The Vampire Diaries season 3 episode 8 review: Ordinary People

Is The Vampire Diaries running on fumes a little? Here's Caroline's review of the latest episode, Ordinary People...

This review contains spoilers.

3.8 Ordinary People

Picking up from where we left off last week, Ordinary People is all about the originals and the secrets revealed by the discovered cave etchings. But, the various revelations that the scribblings bring raise even more questions for Elena and her gang, and she decides  that the time has come to interrogate Rebecca. Meanwhile, Damon goes off-book with the Stefan intervention and takes him on a bender, but we just know there has to be a catch somewhere.

The ‘Lockwood diaries’ is an idea stolen from many other mythology-rich genre shows like Smallville, but it doesn’t look like it’ll outstay it’s welcome. In Smallville, for example, it took the hero several years to figure out what the different drawings in the native American caves meant, but here we see Elena take charge almost straight away. It’s just another example of Vampire Diaries taking other shows’ bad ideas and executing them more efficiently.

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Speaking of which, the episode is essentially a flashback exposition tale, filling out the backstory of not just Rebecca and her family, but the age old rivalry between vampires and werewolves. By going this far back they’re able to tackle everything at once, hopefully ensuring that things can go a little bit faster from now on. Despite the odd narrative surge, I maintain that this is the slowest run of episodes the show has ever put out, and a flashback story like this just emphasises how little is happening at the moment.

Although you learn a lot by the end of the episode, it’s always been a distinct trait for the show to combine exciting action, engaging romance and seamless exposition. At the moment, the exposition is coming through, and everything else seems like an afterthought. Although that’s a criticism of the episode as an hour of entertainment, it’s certainly not one for the direction the show looks to be heading in.

For Rebecca is finally living up to her potential, inhabiting the show’s strange deviation between camp, comedy and horror with effortless charm and subtle vulnerability. With her line-up of homecoming dresses doubling for a lunch buffet and a bizarre love of cheerleading, she’s an intriguing prospect for both the tone of the show, and the way the overarching plot might eventually pan out. This is her hour to shine, and Claire Holt easily outshine’s Nina Dobrev’s drama-school looks of ’surprise’ and ‘intrigue’ when delivering her story.

But, after my complaint about missing cast members last week, this is probably the worst offender so far. Jeremy had a big part to play last week, and they seem to like storing Matt away until he’s really needed, but there’s still been no follow up to Tyler’s hybrid status. It really seems like a bit of an oversight when considering the characters‘ motivations, as they all seem to be paying more attention to Stefan’s unstable mental state than Klaus’ dastardly master plan.

With all that serious chat going on, however, the return of Damon and Stefan’s sibling relationship is a welcome break from things. Even though Damon clearly has an agenda, we, like Stefan, are happy to go along with proceedings just for the laugh. As you’d expect, the pair go for it with traditional gusto, dancing on the bar and drinking from random victims around the bar. The result is a much more cooperative accomplice, done without reducing Stefan back to his puppy-dog status.

We end with some charged pillow talk between Elena and Damon. I was beginning to think the show had forgotten their promise to ‘Delena’ fans, but things in that department also seem to be moving forward. At the moment, it seems like the show promises more and more every week, but never quite delivers on time. It might make for an explosive finale, but the waiting in the meantime is becoming a little less fun week-by-week.Read our review of the last episode, here.

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