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Posted by | April 22, 2012, 14:45 (MST) | 287 Comments
Category: In Review, The Vampire Diaries TV

Vampire Diaries In Review: Heart of Darkness (EP319): Give In to ItNow that was some enjoyable television. As the first episode of the final four, Heart of Darkness sets us up for the final stretch of season 3, pulling the various plots and characters together and pushing forward to what promises to be another epic finale.

Don’t Back Down Now: What I loved most about this episode — besides, you know, the wall action — was how beautifully the two main storylines resonated with each other: Alaric and Stefan battling their repressed evil alter egos in the Salvatore dungeon while Elena and Damon tussled with her repressed feelings and the previously unacknowledged patterns of their relationship. And outside those two passionate struggles — one violent, the other romantic — we saw Tyler return from his self-imposed exile in the Appalachian mountains, feeling he may have finally got a handle on his own Mr. Hyde and freed himself from Klaus’s control. Instead of denying their dark sides (or in Elena’s case, the feelings she’s afraid of embracing), the characters dive right in, and the result is an episode pulsing with energy thanks to raw performances, beautiful song choices, and great direction to go with the well-crafted story.

Stefan chooses to stay at home and watch over Alaric, both to give Elena space to explore her feelings for his brother and because he knows that finding out the location of the white-oak stake may require “whatever it takes” (i.e., extreme violence). Just as Tyler won’t know if his sire bond to Klaus is broken until he tests it, Stefan felt that while he had regained control over his bloodlust, it still held power over him. He hadn’t exorcised it, just repressed it. Both Alaric and Stefan realize that their darkness isn’t some separate, alien force that can be denied or blamed, but a part of who they are and driven by their own hidden desires and frustrations. Neither is compelled or possessed, and they feel the only way to overcome their darkness is to first embrace it. At Alaric’s insistence, Stefan taps into his ripper instincts, which lurk just beneath the surface of “good” Stefan, and the plan works. Evilaric (thanks for the nickname, Damon!) gives up the location of the stake, and Stefan emerges from the dungeon more in control of himself. How, or if, Alaric will overcome his other self remains to be seen.

Like Damon and Elena a few states away, Stefan decides it’s time to call Klaus out on his behavior, and the result is a strangely sad conversation. Klaus admits that he doesn’t have any intention of killing Stefan, because he’s been holding out hope that the friend he once had will return. (And this was when the Klefanettes needed smelling salts.) Our big-bad villain can be so transparently needy, while still maintaining such a menacing presence. And, in a twisted way, Klaus’s hopefulness reminds me of how Elena wouldn’t give up on the Stefan she knew and loved returning to her. In a you-go-girl moment, Stefan orders Klaus out of his house, refusing to play along or be controlled any longer. Will there be any fallout from Stefan rebuffing Klaus? Is there an uneasy alliance in their future now that Esther’s plot to kill all the Originals — and consequently all vampires — is back in play?

While I loved the reunion of Caroline and Tyler, and their romp in the cave, Tyler’s reaction to Klaus’s drawing was frustrating — even if it does makes sense as something Tyler would do. Granted, Tyler has been torturing himself in the Appalachians in an effort to gain control over his own dark side, being bound to Klaus. To return home only to sense some romantic closeness between Caroline and Klaus must smack of betrayal to Tyler — but he reacts and stomps off before he actually knows what’s going on. Why doesn’t he believe what Caroline says? (And who wouldn’t keep a portrait an Original drew of you and a horse? It’s only natural.) Like Rebekah being wary of Matt’s kindness, it seems that in Mystic Falls, everyone lives in fear of betrayal and rejection — and sadly, 99% of the time, they are right to be wary. Rebekah is being distracted by Matt (though it was unclear to me why it was necessary), but there seems to be a little chemistry there despite the set-up. Could there have been a Matt-Rebekah hookup in the future, or has the Esther possession dampened that potential?

