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TV Review: The Vampire Diaries Invites In “The House Guest”

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The CW’s The Vampire Diaries is taking about six weeks off, as many shows do at this time of year. As such, the series decided to make sure they went out with a bang before their break, and did they ever deliver! Unexpected deaths, secrets revealed, relationship pathos, a singing vampire, and a surprise at the end that perhaps no one saw coming. Oh my!

While much of the last weeks have been spent dealing with Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and his witch minions, Jonas (Randy J. Goodwin) and son Luka (Bryton James, The Young and the Restless, Family Matters), those three now appear to be out of play, at least two permanently. Elijah is dispatched by a special dagger. Jonas and Luka show some really neat, previously unknown to us viewers, magic, as Luka somehow invisibly manifests himself in the Salvatore house to remove the dagger from Elijah and bring him back to life. Katherine (Nina Dobrev) sees the dagger moving and calls for Damon (Ian Somerhalder), who, even though he doesn’t know who the unseen assailant is, fries Luka to a crisp. Jonas then goes on a revenge kick, stirring up all kinds of trouble at The Grill, before Katherine and Stefan (Paul Wesley) permanently take him out of the game in Elena’s (Also Dobrev) bathroom.

Luka and Jonas are just the latest non-villains to check in to town and meet their demise. Previously, Rose (Lauren Cohan) similarly died. Whereas Rose’s death, though, is not the fault of our band of heroes, Jonas and Luka’s somewhat are. It’s sad, really. They are sympathetic men. If only they had agreed to help Stefan, as he asked. It really pounds home the point that what is going on is some dangerous stuff. Magic and supernatural creatures are often portrayed as tame on the series, especially the main characters, but flashes of danger and death belay that conclusion. While Jonas’s death is really his own fault, his motivation to save his daughter is pure, as proven by his final gift to Bonnie (Katerina Graham). As such, it is hard to blame him for what he does. I am really anxious to see how Jonas’s daughter will take the news, and will she turn on the people that will surely rescue her after she learns of their part in her family’s death?

Luka and Jonas, along with Katherine’s actions in this episode, also demonstrate complicated characters. The Vampire Diaries prefers shades of gray to black and white heroes and villains, and they are the latest good example of this characteristic. Damon, of course, has always struggled to balance his dark and light sides. But seeing the people that Damon, Stefan, and Elena fight against being portrayed as not necessarily bad guys, too, makes the story so much more intriguing. I look for Klaus, the forthcoming big bad of the season, to be a little more on the villainous side, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Katherine becomes even more mysterious this week, willingly assisting Stefan and Damon in the take down of the male witches, as well as helping in the research that will allow them to kill Klaus. This seems out of character for her, as she often tries to kill the brothers and their friends. I’m not the only one who thinks so, as Damon also finds her behavior strange. Why Katherine is being friendly is not revealed this week, but there is surely a selfish bend to her actions. Katherine has been shown over and over again to care only about Katherine. Surely, she cannot be trusted in any life and death confrontation.

Even more interesting, Katherine decides to make a move on Damon, and Damon rejects her. Damon is in love with Katherine, and has been since they met. Does this mean he is getting over those feelings? I find that doubtful. I think Damon is trying to protect his heart, knowing he cannot trust Katherine. As such, if she continues to be helpful and continues to show an interest in him, I think Damon will eventually act on his feelings for her. I also think this would make a great arc, and would like to see the Salvatore brothers each dating a woman who looks exactly the same as his brother’s girlfriend. Do I dare to hope this is what will happen? Of course, Katherine surely is just trying to get in good with at least one one of the group before betraying them all.

I think the only moment that felt fairly unauthentic this week was when Bonnie asks Elena’s permission to date her brother, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen). Elena’s reaction is just plain weird. It looks like the director purposely has her make a face that doesn’t seem to indicate she is OK with the situation to build false suspense Seconds later, her blessing seems totally sincere. The two do not match up, and Elena would never keep Bonnie squirming just to torment her. It wasn’t the reaction that Elena should have had. Yes, Elena would have conflicting emotions when presented with this arrangement, but it was just so poorly done, in my opinion, which seemed out of step with the usually great execution in the show.

Bonnie and Jeremy themselves are a little strange. Bonnie is definitely weirded out when she first starts to feel something more than a basic fondness for her best friend’s younger brother. While Jeremy is gung-ho immediately, it takes Bonnie longer to warm up. I really like them together, and have enjoyed seeing this natural, organic relationship rise up between them. Any hesitations are beginning to fade away, but not too fast. This was not a plot I was on board with originally, but it has been done in such a way I find it hard to complain. Quite nice.

Almost every person important to the story now knows what is going on in Mystic Falls. This week, Alaric (Matthew Davis) asks Elena to consider telling her Aunt Jenna (Sara Canning) about the vampires and such, though Elena has yet to make a decision. Alaric doesn’t feel like he can have a true relationship with Jenna until he can be honest with her, which is understandable. I kept expecting Elena to invite Jenna in to talk to all of her friends and fill her in on the family secrets, but she never does. It’s a shame, as Jenna is in constant danger from the threats, and I really feel she could better handle herself if she knew what she was up against.

However, I find it likely that the choice has been made for Elena with the surprise visit from Isobel (Mia Kirshner, The L Word) at the end of the episode. Isobel is Alaric’s ex-wife, who he tells Jenna is dead. Plus Isobel is Elena’s biological mother. I find it highly unlikely that whatever reason Isobel came to town can be disguised from Jenna after such a blatant confrontation. Jenna has already been asking questions after Uncle John (David Anders) drops cryptic hints. I do not see it likely that Jenna will take simple answers and let the subject drop. I’m excited! Jenna will totally be a wild card in the mix, if she survives the season.

Besides Jenna, Mystic Falls’s other character in the dark is Matt (Zach Roerig). It’s been a big issue that has kept Caroline (Candice Accola) away from him. She worries about trying to carry on a relationship with someone now that she is a vampire. Yet, she can’t bring herself to stay apart from Matt. Caroline sings a declaration of love to him that was a high point of the episode. Accola has a voice! Minutes later, though, Matt is lying on the floor bleeding to death and Caroline must use her blood to save him, though he did not die fully, and thus did not become a vampire himself.

I thought that Matt was the next death, and I was kind of excited that he should die just after reconnecting with Caroline, but also while still being in the dark about so much. He has become a little boring, written into the corner he is in. However, that all changes in an instant. To say that Matt reacts badly is a massive understatement. He immediately connects vampires to his sister Vicki’s (Kayla Ewell) demise last year, perhaps even a little too quickly, as if he has already suspected something along these lines. Just like that, a plot I thought was long over is brought back to life with a vengeance, and sets Matt up to have an exciting spring as he learns hidden details and puts pieces together. How will he react once he hears the whole story? I honestly have no idea. I also worry that he, like Jenna, may not live to see season three.

Who will indeed live? And where has Tyler (Michael Trevino) gone? Be sure to catch The Vampire Diaries when it returns to the CW on April 7th. The series airs Thursday nights at 8 p.m.

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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
  • http://notesfromnancy.blogspot.com Nancy

    Klaus is definitely going to be a villain. His only goal is to use Moonstone and various characters (ensuring their deaths) to better the vampire world. I would consider Jonas a villain for sure. Will Elijah be back? Perhaps. Wouldn’t be surprising. Isobel created Elena with John Gilbert. Doesn’t that mean daughter is somewhat vampire, too?