The Vampire Diaries, “The House Guest”

As the last episode of The Vampire Diaries until APRIL MOTHER-FREAKING 7TH, “The House Guest” should probably semi-wrap up some of the threads the series has been dealing with here in the first episodes of 2011 while obviously also set up things for the final six episodes in the spring. Thankfully, The Vampire Diaries is a series that treats every episode and sometimes even every act break as a seasonal cliffhanger and so “The House Guest” accomplishes both of those fairly easily. Secrets are revealed, characters die and one character makes a not-so-surprising return to screw things up even more for Elena and company. You know, a normal episode of TVD.

Goodbye Luka and Jonas, you will be missed. Actually, I’m not really sure you will be. If I have any major criticism of this series and this season as a whole it’s the treatment of the witches. For whatever reason, they appear to be more disposable than vampires or werewolves. There’s probably a term paper in there somewhere if you consider the racial make-up of the witches compared to that of the rest of the cast, but even apart from that, it feels like the witch characters are often used as plot devices and then quickly discarded until another one is needed. This clearly doesn’t apply to Bonnie (at least this season), but there’s a moderately disturbing trend forming. In my opinion that certainly applies to both Luka and Jonas, who started to form over the last few episodes with the reveal that Luka’s sister was in Klaus’ captivity, but now they’re dead and presumably won’t be able to see the fruits of Bonnie’s work to take the major Original down. I totally understand the writer’s decision to kill the two of them since Jonas had basically declared war on Elena and it was probably time for some important characters to die, but I wish we could have gotten a few more episodes or even scenes with the two of them along the way.

This is especially true because it appears that the season’s endgame directly involves witches and the place where so many of them were massacred centuries before. Like I talked about last week, this series is so damn good at shifting the goalposts and introducing new MacGuffins without making it seem inorganic or stupid and the location of the witch burial ground is just the latest in a long string of locations, items or whatever else that Damon and Stefan have to find before someone else does. And even though I felt like Bonnie getting her powers back from Jonas at the very last-minute and with little fanfare or explanation was a bit pat, I’m willing to go with it because I presume Bonnie is going to play a massive part in the season’s final plotting. And as I just ranted about in the paragraph above, I’m pro-witch, so this is a promising development that suggests some interesting stuff in the future. I have to imagine that the knowledge Jonas gave Bonnie about killing Klaus involves screwing over the Salvatore brothers, which Bonnie should probably have no problem doing when it all boils down. The group appears to be fairly united at this moment, but Luka and Jonas’ deaths and Bonnie’s new information is surely going to create some tension between she and some of the others, and that’s a good thing.

Like Bonnie, a number of Mystic Falls’ other pretty ladies don’t have much of a good time during “The House Guest.” There’s a scene early in the episode with Elena, Caroline, Bonnie and Jenna sitting around, kind of depressed about their various current circumstances and unfortunately for them, things only got worse. I’ve already discussed Bonnie’s issues, so let’s move on to the other gals. Caroline and Jenna are on opposite sides of the coin as far as truth and fiction go, with Caroline trying to figure out how to get Matt’s attention without telling him her secret and Jenna pouting over the fact that Alaric refuses to open up about Isobel and other little tidbits of his past. By the end of the episode, both of them get what they want, but only indirectly. Caroline makes a play for Matt’s attention with her voice, but has to reveal her vampire identity when Matt is attacked by Jonas and that doesn’t go well. I appreciated the fact that the series remembered Vicki and how much of a wreck that made Matt way back in the beginning part of season one and it looks as though Caroline’s going to have to deal with consequences of actions she had absolutely nothing to do with.

Similarly, though Alaric decides to keep Jenna in the dark for now his plans are uprooted when Isobel randomly shows up at their house by the end of the episode. This isn’t the most exciting or unbelievable cliffhanger ever, but after three fairly major deaths over the past two episodes, I guess I’m alright with it. I can imagine that most fans have been biding their time waiting for Isobel to return ever since John re-appeared a handful of episodes ago so it’s not really the reveal that matters, it’s how she’s used in coming episodes. I do believe that the series is better off having a character or two in the dark and powerless, otherwise it turns into something awful like Heroes or True Blood where the “specialness” of the characters with abilities or different identities becomes less interesting. Therefore, I think something has to give with either Matt or Jenna where at least one of them stays in the dark. If I were a betting man, I’d guess that Matt will lose his memory and Jenna learns the truth. Maybe not, though.

As for Elena, almost being killed by Jonas is probably the least of her problems. With Katherine out of the tomb and apparently ready to embrace Elena’s straight-haired look, there’s all sorts of time for bait and switches and generally tomfoolery that comes along with dopplegangers. Katherine swears her allegiances to the group because she wants to take down Klaus like everyone else, but Elena, Damon and Stefan are all noticeably nervous around her. I’m sure she’ll turn on them and then apologize at least 32 more times before the season finale, so I’m not concerned about where that narrative is going quite yet. But hey, at least Damon isn’t falling for her sexually-charged feminine wiles!

Though not as strong as last week’s fantastic episode, “The House Guest” is a solid way to send TVD off until April. Gosh, that’s just so long.

Other thoughts:

  • Elena signed off on Bonnie and Jeremy. Yay!(?)
  • Candice Accola’s voice was…not annoying.
  • I know it’s only been two episodes, but Michael Trevino’s Tyler is already greatly missed. There’s still no real indication of when he’ll return, but I hope that it’s very, very soon.
  • The sequence with Luka and Jonas channeling so that the former could sneak into the Salvatore residence and revive Elijah was really pretty great and thrilling setpiece. It was also a nice reminder that Elijah could LITERALLY BE REVIVED AT ANY MOMENT.

3 thoughts on “The Vampire Diaries, “The House Guest”

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