The Vampire Diaries, Ep. 3.13, “Bringing Out the Dead”: Parental shakeups give weight to transitional episode

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The Vampire Diaries Review, Season 3, Episode 13: “Bringing Out the Dead”
Written by Turi Meyer and Al Septien
Directed by Jeffrey Hunt
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on the CW

This week, on The Vampire Diaries: The Salvatores scheme, the Forbes grieve, and Klaus has a family reunion. Plus, there’s a serial killer in town.

It’s a transitional week in Mystic Falls as one mystery is solved in time for another to ramp up. After weeks of speculation, we find out Mommie Dearest is in the coffin but, luckily for Klaus, she’s in a forgiving mood. It’s past time for this reveal, which has felt fairly obvious for a while, and though parts of the episode feel a bit padded, this element is handled well. Esther’s appearance may not be earth-shattering, but Klaus’ reaction more than makes up for it. Joseph Morgan is great in this scene, and a lot of fun in the episode as a whole, bringing both maniacal relish and sullen petulance to Klaus. The return of Elijah is particularly entertaining and we can be sure Rebekah will have her fun next week. Finn and Kol have some rather large shadows to step out from if they’re going to distinguish themselves, but this whole crazy family is such fun that presumably the newbies will follow suit.

While the Originals are reunited, the Forbes are torn apart. Bill Forbes is the latest in the series’ rather massive body count and feels like the right choice for the first character to successfully reject transition. His choice of death, and his family’s decision to honor this, is a wise move- Jack Coleman has been a reliable presence on the series and will be missed, but considering how imbalanced the nonhuman to human ratio has become, turning him into a vampire would be out of character, too easy, and perhaps worst of all for The Vampire Diaries, predictable. Coleman and Candice Accola nail their final scene together- Accola is always great at comedy; this week she demonstrates her range.

Now that everyone’s favorite band’s back together, the main question becomes the identity of the killer attacking the Founders. Perhaps most intriguingly, how does this person know where Ric’s weapons are stashed but not know about his ring? Speaking of, what’s going on with that? Last time, it brought him back to life but didn’t heal his wounds. Has it repaired itself, or is this a snafu? Shouldn’t he have come back to life without any change to his wounds, ie, shouldn’t his heart still’ve been perforated from Elena’s stab? Hopefully an answer is coming. As for our mystery murderer, these seem like human attacks, but who can tell- Jeremy seems like an easy guess, based on his absence, but the attack on Ric makes this unlikely.

A few elements this week don’t quite come together. Bonnie and Abby feel completely disconnected from the story. Yes, they’re dealing with their personal baggage, but even C plots are usually more integrated. Besides, mid-mojo seems like a strange time to have emotional confrontations. Stefan and Damon’s play for time at Klaus’ dinner also feels a bit too on the nose- the dinner scenes with Stefan, Damon, Klaus, and Elijah should be incredibly entertaining, based on the actors’ charisma alone, but with so much else going on, their role as filler, both for Bonnie and the episode, is keenly felt. Also, we learn this week that three generation of Petrova doppelgangers have dealt with feuding brotherly affections. It’s one thing to have certain thematic threads, but this feels like a bit much. Thankfully, we don’t get any flashbacks (yet)- two doppelgangers are enough to keep track of at the moment.

Finally, while it’s nice to see Matt back, however briefly, he’s completely isolated from everyone else. It’s a common problem in these types of shows- as characters become increasingly involved in the supernatural, the normal people tend to fade to the background. Usually this is addressed by tying them in to the supernatural element (Caroline is a perfect example of this), but an overreliance on this thread leads to a super v. normie imbalance, and The Vampire Diaries is certainly imbalanced at the moment. The series has done well in the past identifying and rectifying problem areas- here’s hoping they spot and adjust this one, and soon.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Anyone else love that a “slow week” on The Vampire Diaries is one where only one recurring character dies? And who else thinks Caroline’ll go *dark* when she finds out the identity of her father’s attacker? Post your thoughts in the comments section below!

Kate Kulzick

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