By: Tiffany Vogt
As the CW presents a marathon of the season 2 episodes to date of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, this seemed like the opportune time to reflect back on some lingering questions.
De-clawing Katherine: Did it help or hinder the story?
At the end of Season 1, when Katherine made her grand entrance back into Mystic Falls, viewers were floored. She brilliantly impersonated Elena, fooling Damon into confessing his love and kiss her, then getting Aunt Jenna to invite her into the Gilbert home so that Katherine could deftly remove John’s invincibility ring and stab him in the chest. All summer fans everywhere were thinking the same thing: what would Katherine do next? The breathless anticipation had everyone on the edge of their seats.
When the second season began, Katherine was as deadly and unpredictable as ever. She calmly killed Caroline — not realizing that Caroline had Damon’s blood in her system and would revive. Katherine also began a deadly game of cat and mouse with Stefan, which led to the big showdown at the masquerade.
Just speaking Katherine’s name sent shivers down our spines. Yet now that Katherine is entombed, she seems no more than an angry genie in a bottle. It would be so much more tantalizing to have her loose wrecking havoc on the world again. She knew exactly how to mess with Stefan and Damon and she terrified all those who she came across.
With Klaus circling from the outside, I say let’s level the playing field and allow Katherine to do what she does best — stir up trouble. It would give Klaus someone other than Elena to play with and it would remind everyone in Mystic Falls that Katherine is not someone to toy with.
Keeping Katherine safely tucked away in the tomb is like keeping Damon locked up. Just because someone has their own agenda and no morals does not mean that they are not riveting to watch. They also make things very interesting. The kids in Mystic Falls are getting way to complacent. Letting Katherine out would sharpen their reflexes and get everyone back on the edge of their seats. A good adrenaline rush can help prepare them all for the next battle looming — Klaus will undoubtedly strike soon.
Thus, I say: let’s get Katherine out of her cage and let the games begin!
In Memoriam: Mourning those who gave their lives in this gothic battle of good versus evil
The death toll on THE VAMPIRE DIARIES has been astounding. Nearly each episode someone dies — and not just faceless, background characters. Many of those who have died have been fan-favorites and accordingly deserve to be remembered for their sacrifice.
Looking back at the first season through the present, no less than 23 named characters gave up their lives. It began with the death of Mr. Tanner in the episode “Friday Night Bites” and ended with the death of Slater in “Katerina.” Special mention should be made of the humans and non-humans who gave their lives to fuel the high-octane pace of this energized series (in no particular order):
Mr. Tanner – school teacher, killed by Damon to demonstrate his lack of humanity to Stefan.
Zach Salvatore – Stefan and Damon’s “uncle,” killed by Damon in retaliation for working with the Town Council and supplying them with vervain.
Vicki Donovan – Jeremy’s girlfriend, newly turned-vampire, killed by Stefan when she attacked Elena and Jeremy.
Lexi – Stefan’s vampire friend, killed by Damon to demonstrate his loyalty to the Town Council.
Bree – vampire bar owner, killed by Damon for setting him up.
Lee – Lexi’s vengeful vampire boyfriend, killed by Damon.
Logan – Jenna’s ex-boyfriend and wayward vampire, killed by Alaric as he tried to attack.
Sheila Bennett – Bonnie’s grandmother, died after opening the tomb at Damon’s command.
Ben – Anna’s vampire minion, killed by Stefan.
Noah – another one of Anna’s vampire minions, killed by Stefan.
Trudie Peterson – high school friend of Isobel, killed by man compelled by Isobel.
Frederick – evil tomb vampire, killed by Damon as he rescued Stefan.
Amber – the Mystic Falls contestant who Stefan killed in his blood-lust.
Harper – friendly tomb vamp, killed by Uncle John.
Pearl – mysterious tomb vamp, killed by Uncle John.
Anna – Jeremy’s girlfriend vampire, killed in the Founder’s Day round-up fire.
Mayor Lockwood – Tyler’s dad, possible werewolf, killed in the Founder’s Day round-up fire.
Carter – carnival worker killed by Caroline.
Aimee – girl killed by Katherine at masquerade.
