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The Vampire Diaries Ep. 3.18, “The Murder of One”: Builds nicely towards season’s endgame

The Vampire Diaries Ep. 3.18, “The Murder of One”: Builds nicely towards season’s endgame

The Vampire Diaries Review, Season 3, Episode 18: “The Murder of One”
Written by Caroline Dries
Directed by J. Miller Tobin
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on the CW

This week, on The Vampire Diaries: Rebekah has fun with Damon, Ric gets his Hyde on, and Finn and Bonnie have really bad days

With only four episodes left until the season finale, The Vampire Diaries has kicked into gear. Klaus has been a major villain for over a year now and the Salvatores have been trying to kill him for most of that time. The writers have managed any number of plausible delaying tactics for them, but eventually, Stefan and Damon have to either succeed in killing, or at least (semi-)permanently restraining, him or stop trying to do so. Otherwise, their increasingly repetitive vows of vengeance against him will turn from emotionally resonant to pathetic.

The writers know this, and so they throw this week’s curveball into play, via a wonderfully executed misdirect with Sage. It’s by far the most interesting delaying tactic yet, setting up significant stakes which will assumedly come into play for the finale. The moral questions raised by this are interesting, though unfortunately most are not discussed in this episode. As Klaus has kept most of his family coffined for so long, he should theoretically have by far the most sires. Finn and Kol will have some, and Rebekah more, but Klaus has between decades and centuries on them all. If they can’t find out which bloodline the Salvatores belong to, should they roll the dice and kill Klaus anyways? If they are part of Klaus’ bloodline, does that change anything?

As it currently stands, our protagonists have the ability to kill every vampire on Earth. Yes, we like Stefan, Damon, Caroline, and Tyler (and Bonnie still likes her mom), but do their lives outweigh the multitudes of potential victims across the entire world? More so than even that, the morality of the series is hazy at best. A majority of the characters are vampires and good guys (usually). Being a vampire, in this mythology, doesn’t necessarily equate with being a killer. Does The Vampire Diaries more closely align to the morality of Buffy (Demons are bad, mmkay. Other than Anya, Clem, Angel, and sometimes Spike) or Angel (Demons are people too!)? It’s the question most recently discussed by Battlestar Galactica– can genocide be okay? It will be interesting to see whether the series addresses these questions, or if they remain subtextual. Here’s hoping they get at least a little screentime.

There’s plenty in the episode for those less concerned with large, sweeping genre themes, however. Appropriate time is given to Ric’s condition and his culpability in Caroline’s father’s death. The early scene between Elena and Caroline is strong and Caroline’s talk with Ric also has the ring of sincerity. Candice Accola continues to be one of the series’ MVPs, bringing heart and humor to her scenes. Kat Graham is more of a surprise this week. Bonnie rarely gets the most interesting storylines, and the ease with which she undoes Esther’s spell is frankly ridiculous, but her meltdown outside of the Originals’ mansion is well earned and well executed. Bonnie’s been through the ringer over the past 3 seasons, but she’s rarely shown much of this and when she starts to break down, it feels somewhat false. Graham saves it though, bringing weight and exhaustion to her performance and showing this as the moment that finally makes Bonnie’s resolve, and façade, crack.

Elsewhere in the episode, Rebekah has fun bleeding Damon. It’s hard to feel too bad for him, considering his treatment of her, and his treatment of others in the past (Tyler’s uncle, for example), but the scenes still play well. Claire Holt is good as the woman scorned. It will be a shame to see her go, should Rebekah meet up with some oak in the coming weeks. Kol remains disposable and Klaus, while fun, feels unsustainable as a presence on the show over the long run. Notably missing this week is Elijah. One of the more popular of the Originals, and definitely the most likable, many fans are presumably hoping the Salvatores are of his bloodline (and Elena’s probably right there with ya). Hopefully he will feature more prominently in the closing episodes of the season.

As if the Originals drama and the Bonnie drama and the Jeremy drama (nice to see him again, however briefly) weren’t enough, EvilRic has some ‘splainin to do. Bonnie’s herb mix seemed like much too easy of a fix and it’s great to see that proven correct. Everything is moving forward nicely, building towards the finale both plot- and character-wise, and just when the episode starts to lean overly towards the heady (genocide) and melodramatic (in Stefan and Elena’s well-handled heart to heart), Caroline Dries brings it right back to the show’s fabulously pulpy roots, with a closing line from Damon to make any camp-loving fan’s heart go pitter-pat. Oh, silly Ric and his psychotic vampire-hating alter ego getting everyone into trouble. Only on The Vampire Diaries.

What did you think of this episode? Do you like where the season’s headed? Any bloodline predictions? Post your thoughts in the comments below!

Kate Kulzick