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Review #3066: The Vampire Diaries 3.5: “The Reckoning”

Posted on the 17 October 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Every so often, the writers of “The Vampire Diaries” like to remind us, in a major way, that the story involves high school students. For example, the inclusion of “Senior Prank Night”. The show has gotten intense enough that things like this seem a little out of place. Having been reminded of “Buffy” lately, the darker, more serious approach to similar material makes the high school antics seem a bit out of place. And given the age of the cast, a college atmosphere might seem more appropriate.

Review #3066: The Vampire Diaries 3.5: “The Reckoning”

Whatever the case, Klaus comes to Mystic Falls to force a resolution to the whole “doppelganger” thing, and the results are not pretty. It puts Stefan in a bit of a bind, to say the least. But everyone is put on the clock this time around, since Klaus decides to resolve the whole “hybrid” problem by infecting Tyler with his blood and tasking Bonnie to save her friend’s life. With Bonnie on the outs with the spirit world, that leaves Jeremy as the most viable link.

Jeremy, as it turns out, is working with Katherine and Damon. Well, “working with them” is a bit of a misnomer, since Katherine figures that Jeremy’s connection to Anna will help them glean the solution to the problem of killing Klaus. A bit of faceplanting later, and the truth is revealed: there is a vampire-hunting-vampire that can take down Klaus. (At which point, a surprise appearance by James Marsters as Spike would not have been unwelcome.)

I thought this might be the episode where Stefan and Elena reconcile, so I was happy to see that things did not go so predictably. (I ought to know better by now.) Sure, things aren’t going well between Stefan and Rebecca, but Klaus’ compulsion trick provides the extra push. So Elena becomes a bit of a victim instead, with her blood being used to facilitate the creation of the first successful hybrid.

That was a nice touch, especially the fact that Bonnie didn’t learn that information from Jeremy/Anna, but rather, Matt/Vicki. Matt’s suicide attempt was chilling, especially with Vicki trying to stop him. If the Matt/Vicki connection holds, as I think it will, it actually gives Matt something to do as Jeremy’s equal but opposite, with Jeremy/Anna trying to destroy Klaus and stop his plans, and Matt/Vicki effectively helping Klaus.

This doesn’t bode well for Elena, however. Stefan is sticking around, but only to play proxy for Klaus, who will inevitably need more of her blood. On the other hand, this is a good thing, since Elena/Damon fans are getting something much closer to their preference. Tyler/Caroline fans can also be happy, because Tyler’s hybrid status helps to bridge that vampire/werewolf divide.

Somewhat inevitably, all the main characters now have some connection to a supernatural curse or ability that draws them into the larger story arcs. That’s good on one level, since it avoids some of the aimlessness that has held “True Blood” back for the last couple seasons. On the other hand, the writers are coming dangerously close to losing any semblance of an audience viewpoint character. Granted, on a show like “The Vampire Diaries”, that’s less of an issue, but even “Buffy” had Xander remain human for its entire run for a reason.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 2/4

Final Rating: 8/10

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