Sarah – girl inadvertently killed by Tyler at masquerade.
Trevor – Rose’s vampire friend, killed by Elijah.
Slater – also vampire friend of Rose and killed by Elijah.
Mason Lockwood – Tyler’s uncle and closet-werewolf, killed by Damon.
In taking this short walk down memory lane, it is remarkable how rapidly these characters were introduced and just as quickly dispatched. Perhaps we did not cry over all these deaths, but some were more shocking and saddening than others. Some were around but for a single episode or two and gone before we could become attached to them; then there were others who we fell in love with and still mourn their loss.
Vicki was an out-of-control teenage girl who had the misfortune of crossing paths with Damon when he needed human blood. Damon attempted to assuage his guilty conscious by turning Vicki into a vampire, but all that accomplished was unleashing another blood-thirsty vampire on an unsuspecting Mystic Falls. Thus, when Stefan was ultimately forced to kill her to save Elena and Jeremy, Vicki’s death felt more of a relief.
The next major death was Sheila Bennett who gave her last ounce of remaining strength to protect Bonnie and aid Damon in his nefarious plan to open the tomb. She lived long enough to save Bonnie and return home, but her death left an indelible mark on Bonnie for which she has never quite recovered. It brought home the reality that witch-craft can literally suck the life right out of you and Bonnie is still testing the boundaries of her own mortality to see how much she can take without giving up her own life.
At the end of the first season, when Anna was caught in the Founder’s Day vampire round-up, it seemed ludicrous that the show would kill off the girl who had helped Jeremy overcome his grief over losing Vicki. Yet perhaps condemned to be the loneliest man in Mystic Falls, Jeremy’s second great love of his life also died — and Anna’s death was haunting. She died a useless death. She was not a threat to anyone and yet she was caught in a ruthless trap put into motion by Uncle John, aided by Bonnie who was still angry over her grandmother’s death.
Finally, there was Mason Lockwood. He was doomed from the start. The minute Katherine got him in her cross-hairs and made sure that the werewolf curse was invoked, it guaranteed that he would be her pet love-slave for as long as she needed him. Therefore, it was heart-breaking that Mason became the one way to strike back at Katherine. When Damon casually ripped out Mason’s heart, we were never sure if it was for revenge or merely to eliminate the one known werewolf threat. But our hearts broke yet again to lose another treasured life.
So many deaths. So many unnecessary lives lost. Yet life in Mystic Falls is all about survival. For Stefan and Damon, they will kill to protect those they care about and to stay alive. It is all they know.
The Sins of the Salvatores – How quickly we forget . . .
As a fan of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, we are programmed to believe that Stefan and Damon are the heroes of the show. We may not have always trusted or believed so well of Damon, but the more he grew to love Elena, the more humanity he demonstrated. He even aligned himself with his brother and they became the unwilling protectors of Mystic Falls.
Yet in the course of just over a year, we have conditioned ourselves to forget the various sins the Salvatore brothers have committed in order to protect their immortal lives. They have killed indiscriminately at times simply to feed or to demonstrate that they could. Have we truly forgotten how long Damon used Caroline as his chew-toy and that Stefan did little or nothing to stop it? Even after Stefan finally decided to lock Damon up for his own good, he did little to punish Damon for his indiscriminate, horrific actions.
The Salvatore brothers have a symbiotic bond that demands that they forgive each other for all their sins and live in a wary truce to accomplish their mutual goals. Stefan relies on Damon to protect Elena when he cannot and to use his mind-manipulation abilities when Stefan cannot (like, wiping Jeremy’s memory of Vicki’s death). Damon and Stefan instinctively know that they are destined to walk throughout history together and that they need each other. So they turn a blind-eye on whatever bad activities the other may employ to accomplish their goals.
Neither truly regrets their vampire life and the compulsion it places upon them. Stefan in his blood-lust killed Amber and yet all Damon did was lock Stefan up until he was back under control. It was the same technique that Stefan employed when he thought Damon needed a reminder that his actions were being watched.
