It feels like only a couple of episodes ago I was remarking that The Vampire Diaries resorted to flashback in order to tell their stories a few too many times. Yet, I have to admit, I really enjoyed this episode (although I was initially skeptical). In fact, it may have been the best flashback episode yet.
So, why was I skeptical? Well, when we saw Alaric going through the cave and realizing that the symbols represented everything they had dealt with, conceivably tying it all together, I couldn’t help but have bad Heroes flashbacks of my own. When the writing of Heroes really started falling apart, they seemed to discover something from their past that seemed to conveniently rewrite their own mythology. On a fairly consistent basis. Thankfully, The Vampire Diaries hasn’t experienced the same writing struggles, so this episode avoided that fate.
Truth be told, I really liked the flashbacks because they provided a clear cut explanation about the origins of vampires (something I don’t think they did last season) and they managed to do it in a very personal manner. The original witch wasn’t just an ordinary person – it was the mother of Klaus, Rebekah, and Elijah. And Mikael isn’t some vampiric vampire hunter – he’s their father. And vampirism in itself wasn’t some diabolical affront against God – it was a parent’s desperate attempt to keep his children and family alive. Until the reveal at the end, I wondered if they were going to realign the season’s story arc because Klaus was coming across as so sympathetic. I thought they were perhaps going to have all of them band together to take on Mikael. In the final moments, however, we learned that Klaus was actually the one who killed his mother, and that he had been psychologically keeping Rebekah and Elijah hostage for thousands of years. It was a really well told story, and for the first time I cared about these new characters as something more than just antagonists.
I often applaud this show for giving us odd or different pairings, but if there’s one twosome that’s always a homerun it’s Stefan and Damon. These two characters just bring out the best in each other, and this was really the first time we saw “bad” Stefan with “good” Damon, in a non-adversarial capacity. And it worked really, really well. When Damon told Stefan that he likes the edge, Stefan just needs to learn to stop falling off of it, I sensed that he wasn’t just “playing” his brother – I really think Damon would be in a state of bliss if Stefan was just like him. Yes, he wants Stefan to go back to his Boy Scout ways because he wants what’s best for him and for Elena, but I really do believe that Damon would be perfectly happy if Stefan was a dick who showed some restraint.
And I really did enjoy the fact that Damon’s life being in danger was what (kinda sorta) made Stefan come to his senses. While it was meant to sound somewhat tragic, I actually found it sweet when Elena remarked (possibly correctly) that Stefan’s love for Damon will be what saves him, not his love for Elena.
This was really a two story episode, so there’s not much else to say about the episode. Which is odd, because so much happened and I really did like it. Oh, I still hope that Katherine isn’t dead!
Anyway, next week is the show’s mid-season finale and it looks pretty thrilling. See you then!