Like her big brother wanting a bestie again, Rebekah’s desire to be part of the gang is rather heartbreaking. Rebekah feels that she’s not yet lived, despite her lifespan of a thousand years. Now that she and Klaus are no longer running, she can start. She’s an incredibly powerful Original vampire who could do whatever she’d like, and what she chooses to do is organize the Mystic Falls High decade dance. And she’s worried she won’t have a date. Claire Holt continues to do a magnificent job of making Rebekah sympathetic and vulnerable without losing her bite. The Caroline-Rebekah scene was classic — in particular, their in-unison “No” to Matt’s suggestion of doing both decades — and I hope that that is a relationship that develops further. What a freaking awesome duo those two could be. Of course, all is on hold with Rebekah now that Esther has moved from her dying body into her daughter’s. It’s tragic that each earnest emotional moment Rebekah has with someone quickly turns for the worse: with Elena, she was daggered, and here with Esther, she’s possessed. As much as I’m sorry that the real Rebekah is likely to miss the carefully planned decade dance, the final reveal of Esther’s possession cleverly ties together the various threats that have been developing over the second half of season 3: Esther and Evilaric are hell-bent on destroying all vampires, and that promises an explosive battle that could force former enemies to become allies.

Living Up to Expectations: I’ve said it before but, man, every Damon-Elena kiss feels like a first kiss, doesn’t it? It was an expectation-filled moment — both for the audience at home, and for Damon and Elena themselves. The trip was explicitly an explore-your-feelings experiment for Elena (and at Stefan’s behest, in what must have been an emotionally confusing conversation for her), and explore she did. Beyond the perfectly tense, passionate, fraught physicality of the scene at the motel — from Elena watching Damon (conveniently shirtless), to lying next to him, to the hand holding (be still my heart), to the up-against-the-wall make-out — what heightened their scenes was the frankness with which Damon and Elena (and Rose) discussed their relationship. Damon lays bare an essential truth about himself: he doesn’t let people see the good in him, because he doesn’t want to feel the burden of living up to anyone’s expectations — notably Elena’s. But by their Scary Mary house moment, when she pulls away from him, he has realized that there’s a flipside to that: she has expectations of him — they’re just not good. She expects that he’ll torpedo any budding romance at the first obstacle, because that’s what he’s done time and again. She has come to rely on that behavior as a way to avoid confronting her complicated feelings for Damon, and what they say about her deepest desires, who she is and what she wants. But Damon decides to thwart her expectations, to force her to finally face whatever she’s repressing and figure it out. Though it felt a little straight-from-the-writers-room, Rose’s explanation to Jeremy of why she’s rooting for Damon and Elena was particularly insightful. Will Damon be the best thing for Elena or the worst? Or will Elena opt to repair her relationship with Stefan? All I know is that I feel for the girl: even without her romantic drama, Elena’s life is complicated and dangerous and full of difficult, often impossible, choices. And it wouldn’t be The Vampire Diaries if it were any other way. Long may her life stay mesmerizingly messy.

Compelling Moment: The Elena-Damon motel sequence, from start to finish. That’s the kind of epic scene that makes real-life romance pale in comparison.

The Rules: Esther takes possession of Rebekah’s body, and the transfer happens a little differently from what we’ve seen before — a séance helped open up a channel for Emily Bennett to take over Bonnie and witches cast a spell for Klaus to possess Alaric. Here, Esther gets the shakes as she holds onto her daughter’s arms, and somehow magically jumps into Rebekah’s body. Esther-as-Rebekah is able to walk into the no-vampires-allowed cave, implying that it is the soul inside the body rather than the body itself that determines which magical rules apply. But in the case of AlariKlaus last season, he could enter the Salvatore house (then invitation-only for vampires, under Elena’s ownership) because Alaric, the body, was human. Are Esther’s magical skills coming into play here? Or have the rules of possession changed?

