Elena’s celebrating her 18th birthday, but she and Damon are focused on looking for clues to help discover where Stefan went. Klaus and Stefan follow the trail of a werewolf, and Jeremy can’t understand why he keeps seeing the ghosts of Vicki and Anna. Caroline and Tyler face an unexpected challenge.
In season one of The Vampire Diaries, we met Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen), siblings in high school whose parents had just died. Over the course of the season, we learn that Elena’s parents were actually Isobel and John Gilbert, a vampire and a vampire hunter who gave up Elena to protect her as a child.
In fact, a group of vampires have been imprisoned in a crypt under the town since the Civil War, and when they escape, they threaten the Signature Series of Town Celebrations that in this first season includes: a comet-watching party; the Founder’s dance; 1950’s high school dance; Miss Mystic Falls; and Founder’s Day itself.
And Then Things Got Weird… Season Two
In season two, Elena’s ancestor and doppelganger Katherine (also Nina Dobrev) has returned to town, on a mission of self-protection and intimidation. She throws the Salvatore brothers (whom she made vampires in 1864) into turmoil, and proves herself to be as selfish and manipulative as Elena is brave and generous.
Attempts to break the curse with various talismans keep the season frenetic, until we learn that Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Klaus (Joseph Morgan), two of the oldest vampires, have Katherine, as well as several other vampires and wolves acting as their agents out of mortal fear. The Curse is ultimately revealed as a ruse designed to further Klaus’s true goal, which was to become a hybrid of werewolf and vampire, possessing all the powers of both.
And Now… Season Three Begins
God, I hate Klaus. That guy is such a complete tool. He also wields a ridiculous amount of plot and story-moving potential, given that he has so little charisma and just doesn’t stack up to the rest of the male cast. I mean, this is a show with two soap stars in Stefan and Matt, the grandson of Steve motherfucking McQueen as Jeremy, and Ian Somerhalder as Damon, who I’m pretty sure can be found in the dictionary under “pretty boy.” Then there’s also Alaric (Matthew Davis), who’s Elena’s handsome badass academic (Indiana Jones-lite) uncle. And Tyler, latest scion of the jock werewolf side of town.
There’s no way Klaus, who is basically the missing love child of David Bowie and Mick Jagger (and I don’t mean he can sing), stacks up to any of the other dudes who give this show it’s Fabio-ness. And yet he’s turned Stefan evil, thinks he killed Elena, murdered her aunt, scared her evil doppelganger/ancestor Katherine into hiding, and has placed his far more charismatic brother Elijah in an underwater coffin with a stake in his chest.
That’s apparently Klaus’ go-to solution for all of the family members who get in his hair, which is yet another annoying mark against him. This guy is supposed to be a badass, but all he does is smirk and get other people to do his bidding (usually with no visible motivation).
Unfortunately, there are no flashbacks this week, which serves as a detriment as those really opened up the show in season one when they began appearing.
Luckily, Somerhalder has the charisma to pull off all these conflicts that Damon experiences, making him seem like an animal straining at a too-short leash in every scene he stalks through (whether clothed – in Johnny Cash black – or not). The rest of the heavy lifting of the acting is left to the ladies, which seems especially unfair this episode, as the body count of downed ladies is at least four, and some of them are permanently finished.
I was worried that this episode would slow down the pace from last season, where you never knew who was going to bite it, who might be saved, whether certain doom was all that certain, and which Season One character might pop up for no reason, not just from episode to episode, but from commercial break to commercial break.
Everyone gets plot advancement this week except her. Though she is TV-land’s reigning Buffy, she’s not so much kick-ass generally (Nina Dobrev gets to flex those muscles playing her evil double, who was out-of-sight and out-of-mind this week) as kind of tricky and a bit too Bella-esque in her pungent influence on the supernatural realms. Elena just is, in a gothic heroine sort of way. And when Bonnie (her resident witch, and instigator of lots of cool FX usually) is MIA as well, it makes for a kind of sludgy start to the season.
Seeing Caroline and Tyler advance in their forbidden love was kind of cool, and Jeremy’s odd visions since being dead were contrasted humorously with a smoking up bro-bonding scene with Matt (especially since one of the haunters is Matt’s dead sister), which was a welcome whiff of testosterone. Ghosts are the under-developed frontier of this show rife with other creatures, so I hope they keep that thread going. Little Mr. McQueen is more than up to being his own gothic hero for awhile. But we need Bonnie back ASAP, and somebody’s got to deal with Klaus in a really, truly brutally painful way; please make it soon.
This is that rare supernatural romance where the two leads are actually much better together than artificially separated.
Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at http://cornekopia.net.