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Posted by | April 29, 2012, 17:32 (MST) | 132 Comments
Category: In Review, The Vampire Diaries TV

Vampire Diaries In Review: Do Not Go Gentle (EP320) - Unshakable BondOh decade dances — this was the one to end them all. Trickling stars, hideous chandeliers, wonderful 1920s costumes, bromances new and old . . . it should have been a magical night, but “dangerous dance karma” meant there was an unstoppable ghost witch on a mission to ruin everything.

Loopholes: To state the obvious, this is a show with a strong supernatural element, and I have always been happy to play along. Suspension of disbelief? Not a problem. I accept that vampires, witches, werewolves, ghosts, and magic objects exist. What makes this show great is that its supernatural world makes enough sense that the human stories told within that world resonate; they are believable. It’s incredibly difficult to create a world and stick to its rules, while constantly telling new stories, pushing characters into new places, and expanding the mythology. The Vampire Diaries has had a knack for giving us the unexpected in a way that made past events click together. Pieces of the puzzle were always fitting together in a way we didn’t predict, but which made a world of sense once revealed.

But when the supernatural world feels manipulated, governed by storytelling convenience rather than a kind of internal logic, then it’s hard (for me) to feel, to believe in, the human consequences that result from it. While I accept that sometimes vampires won’t use their super hearing or super speed — there’s always a ‘foggy moment’ or two in an episode — this season, there have been more wha? moments than in the past. For example, one of my personal pet peeves is Sage’s ability to read another vampire’s mind, an incredible talent for vampires which was dropped after that one episode and which I doubt we’ll see again. (I hope we won’t see it again…) It was too powerful a device to be sustainable; it would crush so many storytelling opportunities. (Like, in the last episode, why not have Stefan or Damon or Klaus read Evil Alaric’s mind and find out where the stake was, then send a human into the cave to get it?) And in Do Not Go Gentle, the over-reliance on magic, twisting of rules, and convenience of Esther came to a head for me. See foggy moments below for some of the things that seemed off. The confused plotting made it hard for me to react to the emotional aspects of the story.

But I don’t want to overshadow the final (or penultimate) chapter of one of my favorite characters, Alaric Saltzman — history teacher, day drinker, father figure, dreamboat, and co-captain of team beer and blood. RIP to the good side of Ric. In his relationships with the Gilbert kids and with Damon, Alaric had found a family — and that is such a keystone to this show. Whether blood-related or not, the importance of loved ones is paramount. As Bonnie says to Jaime, her friends are the most important things in the world. The gang comes together for their candlelight vigil in the old cemetery in a way we don’t often see on this show; usually death is swift and unexpected here. But for Alaric, there was time to say sad goodbyes — and personally I don’t know that I’m ready to really say goodbye until this vampire chapter is over. Matt Davis is fantastic at playing the rampaging psycho, but my heart is, of course, with his Alaric. And his final moments — looking at the gang assembled outside the Salvatore crypt, saying goodbye to Jer and Elena, and his stoic tear at the end with Damon — were heartbreaking. It’s a shame there won’t be opportunity for this kind of emotional moment from Matt Davis as Alaric in the future. (Assuming there isn’t a he’s-good-again twist on the horizon.) And it’ll be torture for his loved ones to see him resurrected as pure hatred and violence.

Esther’s machinations had another, unplanned effect: Klaus has rediscovered the purpose he had at the beginning of season 3: to build a hybrid army that will protect him from any threat his ghost-witch mama can throw his way. That spells an extra dose of trouble for the doppelganger — should Klaus and Elena survive this upcoming battle with Alaric, since they are both targets.

Outside the crypt, Meredith tells Damon that though Alaric says he wants to be alone, that’s not really true: what he actually wants is to be with his best friend. It’s an insight into another of the keystones of this show: isolation is sometimes more terrifying than the monsters of Mystic Falls. And in Do Not Go Gentle, we’re reminded of the unshakable bonds that exist: between siblings, friends, lovers, and family — in the widest definition of the word. It’s what makes that exchange between Stefan and Elena in the gym resonate: none of them is alone, not even in the darkest, most despairing moment. And perhaps, since peace has proven so elusive, that is really all that anyone can hope for.

Compelling Moment: Alaric and Damon’s final conversation, and that cork going in the empty bottle.