They are constantly justifying their actions by telling themselves that it is okay to kill humans, other vampires and werewolves — so long as it keeps them safe and their friends safe. But what about all those unnamed “red shirt” people who they kill along the way? The ones that Damon kills when he is hungry. Or when Damon recklessly “turns” others? Damon turned both Isobel and Vicki for no better reason than he was either bored or because he was asked to. Astoundingly, he thoughtlessly inflicted two more narcissistic vampires on the unsuspecting world without a second thought.
Is either of the Salvatores truly seeking redemption for their sins, or are they merely hoping to forget the evil they have done in their lives?
Philanthropy: What good have vampires done with their eternal lives?
In a seemingly innocent throw-away line in “Rose,” Slater casually mentioned that he had obtained 18 degrees, 3 Master’s, and 4 PhD’s. He had said it to taunt Damon, who admittedly had none. Yet it seemed more like the “pot calling the kettle black” with that snarky comparison: Slater had all those degrees yet chose to run a coffee shop. It smacked of hypocrisy.
It then begged the question of: what exactly have vampires been doing with their eternal lives? They are virtually immune to death; they are stronger, faster and possess remarkable abilities. Yet why do none of the vampires portrayed in THE VAMPIRE DIARIES exhibit any desire to be philanthropic?
Surely Stefan with his desire to cling to his humanity would have found something more worthwhile to do with his time and energy in the past 140 years than simply skulk around and party with Lexi. Wouldn’t his conscience and desire to help others have driven him to employ his time and energy into creating something better for the planet he occupies? Why not start an orphanage for abandon or lost children? How about building a company to eliminate world hunger? Surely something would have struck a nerve and provoked Stefan or some of the other vampires to do something useful with their lives.
As admirable as it is that some vampires choose to help the humans that they love or care for, it seems that they could be doing so much more with their lives. If they are or if they have, then let us see it. Otherwise, the vampires appear only to be living lives of professional leeches. They need to give back.
Who Is the True Protector of Elena’s Soul?
With the battle for Damon’s soul being such a big theme throughout the series, it is of interest whether Damon or Stefan is truly looking out for Elena’s soul. The topic is of much debate amongst fans. But looking back over the actions of the two Salvatore brothers, it seems that while Stefan is more preoccupied with protecting Elena from bodily harm, it is Damon who actually tries to protect her soul.
Stefan has not tried to change who he is for Elena, but has instead tried to hide who he is from her. Damon, on the other hand, has never attempted to hide who he is from Elena. But he has gone to great lengths to attempt to change who he is. He is trying to be a better man — a better vampire man.
Damon also knows that Elena cannot take on the weight of his true feelings for her, so in “Rose” he erased her memory after he told her how he felt about her. He knew he could not just erase all the bad things he has done from her memory for she would be angry that he got inside her head and manipulated her memories, but he also knew that she did not have to carry the burden of his love either.
It was a truly selfless act of love. Whereas Stefan constantly proves his love through physical actions, he rarely considers the emotional ramifications. To truly be an unconditional love, Stefan would have to make the same sacrifice that Damon has made — yet he cannot do it. Stefan acts out of selfishness in wanting to keep Elena in his life regardless of the peril it places her in.
So while everyone is distracted by the need to keep Elena physically safe, it is more interesting to see who is more concerned with the protection of Elena’s soul. Which brother is willing to sacrifice the one thing he truly wants? Damon has proven time and time again, he will always do what is best for Elena. He places her first no matter what. And if that means keeping her from martyring herself to save others, or to ease her emotional burden, then he will do just that. Damon wants to take care of her heart, body and soul.
As THE VAMPIRE DIARIES continues, it will be fascinating to see how these questions are answered: Will Katherine escape her prison? Will the Salvatores seek redemption? Will we discover that vampires have philanthropic hearts after all? Will another contender arise to be Elena’s champion? And how many more lives will be lost in the process?
No matter what, each step of the way, we are riveted.
Tiffany Vogt is a contributing writer to The TV Addict. She has a great love for television and firmly believes that entertainment is a world of wondrous adventures that deserves to be shared and explored – she invites you to join her. Please feel free to contact Tiffany at Tiffany_Vogt_2000@yahoo.com or follow her at on Twitter (@TVWatchtower).