The Vampire Diaries season 5 episode 14 review: No Exit

Review Caroline Preece 3 Mar 2014 - 08:55

Caroline wishes The Vampire Diaries would stop being a soap opera and return to its fantasy roots...

This review contains spoilers.

5.14 No Exit

The Vampire Diaries would be a much better show if it started to ignore its main selling point, shunning the endless merry-go-round of Petrova/Salvatore love affairs and actually concentrated on its oft-interesting, thoughtful and unique take on the fantastical. But five years in we should all know that it’s never going to do that and, though we do get a smattering of the latter with story threads like the Augustine vampires etc., it’s like a treasure hunt every week to sift through the love triangles/squares/pentagons before we can actually get anywhere. That makes a formerly fast-paced show feel like a slog to get through, and season five has been the worst by far in this regard.

This week’s return of the show should have rectified this at least briefly, propelling the storyline forward now that Damon has something to do other than pine after Elena, but it actually did the opposite. Remember when we all loved Katherine and wanted her to stay alive for the rest of the show? Well that’s over now. I never thought I’d want Elena back after she was body-hijacked, but right now the two characters are looking equally dreary and predictable, with only the love of a good vampire on their minds and no agency beyond seducing one of them at a time.

This is particularly disappointing because of how interesting every single one of these characters is without their respective love interests. Who are the most compelling (no pun intended) couple to me right now? Stefan and Caroline light up the screen not because they should be an endgame couple to compete with Stelena and Klaroline, but because they have a dynamic that’s not built around guilt, lust and betrayal. It’s a card the show has played too many times, with Katherine even wringing comedy out of the endless “don’t give up on Damon” routine that has been going on since season one but too few knowing jabs at these characters’ penchant for incestuous romantic entanglements.

It’s a major problem that has plagued the show for a couple of years, but the Augustine business we’re dealing with now isn’t much better. Despite the pleasingly gruesome incidents of Damon chomping off his victims’ heads now, it all feels a little too much like Spike’s journey on Buffy, just with all of the redemption and softening of his character already over and done with. Do we care if Damon can learn to resist vampire blood? Not really, because with all-but-three of the cast already undead, we know he will. When you’re repeating yourself and the beloved 90s vampire series you’re inspired by, then that’s a huge issue that any viewers up on their vampire television history is going to notice sooner or later.

There are so many things hanging around on the show just begging to be given more prominence – Jeremy as a hunter in training, Katherine’s redemption, Matt’s Xander-esque human heroism and the fact the gang don’t have a witch to help them out of jams anymore are all interesting things that have been accidently achieved by the convoluted storytelling, but left dangling all the same. Even the body swapping drama going on right now could have been milked for so much more, but has instead been used for another go on the Doppelganger curse merry-go-round and then casually discovered through an unhelpful (though Matt was actually awesome this week) “Help. K.” text message and implausible hunch from Damon.

Somewhere along the way, The Vampire Diaries stopped being a fast-paced, well-written vampire show and became a long-running soap that happened to have mythical creatures in it. That’s not what any of us signed up for but, with the Katherine storyline presumably on its way out now that Stefan and Caroline have figured out the deceit and Nadia has a dreaded werewolf bite to contend with, maybe the next half-arsed arc will be better? Let’s hope so because, since we all know how fantastically entertaining this show can be at its best, there is always a glimmer of hope that it can return to form.

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, Total Eclipse Of The Heart, here.

Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.

Disqus - noscript

This show really started to lose it's way during season 3. For me i only really watch TVD anymore because it used to be one of my favourite shows as you said they focus too much on the soap opera elements and love triangles oh well at least The Originals kind of makes up for it.

season 5 is the worst
season 4 was bad but i loved klaroline scenes
season 3 was ok i loved klaroline and the originals
season 2 ws amazing great storylines and caroline and bonnie were badass

i think that THE SEXAYYY STEFANN SHOULD GET back together with elena but nooo elena has to ruin it all and go F her boyfriends brother like really? elena and stefan belong together and when they kissed in this episode while katherine was in elenas body well at least katherine has her head on straight with stefan like stefan is amazing not damon and why did they have to find about ktherine in elenas body like at least katherine is trying to get back together with stefan the RIGHT CHOICE not damon stefan and elena are dopplegangers they are bonded togtether that the whole world wants them together and thats how it should be not damon TEAM STELENA/STEFAN ALL THE WAY and damon had to ruin everything for STELENA like DAMON SUCKS and i hope stefan and elena get back together for at least a little bit

and if damon and elena get back together i will literally light something on fire!!! but elena and stefan should at least try gettting back together not go back damon lets see all the bad things damon did:
turned her biological mom into a vampire
killed her brother
kidnapped her brother
killed Aaron
and i STG if elena is going to be all like its okay damon i love you i will litteally die becuase if that was stefan she would be like seeya sooo yeah and elena and stefan should at least try to get back together or i will DIE IN SADNESS

agree. I love TVD but I'm starting to get tired of the same plot all over again. But heck, once a fan, always a fan.

Sponsored Links