The “Rules”: In contrast to how Klaus left Alaric’s body in Klaus, Esther hops back into her own body with “a little magic” that requires no muttering or candles or anything. Instead of placing a protection spell on the stake itself, Esther transfers the protection spell in the Gilbert ring onto the white oak stake to make it “indestructible.” Using a ton of salt (maybe a literal ton), Esther places a magical binding circle around the school to trap the vampires. (And maybe Bonnie was trapped too? Otherwise, why didn’t she go to the old cemetery to rescue Elena and Alaric?) Klaus says that all boundary spells have a loophole. When Bonnie tries to do a locator spell to find Elena, Esther is somehow able to “fight” Bonnie, preventing her from succeeding. Esther turns Alaric into the “ultimate hunter”: he drinks the doppelganger’s blood, Esther kills him with the super stake (unclear if that is an important detail, or was just the handy weapon), and he finishes the transition when Bonnie force-feeds him her blood; the process also requires that Esther draw on “dark magic.” Newly vamped Alaric is apparently not a true immortal: in some unexplained way “when the time is right,” he will run out of the power Esther bestowed upon him and he’ll drop dead-dead.

Foggy Moments: The fog is thick for me this week, my friends. Okay, deep breath: It seemed really unrealistic that the gang left Alaric unsupervised after going to such lengths to take care of him and lock him up in previous episodes. At the end of Heart of Darkness, he had turned into Evil Alaric and went off with Rebekah, one of their enemies, to get the white oak stake, but no one goes into high alert mode despite not hearing from him until late the next day.

Is Klaus’s mansion so large that he didn’t hear Esther and Alaric talking in the coffin room? Is the school so large that Klaus didn’t hear Caroline and Tyler talking about breaking the sire bond? Where did Esther get the dagger and ash she had Alaric use on Rebekah? Wasn’t the ash, at the very least, in Klaus’s possession?

How was Esther still alive anyway? Wasn’t she relying on the link to the Bennett witches, which was severed when Abby became a vampire? If Esther has actually had the ability to both continue living in her own body and the magical strength to perform numerous spells, then why did she take off after Damon turned Abby? Isn’t the witch house (the place where 100 witches died violently) still more powerful than the location where just one was killed?

How did Damon spend the time between popping by the hospital and arriving at the dance — why didn’t he alert the gang about Alaric earlier? Why did Damon assume that the magic cure for Alaric (Bonnie’s herbs) wasn’t working, when earlier he’d discovered that Ric wasn’t taking them (and showed the full bottle to Meredith)?

How (and when) did Esther put the ring of salt around the entire high school, unnoticed? What is Esther’s justification for messing with dark magic — further upsetting the balance of nature — to create an uber vampire vampire hunter when she already has created the “ultimate” stake, which cannot be destroyed? When did Esther decide to target Alaric for her kill-the-Originals project? In the season 1 era or more recently? The way she explained it to Elena, it seemed like she was muttering in Ric’s ear every time he died. Was she also telling him to kill council members, and if so, why? Was it just a big coincidence that in 1912 Samantha Gilbert also targeted council members when she gave in to her dark side? Esther can’t have been planning to make Alaric a vampire vampire hunter for long, because in Smells Like Teen Spirit she made a deal with Ghost-Vicki to kill Elena (to prevent Klaus from making a hybrid army) and Esther needed Elena’s doppelganger blood to turn Alaric.

How did vampires take everything from Ric? Isobel decided to become a vampire, a decision she made as a human, not under any duress. Jenna was killed by a vampire, yes — Klaus. And the “good” Alaric was already plotting to kill that one vampire with his friends. Was Alaric so susceptible to influence that a total of, what, 16 hours spent with Esther overpowered the two years he spent with getting to know vampires of all sorts?

Klaus shows up at the old cemetery and whisks away his mother’s body, and completely trusts that his enemies, who have been trying to kill him all season, are telling him the truth about what went down with Alaric? Doesn’t even pop in to take a peek at Ric?

Jaime wakes up when Bonnie has a little nightmare, but sleeps through her getting out of bed and leaving the house? Or did sleepwalker Bonnie mind-whammy him too?

