06 October 2011

The Vampire Diaries S3 E3 "The End of the Affair"

Spoilers Ahead

I don't know what it was about the third episode of this season but it was lacking. Maybe it was a matter of too many flashbacks. Maybe it was the somewhat unbelievable storyline. Or the anti-climactic resolutions. But just when it seemed the season was starting to progress it goes and takes a step back. I need to start looking up new ways to say "disappointing."

"The End of the Affair" starts off back in Mystic Falls after Elena, Damon and Alaric's field trip to the Smoky Mountains. Damon's morning drinking is interrupted by a phone call from Katherine, of all people. Damn--her again. She won't tell Damon how she knows but she informs him that Stefan and Klaus are in Chicago. Damon immediately retrieves Elena and prepares for yet another road trip. Hint: there are these newfangled inventions called airplanes and they happen to move a lot faster than automobiles.

Anyway, Stefan and Klaus are indeed in the Windy City. Both have been there before but Stefan claims he blacked out most of his Ripper days. Our first flashback takes us to Prohibition-era Chicago, where Stefan dresses like a member of the Rat Pack and hangs out at a speakeasy imbibing illicit alcohol and draining innocent women. He also meets an intriguing blonde vampire lady named Rebecca. She has an English accent so it's instantly obvious she's...spoiler alert...Klaus's sister. I hate it when something is that transparent before the big reveal. It's quite disenchanting. But whatever happened in the past Klaus is in Chicago now to pay a visit to his "favourite" witch in order to find out what went wrong with his hybrids.

It turns out the witch--Gloria--was the singer at the speakeasy. The club is still there and Gloria, thanks to some anti-aging herbs and spells, runs the place. She tells Klaus that since they can't ask the first witch about the curse (she's the one who placed in on Klaus) they'll just have to get his sister Rebecca's help. Convenient. Meanwhile Stefan's found a photo of him and Klaus back in the day and he's completely confused because he has no recollection of ever meeting Klaus before he showed up in Mystic Falls. Hmm...mysterious. But not really.

Once they get to Chicago Damon gives Elena a quick tour of Stefan's previous depravity so she'll be prepared for seeing him at his worst. Besides giving her Stefan's diary he takes her to Stefan's old apartment where he has the names of all his victims written in a secret compartment. It's a long list. Then Damon does something completely stupid: he leaves Elena alone in the apartment while he goes out looking for Stefan. I feel so let down.

Elsewhere Klaus has taken Stefan to a warehouse where he proceeds to tell Stefan a bit about their past and we're treated to another flashback. It seems Klaus and Stefan didn't get along at all at first, mainly because Klaus didn't like that Stefan was dating his sister. But over time Klaus came to appreciate Stefan and even learned some of his favourite tricks from him (like compelling an angry husband to drink his wife's blood). I should probably also mention that in the flashback Rebecca was wearing the necklace we've since seen Elena wearing and that she claimed it was given to her by the first witch. See where this is heading? So dissatisfying. Anyway, back in the present Klaus locates Rebecca's body and removes the dagger from her heart. Despite their past romance Stefan doesn't recognize her. Since Rebecca is taking her time reviving, Klaus decides to take Stefan to his old apartment for more reminiscing.

Of course Elena is alone at the apartment when she hears Klaus and Stefan approaching. She decides to hide in the secret cupboard, which is precisely where Klaus takes Stefan in order to show him the "secret" list of names. Stefan sees Elena there but basically ignores her, instead choosing to distract Klaus with a bottle of 1918 single malt scotch. After they've gone Damon finally returns, uncharacteristically unconcerned about what happened and how much worse it could have been. Instead he's come up with a cunning plan to distract Klaus while Elena deals with Stefan.

Back at the club Klaus and Stefan reminisce some more, along with more flashbacks. It seems they really were BFFs back in the day (Stefan is even the one who gave Klaus the idea of becoming the hybrid king of the paranormals). But then one fateful night the speakeasy is raided (not uncommon) and the police are shooting wooden bullets (very uncommon)--time for Klaus and Rebecca to book. In the melee Rebecca drops her necklace. But Klaus takes a moment to compel Stefan to forget them both. Best to tie up loose ends, as Klaus later tells Rebecca before stabbing her in the chest for choosing Stefan over him.

