The Vampire Diaries, “Killed or Be Killed”

Apologies for not writing up last week’s Vampire Diaries (again, at Flow), but I found “Memory Lane” to be a really great episode, perhaps the best of the season. It was only a matter of time before Katherine was humanized a little bit and frankly, I’m glad it happened sooner rather than later. I also found Stefan and Elena’s plan to “pretend” to be broken up a smart one, as a lesser series would have actually broken them up for real and played out all sorts of drama that may or may not be necessary. Of course, Diaries could still go down that road, but after “Kill or Be Killed,” it seems fairly obvious that the writers want to keep Stefan and Elena together for the long haul and have them deal with their issues inside of the relationship, not outside it.

Aside from that, “Kill or Be Killed” is a classic kind of Vampire Diaries episode, one that includes multiple “shocking” reveals and plot points and some quality heartfelt character moments. Most importantly, it took a number of steps in making the werewolf story more interesting, something the season desperately needed.

I haven’t hated the slow-building werewolf mythology or the Mason Lockwood character, but as I said a few weeks ago, if you’re going to tip your toe into this already-swam-in-by-many shallow pool, there has to be something different involved. Up until this point, I’m not really sure that was the case. We know the Lockwood’s had the were gene and that werewolves can kill vampires. Okay, not too exciting.

Thankfully, “Kill or Be Killed” offered up some interesting developments. Mason finally lets Tyler know how the curse is triggered — you have to kill, accidentally or not, someone — the moon stone finally makes it into Mason’s hands and it’s revealed that Mason is working with, you guessed it, Katherine. Now that’s some development!

Here is what those things bring to the story: First of all, now that Tyler knows what could trigger the curse, he’ll be running scared and probably going generally crazy. That should add an interesting layer to a character that pretends to be tougher than everyone and always in control. As for Katherine and Mason, I’m intrigued, but perhaps a little skeptical. On one hand, I’m glad that the Mason character has an ulterior motive for being back in Mystic Falls; there was no way he could have been just that nice and helpful.

On the other hand, I’m wondering if there’s a law of diminishing returns that comes with the Katherine character. I’m curious as to how many times the series can use “Katherine did it!” for its cliffhangers at the end of episodes. I know that she’s an intelligent schemer and surely just using Mason to get closer to Stefan, but now she’s controlling Mason and Caroline and could probably get Damon to do what she wanted as well, despite what he says. In that case, she’s building quite an army, but I don’t want the series to use her as a crutch without really diving deep into the specifics of her plan. I guess it’s nice that the series isn’t just racing through her story, but at this point, I’m not shocked when Katherine shows up in the cliffhanger. I’m not annoyed yet, but let’s move on, okay?

But perhaps the biggest news of the episode is that Sheriff Forbes now knows about the Salvatore’s secret — a secret they share with her daughter Caroline. Thanks to Mason’s plotting, the Sheriff spikes the lemonade with vervain and traps Damon and Stefan underground (I think in the Lockwood dungeon?) so that she can kill them. Of course, Caroline saves the day and reveals herself to be a vampire as well, and all of this information just completely shatters the Sheriff’s world.

The best part about the whole ordeal is how Damon reacted. I (and I think every character and other viewer watching) expected him to stand up and kill the Sheriff right as he got free, but instead, he continued to tell her that she was his friend and that we wasn’t going to hurt her — and he actually told the truth. Damon brought her home and is apparently just going to make her forget all about it, no questions asked. Now, I love it when Damon actually acts like a person, but am also skeptical. Are we sure he didn’t just do this so that he can look good in front of Elena? And does it matter? If he starts to act like a normal person, for whatever reason, it’s a good thing.

And while Damon starts acting more human, Stefan goes the other way. After almost dying, he realizes that he can slowly build up his strength by taking just bits of blood every day and although Elena is initially skeptical (and for good reason), she decides that if Stefan’s going to drink blood, it might as well be hers. Alright, then!

Finally, Caroline is surely going to a dark place in the coming weeks, after pushing Matt out of the picture and now her mom disowning her. I have a very bad feeling about her being able to contain her rage and hunger, but I’m curious if this means her and Damon are going to start commiserating with one another. That could be fun, right?

In any event, after a somewhat slow start, at least for this series’ usual pace, Vampire Diaries has kicked things into another gear. People are making choices in preparation for a big throwdown and I have a feeling that in the coming episodes, some people are going to die. I’m putting money on Mason being the first one to go, who ya got?

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