The Vampire Diaries 3.20 "Do Not Go Gentle"

A tv review article by: Shawn Hill

Alaric receives guidance from someone unexpected as he navigates his dangerous new path, while Damon and Meredith try to determine the best course of action. At the school's 1920s Decade Dance, Bonnie invites Jamie, and Caroline convinces Elena to ask Stefan to bring her. Caroline is pleased to see Tyler show up at the dance and try to sweep her off her feet, but Klaus does everything he can to come between them. Things take a dangerous turn at the dance, and Stefan and Damon turn to Jeremy, Matt, and Bonnie to help reverse a spell that threatens everyone.

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

Though he sort of totally does. Alaric, that is. Go gently. This is the last shout out to Uncle Slayer, cursed vampire hunter, whose wife Isobel chose to become a vamp and then got snared in Klaus’ machinations and died. Whose girlfriend Jenna also got vamped, but had an even shorter un-life of a few hours before a werewolf ate her. The rest of his job was teaching history at Mystic Falls High, protecting Elena and Jeremy from evil influence, and representing humans on the Founders Council. Most of which he was usually too drunk to do, while Elena and Jeremy are still consorting with vampires, ghosts and witches, and the town has long been infiltrated by and willing to collaborate with the creatures of the night.

Not a jolly life of successes. So of course when the ring that protects him from undeath keeps being used far too often (because humans don’t fare too well against the violent beasties on this show), it drives him to create an alternate personality, an old-school revenger who has a zero-tolerance policy on the supernatural. Kind of like the dudes on Supernatural, except with less demonic babes to kill and more sneaky manipulators to outfox. Those brothers never had to contend with the infinite number of plot toggle switches that drive this show at its heady pace.

For example, it wasn’t just the ring making him the ultimate slayer, as we initially thought (and a whole episode thought it explained, with flashbacks and everything). It was Esther, the founding hand behind all our witches and vampires, who was whispering to him from her undeath on "the other side" in order to prepare him to pick up where her husband failed, and really slay the vamps for once and for all lineages.

Thing is, to do it with any chance of success, he’ll need to become one himself. Which means a more final than ever before, really final kind of last death. He can channel such power only briefly before burning out. The kind of thing you wish would happen to Esther (and why doesn’t she become a warrior queen, after all, instead of fashioning yet another agent?). She starts the episode possessing her daughter Rebekah, whom she then stasis-stakes to get back in her own body, which she then uses only to cast spells putting all her players into place. Everyone is just puppets on her strings, no matter whether she’s flesh or formless spectral voices in their dreams. She’s a big creep.

Alaric makes one final act of defiance, using the super-stake on Esther herself, rejecting her plans. I’m not sure why she didn’t burst into flames, though, like Mikael did when it happened to him. For that final bravery Ric gets a big lighter-fest send-off at the crypt, which because he’s a dude he acknowledges with a nod and hasty retreat, and then Damon watches him gasp his last breath over drinks. In perhaps the most positive act ever seen from Klaus, he puts his mom back in the coffin where she belongs, while freeing Rebekah from her latest coma, too.

Alas, she’s missed yet another debutante moment, as all of this was interrupting the 1920s Decade Dance of her own devising, which no one was really in the mood for anyway. Bonnie and Jaime bond over their missing mom, as he gets to see the freakiness of her daily world, and she gets to do more bidding for Esther-From-Beyond-the-Grave, which is just the worst kind of unfair for everyone involved.

Also, we still don’t know if Tyler is un-sired from Klaus or not, but with two episodes to go, I bet we’ll find out at the worst possible time. For someone. If anyone’s left when all vampires are killed by killing one of the Originals. Who are now rejoined in their curse? I think. That part’s vague. I was too busy worrying about Alaric’s pitiful doom. Will Klaus finally meet his match? Too early to call.

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

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