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TV Review: The Vampire Diaries – “Ghost World”

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This week’s entry of the CW’s The Vampire Diaries is called “Ghost World.” Damon (Ian Somerhalder) is surprised to be attacked by Mason Lockwood (Taylor Kinney), whom he killed. Then other ghosts begin showing up. Elena (Nina Dobrev) is pleased to see Lexi (Arielle Kebbel), who agrees to help Elena try to get through to Stefan (Paul Wesley). Stefan is still out of touch with his humanity, thanks to Klaus (Joseph Morgan). The deceased tomb vampires terrorize the town again. Bonnie (Kat Graham) is jealous of Jeremy’s (Steven R. McQueen) closeness to his dead ex, Anna (Malese Jow). Luckily, Bonnie’s grandmother, Sheila (Jasmine Guy), returns to help her send the ghosts, including the tomb vampires, Mason, Lexi, and Anna, back to the other side.

“Ghost World” is thrilling because a number of characters fans think they may never seen again pop back up. Anna has been around for a handful of episodes now, but seeing Lexi, Mason, Sheila, and others is a fun diversion. The notable absence from all of this crazy is Jenna (Sara Canning). Not that there isn’t enough going on already, but it would be nice if she appeared, considering how Elena, Jeremy, and Alaric (Matthew Davis) are still struggling to cope with her loss.

Mason is the most surprising of the ghosts who invade Mystic Falls. When last seen, Mason is kind of a bad guy. But death changes him, making him realize what is really important in life. This time, Mason’s biggest concern is helping his nephew, Tyler (Michael Trevino), who is Klaus’s new hybrid vampire / werewolf. As such, Mason is able to put aside his differences with Damon, as he realizes that Damon is his best shot at taking out Klaus, thus freeing Tyler from very negative influence.

Damon continues to struggle with whether he can be good or not. With Stefan going evil, there is a vacuum of positive vampire influence in town. Damon resists filling that gap, and yet, cannot help doing so to some extent. He’s not warm and cuddly, barely apologizing to Mason for killing him, and only because he is forced to. But his friendship with Alaric, well on the way to a true bromance, feels more real, even if Damon won’t verbally express his feelings. And, of course, he has true affection for Elena, which motivates him into helping her whenever possible.

When Stefan returns to his right mind, will Damon go back to being bad? It seems like one of the Salvatore brothers must be somewhat ornery, because, despite their brotherly love, they can’t stand being on the same page too often. Or, at least, Damon can’t. He may be changed significantly by his time being the good brother, which he has been in the past, but this is unlikely to cause a permanent light to grow in Damon’s soul. He struggles with both sides of his personality, and neither will ever win completely.

Stefan was bad long before The Vampire Diaries begins, but within the relatively short span of a television series, he may not be able to get back to as truly good as he appears in the first couple of seasons. He kills too many people and acts like such a jerk to Elena, it’s a wonder that she can maintain her love for him, under the circumstances. Sure, she realizes intellectually that Stefan isn’t completely responsible for his actions. But he isn’t completely innocent, either. Elena’ determination to save Stefan’s soul is likely to rob her of many of her feelings for the guy, even if she is convinced it isn’t right to stop working to save him.

Jeremy’s love triangle with Anna and Bonnie is equally complicated. Bonnie has every right to be jealous that her boyfriend is spending romantic time with his ex. Yet, it’s hard to blame Jeremy in “Ghost World” because of the circumstances. After all, he is still in love with Anna when she dies. How does one choose between a woman with whom his relationship is never resolved, and the one he is with now? Under normal circumstances, Jeremy’s actions would be inexcusable. With such a complex set of happenings, though, it’s hard to find fault with Jeremy as he sorts through the dilemma as best he can.

That does not mean that Bonnie does not have a point when she gets angry at Jeremy. She is right when she says that Matt (Zach Roerig) lets go of his sister quicker than Jeremy can dismiss Anna. That means there is something wrong between Bonnie and Jeremy. Jeremy should have gotten over Anna by now, and be moving on. Or else he should not be with Bonnie. This calls into question whether Bonnie is some sort of rebound for Jeremy, rather than true love. If Jeremy is into Bonnie as much as she is into him, he wouldn’t let anyone stand in their way, even someone from his past.

Though Anna steals the necklace that can send the ghosts home in “Ghost World,” she isn’t a bad guy. Her actions are because she doesn’t want to lose Jeremy again. Considering that their breakup is against both of their wishes, a second chance is something they deserve. But they cannot have it. Anna realizes this, after innocent townspeople are killed by the tomb vampires, and hands the jewelry back over to Bonnie. She is a good girl, and will not let others die just so she can be happy. It makes her return to the other side almost as tragic as the first time, albeit more noble.

Bonnie is becoming downright scary in The Vampire Diaries. Her magical abilities raise Jeremy from the dead and allow ghosts to come through to this world. Considering her emotional reactions, Bonnie doesn’t seem stable enough to be trusted with such awesome power. One who can command elements with that much far-reaching consequence should be wise, not a young girl who can’t make up her mind about important matters. Sheila is kind to her granddaughter when helping clean up the mess, but maybe she should be a little more stern. Bonnie needs to stop messing with things she doesn’t fully understand, at least until she gets a better head on her shoulders.

During the town crisis in “Ghost World,” Caroline saves Carol Lockwood (Susan Walters) from the tomb vampires. Will this mean a whole new relationship for Caroline and her boyfriend’s mother? Carol is getting over Caroline’s vampire status, after seeing that Tyler is also a supernatural being. But there isn’t a lot of affection between the two women. Watching Caroline risk her life to save Carol’s should help Carol change her tune. Even if it isn’t totally believable that Caroline can take on a bunch of older, more powerful vamps on her own and triumph for very long.

Watch The Vampire Diaries Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.

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About JeromeWetzelTV

Jerome writes TV reviews for BlogCritics.org and Seat42F.com, as well as fiction. He is a frequent guest on two podcasts, Let's Talk TV with Barbara Barnett and The Good, the Bad, & the Geeky. All of his work can be found on his website, jeromewetzel.com