Entertainment Magazine

Review #3917: The Vampire Diaries 4.10: “After School Special”

Posted on the 21 January 2013 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Brett Matthews
Directed by David Von Ancken

After the gleeful slaughter of the hybrids in the previous episode (set to Christmas carols, naturally), it wasn’t clear where the story was going to go next. Inevitably, there would be bloodletting, as no one is ever safe or comfortable in Mystic Falls. And of course, there’s always the question of how much whining we might get out of Stefan.

Review #3917: The Vampire Diaries 4.10: “After School Special”

The promise of a cure for vampirism is bringing everyone out to play, and Rebekah has been used and abused enough in the recent past (by family and otherwise) to justify, perhaps a bit, her decision to play dirty. But that’s par for the course when it comes to the Originals and everyone caught in their orbit; ever since Klaus came around to make trouble, it’s been a lot more chaotic and unpredictable.

On the other hand, it does come across as a bit half-hearted. If Rebekah really wanted to get her way, setting Tyler on Elena, Caroline, and Stefan was not the most expedient means. Granted, some of the characters are not going to be killed off any time soon, given their central position in the story or their popularity, but given the body count on this show (and the previous episode), it’s strange when semi-villains hold back.

I’m also wondering how, exactly, a vampire could compel a hybrid, especially since Tyler is the one that broke the sire bond with Klaus. Granted, Tyler is a bit vulnerable these days, so his defenses may not be 100%, but it felt like a bit of a storytelling convenience. As was the survival of April and Professor Shane; it was there to make things more difficult for Bonnie, but otherwise, enough characters have cheated death on this show for Rory Williams to be impressed.

Klaus, meanwhile, is conducting himself with the same brutal efficiency that marked the previous episode’s slaughter. Creating new (and rather cute) vampires and sending them to Jeremy, thereby more or less forcing his evolution into a crazed Hunter, is about as straightforward as it gets. It serves to highlight the problem with Rebekah’s approach. For all that she talks a good game, she’s not yet willing to go as far as Klaus. He’s proven, time and again, that he’ll do whatever he deems necessary to achieve his goal.

At this point, I’d love for Stefan to pair up with Rebekah, because his self-pitying attitude is making me wish Elena and Damon would just stab him in the heart in the literal sense. Stefan’s constant refrain of betrayal isn’t remotely convincing, and it makes Damon’s brooding earlier in the series seem like pure nobility in comparison. Stefan isn’t the most likeable character as it is, but this is making him far less sympathetic.

Perhaps it’s just the letdown after the solid fall finale and the winter hiatus, but this felt like a somewhat average return for the series. It didn’t add much to the overall plot that wasn’t already apparent, and Stefan’s moaning alone was enough to take it down a peg. Hopefully the next episode will bring the show back to its usual quality.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 1/4

Final Score: 7/10

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