This review contains spoilers.
3.15 All My Children
This week’s The Vampire Diaries marks the last before the annual spring break, and it’s incredibly light on plot for such an episode. Light on plot is not an issue the show is often afflicted by, but with Elena passively stuck in a cave for much of the running time, Stefan and Damon fighting over who the object of their pining hates more, and Caroline wisely trying to bat away Klaus’ advances, not a lot has changed by the time we’re finished.
That’s not to say that it isn’t ten times more entertaining than your average supernatural teen drama (a strangely overpopulated television sub-type), but The Vampire Diaries only has to take the slightest dip in quality for it to feel underwhelming in comparison to the previous week. As said, Elena becomes overwhelmingly inactive during the episode, preferring to trade insults with rival Rebekah instead of saving herself. It thus falls to the men in her life to do just that, with a slightly bizarre coin toss that decides which one will piss her off.
The main thing wrong with All My Children is the sheer amount of Bonnie on screen. Regular readers of these recaps will already know my feelings on the whiniest witch in the land, but I’ll reiterate it here. Most event episodes seem to put Elena’s bestie front and centre and then offer her more reason to hate the rest of the group – whining about it at a later date. At points, she dangerously approaches Mary Sue status, but never actually drives the story forward on a weekly basis.
The self-centred attitude, rightly or wrongly felt, seems to have bled into Elena’s character also. This week, absolutely everything, including other people’s sex lives, is about her. It’s not clear if the intention is for the audience to gradually side against the series’ protagonist, and sympathise instead with Damon and the original family members, but more motivation is given for these characters’ less attractive actions than for the girl we’ve known the longest.
Chief among these unattractive deeds is her reaction to Damon and Rebekah’s hook-up teased at the end of last week. Like Caroline and Klaus, these unorthodox pairings are a way to humanise the supposedly villainous characters. This way, more peril is lent to the prospect of all of the siblings possibly dying together at the end of the season, or possibly even earlier. How will audiences react to losing so many beloved characters all at once? I’m inclined to take Elena side on this one, and insist on finding a loophole for the sake of Elijah et al.
Even though not much actually changes during the episode, the consequences of its final moments have the potential to change everything. A show like The Vampire Diaries has a list of cannon fodder longer than most, and series regulars are never completely safe. Will Alaric live to fight another day? Let’s hope so, as we need to hold on to as many human characters as they can. We can’t just be left with Matt, after all. Then there’s the magic tree, but the less said about that plot point, the better.