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The Vampire Diaries -- The Third Season In Review
It wasn't a very good year. It was a year of dropped storylines. Of Elena being shoved into every storyline. And whatever potential Klaus had as a villain being thrown out the window. It was also a year of undermining the vampire mythology established in the first season of the show to give some fan-pleasing moments. Not to mention massive inconsistencies in writing. In short, if Julie Plec and her writing crew had to undergo a performance review, they would receive a giant F for failure.
It's All About Elena
What started in episode 8 of season 2 of Elena being the doppelganger and the show becoming all about her, just continued in overdrive in season three as she became the end-all and be-all of everything. Klaus needed her blood to make hybrids. Esther needed her blood to bind all her vampire children together. Esther needed Elena's blood to make Alaric a super-duper vampire. Elena's necklace had magical powers. Only Elena could decode cave paintings. And only Elena'd death could kill immortal Alaric.Elena, Elena, Elena.
Unfortunately, the writing for the character just went further downhill. Her selfishness reached new levels, yet she was still being sold as some selfless martyr. She could care less her younger brother was seeing ghosts until she could use it to her benefit. She couldn't care less that Jeremy was doing drugs and when Alaric wouldn't deal with it she just forgot all about it. She gave Damon two seconds of sympathy about Stefan making him watch as he killed Andie before turning the topic back to herself. She manipulated Alaric into going into the woods to hunt for werewolves on a full moon putting his life in danger. She put the entire town in danger when she didn't want to send the ghosts back to the other side until Lexi could fix Stefan. She whined when Damon was around to protect her but when he tried to protect her she got Stefan to break his neck and then told him to get over it. When Stefan wouldn't take her back until she could define her feelings for Damon she played with Damon's emotions to explore what she felt and then tried to blame him for why things never work between them.
And now that Elena's about to become a vampire you can bet season 4 will be all about her adjusting to being one. So I wouldn't expect any let-up on The Elena Show anytime soon.
Killing Good Villains So A Bad Villain Can Live
Granted, Joseph Morgan was never as good in the role of villainous Klaus as Matt Davis was, but the writing just made it worse. You think a woman is fickle? The most ficklest woman has nothing on Klaus. He wanted hybrids so he could have a family, then he wanted his family, then he wanted Caroline, then he wanted his hybrids, again. Dude, make up your mind already. It only got worse when he finally had his confrontation with Mikael and he cowered inside the Lockwood mansion crying refusing to meet Mikael in a face-to-face confrontation. That was after he scurried out of town like a field mouse running from a Tom cat when Damon told him Mikael was coming. They could only lure him back in town with the lie that Mikael was dead. And Klaus is supposed to be this all-powerful hybrid that can't be killed. Then things got even worse when he developed a crush on teen queen Caroline and was drawing her pictures of ponies. I don't know what Julie Plec was trying to do with this character, but whatever it was it was a giant mess.
Instead of cutting her losses with the mess she made out of Klaus, Julie Plec killed off all the villains who had potential to be great villains. Mikael had the potential to be a great threat to everyone on the show. He was a vampire that feed on his fellow vampires instead of humans. He preyed on his own kind and was super dangerous. Plec killed him off within a few episodes so her boy Klaus could live. Next up was Esther, and she had the potential to be a great villain and she too was snuffed within a couple of episodes all so Klaus could live. Finally there was Alaric, who was everything in a villain Klaus wasn't. And he too was snuffed within two episodes so Klaus could live.
In the case of Alaric we'll never know if Plec always planned to kill him off or if the fact Matt Davis got a role on a new show played a part in it. I don't think Davis would have been out auditioning for a new role unless he'd been informed early on he was going to be killed off. It's why I tend to believe she always intended to kill off Alaric.
Plec seemed to get some bug up her butt about Stefan and Klaus having some great bromance, and coincidentally the bromance everyone thought was the best on the show, Damon and Alaric, she began to dismantle around the time she started gushing about Stefan and Klaus. She was still gushing about Stefan and Klaus at season's end. And now there's no other bromance to compete with the one she favors. Damon had too many friends, while Stefan had none. Now Damon's the one with no friends, while Plec keeps trying to push this Stefan/Klaus thing as some great friendship. Like her ideas for Klaus as a villain, Stefan/Klaus as a great friendship is severely lacking in every way.
