the bodies of Klaus' family, Klaus threatens violence to convince Damon and Elena that no one will ...

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8:00 on the CW.

Well, that didn't take long. What, oh, waiting since early November for a new episode, yes, that took awhile, and I don't suppose TVD will ever get a Christmas episode, but within seconds of the new episode we're immediately back in the muck of Klaus-town. Santa he ain't.

Poor Elena. She can just not get a break on how creepy life is in Mystic Falls for founding families like her own. Or what's left of it. You can almost understand the ruthless Republicans that many of the other leading families have become; conservatism is an inherently defensive trait, circling the wagons around what you already have, rather than pioneering off in new directions for risky alternatives. You'll forgive me, but in light of the episode title, I think I'm justified in casting Elena as FDR.

Elena is cursed with empathy. She cares about what happens to everyone. It's actually saved her life a few times (mostly from vamps who can't believe what the hell they're hearing her say), and, as Damon points out, it's also saved her family and friends. Especially her brother Jeremy, who is spiraling down a dark path since Bonnie dumped him over his ghost girlfriends.

And worse of all, he's being led along that path by the foxy Tyler, who is Klaus's hybrid bitch (one of the many, but the one who matters the most in Mystic Falls since no one actually wants to kill him). Tyler is, as usual, a jock idiot. He's one of those rich boys who's never really had to question his good fortune, until the werewolf curse manifested, and now Klaus has "cured" that. Caroline understands, and thus has dumped him. Elena and Alaric and Bonnie are suitably wary. But Jeremy wasn't, until Tyler almost got him killed this week.

By far the most interesting part of the plot involved Stefan, the haunted mansion of witches, and Bonnie. It's always a great laugh whenever Damon tries to go that manse (whose was it, I wonder, and why has it been left to decay for a century?), because the witch-ghosts have never forgiven him and come up with new ways to fuck him up the second he steps in the door. He really needs to find a way to apologize.

Stefan is still being cold to everyone, but this time it's an act as he's trying to protect them until he makes Klaus pay. He's got the four (they say four like seventeen times this episode just so you'll know how many new cast members are coming) coffins of Klaus' family members … let's see, one of whom is Elijah. Dad and Mom are really dead, but there was another brother. Rebekah isn't in her coffin (the poor thing, used as a bargaining chip by Elena in her ruthless mode, almost wakes up but then Klaus wimps out), so I'm not sure who the other two might be. Could one of them be the original witch? Have we seen a vamp-witch hybrid yet? Bonnie is certainly being called to one particular coffin in her dreams.

So, let's tally: Jeremy mans up and stakes and then beheads a hybrid sniffing at Elena's door, which is too much for Elena to take. Alaric saves Jeremy from getting mowed down in the street, but almost dies himself and meets a hot doc in the hospital. A curious hot doc. Damon and Stefan have one of their bro-bonding-fights and realize they're actually a team again after all.

Ian Somerhalder actually smolders, snarks and whines his way through every second of this episode, selling the character of Damon with impressive 100% commitment. He knows his part inside and out. Raging at Stefan (whom he stakes like three times), whining at the witches, flirting with Alaric (he can't seem to help it), and pining for Elena, he nails it all. So when he sends Jeremy away to distant relatives for his own safety, you almost understand. But it was Elena's idea, and she should really know better. She shoos Jer away every time he starts to get interesting. I think it's just that she can't bear to lose one more piece of her devastated family.

Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at

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