The Vampire Diaries – Episode 3-19 Review – “Heart of Darkness”

This was another fun episode that continued to mix up some of the interactions we’re used to seeing.  For example, Alaric typically shares almost all of his scenes with either Elena or Damon.  This episode, he was kept completely separate from them and interacted primarily with Stefan.  Even rarer, he mixed it up with Klaus and Rebekah.  And while Elena, Jeremy, and Damon isn’t anything new, it is something we haven’t seen in a while.  And I particularly enjoyed the way Jeremy picked and chose which of Rose’s messages to share with Damon and Elena.

 

I actually really liked Jeremy’s stance throughout the episode.  I’ve enjoyed the role reversal between Damon and Stefan, but as each begins to ease back into their more familiar roles, it was nice to see somebody side with Stefan.  Elena has remained loyal to Stefan in her own way, but characters such as Alaric, Bonnie, and Caroline have seemed to grow closer to Damon as Stefan drifted from the group.  Jeremy, meanwhile, has legit reason to be hostile towards Damon (he’s killed him, afterall).  And, if memory serves, he wasn’t really at the receiving end of Stefan’s madness.  So I sorta liked it when Rose told Jeremy to tell Elena and Damon that she’s rooting for them, only for Jeremy to pause awkwardly and instead say that she sends her regards.

 

Nonetheless, I did enjoy Rose’s dissection of the difference between Elena’s relationships with Damon and Stefan.  Stefan’s love is pure and safe, and perhaps “right,” but Damon forces her out of her comfort zone.  As Rose said, Damon is either the best or worst thing for her.  And, again, I thought it was sweet how Jeremy was trying to protect her, and needed to be gently told why he should allow them to explore their feelings.

 

I also thought the scenes with Elena and Damon were well handled.  Both characters responded to the situation with the right amount of trepidation.  Both were reluctant – Elena because she worried that she might be betraying Stefan and Damon because he didn’t want to get his hopes up.  And Elena asked the right questions, namely, why he tries so hard to not be good.  And I liked Damon’s honest answer – because he doesn’t want people to expect him to do good things.  However, while I enjoyed his vulnerability, I sorta wish more focus was put on the fact that it wasn’t a very admirable answer.  Generally speaking, good people don’t prevent themselves from doing good things because people would expect goodness from them.

 

The big moment was when Elena finally succumbed to her temptations and went after Damon.  Again, I thought this was well handled.  My favorite part, though?  That they didn’t have sex.  I feel like so many of these teen soap operas culminate in the sex scene far too quickly (I’m looking at you, 90210!)  I’m not so naïve that I don’t think that there are a bunch of teenagers (or 200 year olds) who jump into the sack the second they kiss, but I do think it’s a little unrealistic.  On top of that, from a storytelling perspective, it deprives the audience from looking forward to another “big” moment.  So I’m glad Jeremy interrupted the moment so that they couldn’t get to that point.

 

Over at the “home” front, I was a bit surprised they had Stefan reveal the lineage destruction issue with Klaus so quickly and readily.  What was the benefit?  I would guess to show that there’s no longer an interest in killing Klaus, but that’s still some important information to just give away.  And when you consider Klaus’ tumultuous relationship with his siblings, as well as his general uncaring nature, why isn’t it a bit dangerous for him to know that that he can eliminate all of them just by staking somebody he readily has access to?  However, I really did like the twist at the end, where we learn that Esther possessed Rebekah’s body and is continuing her plot to eliminate the originals.

 

If there was one thing from the episode that I found very contrived, though, it was the conflict between Caroline and Tyler.  I recognize the need to create a little tension between them, since they’re already at odds over the “if we kill Klaus, Tyler dies” issue, but this felt way too forced.  While Tyler may not know the extent, he should be well aware of the fact that Caroline has – on more than one occasion – attempted to kill Klaus (or, at the very least, taken part in missions that would result in Klaus’ death).  Surely if she was harboring feelings towards him, she wouldn’t have done that.  And when she revealed the lineage issue to Tyler, her concern wasn’t for Klaus’ well being, it was about Tyler.  Tyler finding a drawing that Klaus made of Caroline seemed like a really flimsy plot device to create an issue between them.  Why not just use the fact that Caroline hasn’t stopped the rest of the crew from plotting to kill Klaus, which in turn would kill Tyler?  Sometimes the easiest explanation is the best one.

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