As Stefan listens to the story he notices Damon off to the side motioning him to follow. Making an excuse that he needs a "real" drink he follows Damon outside where they have yet another confrontation (how many times can Stefan tell Damon to stop following him?) But Damon steps aside so Elena can talk to Stefan. She asks him to come home and then tries to stab him with a syringe. Sigh. Stefan snaps at her that it's over, he doesn't want to come home and he doesn't want to see her again. Basically he's a total selfish whiner. Meanwhile Damon is inside being stabbed with a drink umbrella by Klaus and nearly staked (Gloria steps in and tells them to take it outside). Stefan returns to Klaus and Damon returns to Elena ready to leave town. But wait--why didn't Klaus stake Damon? He wants him dead--was it really too much of an effort to step outside of the club to do it? Lame. And lazy.

Back in Mystic Falls Caroline is still being held captive by her dad. I believe the word you're looking for right now is creepy. Besides keeping her restrained in a steel chair, daddy is also using atomized vervain to keep her weak. He gets her to tell him how she walks in the sun and then he removes her ring. It turns out the room she's in was built expressly for vampire torture. Behind her is a shuttered window and daddy seems to have no problem opening the shutters and burning Caroline repeatedly. It's for her own good, you know. He plans on teaching her to associate blood with excruciating pain until she finally represses her vampire urges. And if that doesn't work, well, he'll just have to kill her. But he only does it out of love. You know, the world really needs more psychotic parents.

At least Caroline's mom no longer falls into that category. She's looking for Caroline when Ty shows up on her doorstep. As Bill leaves Caroline for the night (the sun has set so his fun is ruined) Liz shows up, gun drawn. Bill tries to convince her that what he's doing is the best thing for Caroline but Liz isn't buying it. She sends Ty in to get her daughter while Bill watches helplessly. It totally sucks to have someone ruin a perfectly good father-daughter torture session. Whoever came up with this storyline is not at all a twisted individual with serious issues. Even better--Caroline spends the rest of the episode crying that her daddy hates her now. Wow. That's what you're upset about? Granted that would be an awful feeling but you'd think she'd be a little more concerned that he kidnapped and tortured her and was willing to kill her, if "necessary." I don't know but if that had been me I think I'd be planning a little payback, vamp style.

The episode ends with a return to the warehouse and a reunion with the revived Rebecca. She is pissed at having been staked by Klaus but forgives all when she sees Stefan. Klaus compels Stefan to remember them again so it's a reunion all around. And then Rebecca realizes her necklace is gone. One more flashback and we see Katherine at the club watching Stefan as he picks up Rebecca's lost necklace curiously (never mind why he's still at the club when wooden bullets were flying around). Suddenly a vaguely familiar cop shows him a picture of Klaus and Rebecca and asks if he's seen them. Of course he hasn't.

So who is this cop chasing after Klaus and Rebecca--and why? Why has Katherine been stalking Klaus all these years when he's wanted to kill her? What is Stefan really up to? Why was I so bored throughout this entire episode? I think maybe the writers need to tone down the melo in the drama. Being a little more realistic with characters' motives, actions, and responses wouldn't hurt either. Most of all give the fans a reason to care. The real trick to keeping the magic going is to stop the audience from being disillusioned. This episode did not measure up.

Fang Files

Appearance: Human until the vampire emerges, then dark/red eyes, dark facial veins, and prominent fangs.

Strengths: Super speed and strength. Ability to compel humans (Originals can also compel other vampires).

Weaknesses: Vervain. Sunlight (unless vampire is wearing magical sun-protection jewelry). Stakes, piercing wooden objects.

Mythology: Originals cannot be killed. The only thing that can be used on them is a special silver dagger dipped into the ashes of a particular oak tree and plunged into their hearts. Once the dagger is removed they return to life as if nothing happened. As the hybrid, Klaus is immune.

Sound Bites

Damon: Is that what you're doing--looking out for my brother?
Katherine: Maybe. Maybe not. I'm conflicted.

Elena: [re: Stefan] He's in Chicago? How do you know?
Damon: Came to me in a dream. I was naked. You would have loved it. Start packing.

Bill: [to Caroline] Blood controls you, sweetheart. This is how I'm going to fix you. (Burns her.)

Elena: Stefan could live anywhere in Chicago and he chose this?
Damon: There used to be an all-girls high school around the corner but it shut down for attendance issues. Weird.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 3 Episode 3 "The End of the Affair." Written by Caroline Dries. Directed by Chris Grismer. From The CW.

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