Thoughts & questions before Before Sunset (EP321):

  • Poor Rebekah misses all the dances.
  • Was Mikael a different kind of supernatural entity than his children? Esther says that she’s going to make Alaric in a “true hunter” like her husband, and that made me think that a hunter is distinct from a vampire. I had assumed that Mikael drinking vampire blood, and not feeding on living things, was his choice, not a part of his supernatural physiology. (And he did revive after Katherine force-feed him people blood.) But Esther seemed to follow the same transition steps for Alaric as she did with the Original kids, and Mikael was created at the same time as his children, wasn’t he? How would she and Mikael have known to make him a hunter, if their children hadn’t yet proven to be killers that required hunting? Did she upgrade him later?
  • Is there a way to kill a witch-ghost, or are we stuck with Esther for the rest of the series (or until all vampires are dead, whichever comes first)?
  • Where did Kol go after the Mary Porter run-in? Where’s Elijah?
  • Is there any way to draw the good out of vamp Alaric? If he hates both vampires and vampire sympathizers, and his hatred is “pure,” is anyone safe? Where will he begin his murderous rampage?
  • When Bonnie went to the cemetery, was she possessed by Esther, or was her dream-state consciousness making the choice for her? As she said to Damon earlier in the episode, there’s always a choice — so did she make one in feeding Alaric? How badly was she hurt by his attack?

 
What did you think of Do Not Go Gentle? Sound off below with your likes/dislikes, theories, and predictions.
 
 
 
Crissy Calhoun is the author of Love You to Death: The Unofficial Companion to The Vampire Diaries and Love You to Death — Season 2She’s currently working on her season 3 companion guide. She blogs (rarely) at crissycalhoun.com and tweets @crissycalhoun.



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  • mary.m155

    Jer will take his place? Or ric will continue on being the vamp hunter?

  • ihatepeople

    I completely agree with you about these running themes. Hopefully this will change next season but I’m skeptical.

  • ihatepeople

    Right but I would think that since it was used to turn him into a vampire and vervain is toxic to vampires that it would somehow screw up turning him like it would cancel turning him out. It just seems odd that someone would be able to turn into a vamp with blood that was tainted with vervain which is a vamps cryptonite.

  • ihatepeople

    I think either way Jer is going to take up the fight as the new hunter/protector of evil like Ric used to be. We can only hope that Ric will be able to regqin some sense of his human self.

  • mary.m155

    Gotcha

  • TVD*fan

    Soo many loopholes and unexplained crap in this episode, i doubt the writers would even think of this :P

  • ihatepeople

    They keep trying to squeeze too much in at the end. It’s becoming inconsistent.

  • tunka

    Evilaric drank Elenas blood before vamping out thus vervain would not affect him as would affect a vampire.

  • From Beginningg To End

    Yeah, JP tweeted to someone that when Elena says “I don’t know” it’s not because she doesn’t know, it’s because she doesn’t want to admit it because it goes against what she’d always said.  I guess that’s the entire problem, she was so vocal and adamant about it always being Stefan, but she was only 17…Never say never I guess?

  • Teganegan

    Great review crissy! You seem to be getting as fed up as everyone else with all the rubbish they keep throwing our way. I love TVD as much as the next fan on this site but things are starting to really slip. I was re-watching some old eps… The ep where klaus and Stefan are trying to turn the first batch of hybrids in the mountains… The human guy is drinking klaus blood all day to heal after feeding his friends and then klaus kills him? . So… How did he not turn into a vamp?! Prime example of things slipping I think.

  • From Beginningg To End

    I’m 99% sure she’s been drinking vervain, she freaked on Jeremy for not wearing his bracelet in The New Deal and both Salvatores have been drinking it and they’re vampires so she has no excuse.

    This isn’t the first time her bloods been used to do this, though. Remember in The Reckoning when her blood was given to Tyler to complete his transition? She didn’t have her necklace then because Katherine had stolen it so she either wasn’t drinking it then (maybe didn’t think she had a reason to, Klaus was gone) or she was and it didn’t matter. Stefan also bit her but we didn’t see if it yielded any unpleasant effects to him so…

    In any case, the amount of her blood that Alaric drank was pretty minimal, and he drank it before being turned so it being inside of him when he became a vampire probably bothered him as much as it would bother any other original to have a sip of it. I don’t imagine the vervain would be enough to counter Esther’s vampire-making magic since it’s just a natural herb but if it would do anything it might just make him a vampire who’s impervious to it, we’ll see.

  • Louise

    WHERE IS CATHRINE ?!

