The Vampire Diaries season 3 episode 17 review: Break On Through

The latest episode of The Vampire Diaries deals with the fallout from last week's revelations. Read Caroline's review here...


This review contains spoilers.

3.17 Break On Through

Last week on The Vampire Diaries’ Alaric lovers were given a bit of a shock when we found out it was Elena’s step-father to blame for several deaths around Mystic Falls. The fallout of that revelation is dealt with this week, and some of the new reveals, which will most probably carry over into future episodes, shove the storyline into some unexpected directions. For one, we find out Jeremy might be involved at some point, given that he’s in possession of the other Gilbert ring, and I’m not sure Alaric is completely out of the woods yet, either.

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We begin in a fairly alien place for the show: the hospital. A lot of characters get hurt in VD, but we don’t often see any overt medical attention, so it’s smart to show us a worried Elena getting Rick’s brain checked out before questioning what supernatural forces are messing with his personality. Too often fantasy shows ignore the real-world solutions (as it’s nearly never the right one), but an ‘accidental psycho killer’ living in your house is definitely cause for concern.

The creepy sequence seen from Alaric’s perspective inside the MRI machine is very creepy and the most economical way to tell the audience that he’s not quite right, even as he acts normally for the rest of the episode. Looking in the mirror to find your reflection’s not obeying your movements is a primal human fear, and it’s one of the show’s most effective forays into traditional horror. The rest of the episode consists of Elena trying to find information inside Rick’s apartment, and she makes some interesting discoveries.

The photos she finds and the letters to Jeremy are the most interesting things we can take from the episode, and Jeremy’s brief reappearance at the end signals some sort of imminent return. We’re told that Alaric, providing he eats the herbs Bonnie gives them, will be fine from now on, but we know the actor has a new pilot to film, so the character is most probably on his way out. We’ll certainly miss him, but let’s hope he gets a few more weeks to be evil before that time comes. The creepy smile suits him, and an homicidal stepdad and brother will certainly provide some drama for Elena as the season draws to a close.

The B-plot this week centres on Damon, Rebekah, and a reappearing Sage. Wanting information about how to defeat the originals, and sensing that his old friend can help, Damon throws a three-person party and manipulates his sometimes squeeze into bed once again. Sage has some very useful powers that allow her to read people’s memories (not mentioned before?), and she informs Damon about the regrown white oak tree vital to the original’s plan. There’s a lot of double and triple crossing along the way, but eventually he procures a secreted away remnant from the original tree, giving team Salvatore the upper hand at last.

We’re asked to care about Sage a little too quickly, as her relationship with original brother Finn gives her an interest in the family’s ultimate fate. Seeing as she’s a new character only introduced (in flashback) last week, and I’m having trouble remembering which extra original Finn actually is, this may be one allegiance too many. The writers have wisely made us care about Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah, but with such little time each week, the other two siblings have barely been fleshed out at all. Speaking of which, we’re missing Klaus and Elijah again this week, but I assume they’re being saved for the final weeks.

The remaining minutes are taken up by Bonnie and her family issues. A little while ago, Damon was forced to turn Abby Bennett into a vampire, stripping her of her witchy powers as a result. She’s having a little trouble adjusting, and decides to leave in this week’s final moments. I don’t like Bonnie (have I mentioned that before?), and an extended Bennett family provides little interest. I’m wondering if Abby’s departure is foreshadowing of her daughter’s, as a search for her mother would be an understandable way to write the character out.

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As I’ve said, it’s unclear whether Alaric is truly past the worst, and the ties to Jeremy point to some interesting stuff ahead. The originals plot was nicely progressed in the background this week, and Damon’s discovery provides a nice jumping off point for the next episode.

Read our review of last week’s episode, here.

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