Jeremy Likes TV

I like TV. Probably more than any human should.

TV Diary | The Vampire Diaries: “1912”

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TV Diary | The Vampire Diaries – Episode 3.16 – “1912” – Original Airdate: 3/15/12

Episode Grade: B

Some quick thoughts on The Vampire Diaries’ return from hiatus about a month ago [1]. After stumbling a bit over its last handful of episodes for the first time in a season in a half or so, culminating with the forgettable “All My Children,” (its last episode [2] before taking its traditional mid-winter break) “1912” finds TVD trying to course-correct some of its more questionable moves in this back half of its third season with varying degrees of success. With the complete absence of any Originals [3], TVD is free to double down on the slasher storyline that was introduced earlier this season as Alaric’s 437th brush with death in the series’ history – this time at the hands of Dr. Fell, who initially seems fairly slasheriffic herself – predictably ends with him still breathing, but also incarcerated due to his new status as Top Slasher Suspect #1 in a seeming frame job by Dr. Fell. In a rather convenient bit of retrofitting, a goodly chunk of “1912” takes place back in – you guessed it – 1912 where we learn that this isn’t the first time that Mystic Falls has had a psycho killer problem. The common thread seems to be that both outbreaks of crazymurderdeath target town founders and that both killers seemed to have a superhuman ability to withstand death. If you’re a longtime viewer, you can see where this is headed. Basically, “1912” gives the show a chance to – as I said – conveniently retrofit a number of things and draw no small amount of parallels throughout the episode. Serial killer targeting town founders then; serial killer targeting town council members now. Stefan returning to Mystic Falls after a long absence then; Stefan returning to Mystic Falls after an absence now. Tension between Damon and Stefan due to Stefan’s actions then; tension between Damon and Stefan due to Stefan’s actions now. It’s all fairly rote and frankly doesn’t come off too well. Ultimately, the framing device adds little to the episode other than to bludgeon the audience over the head with its point that history can often repeat itself, though a development in the Alaric storyline gives the faintest glimmer of hope that something interesting might be happening. I’ve been critical much of this season over how many times Alaric has seemingly died, mostly because when shows start playing fast and loose with death by raising its specter only to eventually back away, the threat of death becomes empty. With how effectively TVD has used the impactful deaths of characters over its run I didn’t want to see one of the strongest weapons in its arsenal become dulled, so that the show seems to be looking at the effects of how dying multiple times – as Alaric has – has an effect on both his body and his mind is intriguing to say the least. Dr. Fell explains to Alaric that she did, in fact, frame him for the slasher murders but that she did it in a way that the police would look at him as a suspect, clear him, and then not look at him any further since she believes that he IS the killer, but is committing the murders not of his own volition due to the effects that his repeated deaths – as a product of the ring he wears that protects him from death by supernatural means – have had on him. She points to the fact that it’s believed that the 1912 killer suffered similar symptom as that killer – a Gilbert ancestor – was in possession of one of the rings as well. This storyline does hold promise and gives me some hope that the show could possibly be finding its way back after showing signs of wear at best and flirting with falling off of the rails at worst since 2012 began. All of this makes “1912” another episode that sputters, but seems to be headed in the right direction. At the same time, however, I kind of want my old TVD back. Preferably soon.

[1] I suck.
[2] Which I didn’t review here. Quick synopsis: It wasn’t so much with the good.
[3] With the exception of Rebekah, who isn’t really doing any Original-y business other than speaking to Mayor Lockwood about the mysterious tree that was first glimpsed (and yawned at) at the end of “All My Children.”

Miscellany:
*From my notes prior to the reveal at the end that Dr. Fell is trying to help Alaric since she thinks he is the slasher: It would be so much cooler if it turned out that Alaric was the killer after all. BOOM.
*Bonnie’s mother Abby has apparently decided to go through with her transition to becoming a vampire after Damon’s actions in “All My Children.” Let me check… yup – still don’t care about her.
*The introduction of a super-strong vampire in the 1912 flashbacks named Sage who taught Damon how to handle his vampirism seems to be set up to be a recurring character who will appear any minute in the present-day, if years of watching television has taught me anything.
*As part of trying to re-assimilate Stefan back into the fabric of Mystic Falls, Damon and Rebekah are trying to force him to feed, saying he’s worthless to everyone when he’s trying to go cold turkey. Conveniently enough, Elena and Matt show up in an alley where this tough love approach is taking place just in time to see Stefan feeing on a helpless woman. Hello, new obstacle in the inevitable Stefan/Elena reunion.
*Speaking of Elena and Matt, their heart-to-heart conversation about her feelings for both of the Salvatore brothers may be yet another roadblock because I’m pretty sure he admitted that he was still in love with her.
*”I could pull out her tongue. Chop it up into little tiny pieces and feed it to the squirrels.”
*”You know, you don’t have to hide your true intentions. If you want more sex, just say so.”
*”His bitterness consumes him. He is blackness and bile.”
*”Sometimes it pays to be the normal one in a town full of vampires. I’m practically invisible.”
*”You wear a ring that lets you cheat death, Ric. How many times can you die before it changes you?”

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Written by jeremylikestv

April 24, 2012 at 11:31 am

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