  • charmedone1545

     He wasn’t turned into a Vampire when he drank the “Esther Punch”,remember he decided Not to turn,up untill Possessed Bonnie came to give him a drink,and we’re not really sure if there was any vervain in that blood and if there was it ended right when he was becoming a vamp.But  I really don’t think she or Jeremy are on vervain at this point,but they should be.But it is getting out of hand with all the “rules and loopholes”.And just a thought-Shouldn’t Bonnie be on vervain just to be on the safe side b/c any original can/could compel her and I don’t think she could use her “let’s blow a vamps blood vessel in the brain” just b/c the Originals are very old,she couldn’t use it on Katherine in 02×01 and I don’t think she has the 100 witch power in her anymore.Just some thoughts

  • guest

    Klaus is a hybrid, his bite will kill a vampire anyway. Bitting somebody with vampire blood in the system will kill him, before even transitioning? Maybe Klaus cannot make regular vampires anymore, he can only make hybrids from werewolves.

  • ihatepeople

    Don’t expect her back anytime soon. JP said she won’t return until Klaus is dead.

  • ihatepeople

    Ric being impervious to it. Interesting thought. I was just curious if maybe that was something they missed thinking thru when they used her blood. Not like they couldn’t change the rules anyway right? LOL.

  • From Beginningg To End

    it would be kind of a neat twist, and might make sense since this time it’s part of the recipe. I think chances are pretty good they just didn’t think any of it through though :P

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E5S2Y7H2HJE3A5JXS6UBPX26CY Shannon

    It’s her brother(technically cousin), she can share that money, and since she just turned 18(couple months ago), she can easily write him a check, lol. seriously though even if I were inherited money, I still wouldn’t be lazy about getting a job…that passed down money does run out, she can always work and put some aside, like Jeremy does……she leaves the blood mess for Stefan, he can lick the floor for all i care, lol he can stay down there, haha….girl get that Skintimate. lol clean shave.. = )

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E5S2Y7H2HJE3A5JXS6UBPX26CY Shannon

    I wanna see some freaking proof! Hell I wanna see her spend it! Can she go shopping?? Can we actually see her picking out a dress for the next event?? We see Caroline talking about it or doing it, can Elena or even Bonnie be with her?? ….It seems the only one with money issues is Matt…smh.

  • mary.m155

    Poor Matt is the little human, that actually has to work for a living …and has no rich family…and he has to deal with all this supernatural crap…he seriously may need to seek counciling soon. HA

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E5S2Y7H2HJE3A5JXS6UBPX26CY Shannon

    Well she said that she would never kiss Damon and look what happened.(3 times, 4 if u wanna count the return and counting, cuz they’ll be more)..she’s already crossed that line, so I don’t see why vocally it would be any different, actions speak louder than words anyway, if anything her saying it out loud would just be satisfying for EVERYONE….see this is why I don’t listen to Julie anymore, haven’t since season 1(still love u JP)…I just go with it.

  • Eva

    Ahh, so nicely said!!!

  • ihatepeople

    That’s the thing. Are we suppose to assume that they’re smart enough to be drinking vervain or are we to assume their morons and aren’t taking it? Personally I would’ve guessed that Jeremy would’ve put a new vervain laced bracelet on after killing “Tony the headles hybrid” before Damon compelled him be he didn’t. I find it incredibly hard to believe that the Salvatores wouldn’t get on Elena to make sure she is protected by vervain in some way given Klaus and his sublings are lurking around. Bonnie should definitely be on it too. Klaus was able to overcome the migraine thing that the dead witches tried to give him when he was trying to get the coffins back from Damon so nothing Bonnie can do like that will make a difference. She better start drinking. I know the council had talked about putting it in the water supply of the town. Maybe we’re suppose to assume they’re drinking the town’s water.

  • ihatepeople

    Maybe Elena is afraid Jer will burn the money up on drugs like in season 1. Just kidding. He’s been clean for over 2 seasons. LOL. You know Jer working at the grille puts him in the perfect position to keep an eye on what’s happening in town since everyone seems to hang there including original vamps.

    “Stefan can lick the floor”. Haha. Now you know he has miraculously learned to control his century and a half long blood lust in a matter of 5 episodes so don’t be looking for him to lick the floor anytime soon. He’s beyond that now. ;)

  • Ianlover

    which might be like next season but i really do miss her. She brought so much life to TVD and it was fun seeing her rile everyone up. I miss her.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_E5S2Y7H2HJE3A5JXS6UBPX26CY Shannon

    LMFAO……..ur terrible!!! Hahahah I love it!

