A close-up of a festering wound doesn’t have quite the same cliffhangery impact as last season’s fall finale did — what with Elena discovering Katherine’s portrait, the car accident, and the vampire in the road — but By the Light of the Moon will always be remembered for Tyler’s unforgettably torturous transformation and (judging by my list of questions below) sets up tons of story to burn through in the second half of the season.
An episode less focused on explaining curses, mythology, and bloodlines, The Sacrifice instead gave us our characters recklessly endangering themselves. Their master plans may err on the stupid and impetuous side, but they reveal just how driven by love our Mystic Falls kids are.
Katherine’s primary motivation, as we learned in Katerina, was self-preservation, over anyone and everything. When Klaus was on her tail, she saw a way out — kill herself and become a vampire. The latest Petrova doppelganger also sees an option that those around her do not: she can surrender, sacrifice herself to save her loved ones from the same fate Katherine’s suffered. Driven by the exact opposite sentiment as Katherine, Elena puts self-preservation last, and she’s not alone; her friends prove just as willing to put their life and limb on the line to save one another.
We’ve had a lot of new actors on TVD these past few weeks but it’s still Nina Dobrev at the heart of the show. Watching her act opposite herself, toss out various accents in scenes that span centuries (she’s Bulgarian, she’s English, she’s an American teen, she’s a croaking partially desiccated vampire!), and bring two very different characters to similar emotional places at the end of the episode — both Katherine and Elena mourn the danger they put their loved ones in — it’s been said before but it bears repeating: someone give this girl a raise, an Emmy, a high five, and a hug. We’re lucky to watch an actress so on top of her game week after week.
Katherine may be a chronic manipulator but it turns out she wasn’t lying last week when she said Elena’s in danger. Getting kidnapped in the Lockwood driveway isn’t such a big deal when it turns out that she’s the key to the whole mysterious curse. Luckily for Elena, she’s one of the only characters on The Vampire Diaries who doesn’t struggle with being alone — she’s got more love and attention than a girl can handle, friends and family who are unfailingly loyal, and more than one handsome vampire who can’t think of a better reason to die than in saving her life.
With jaw-droppingly good episodes week after week, it’s getting harder to think of new ways to express my admiration for this show. There were so many great moments, perfect lines, moving performances (I’m looking at you, Trevino), twists, turns, new connections, and handsome men in suits in Masquerade but perhaps most impressive was how the episode managed to share the spotlight among so many characters in such a short amount of time.
If Plan B is the kind of intense, shocking, emotional episode we get on a regular week in the season, consider me gleefully terrified for what the writers will deliver for the finale. After weeks of wondering what the moonstone does, it looks like we have the answer — but its mystery took a backseat to the consequences of retrieving it from Mason’s ingenious hiding place. While still pushing the mythology forward, The Vampire Diaries never puts its plot points ahead of its emotional impact, and this show terrorizes me and breaks my heart and I love that torture. It’s way more enjoyable than a hot poker in the chest.
No, seriously, what does the moonstone do? While its purpose is yet to be revealed, Kill or Be Killed served up a good dose of classic Mystic Falls twists, turns, heartbreaks, and near neck snaps. I’m not even going to guess what that pretty little rock of secrets does — after all, I’ve been going on and on about what a stand-up good guy Mason Lockwood seems to be.
The episode opened with the threat of an alpha male showdown but it turned out that the women of The Vampire Diaries were the ones kicking ass and taking names.
Though we’ve met her before in flashbacks and she raised hell in The Return, I’d like to officially welcome Ms. Katherine Pierce back to Mystic Falls; Memory Lane revealed just what a fascinating and layered evil vampire ex she truly is. Long may she and her doppelganger, Elena be the rope in the Salvatore brothers’ tug of war. This episode would have crumbled if put in lesser hands than Nina Dobrev’s; she gives us two distinct performances that make Memory Lane a contender in my mind for one of the best episodes of The Vampire Diaries.
Any chance we’ll get to see a full moon episode once a month? I’m guessing there are a lot of fans who would be down with a repeat of the Mason Lockwood wolf action in Bad Moon Rising. Far from turning into The Werewolf Diaries, this episode managed to balance the introduction of a whole new rich mythology while keeping the things we love most about The Vampire Diaries front and center: the relationship between Elena and the Salvatore brothers, the tension between the human and supernatural elements in Mystic Falls, and the unexpected — be it a crossbow, a passionate kiss, or a devastating heartbreak. Add in the beautifully filmed scenes in the forest, great song choices, and the return of Alaric (albeit with puzzlingly long hair), and Bad Moon Rising maintains the high bar season 2 has already set for itself with its first two episodes.
Talking forest animals. Kinky husbands. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Whittling jokes. Brave New World is definitely in the running for funniest episode of The Vampire Diaries. After the intensity of The Return, Elena’s attempt to have a no V-word, no D-word normal teenage girl day was welcome — if entirely unsuccessful.
Perhaps more than any other TVD episode, the writers were throwing winks at the audience last night — Damon’s talking animals joke foreshadows some half-man, half-beasts we’ll be meeting soon; Bonnie says that Caroline will kill them if they don’t do a good job and Elena makes a crack that she isn’t human; Jeremy says “epic”; Team Jacob shirts are a hit at the carnival; Matt calls Caroline “killer”; and Damon declares werewolves don’t exist. These self-knowing moments gave Brave New World an element of playfulness beyond what we usually get with the witty bantering. While in season 1, I was a little too overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the show to take real issue with the B-stories being disconnected from the main drama, the cohesiveness of this episode felt like a strong shift in a good direction for season 2. We’re seeing characters matched up that we haven’t seen much of before, and it helps to cement the idea that in Mystic Falls, everyone’s fate is deeply interconnected.