Foggy moments:

  • Why did Damon and Elena seem surprised to find Kol lurking around Jeremy? Did Bonnie not tell them that Kol was Klaus’s watchdog? Why didn’t they tell Jeremy right off the bat that the Originals were watching him and that Damon and Elena intended to bring him home?
  • Maybe I missed this part: why would Rebekah (and/or Klaus) care that Tyler is back in town? And why wouldn’t he stay at his own house? If he’s traversing the streets of Mystic Falls to get to Caroline’s house, his cover is just as blown as if he was sneaking into the Lockwood manor.
  • Another nitpick: when they arrive at the motel, for whose benefit did Damon clarify that it was Elena’s idea to stay there? Ours? Jeremy was in the car with them and would’ve heard whatever conversation they had about it. Although, Jer also asks them where they are… Maybe he was snoozing? A little baked?

 
Thoughts & questions before Do Not Go Gentle (ep320):

  • Let’s all thank Rebekah for her successful campaign for a 1920s decade dance. It is just cooler. (Also, top marks for this line: “It’s too flashy, people. It’s supposed to be a speakeasy, not the World’s Fair.”)
  • I love Caroline, but boo on her for shaming Rebekah about her one hookup. She’s no more promiscuous than the rest of them, and so what if she was.
  • R.I.P. Scary Mary Porter! If you were half as creepy as your house, your nickname was well earned.
  • Anyone else think Kol has a funny definition of “getting even”? Damon snapped his neck, killed his brother, and humiliated him — so to get even, Kol gives Damon a beating that he’ll recover from in about 5 minutes…
  • Is that the last we’ll see of Esther in Esther’s body? In past possessions (Klaus, Emily), the possessor left willingly, their purpose accomplished. Presumably Esther plans to die along with Rebekah and the rest of her children, but should Esther fail to kill the Originals (fingers crossed), how does Rebekah get rid of her?
  • Bets on whether or not Tyler has actually broken his sire bond?

 
What did you think of Heart of Darkness? 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 2. When not obsessively re-watching CW shows, she works as managing editor at ECW Press in Toronto. She blogs at crissycalhoun.com and tweets @crissycalhoun.



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  • ihatepeople

    Yeah she does. I thought she would’ve said something when they were having such a candid talk in bed. I always found it sweet when they laid down next to each other and talked like that. Maybe she thought the passionate kiss said it all. LOL.

    I was thinking about something the other day after watching ep 3×19 for the 15th time…I don’t recall Damon ever touching her when they laid in bed like that before. Yes, he stroked her cheek once when he was standing over her and one time she rolled over on him as she was just waking up. Still he hadn’t touched her until this hand holding had he? No wonder she about lost it since she’d already kissed him once.

  • ihatepeople

    P.S. I think he was too floored by Elena’s comment in Dangerous Liaisons to stand up to her better than he did.

  • Guest

    oh yes, i became emotionally and deeply invested in this show. obviously. after all, here i am, commenting fictional characters. but that doesn’t mean i can’t be critical. after all, i do that professionally. long running shows aren’t flawless. and i have no problem looking the other way and focusing on good aspects. however, this show keeps slapping me in my face with how bad it became, due to all reasons i stated in the post above, and my reason just can’t ignore that anymore. i am disappointed in many things as you may have read. but like i said, hope persevers. i hope they will remember that we all root for characters, not for spells or moonstones or curses. we all watch the shows because of what our favourite characters went/go/will go through. i just hope that writers will realize this in time to repair damage. i hope they will return to that little ‘technique’ they did in season 1 – characters driving a plot, instead of plot dictating characters. 

  • Guest

    oh, it’s okey. english is not my first language. and when i write here i just write what comes to my mind first. i do not check my posts for grammatical errors nor do i structure them cohesively – obviously,lol. but i should probably pay attention to that in the future. so that people actually may read my entire post instead of giving them migrenes. :D

  • Ginie

    @ihatepeople Webclip was released last Friday. Alaric and Damon on the phone… it’s short.

