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TV Review: The Vampire Diaries – “Haunted”

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Sure, a vampire show on Halloween week is going to get some attention. A big Halloween party scene at the school is also foregone conclusion given this is a teen oriented show. So, how did this episode manage to stand out among the many other shows that have done this party scene premise? By moving along the building drama, that’s how. It ended up being a party everyone sank their teeth into (I know, there I go with the vampire puns again).

This episode primarily existed to finish playing out the fall of Vicki. She was doomed from the minute Damon had a feast on her neck back in the pilot. Still, many had high hopes for her being a vampire. Early on though, this “vampire with issues” was just too unstable to carry on in the secular world. You had to admire Stefan’s attempt to try, but Vicki wasn’t going to hack it any better in this life than her previous one. Her end was inevitable.

Vicki’s fall was meant to setup anyway some intriguing directions for the other characters. First there’s Matt, whose burden of watching out for Vicki was becoming a bit too much. I’m sure her so called “disappearance” won’t to do much to help with his guilt over being unable to help her. Then there’s Jeremy, who suffered huge trauma by finding out the truth. Vicki tore into his lip and in full-on vamp mode prepared for a Jeremy feast. So Jeremy either had to die or watch Elena – who jumped in to save him – be killed by Vicki. He got the lesser yet still horrible third option courtesy of Stefan’s quick staking through the heart skills. The color being drained from Vicki’s body as she went lifeless was enough of a jarring visual to push over the edge Jeremy’s already fragile state.

Of course Vicki’s downfall didn’t do much for Elena’s growing angst either. This whole lying to everyone wasn’t doing her psyche much good. She especially felt guilty since she knew while a search party was out that Vicky was at the Salvatore mansion recovering from her turning into a vampire hangover. She kept up the lie though, for she knew that the truth hurts a hell of a lot worse, especially with Matt and Jeremy. Keeping up the lies can only become more of a challenge now that she knows Vicki is really dead. Or that can get easier. We’ll see which.

Elena can’t be blamed for being overprotective big sister. Jeremy went into nervous breakdown mode and he was already abusing drugs. Since Damon earlier erased Tyler’s memory after Vicki tried to have him for a snack, surely he could be trusted to do the same for Jeremy, right? Right??? Nah, I don’t buy it either. Yes, plot bunnies were springing up all over the place around Damon this episode. Anyone whose watched television drama knows that when a morally ambiguous character does a favor, it’ll likely come back to haunt. Thus the title of the episode. None of us saw what he actually said to Jeremy for a reason. It means something, or the writers are messing with us.

Did Damon’s actions in this episode happen out of the goodness of his heart or did he do something that only serves his own agenda? To quote Damon from an earlier episode, “That’s for me to know and you – dot, dot, dot.” Damon was the one though Stefan relied on for help on three separate occasions. Damon also humored Stefan by letting him help Vicki, even though he knew it wouldn’t work. Once that girl was loose, she couldn’t be controlled. He certainly showed remarkable restraint with Elena, even though she slapped him hard over his indifference and being the cause of Vicki’s death. He warned her to leave since she was bleeding from a fresh wound, a subtle reminder about what he could do to her. But he didn’t hurt her.

Another thing we didn’t see was what Damon did with Vicki’s body. Is she really dead? You know, my knowledge of vampire folklore sucks, so is a stake through the heart final? Did she really die or just go undead or something like that? What did Damon do with her exactly? That’s likely a little plot point that will sit on a writer’s room white board for a while until it becomes convenient. Gotta love how TV writers can get away with that sort of thing.

Damon was no doubt scheming in one way and that was with the mayor’s wife. He’s been around the block and knew how to take advantage of a tipsy woman with loose lips. He managed to get quite a good bit of information about “the council.” He even found out his “Uncle Zack,” who he hastily murdered a few episodes ago, was the town’s supplier for Vervain. He also found out that he and Stefan weren’t considered suspects because they arrived at the Founder’s Ball during the day. So I guess the council doesn’t know about the lapis stone rings. He’s certainly going to use this connection to his advantage.

Then yet another plot bunny scampered from Damon when he ran into Bonnie at the party. Caroline gave Bonnie Damon’s crystal as a decoration for her witch costume and what do you know, it burned him as he tried to take it from her. Imagine the coincidence when it turned out that crystal belonged to her great, great something grandmother from 1864. Bonnie might want to heed her grandmother’s warning about jumping into the dark arts of witchcraft. BTW, Jasmine Guy, even though she’s too young to be playing a grandmother, is a very inspired casting choice as Bonnie’s witch grandma. She has a great dark mystique.

This full circle ends with Stefan. His chance at starting over obviously isn’t going to well. We got the sense that by him helping Vicki to control her impulses, he saw hope for him. He so desperately wanted to do the right thing and he hated seeing Elena share this burden. He allowed her though considering how important Vicki was to her friend and brother. No matter what his bad feelings were he had no choice but to trust Damon. He’s not as strong, especially with mind control. It all unraveled though and when he sat on Elena’s porch, feeling all hope was lost, Elena gave some hope back. She wanted to forget too, just like Jeremy, but she couldn’t. She didn’t want to lose how she felt about him. Aww, I guess saving her life paid off after all.

What do you know, it’s sort of a happy ending. As happy as a tragic vampire story on Halloween could be. That’s probably why this show is catching on. Sure, there were some plot holes (Stefan and Elena letting Damon go in with Jeremy by himself after what Vicki did to him?) but considering this is still a new show building from scratch I’ll just let them slide for now. By midseason though everything will be ripe for harsher scrutiny. Now let the ramifications begin!

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About Alice Jester

  • Elle

    I was so glad to have Vicki gone and maybe now I won’t dislike Jeremy as much. These two were driving me batty – get over your issues already!
    This was a pretty good episode – I especially enjoyed Damon’s scene with he council woman, interrogating subtly her about her connection to deceased “uncle” Zack. I’d like to believe that Damon helped with Jeremy out of the goodness of his dead heart, but that strikes me as extremely unlikely.

    FYI – the staking thing really depends on the show and the myth. In the majority of cases, it does mean that even the undead won’t rise again, however, in other cases (i.e. Moonlight) the stake simply paralyzed the vamp until it was pulled out. I think in this case, it’s safe to declare Vicki dead and gone. It would have been easier for the writer’s to follow vamp-TV tradition and have her body disappear as dust in wind, but they went with the “have a mess to clean up” route which is okay too.

    Looking forward to your take on this weeks installment!

    -Elle