Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Vampire Diaries 3.1 Review

You have been cordially invited to Elena Gilbert’s eighteenth birthday party in the season three premiere of the CW’s supernatural drama, The Vampire Diaries. Continuing in the show’s grand tradition of, no really how the hell did they pass enough classes to even be seniors this year when every time they’re not in mortal peril they’re having a party, Caroline is planning a huge blow-out of a raging kegger for Elena’s big milestone day. But Elena’s too busy passing possible Stefan whereabouts leads on to Damon for investigation. To her, he’s just disappeared without a trace following the events of last season’s finale where Stefan gave up his life in Mystic Falls to be Klaus’ ripper wing-man in exchange for what was necessary to save Damon’s life from a deadly werewolf bite.

So while Elena is having a miserable summer of unanswered questions and junior detective work to track him, Stefan is on the road with Klaus leaving quite the bloody trail in their wake. It turns out that Klaus has a nefarious plan (well duh he’s the Big Bad after all), and he’s attempting to put it into motion all while plunging Stefan further and further down into his old murderous ways. All for a bit of a laugh really—it’s clear that Klaus is getting such enjoyment out of things like Stefan literally ripping the head off of a frightened victim whose only crime was having known a werewolf.

As the whole ripper Stefan story continues, I wonder how the TVD fandom will take it. It’s been made clear over and over in the press that this Stefan is here to stay for a while and it’s going to get so much worse before it gets any better. It’s sort of this show’s take on the classic Angelus storyline from season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer except in this instance there’s no price of true happiness  curse to blame—he considers it paying a debt to Klaus for helping to save his brother, but it’s still his choice to be by Klaus’ side killing and torturing people. And oh, does the show let him go to Jenny Calender-esque heights at least in the big ‘he’s so far gone now’ act, as he compels Andie Star, Damon’s reporter girlfriend, to fall to her death right in front of Damon.  In this instance, doing something that terrible was the best way for Stefan to show Damon that it’s dangerous to be anywhere near him and he should stop trying to find him. Especially knowing that Elena would likely tag-along the instant she found out that Damon knew where his brother was. He doesn't want her to see him like this.

 Yet, the big phone-call Stefan makes to Elena at the end of the episode is just asking for so much trouble. He may not have said a word to her over the line, but even just confirming that he was alive is going to make our feisty heroine continue her hunt. Thought it’s plain to see that with Klaus’ constant influence, the Stefan she knows isn’t going to be who she finds.

One thing is for certain though for at least part of the fandom, of which I count myself a proud member, the Klefan (Klaus/Stefan) chemistry is off the charts. Paul Wesley and Joseph Morgan both bring a smoldering dark allure to their roles and it’s clear that in the future, Stefan is going to clash against Klaus and the fangs will come out as they say.

I think special mention should go out to Joseph Morgan for his performance in this episode. Following the brief portrayal of Klaus by Matt Davis (the man who plays Alaric who had a bit more of his fun bromance in this ep with Damon upon the discovery of Stefan’s latest crime scene), before his body was ready aka before they found the right guy in Morgan—some people doubted Joseph’s capability to be the Klaus they saw in their minds. Well judging solely from the Klaus scenes in this episode I think those people can shut up. He gave Klaus a reckless swagger and elegant arrogance from the first scene where he got to bust out a gee golly shucks American accent to his casual torture scene of werewolf Ray Sutton that took place in broad daylight in a bar packed with compelled patrons. Morgan has a little bit of what Zachary Quinto brought to Heroes in that, he plays a serial killing creature who could get just about anyone’s guard down with his good looks and charm before they realized it was far too late. Plus, it only makes sense that on this show the bad guy be as ‘pretty’ as the good guys.

Back to the party, how great was it that TVD didn’t mess around long with just letting Caroline and Tyler happen? This show is known for going through seasons of plot in just a handful of episodes and it was a smart choice to buck the trend of ‘will they/won’t they?’ by just letting the young vamp and wolf get it on. Trevino and Accola absolutely sizzled on-screen and I loved that during their big scene, Caroline was as forceful and grr as Tyler. When she threw him on the bed it was quite the nod to how empowered she’s become in this new chapter of her life and I fear for her life so hard following the gasp-inducing last scene of the episode. Mrs. Lockwood you’re such a bitch and I swear you’ll deeply regret messing with Caroline—she’s got very loyal friends in addition to your son who won’t rest until they find her.

Oh and Jeremy is still seeing the ghosts of dead girlfriend’s long since passed. Which so far has been very okay, are they going to hurt him or do they need his help? Matt is still alive by the episode’s end as well. He’s getting a chance from me at being useful but frankly I don’t think he’s going to live up to my expectations that he find a way to not suck the life out of whatever scene he’s in. Bonnie is apparently off on vacation for the premiere, so there wasn’t any witchy fun to be had. I guess they wanted to save that for the premiere of The Secret Circle following this episode. 

Anyway, I’m looking forward to another fantastic year from one of the best-written shows on television. It’s way too easy to scoff at this and call it a CW teen vampire show if you don’t watch or only watched part of the first season. It’s one of the best in the genre and they can spin a plot like none other so I’m excited to see all of the drama that’s going to unfold this season.

1 comment:

  1. I'm always pleasantly surprised and impressed by the quality of the writing of this show. I'm glad to see it's still entertaining. The premier episode didn't have even a single dull moment.