The Vampire Diaries 3.17 "Break On Through"

A tv review article by: Shawn Hill


Back in present day Mystic Falls, Damon reunites with Sage a century after their first meeting. During the kick off ceremony for the restoration of Wickery Bridge, Damon is surprised to discover the reason Sage has returned. Meanwhile, Abby is having trouble coping with her new reality, even with Caroline and Bonnie doing their best to aid her transition.

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

Well, despite glimmers of promising directions, things really don’t look up this episode from last. Apparently Klaus wasn’t the only problem with this season. It wasn’t the greatest week for Damon and his bad attitude, as his general gullibility level (which he pretends so hard he’s overcome, but he really never has) stays high, this time directed at old flame Sage.

He does get a couple of good lines in, as does Sage, who though slightly younger than Rebekah (in vamp terms, by a century), is much wiser. Rebekah talks tough but is predictably needy, as Sage demonstrates with ease. They raise each other’s hackles, and no amount of dirty dancing with Damon is going to soothe that tension. This makes the implied three way, as they take turns being seduced by Damon, pretty freaky. The scene does sort of sell the inhumanity of vampires pretty well, especially as they drink their compelled piano player dry.

The real story is Alaric and the trouble he’s having with blackouts and possible killer rages, and that’s much more interesting. Though an MRI shows no brain anomalies (meaning he’s not been injured by the ring: it’s starting to look much more like a form of possession), there is a truly grim and wild moment where the claustrophobia of the machine (familiar to anyone who’s ever had one done) is exploited in the form of a mirror over Alaric’s face. Meant to be reassuring I suppose, it isn’t so much when the mirror starts having different expressions to your own, and stares you down in evil glee. Yikes!

Meredith presents a pretty good case for Alaric having done the recent spate of killings (including the self-inflicted attempt) aimed at Founders, and when his Mr. Hyde emerges again, he seems to be particularly upset that the Founders collude with the vampires and other demons these days rather than destroy them outright as in the long ago past. The conservative agenda will always be opposed to the witch/vampire/wolf crew gathered around Elena. Elena and Matt even find evidence that Alt-Alaric had plans to reach out to Alt-Jeremy (who also wears a death-proof ring, but is out of town), as if their two alter-egos were already linked by the ring agenda. Or something.

The rest of the episode is taken up by Bonnie, who shows up to “fix” the ring in some way (we don’t see it happen). She’s having problems of her own, as her mom isn’t transitioning to vampire very well (even with Caroline’s words of encouragement), and can’t stop herself from feeding on the young man she raised, which freaks everyone out. Caroline tries hard to argue for the semblance of normalcy she has achieved since Katherine vamped her, but Abby is a runner, and she runs. Bonnie just keeps taking hits, and while I won’t say it’s all for Elena (Bonnie is usually thinking of the greater good), I will say the witches have their own agenda, and may be playing a long-term game we don’t yet fully see. Kat Graham has a strong scene where she bonds with Elena without really denying the mounting cost of their friendship.

I was surprised, for example, by how quickly Bonnie and Abby jumped at the chance to help Esther two episodes ago (one of the things that led Damon to vamp Abby), and I still think there’s something up with those rings that Bonnie either knows or can find out. Damon and Stefan continue to rebuild their alliance, and you can worry all about white oak and stakes and taking down originals if you want, but I’m just waiting to see Tyler and Jeremy back in town again.

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

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