The Vampire Diaries season 3 episode 4 review: Disturbing Behavior

Major pacing problems appear to be derailing The Vampire Diaries slightly. Here's Caroline's take on Disturbing Behavior...

This review contains spoilers.

3.4 Disturbing BehaviorI’ve been complaining quite a bit about the slow-moving pace of this season of The Vampire Diaries, and Disturbing Behavior hasn’t quelled any concern in that department. Less happens here than in any episode of recent memory, the events of the past two instalments simply considered rather than acted upon in any significant way. The episode barely moves, with characters stuck in the same locations for much of the hour, directly in contrast to the 1920s-set exposition of last week.

We start off in the Gilbert kitchen, where Elena and Damon are busy making chilli and giggling. Rick, who’s still living under two teenagers’ roof for some reason, isn’t so keen to play happy families, and if looks could kill then undead Damon would be in for some downtime. It’s now clear to everyone else what’s been blindingly obvious to viewers for two years; Elena isn’t fussed which Salvatore brother she’s with, as long as they both adore her.

The only person being proactive this week is someone who’s before been completely absent. Katherine manages to track down Stefan, trick Bonnie into giving her the all-important locket, and tempt Damon onto a road trip of some description, all within the hour: that’s some feat for a character I last week declared obsolete. Which brings me nicely onto the new girl in town, the sadly lacking Rebecca and her ‘supernatural’ instincts. So far she’s coming off as nothing more than a needy girlfriend with control issues, but I’m still willing to give her a chance.

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Bonnie’s back in town, fresh from Honey 2 duties for Kat Graham. She doesn’t get up to much here, what with Jeremy sucking up all the interesting screen time. He’s still seeing dead girlfriends, which proves a little awkward when trying to get some alone time with his current beau. There’s no clues yet on what the underlying mystery of this storyline could be, but it’s one of the more intriguing things going on at the moment. I wish they’d get Matt back in the fold though, as Mr. Ordinary has suddenly disappeared again.

The most troubling storyline from last week, in which Caroline’s father attempted to condition the vampire instincts out of her, is again the more complicated thread of the episode. Interestingly, the show has made a firm point about his sexuality being in parallel to the otherness of the ‘supernaturals’ of the town. It’s a technique that True Blood has used countless times, even in the opening credit’s declaration of ‘God hates fangs,’ but here it sticks out like a sore thumb. No one can kill a metaphor like Damon, and his dialogue does its best to make the point blindingly obvious.

And after everything, dear old dad’s departure seems a little to neat and tidy. While Caroline seems quite ready to forgive him, and actually saves him from an attack, he leaves town with nothing more than a thank you and a concerned look. Hopefully he’ll be back again in the future, as it’s one of the more complex and interesting things The Vampire Diaries has attempted to tackle in its lifetime. There’s also the little fact that the guy is immune to compulsion, something that could come in handy with all the extra vamps running around.

Next week should be more interesting now that Stefan’s made a return and Rick’s taking some initiative with the council. Overall, things are moving a little bit slower than usual, but let’s hope it’s just an attempt at a more considered build-up to something truly epic in the future. They’ve tried fast and condensed, so maybe a season-long arc could prove more satisfying in the long run.

Read our review of episode three, The End Of The Affair, here.

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