'The Vampire Diaries' Review: 'A View to a Kill'
The Vampire Diaries can still do intense. Damn. "A View to a Kill" is a crazy episode that takes a giant and unexpected step in the search for The Cure. I don't know why I thought the series would wait until May to get to The Cure. I've seen the previous three seasons. The pace of The Vampire Diaries isn't like the pace of any other network dramas.
Kol wasn't a compelling character last season. Among the five Originals, Kol was the second worst, with the guy whose name I don't remember nabbing the top spot. Rebecca Sonnenshine's script captured something different for Kol. Since his return, Kol's been a better character, a compelling character whose presence was felt in each scene. Joseph Morgan has a similar presence. Bad guys, villains, whatever you want to call them, should command the audience's attention. ANGEL's Holtz had the same kind of presence. Whereas the Originals are loud and dramatic and YA versions of Dostoevskian siblings, Holtz's menace was quiet and exacting. He didn't raise his voice, he spoke with a kind of poetic eloquence, and he seemed always framed in shadow. One of my favorite moments in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer's third season is the moment the Mayor becomes the Big Bad. He'd been bad, but he goofed off, made jokes and acted silly. In the library, though, without light and little demon spiders hanging out with him, he suddenly commands the audience's eye and ear and tenses them up even from the safe confines of the viewer's couch.
Kol was so relaxed when he initially walked into the Gilbert home with earbuds in his ear, as well as beforehand when he stood outside listening to music, as casual as a person waiting for a SEPTA bus. The casual coolness of Kol was what he lacked last season. Maybe he didn't lack it, but it didn't feel distinctive the way it felt in tonight's episode. Elena and Kol converse, make alcoholic drinks together, and talk about a truce. Kol considers it because he accepts everything at face value, apparently. Meanwhile, Elena's texting with her friends because they're vital to killing Kol. Kol leaves. Elena can't stall any longer. Bonnie's trapped in her house with her father and vampire mother, and Matt's waiting for Stefan to make a move for Rebekah's dagger he never makes. Damon's stuck in the Salvatore prison because he's compelled to kill Jeremy.
The Originals hearing is good, though; so, when Jeremy returns and blurts out what happened with Bonnie even though Kol barely made it around the block, it's not a surprise that Kol returns angry. He bursts into the house and stalks the Gilberts. Jeremy's going to get his arm ripped off to stop the completion of the hunter's map. Elena's going to die for making Kool look like a fool. Elena tried to learn more about Silas and The Cure during her time stalling with Kol, but Kol didn't say anything the audience hadn't heard from him before. Elena brushes off the 'hell on earth' stuff as nonsense. Who wants to bet Kol's right? Kol's line about hell on earth and its relationship to Kol's sense of faith took me by surprise. I didn't expect such an earnest and sincere statement about faith on a CW show. Anyway, Kol gets cornered and killed by Jeremy. Klaus watches from outside, having just rushed from the Salvatores to intervene on his brother's behalf. The Original vampire unleashes unholy hell outside, promises to burn the Gilbert house to the ground, and the kill the Gilberts without a thought.
The plan actually works, which is a triumph for a show that always screws with its own plans. I expected the plan to fail and for the Originals to have the power again. Thankfully, it doesn't happen. Bonnie uses her power of Expression to trap Klaus in the Gilbert living room. Elena counted on Stefan to dagger Rebekah. Stefan and Rebekah shared a romantic evening in the high school gymnasium. Rebekah caught onto Stefan's act and delivered a sincere monologue about why she wants to be human, why she's on his side, and Stefan doesn't do what he was ordered to. Rebekah reacts to news of her brother's death badly. There always needs to be a wildcard.
"A View to a Kill" is refreshingly clear of love triangle drama, except for the end when Damon points out Stefan's bed-sharing with Rebekah, which makes Elena sad. Klaus interrogates Damon about Elena. They're scenes are basically the same as Rebekah's interrogation of Stefan in "After School Special." I get it, writers. Elena's a source of tension for the brothers. Their relationship is strained. Let's get them to the same place Pacey and Dawson got to in the penultimate episode of the series in which Pacey realized all Joey wanted for them was to be friends again and all they wanted was her. The Salvatores need to let Elena go so that they may find some peace.
The gang's going to find The Cure next week. Very cool. Shane's getting out of prison to lead them, despite the fact he's clearly insane and untrustworthy. We'll see if The Cure if as meaningless as the sun and the moon curse. There's a whole lot of story left to tell this season.
-Jeremy nearly killed Abby because his hunter instinct kicked in. Steven R. McQueen wouldn't be described as 'bad ass' by anyone who's seen his extensive work, which I, truthfully, have seen. McQueen was a bad ass in that scene. McQueen then got to rip off his shirt when the tattoo completed over his body.
-Stefan and Rebekah's date was sweet. Claire Holt's enchanting whenever she's playing Rebekah's sweet side, i.e. the Rebekah who just wants to attend school dances and be a normal girl who likes boys who play music outside of her house in an act of love. Stefan's tribute to The Breakfast Club was lame. I also enjoyed Stefan's memories of Lexi. I think the writers would like to have that death back. Lexi is awesome.
-Damon explained why he's a bad guy to Klaus in an instance of retconning. Disagree with me, TVD fans, but Damon explaining that he does bad things because he fills a role and that he's purposeful when he's bad and should be forgiven is a load of nonsense. Damon's going to be redeemable regardless if the writers retcon him. Ian Somerhalder's beloved by millions of women. Damon could kill Caroline and still be a sympathetic character. Klaus, Damon explained, is different because Klaus is bad to be bad--there's no rhyme or reason to it. No, I'm not buying this.
-No Caroline for the second straight episode. Not cool.
-Rebecca Sonnenshine wrote the episode. Brad Turner directed it.