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TV Diary | The Vampire Diaries: “Dangerous Liaisons”

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TV Diary | The Vampire Diaries – Episode 3.14 – “Dangerous Liaisons” – Original Airdate: 2/9/12

Episode Grade: A-

While The Vampire Diaries’ previous episode, “Bringing Out The Dead,” was about blowing up the season’s status quo it’s apparent that the aim of its subsequent installment, “Dangerous Liaisons,” was to set this third year’s endgame in motion. “Dangerous Liaisons” fully introduced the audience to the Michaelsons, the Original vampire family that Klaus has been scheming to reunite for much of this season, giving us our first extensive look at not only the newest siblings – Kol and Finn – but also family matriarch Esther who, in addition to somehow pulling together an 18th century ball for Mystic Falls’ VIPs to attend a single day after COMING OUT OF A COFFIN, revealed her ultimate plot to Elena – killing her entire family. Seems strange that Esther (and 4/5ths of her entire family) would just return from decades-long [1] nap only to immediately tear the familial unit apart again but in a conversation with Elena [2] she speaks of a need to right things after being the one who turned Klaus and the rest of her children into the “abomination” she now sees them as. Knowing TVD, I’d be shocked if we’re to take this revelation at face value. There’s nothing in Esther’s character to suggest that her assertion should be taken at face value and when taking into consideration the fact that TVD doesn’t seem to want to pull the trigger on the Stefan-as-big-bad storyline that I’ve mused on in the past and that the show seems to be going for a softening of the Klaus character – more on that later – it seems that there’s going to be a big, gaping hole at the show’s villain center and I’d fully expect Esther to fill that void by at least the end of this season. Esther also enlists Elena to help her carry out her plot [3], which, beyond the intrigue of Elena being duped by likely the show’s next major villain, puts her in conflict with the principled Elijah after Elijah attempts to form an alliance with Elena prior to her meeting with Esther only to have Elena not only participate in Esther’s plot but also lie to Elijah’s face afterwards. Elijah has proven to be a good ally – not to mention a fan favorite – in his intermittent time on the show so pitting him as a potential adversary could provide TVD with some interesting options to play around with. “Dangerous Liaisons” also did a commendable job of introducing us to the newest Michaelson offspring, Kol and Finn. Kol seems to be positioned as a psychopath in the same vein as Klaus circa season two, as here he was more than willing to help his sister, Rebekah, in her plot for revenge against Elena by striking at Matt. However, he runs afoul of a pissed off Damon [4] and gets thrown off of a balcony in full view of the partygoers in the process. Meanwhile, Finn appears to be much more staid but the fact that he’s the one sibling with full awareness of Esther’s plan and seems to be a willing participant in said plan is most certainly an unexpected development. Despite being an episode that largely existed to put the pieces in place for the rest of the season, “Dangerous Liaisons” also managed to integrate a handful of new characters into the show’s universe while also raising some intriguing questions for the duration of the season. Not a bad effort at all.

[1] And, in Esther’s case, centuries-long.
[2] One held with the full cooperation of Stefan and in the face of numerous protests from Damon – character switch complete.
[3] Esther’s plan involves casting a binding spell on her children, in essence linking them together so that when one is killed, they all die. Or some such thing like that. In order to pull off the spell, she needs all five of her children to consume the blood of the doppelganger, thus Elena’s involvement.
[4] Reeling after his admission of love to Elena and her less-than-enthusiastic response to said admission.

Miscellany:
*I’m a wrestling fan (I know… it’s in my blood and I can’t get rid of it) so I can’t help comparing what TVD is doing with Klaus to what happens in wrestling when a heel (villain) character starts to gain a large amount of popularity from the audience and gets turned into a fan favorite. We’re seeing Klaus – who from the moment the character was introduced (and even prior to that for that matter) has been an incredibly feared one – being reduced to being ordered around by his mother and taking a backseat to her when it comes to villainous machinations. How much more emasculating (and thus sympathetic) can it get than that? He’s also obviously developing some feelings for Caroline and a Klaus/Caroline pairing, as I’ve mentioned in the past, could be an interesting one for the show to explore. Oftentimes, taking a really, really good villain – which Klaus certainly was – and making him sympathetic and turning him good (or good-ish) galvanizes the character even more. That could be happening here.
*Looks like the redeeming of Stefan continues as in “Dangerous Liaisons” he helps set up Elena’s meeting with Esther against Damon’s wishes, causing Elena to note that at least through everything he still lets her make her own decisions, something that Damon most certainly is not capable of, at least not now. She also asks Stefan if she’s wrong in thinking that Damon is more concerned with protecting her while Stefan is only concerned with killing Klaus. He responds in the affirmative, but it’s clear that the answer gave him pause, as does his assertion to Elena later in the episode that he can’t turn his feelings back on because when he does all he feels is pain. The Elena/Damon/Stefan triangle will certainly come to a head by or before the season finale at this rate.
*While Good Damon has been interesting to watch this season, his hookup at the end of the episode with Rebekah – no big thing, she’s just trying to kill the woman he loves – was a nice return to the fun, destructive Asshole Damon of the show’s first two seasons.
*”Dangerous Liaisons” didn’t explicitly answer this question but I think it bears mentioning: If the siblings are one, does that mean they all now have Klaus’s hybrid powers?
*Still very intrigued by where this slasher storyline is headed. I can’t help but get the sense that Matt’s the next target. TVD has spent more time than usual on the Matt character of late and that could be because all of that added attention will make it more impactful if he goes. Much like my concerns with the Bonnie character, I just don’t see where Matt really fits in the universe of the show. His demise could end up being the Jenna-death of this third season if the show plays it right.
**No one does completely superfluous party episodes like TVD. Why not go all Dangerous Liaisons?
*”Can we go back to the old Stefan who cared whether Elena lived or died?” “That’s your job now.”
*”I’ve met a lot of people, and you don’t particularly stand out.”
*”Maybe you should stop being a controlling dick, Damon.”
*”No, I’m mad at you because I love you.” “Well, maybe that’s the problem.”
*”I get it. I care too much. I’m a liability. How ironic is that?”
*Episode embedded below via Hulu, as usual.

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Written by jeremylikestv

February 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm

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