This review contains spoilers.
3.11 Our Town
It was always going to be a huge job for the writers on Vampire Diaries tackling the aftermath of last week’s kiss. Knowing how anticipated the final moments of the episode were by fans, the show did its best to tease out the outcome for Elena and Damon, and a repeat performance comes this week with almost the entire hour devoid of any human/vamp sexual angst. No, things are never that predictable on the show, and it quickly turns into another stunning instalment in the Stefan vs Klaus saga.
Caroline, who was missing in action last week to make room for Jeremy and Alaric’s stories, takes centre stage for the b-story on her 18th birthday, which isn’t as much a cause for celebration as the gang originally think. The usually perky blonde isn’t that excited about turning ‘fake’ 18, and Elena, Bonnie and a returning Matt take her for a symbolic funeral instead. Morbid? Yes, but also an unexpectedly sweet sequence for a group of friends who we rarely get to see having any fun.
Unexpectedly, Jeremy’s still hanging around Mystic Falls, so my predictions for a swift and graceful exit have been dashed. The littlest Gilbert doesn’t feature in any of the main storylines this week, but his presence does give Bonnie something fresh to complain about. My patience is growing thin with the character, and this isn’t made any better by the continuing inconsistency with her powers. One week she’s raising the dead, the next she’s having trouble lighting some birthday candles. Sheesh.
On the flip side, it’s nice to see Caroline after the long mid-season break. She’s increasingly becoming my favourite character on the show, often joining Matt and Alaric when a little light relief from the central triangle is needed. As usual, she goes through the ringer during this episode, and her troubled affair with hybrid Tyler finally comes to bite the good guys in the ass. Some may say it’s about time, and might prompt the characters to spend a little more time on the task at hand. Matt gets several heroic moments throughout, whether they be physical or emotional, and it’s actually nice to have him around.
But the best scenes of the episode belong to Stefan and Klaus’ boiling rivalry. When the pair are on screen, and specific praise has to go to Paul Wesley and Joseph Morgan, you realise the one ingredient that was missing from the show all along. Sure, we had some animosity between Stefan and Damon, but that was simply sibling rivalry gone supernatural; Klaus is a real villain for the heroes to tackle, and the actors seem to be relishing every moment. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: please, please, please let Stefan remain a little evil.
And it looks as though he’s finally crossed over the point of no return with Elena. By threatening to drive her off the bridge on which her parents died, the audience is really told how far the once benevolent puppy-dog is willing to go. It’s a very interesting way to go for Stefan and Damon to essentially switch places in Elena’s life, and it’s something you’re aware couldn’t have been achieved in a film or even the book series. The visual signifiers and homage to past episodes are everywhere should you try to find them, and it shows that the people behind VD are looking after their loyal fans.
Even though a lot happens in episode eleven, this week was essentially a tool for setting up future developments. I wonder where the writers are trying to take Caroline’s character for example, as the former cheerleader did a lot of growing up this week. Will she develop a partnership with Klaus? Where does she now stand with Tyler? The real triumph of the show is that we care about this supporting character, and I, for one, can’t wait to see the twists and turns she’s led down in the future.
Another great week of an increasingly strong season.
Read our review of the last episode, here.