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Review #3092: The Vampire Diaries 3.7: “Ghost World”

Posted on the 28 October 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

We have arrived at the time of year for the ubiquitous Halloween-themed episodes, so it’s no surprise that “The Vampire Diaries” follows suit. These themed episodes tend to fall into one of two main categories: 1) costume parties gone awry, or 2) spirits of the dead coming back to life for one eventual night. Success or failure of such episodes, therefore, relies heavily on how well these ideas are integrated into the larger storylines. (Well, setting aside the fan service opportunities afforded by the first option.)

Review #3092: The Vampire Diaries 3.7: “Ghost World”

The writers for “The Vampire Diaries” utilize some perfect timing by having Bonnie’s resurrection spell from the second season finale do more than just bring Jeremy back to life with the ability to see dead people. Instead, the door between life and death has been thrown wide open, and that allows the dead to influence and act in the real world. It takes Bonnie and Rebekah’s old necklace to close the door, but in the meantime, several plot threads are well and truly served.

Damon gets tortured a few times by a returned Mason, who apparently has some answers to provide regarding the whole mess with Klaus, Mikael, and so forth. First, however, this is the entry point for the story, since Damon survives and has a bit to say to everyone about how the dead are coming back with fun new hobbies. Eventually, however, with Alaric’s help, we discover that there is a set of cave drawings that would appear to tie into the larger arc for the season.

As important as that element is to the overall story, it barely scratches the surface for the episode itself. The key drama comes from Anna’s ability to interact with Jeremy, and the fact that he really doesn’t mind very much (understandably). With things already difficult with Bonnie, this doesn’t help. It also doesn’t help when it’s eventually discovered that the only solution is to shut the door between worlds, which also means putting Anna back where she belongs.

This normally wouldn’t be much of a problem, given that many of the spirits are serving a purpose. Mason is helping Damon find clues about the scope of the current threat, Anna is helping Jeremy come to terms with his restored life, etc. Naturally, there must be a downside, so the spirits of the vampires killed at the end of the first season come back, looking for vengeance on the town council.

Bonnie’s grandmother is around, so the scope, nature, and solution to the threat all come out in short order (along with some confidence-building for Bonnie). Just one problem: they can’t find the necklace they need to destroy to slam the door shut, and Elena wants them to wait as long as possible so a returned Lexi, who is ready to help Elena break Stefan from his “ripper” compulsion. What seems like an all-too-convenient plot device instead becomes another reinforcing moment, proving to Elena that the only viable solution is taking down Klaus.

In the end, Anna reveals that she has the necklace, the threat from the evil spirits is ended, and there is the obligatory bittersweet montage of all the helpful spirits disappearing. (There’s even a very nice coda for Anna’s character, as she is finally reunited with her mother.) That’s not before Caroline gets to do her own vampy version of Buffy to protect her mother, and Jeremy gets to do his best Gaius Baltar impression.

This effectively closes out the introductory phase of the season arc, as the ghost visitations are more or less resolved, and the scope of the Originals arc is coming into focus. As usual, the pacing for this show is about as quick and relentless as anyone could ever desire, and this episode keeps up the tension in all the right ways.

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

Final Rating: 8/10

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