I mean, so far Klaus has forced Stefan to become a blood addict to save his brother's life, he compelled him to attack his girlfriend, he made him turn off his emotions, he threatened to burn him alive, and Plec sees some great friendship there? On what planet?
Remember is season two when there was this great risk about how all mankind would be in jeopardy if Klaus succeeded in making his hybrids? Well, in season three the story was pretty much dropped, and they were easier to kill than humans. Teen Jeremy easily dropped one.
There was much made over Elena's vervain necklace belonging to Esther and it couldn't be destroyed. Gloria even tortured Stefan to try and find it. Well guess what. When Esther came back she didn't even ask about it.
At the end of 3.03 Klaus uncompelled Stefan to remember his romance with Rebekah. After that you expected Stefan to be torn between his old feelings for Rebekah and his love for Elena. So what happened? Nothing. He didn't act any different towards Rebekah than if he'd just met her.
It looked like something was brewing between Matt and Bonnie. She saved his life when he drowned himself so he could see Vicky and they worked together to send Vicky to the other side. The two characters had chemistry. Unfortunately, after those two episodes any Matt/Bonnie romance was dropped completely and she got paired with Jamie who she doesn't have any chemistry with.
In 3.09 Katherine gave up her chance to finally be free of Klaus and to have to stop running from him when she opted to save Damon's life. She also revealed to Stefan that she did love Damon, meaning she lied to Damon when she told him she never loved him. And that was the beginning and the end of it.
Undermining Vampire Mythology
Plec pretty much watered down what it is to be a vampire to the nth degree and this season she took it a little further. Their one power of compulsion become a vampire can't compel you if you think really strong thoughts. And the older the vampire the stronger the vampire became only if you're not mad. Caroline beat up much older vampire Damon and Damon beat up much older vampire Kol because at the time they were mad.
Plec's Logic Fails
Now that Plec told Paul Wesley you can't use logic to explain the things the characters do, it make a horrible bit of sense that none of the stories make any sense or the stuff the characters do. It also explains when Plec is talking about the characters what she says makes no sense. She uses no logic when thinking or writing. Some of her biggest logic fails on the show this season were:
Ghost Lexi thinking if she starved Stefan it would suddenly uncompel him.
Esther linking Elena's life to Alaric's when she wanted Alaric to be immortal so he could kill all the Originals.
Instead of whisking away dessicated Klaus and hiding him where he couldn't be found, Bonnie put him in Tyler's body so he can run amok and terrorize everyone again.
Plec thinking Klaus telling Caroline to go home is an act of heroism.
Esther wanting to turns her kids human and then kill them. If she can turn them human, why not just leave at that and let them live out their normal lifespan since she and Mikael were the ones that killed them to begin with?
If Esther wanted to kill Klaus, why did she stop his siblings from killing him?
Stefan wanting revenge on Klaus when he actually had no reason to want revenge. He cut a deal with Klaus for 10 years of servitude and he got let out of it within a few months.
There were actually some:
Katherine admitting she loved Damon and giving up her chance of freedom to save him.
Damon and Rebekah, which started out as a one-night stand, but quickly became one of the most interesting pairings on the show.
Rebekah. She was also the best new characters on the show.
I wish I could say I'm hopeful for the new season, but with Plec in charge I don't see anything really changing. She'll continue to write the show with no logic whatsoever. With Elena becoming a vampire it promises to be yet another season where she dominates the show. She'll also find excuse after excuse for keeping one of the lamest characters, Klaus, on the show. I'd have more hope if Kevin Williamson was returning as showrunner full-time to help counterbalance the damage Plec is doing to the show or if Plec was replaced as showrunner. Since neither is going to happen, I kind of expect the decline in the quality of the writing to continue it's downward spiral. If you compare the writing for season two when Kevin Williamson was in the house to season three when Plec had total control, you see how far the quality of the writing degraded under Plec's sole leadership.
Bottom line, there has to be some semblance of logic in what you're writing. You can't throw whatever strikes your fancy on a canvas and hope it sticks. Doing that is how many a show has gotten themselves cancelled.