The Vampire Diaries, “Crying Wolf”

Trust is hardly earned in The Vampire Diaries universe. Deals are constantly being struck and destroyed and even the person closest to you probably isn’t telling the whole truth. It’s not always intentional, sometimes the lies for someone else’s one good. Other times, a lack of information flow is fully purposeful and ultimately, dangerous. “Crying Wolf” sees a lot of presumed trust being put to the test and some bonds survive. Others? Not so much.

I’ve said this a lot throughout season two, but The Vampire Diaries is at its best when diving head first into plot and just speeding forward for 41 minutes until everyone at home is exhausted because so many insane things have happened in one setting. Although “Crying Wolf” isn’t as action-packed as “Masquerade” or even “Rose,” there’s a whole lot to chew on here with the characters sprawled all across the area trying to figure out who is telling the truth and who might deserve some newfound trust. I think the series works even better when all the characters are together working towards one primary goal, but I can certainly take episodes like this one when they’re all spread out if it means high levels of execution.

Much like last week, Tyler finds himself stuck directly in the middle of a war he never wanted a part of. He felt like he could trust Caroline but that’s been somewhat shattered and now all he has left is Jules and her merry band of angry werewolves. Unfortunately for Tyler, his misplaced trust gets him in a whole lot of trouble. Jules and her were-man decide that it’s time to find the moonstone, which of course means attacking Damon and trying to find the doppleganger aka one of Tyler’s best friends* since he was very young, Elena. And even worse, Tyler’s naive attitude towards the centuries-old war between vamps and werewolves allows the other weres to sell him on his desire to get out with the broken curse. It’s a simple move from Jules and the rest of the werewolves, but it’s kind of sad to watch Tyler being pushed around a chess board like the young pawn that he is.

*I understand where the series is coming from, but let’s not pretend we’ve seen a whole lot of Elena-Tyler scenes since the series began. I assume they were much closer before her parents died when she was with Matt, but you know.

Things quickly go south when Jules’ man shoots Stefan in the heart and plans to kidnap Elena while the two of them are up at her family’s lake house, leaving Tyler trapped between his appealing out and his loyalties to people whom he’s known for an extended period of time. Ever the wonderful pitchman, Stefan convinces Tyler to do the right thing and the two of them save Elena from being harmed. But even though he’s made a line in the sand about what he won’t do to hurt his friends, that doesn’t leave Tyler much else to do in Mystic Falls. Caroline’s lost faith in him, Matt’s suspicious of his relationship with Caroline and everyone else is on Team Vampire, which is probably not the safest place to be at this point. In the end, Tyler and Jules, the only two remaining werewolves in town, pack up and say goodbye to Mystic Falls. I can’t imagine that Tyler will be go for too long and frankly I hope he’s not. The character has quickly morphed into one of the series’ best and Michael Trevino has been doing some solid work in his conflicted, confused and emotional performance. Tyler’s rant about his relationship with Elena wouldn’t have been even remotely believable if Trevino wouldn’t have sold it so well.

Meanwhile, Damon is dealing with his own bit of trust issues. In this case, he still doesn’t buy into what Elijah is selling about protecting Elena, so he goes looking for answers. This doesn’t go well, as things tend to unravel when you try to match wits with an Original. But when Damon gets captured and tortured by Jules and some other weres in hopes of finding out more about moonstone, Elijah shows that he can be trusted by killing them all and making sure Damon is free to protect Elena and keep up their end of the bargain.

There’s only one problem with that: Elena has to die either way. Bonnie, Caroline and Jeremy do a bit of witch hypnosis on Luca to discover that he and his father are working with Elijah to get back his sister from Klaus, which can only happen once Klaus is dead. And guess what is the best way to weaken and subsequently kill Klaus? The sacrifice.

But in an other instance of trust being tested, Elena reveals to Stefan that she’s known this all along. She made her deal with Elijah in hopes of saving everyone else, not herself and as long as that comes to fruition, she’s cool with whatever else goes down. Stefan rightfully feels like Elena’s acting too much like a martyr and I’m really glad he called her on it. I understand the desire to keep everyone safe, but Elena’s been on this weird kick to be the ultimate hero this season and it’s moderately annoying, especially when everyone around her is working overtime to make sure these awful things don’t happen to her. Stefan takes it as a slap in the face and I imagine that Damon, Jeremy, Caroline and Bonnie will too.

This group of people has become something of a makeshift family and for any future plans to work, they’re going to have to trust one another. Otherwise, as individuals they’ll end up like Tyler, or worse.

“Crying Wolf” is just a really great episode, one that climaxes some of the stories from the last 4-5 episodes in a solid way. I’m sure the werewolves are still going to play a big part in the season’s endgame, but it will be (presumably) nice to move away from that just a bit and deeper into the mythology of the vampires, the Originals and as next week’s preview suggests, Stefan’s personal past. There have been a lot of balls in the air over these past few episodes and although the series has been handling them well, I’m fine with a few slower-paced episodes that fill in some backstory and focus on some of the relationships. It’s those kind of episodes that make pay-offs in efforts like “Crying Wolf” even better.

Other thoughts:

  • Hey, Alaric kind of had something to do this week! This is exciting. I hope this continues and it’s probably time that Jenna finds out the truth about some of this stuff, no? I also enjoy the Alaric-Damon friendship, particularly their fairly normal conversation about their respective relationships. Of course it ended with Alaric telling Damon not to kill someone, but such is life.
  • No movement on John’s deal with Katherine, but he was still smarmy and annoying in his desire to screw up the relationship between Alaric and Jenna. What a prick.
  • Oh! Jeremy and Bonnie kissed! That probably should have happened a few episodes ago and I don’t really need characters telling one another they’re “hot,” but good for those crazy kids. I liked that Bonnie mentioned all these random phases Jeremy’s gone through because I feel like most of them happened throughout season one since the writers had no clue what to do with him.

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