  • Iwka_baletnica

    Ok, so I was thinking today… I love Caroline- it was such a nice surprise how her character developed through last (TVD) year. But there’s one huge problem for me. We could see how Damon and Stefan struggle with their vampirism – Stefan with bloodlust, Damon with heightened feelings. Why on earth for vampire barbie it is so easy? She doesn’t have urges like they do? I’d think it is much harder to control yourself at the beginning. It’s no wonder Elena can’t comprehend what’s going on with Stef, if her best friend makes it look so easy..

  • Natalie

    Oh god, I need to tell you about my obsession with these details then. I’m such a geek when it comes to those things! I remember all those moments that you mentioned. The most interesting for me is Bonnie’s prediction and I don’t know why but I have a feeling that is gonna be mentioned in the season finale. There’s also a song moment in 1×03 when Damon strokes Elena’s face and the lyrics in the song go ‘find my soul as I go home’. There was also a scene in 1×22 when Damon’s at the Grill and sees Elena and the song goes ‘I was only looking for a shortcut home’. And people were connecting John’s letter speech in 2×21 with Damon’s love for Elena. And it goes on and on. There was actually an amazing fan-video about it but don’t know how to find it again. So I’ve been noticing those details for a while now but I usually just shake my head and think I’m reading too much into this. Although like you said, there are too many of them to just be a coincidence.
    Wow, about KW’s quote, I never looked it up but I just assumed it was true. Now that’s just ridiculous. I remember reading it somewhere on youtube and thinking how exaggerating that is. Things like that make the SE love story even more unrealistic to me, so I’m glad that isn’t true. I think the less I’m hearing about how epic they are, the more I’m gonna actually believe it. Although I’m not believing it so far. Like you said, we don’t need to be told, we can make the judgement for ourselves.

  • ihatepeople

    Thanks but I meant we usually get a longer clip a few days before. Maybe we won’t get one this time.

  • Georgia_Peach

     Caroline was a control freak as a human, so that definitely helped her as a vampire.  Also, after Caroline turned she had her family and friends to still love her and be supportive, which kept her intact with her humanity.  Damon and Stefan were for the most part left to fend for themselves and try to balance their vampire nature with no loved ones or humans around to help them.   Even though Damon and Stefan split up early on after being turned, at least Stefan did have Lexi around to help  but Damon had no one, until Sage came into his life 50 years later. Same goes for Katherine after she turned, that poor girl was completely alone. She ran back home to her family only to find them all dead.

  • Natalie

    Oh please, I love your “rants”!
    “As we grow and experience things we change and so do our needs and ideas of love. ” THIS. I have nothing more to add to that.

    I literally felt butterflies in my stomach while reading about Damon and how he knows and sees she’s lying. No wonder she’s so nervous around him. I mean he hears her heartbeat and he couldn’t but notice how the simple touch of his hand affected her so much. That’s why he went after her. She wasn’t rejecting him, she was rejecting her need for him. Ugh, I just can’t. These two are ruining me. 

    Also, your theory about what hurt him is much smarter. Yes, he was hurt because she was looking for excuses, waiting for him to screw up. Honestly, I find her logic flawed. I mean she already has feelings for him, in spite of everything he’s done so it’s a little late now. And like you said, how about compromise instead of manipulation.
    Anyways, I think this is the first time that I can find excuse for every impulsive act he’s made this season (well maybe not for killing Ric, that was just mean, lol). But him attacking Kol was to save Matt, him turning Bonnie’s -what’s- her -name -mom was to save Elena’s life and for Stefan’s benefit as well, him sleeping with Rebekah – well I’m not even gonna go there. I mean if he didn’t sleep with every woman who tried to kill Elena the guy would never get laid. Plus he’s a single guy and can’t wait for Elena to love him back his whole existence.
    In conclusion, I believe he’s at his best behavior so far and I’m really proud of him. :)

  • http://twitter.com/SPN_ismylove Ally_A

    Awesome episode….from start to finish. I think if Kol was to truly get even with Damon he would kill him, but Damon is a main character…so it was not going to happen. That being said I LOVE Kol. 

