The Vampire Diaries season 5 episode 10 review: 50 Shades Of Grayson

It's the mid-season finale of The Vampire Diaries, and things are hanging in the balance for a popular character...

This review contains spoilers.

5.10 50 Shades Of Grayson

They can’t do that, can they? They can’t kill off the only engaging character left on The Vampire Diaries just before we all go off on our Christmas holidays. But alas, it looks as if, by the time we return in January, Katherine will be on her way off this mortal coil – she’s not dead yet, but she isn’t looking too healthy at the bottom of that staircase. There are several reasons why this would be a monumentally bad idea for a show that has only just recently lost three of its best (and most popular) characters to a spin-off – could the showrunners not afford to pay Nina Dobrev time and a half anymore?

Then again, while there’s certainly a legitimate fear that we might be watching a show without Katherine Pierce come 2014, I’m not sure they would have introduced a traveller get-out-clause if they weren’t intending to use it. Might we get Katherine residing in someone else’s body? Maybe Elena’s? There might be a few fans left who would be upset to lose their protagonist but, for me, I’d much rather see Katherine as the primary Petrova doppelganger. The show hasn’t known what to do with Elena for a while so, unless something interesting has been brainstormed in the writers room lately, I’d be on board.

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But, with all of that keeping us on tenterhooks over the Christmas break, it’d be easy to forget that Katherine’s storyline is just a tiny part of what’s going on in The Vampire Diaries right now. We’re in full Buffy season four mode now, with Dr. Maxfield holding Elena just long enough to tell her all about his master plan. We already knew that the Augustine vampires were being conditioned to crave other vampire’s blood, but we also discover that Elena’s father, Grayson Gilbert, had been instrumental in the experiments – even saving roommate Megan’s life when she was younger.

The Gilberts certainly have a lot of skeletons in their closet, don’t they? Elena’s sunny picture of her adoptive parents being somehow superior to her real ones is rapidly crumbling away but – correct me if I’m wrong – didn’t we already know that her father was a ruthless vampire hunter? This might be a more creative way for him to have been killing the undead, but at least he was doing it to help people. I reckon Elena was pretty justified in excusing his actions, and Damon’s indignation was just a cheap excuse for a quick breakup. I’m not even upset about this anymore, because I knew they couldn’t stay together for more than half a season.

In general, this wasn’t the greatest mid-season finale ever and, aside from the amazing idea of Katherine hiring Matt as her personal trainer (I guess he needs the money) there was a lot to dislike. Last week I was looking forward to Enzo as a potential new villain, for example, but he was neither appropriately crazy nor particularly intelligent in this episode. Fed and released by Maxfield to go after Damon, I don’t understand why he didn’t just bypass that relatively minor vengeance mission and go straight for his captor’s throat. I get that he’d father chow down on fellow vampires, but surely that doesn’t cloud his logic to that extent.

There seems to be a growing problem with this show where the writers are mistaken about what interests their audience. Do we really care about the love triangle anymore? With the inevitability of a breakup for whichever bloke she chooses, there’s absolutely no satisfaction in seeing her get together with either Stefan or Damon anymore. Elena, in general, isn’t very interesting anymore. If they kill Katherine, then there won’t be much to enjoy from week to week and, with Caroline, Jeremy and Matt also languishing without much to do, the first half of season five has been another frustrating run.

Let’s hope the ode to Katherine’s villainy when we return injects some excitement back into the show  – so long as the episode doesn’t end with her death. Have a good Christmas!

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Cell, here.

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