  • Jen_Louise32

    Its all gone quiet on the doppleganger front??? Katherine has completely dissappeared from the face of the earth. I thought in this season we might finally hear about the orginal doppleganger, who she was and what her connection to Klaus and Elijah really was! And we might see nina playing the orginal doppleganger in flashbacks. Interesting for her to play three different characters. But all this seems to have been forgotten about. As well as Elijah? Season three has been poor, i am still a fan but they do need to bring it back to how it was it the first season…the magic side of it has been stretched a little too far. And they dont folloe through with all stories they start.

  • Jen_louise32

    I also think it misses having some characters that dont know about vampires and whats really going on. Theres no suprise or gritty moments where an important figure in the community might find out. Everyone knows, the sheriff etc So its all abit boring that it just seems like everyday normal life for everyone to know about vampires. Dull. Jenna was such a good character, so close to alot of people involved but yet never knew about vampires. we need a character like this back whose good and wholesome.

  • ihatepeople

    Sarcasm is my guilty pleasure. :)~

  • charmedone1545

     They should really put it in water supply or perhaps the Grill should put it in everything that they serve since most of the gang eats/drinks there.I had this thought last night:Why the hell didn’t Esther just jump into Klaus’s body they just have him stake himself,just sayin’,she possessed Becca,why not Klaus,unless his hybrid self can’t be possessed.

  • Big

     

    ITA this
    episode had too many foggy moments and I have really problems with it because everything
    seems so arbitrary lately…they can go in any direction and change any
    established rule.

    I didn’t
    understand why Esther didn’t need the sun and an old while oak tree to create
    an Original? Where do she drew the power from?? Just from this “hot spot” where
    she died??? This makes no sense at all. What is Alaric weakness since every
    magic has its cost?  I think they did
    quite a good job in explaining why vampire have weaknesses and where they come
    from, but I don’t understand why they don’t stick to any rule anymore.

    What also
    made no sense was why Esther and Evilaric let daggered Rebekah lay in the
    coffin and didn’t take her with them to kill her off….

    When Klaus
    was in Alaric he was limited by the rules Alaric’s body had to follow and death
    was no problem, but Esther has not to follow any rule…no ritual to bring her
    back…just that she doesn’t want Alaric to kill her with the stake, but with the
    dagger is okay…uggghhh

     

    ITA about
    Sage and so much more…her power was the worst..reading minds if the person is
    relaxed even on vervain, you can bleed a vampire out of vervain, Esther can
    possess Bonnie even when Bonnie has no talisman or is in the spot where the
    witch died, Esther can create an Original without the sun and the tree..ugh..I’m
    so annoyed and disappointed. I wish they would hire somebody to keep the established
    rules  and mythology  more or less straight.

    And I hope
    for more sl and character development and less wishy-washy twists just to have
    a twist..less would be more imo.

    There were
    way too many foggy moments this season..the way Damon discovered the white oak
    tree was so unbelievable and bad done, also how Sage taught Damon to become
    Damon and  the rippah sl which was so
    great to watch had many foggy moments. Why does Stefan tears sometimes people
    apart and sometimes not. Why did they let Stefan say in episode 3×05 that he can’t
    stop drinking blood when they let him drink from a human in the next episode
    and he had no problems at all to stop when he plays bloody twister and also in
    the flashbacks he had no problems to stop drinking…ughhh..this is so annoying.

    Also the
    Klaus sl makes on not much sense…ITA. Klaus is just searching love and family and
    it doesn’t feel justified anymore the want to kill him so badly ..there is no
    need for that, not much. And his not doing anything is kind of OOC for him.
    They can fool him that easily..ughhhh..Klaus was really angry when he felt
    betrayed in 3×05 and this had consequences and now when they all want to kill
    him, he does nothing but draw ponies…ughhh

    The seasons
    before felt much more consistent and sticking to rules..now I have the feeling
    if Alaric might die or not depends only on some witchy woowooo and what the
    writers want and what happens with MD new project Cult..they can make anything
    happen not matter what has been said before and this is sad…

    I’m not
    looking to watch the next episode because I have the feeling it will not get
    much better..

    I hope next
    season characters will have more time for personal development, less triangles
    and they make things just slower and more logical and less twisted…because I
    love TVD so much and I’m so disappointed lately.





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