  • ihatepeople

    I wonder if Elena WILL remember what Bonnie said at some point. That’d be interesting. Hell does Bonnie even remember it? LOL.

  • ihatepeople

    I’m proud at how far he’s come too which is why I hate seeing his heart being crushed over and over. I can imagine feeling frustrated and offended at knowing someone loves you but doesn’t want to. Kind of a put down like they don’t think you’re worthy or something. As you mentioned though too bad if she doesn’t want to love him because she already does. There is no way she’ll be able to forget that makeout session if she was stirred simply by the touch of his hand on hers. Funny how she always wants him to be honest but she is lying to him about how she feels. “No wonder she is so nervous around him”…Yep, he knows the truth.

    I keep wondering if she’ll ever put together those examples you mentioned about his actions that they were meant to protect the people he cares about.

  • Jenna

    I find that a little unrealistic too.  Stefan said at the beginning when she turned that she was a neurotic insecure person as a human and those feelings would be elevated as a vampire, but it is unrealistic to me that she has adjusted so quickly. Maybe that’s just not  a story they want to focus on at the moment!!! She has no struggles as a vamp?!!! I liked seeing her struggles at the beginning when she was still dating Matt… Seems the only thing she struggles with now is that she is horny all the time ;)

  • Jenna

    No he’s never touched her while she is awake. When he stroked her cheek, she was asleep, and when she woke up against him she freaked and pulled away… so he’s never really done anything like that because she was not willing. This time, she touched his hand accidentally and didn’t pull away, and I suppose he got the message…

  • Jenna

    How about when Stefan was trapped in the tomb and asked Damon to keep her away, and Damon had Bonnie do a spell to keep her at home, he made no moves and didn’t touch her! How about when they rescued Elena from Elijah, and he gave her the necklace back, but told her he doesn’t deserve her but Stefan does, he didn’t make any moves on her! Kissed her forehead!
    How about when he was a pincushion for Klaus in ep3 this season so that Elena and Stefan could have a few moments together… how about when he went to rescue Stefan back in S1 when he was captured? He was the first to find out Stefan was missing… And this is all the off the top of my head!!! Damon and Stefan will always do all they can to save and protect eachother, but with this Elena issue, Damon has tried so hard to keep away, to keep distracted… but he’s in love with this girl, a tough one!!!

  • Jgarza

    Awww…right back at you, my lunch buddy you!!!!…though you’re a true Stefan fan and I am a Delena fan but maybe both Delena/Stelena soon because I can’t seem to decide anymore…I was happy with the make out scene and then her “I don’t know” response to Damon was not what I have expected….lunch this Friday, okay lacysos???…heehee

  • Laney

    Lmao on the horny thing!

  • Laney

    What you read? Where’s the article? I wanna see too? Or did Jo tweet it?

  • Laney

    I meant jp…. Lol.

  • ihatepeople

    I didn’t think he had. Good point about her not pulling her hand away when she accidentally touched his. I almost think him grabbing at her hand was meant as a comforting thing. She was sniffling like she was teary eyed at what he said then obviously he saw how much it affected her because he looked a little confused when she got up and left.

    So I don’t see how they’re going to entirely skate around the incident next ep. JP said she doesn’t hide it from Stefan. Who brings it up? How is she going to react when she sees Damon at the dance while she is dancing with Stefan? She certainly won’t be able to forget what happened if she was that affected by him stroking her hand.

  • ihatepeople

    I just read it today but the article was from 2 days ago. I don’t remember exactly which site because I surf so many looking for an inkling of what’s to come…yes, I’m THAT impatient that I just can’t wait. I Googled Vampire Diaries spoilers 3×20. I want to say it was from Hollywood Reporter but I could’ve been some other site. If I can find it I’ll reply again.

