The Vampire Diaries Ep. 3.14, “Dangerous Liaisons”: Interesting twist muddies the water for fans

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The Vampire Diaries Review, Season 3, Episode 14: “Dangerous Liaisons”
Written by Caroline Dries
Directed by Chris Grismer
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on the CW

This week, on The Vampire Diaries: It’s party time in Mystic Falls, which means ladies in beautiful dresses, men in fabulous tuxes, and self-destructive behavior and scheming galore.

After last week’s transitional episode, closing off the coffin mystery and introducing the Founders killer, one might expect this week to pick up where we left off, with Ric bloody in Elena’s house. Instead, after a brief mention, we’re swept off into new intrigue with the Originals. On another show, this may be cause for concern, but The Vampire Diaries has proven itself more than capable of balancing multiple intricate storylines.

As ever, the drama this week isn’t derived from twisty plots or shocking developments, but the characters. The writers have done an excellent job making Rebekah and particularly Elijah sympathetic and getting the audience invested in them such that we look beyond their initial antagonistic introductions. Elijah spent most of season two terrorizing and controlling Elena. Rebekah was introduced as a romantic rival for Stefan’s affections and, assumedly after this episode, Damon’s as well.  By all accounts, neither should be high in the audience’s book. However, the characters are so entertainingly written and charismatically performed by Claire Holt and Daniel Gillies that, with their fates now tied to Klaus’s, it’s hard to know who to root for.

Most of the rest of the drama comes from the continuing Stefan/Elena/Damon love triangle. While the rest of the characters have been well served in their relationships, this one is starting to get a little stale. Nothing has changed or developed in quite a while and, though it makes sense for Elena to not know how she feels, for Damon to be in the exact same place emotionally, and for Stefan to be unwilling to reconnect with his emotions, if nothing is going to move forward, backwards, or even shuffle sideways, spending so much time on it becomes tiresome. Damon’s hook up with Rebekah seems designed to shake things up a bit, but there’s little reason it should- if he and Elena aren’t together, as it is made clear to him they aren’t, who he spends his time with and how should be of little importance. How is this any different from Andie, his previous Elena distraction?

Setting up Caroline and Klaus as a potential couple could make for an interesting few episodes, but as the show has made clear time and again, it takes a long time to change a vampire. Lexie spent decades bringing Stefan back from the edge. If a few well-chosen words from Caroline are all it takes to show Klaus the error of his ways, it will be a serious disappointment. However, the writers have earned the benefit of the doubt for now and playing Klaus’s crazy against Caroline’s happy perkiness should make for some good scenes. Here’s hoping he doesn’t get too attached- we’ve seen what Klaus does to people he likes when they inevitably “disappoint” him.

After some initial concerns, Esther looks to be an excellent addition and a not insignificant element of this is how quickly she’s lost the garb and long hair and adjusted to fit her new surroundings. Though her children were all around for balls and waltzes and the like, she hasn’t experienced, we’re told, anything beyond her initial life with her family in Mystical Falls 1000 years ago. Bonnie sits the week out, though her ancestors do get name-checked during this week’s expo-dump (guess Emily Bennett’s witchy ancestors were all on the male side, if Esther calls them the Bennett line). This seems like a smart move, as there’s plenty of family drama here without her and her mom.

The only real weak point for now, besides the somewhat stuck-in-the-mud love triangle, is Matt, whose connection to Rebekah feels tentative at best. It’s a stretch for him to be at the party to start with, but he’s quickly demoted to red shirt status. If the writers can’t find something better to do with him, they should bench him until a storyline needs him, not the other way around. Jeremy had run his course for a while, so they shipped him off to Denver. Matt doesn’t even need an excuse to not be around- he’s made it perfectly clear he prefers his life drama-free, though, considering this, it feels strange for him to stay in Mystic Falls at all. Perhaps he’ll hit the road after senior year? Matt can be an interesting character and, as pretty much the last human around, he has a somewhat unique perspective. It’s a shame he’s not being used to his potential.

All in all, another solid episode of The Vampire Diaries in what has been an entertaining season, to say the least. It’ll be hard to top waltzes, gorgeous hair and makeup, perfectly tailored dresses and suits, and blood-spiked champagne, but perhaps some movement on the Founders killer front next week will do just that.

What did you think of the episode? Are you for or against Esther’s plan, now that killing Klaus means killing Rebekah and Elijah? Am I crazy for being so disinterested in the Salvatore drama? Post your thoughts below!

Kate Kulzick

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