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

    I remember all of that, and then some…so many parallels!!  

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

    I remember all of that, and then some…so many parallels!!  

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

    I’m still waiting for him to tell her when he first compelled her to forget him telling her, he loved her……hahaha say that 5 times fast. LOL But you know what i’m saying. 

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

    I’m still waiting for him to tell her when he first compelled her to forget him telling her, he loved her……hahaha say that 5 times fast. LOL But you know what i’m saying. 

  • From Beginningg To End

    Sorry, I didn’t mean to make it sound like I was only blaming one “team” I was just speaking from personal experience, but I know that if I was excited about a Stefan/Elena moment and came on here to freak out I’d probably end up feeling kind of down too. It’s just the comments fueled by rage and bitterness that bother me, but I know it comes from both sides, depending on what happened most recently on the show. The kind of comments that just dismiss everything the other side is happy about (like your example of people saying they have no chemistry or in another thread when people were saying that kiss was all about lust) are irritating to both sides, because it’s like they just have angry tunnel vision for the one couple and aren’t watching the whole show. I really just wish it could be like any other fandom group for a show and we could all just enjoy a good scene when we see one. Example- I’m a huge DE fan but I sensed a ton of chemistry between SE in Smells Like Teen Spirit when he caught her. Love that scene.

  • From Beginningg To End

    Yeah, I totally get what you mean by all this. I know they all seem like small things but I’ve noticed a lot of them too, and if the shows going to be six seasons and it’s really a “story” like the writers keep calling it, I feel like they’d all make sense as an eventual buildup. We can hope, can’t we?

  • From Beginningg To End

    I read that too, she said something like “she definitely doesn’t hide it. It’s addressed and not addressed at the same time” so Stefan probably just gets to know that in general, a kiss took place. 

  • ihatepeople

    Um she obviously doesn’t elaborate or he probably wouldn’t take her to the dance.

  • Anon

    Thank you! It’s my first time posting and I wondered if I was wasting my time, so I appreciate all the replies :)

  • Tania Rahman

    Just watched ‘H O D’ and the stories are getting back on track, even if it is getting to the end of the season. All the reviews focus on Elena and Damon’s road trip to see Jeremy, so the Stefan / Alaric showdown was a complete suprise. Seeing Matt Davis take on a different persona from the good guy that we have seen for the last three seasons was a ‘treat’.
    I don’t think that Elena is as dull a character as most people make her out to be. She is subtly changing (maybe a bit too subtly), I don’t think that in the past she would have used the road trip as an excuse to ‘sort out her feelings’ she would have pretended they didn’t. It isn’t nice that she is playing with Damon’s feelings, but how many people did he manipulate in the past, but then again she has toughened up this year. The only relavant thing Rebekah has ever said is “The tough girl act doesn’t suit you!”. Esther taking over Rebekah’s body, creepy!

  • Tia Serena

    My question exactly… isn’t she a Delena shipper???? Couldn’t she have waited? Its not like they needed to get going that minute from Denver to Kansas, after all its a 9 hour trip, is it not? 

    Or did they just arrive in the same night? Stefan was still beating Alaric… Gosh, just like Elijah, I guess they have teleporting abilities….

  • Tia Serena

    My question exactly… isn’t she a Delena shipper???? Couldn’t she have waited? Its not like they needed to get going that minute from Denver to Kansas, after all its a 9 hour trip, is it not? 

    Or did they just arrive in the same night? Stefan was still beating Alaric… Gosh, just like Elijah, I guess they have teleporting abilities….

  • Tia Serena

    Yeah, its really sad to see that the writers do seem to have a preference for Stelena… Although the build up of Elena’s and Damon’s relationship has been beautiful and carefully crafted, it all feels hollow when you think that the writers will just push her to Stefan….





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