The Vampire Diaries 4.22 “The Walking Dead” REVIEW

The Vampire Diaries 4.22 “The Walking Dead” TV REVIEW

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Episode 4.22
Writers: Brian Young, Caroline Dries
Director: Rob Hardy

THE ONE WHERE Bonnie drops the veil and Elena tries to kill Katherine.

VERDICT Let’s get the major disappointment out of the way quickly so we can concentrate instead on the good things about the episode, because there are quite a few of them.

Right, so who like Damon was expecting, “Ghostapalooza” when the veil came down? But what do we get? Eight formerly dead supernaturals. Just… eight . Alaric gives some feeble explanation about, “Well not every ghost has a reason to come back to Mystic Falls.” But come on – a darn sight more than eight would. And do they even need a reason? If you’ve been hanging around in ghost limbo and this place called Mystic Falls suddenly becomes somewhere you can cross back over into the real world – albeit probably temporarily – wouldn’t that act like a huge great flashing neon sign saying PARTY TIME!

And why do some of the ones who do come back drag their feet so long? Jeremy comes over all Roger Rabbit, only appearing when at a moment of maximum dramatic impact. Everything we know about Jeremy suggests he’d be first in queue for a passport back to Elena-ville. Ah well.

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This major flaw aside, “The Walking Dead” is one of the better episodes of a patchy season four. Obsessed, monomaniacal Elena is a fun alternative to the mopey Elena we may have expected, and her catfight with Katherine is wonderfully brutal and sadistic. Silas’s ploy of compelling Caroline into trying to cut her own hands off is uncommonly nasty and blackly humorous for this show. There’s even a genuinely sweet scene with Matt, when he tells Rebekah, why he’s resistant to accepting vampiric healing after Kol bottles his shoulder (“I’d like to graduate high school as a human.”) It was great to have Lexi back (see below), there was a plentiful supply of great one liners, and the power Caroline manages to get into the “BITCH!” she aims at Rebekah feels like some kind of primal force.

Once again director Rob Hardy – who did such a stylish job with “Memorial” earlier in the season – gives the episode a polished sheen, with some gorgeously composed shots and an extreme use of deep focus that throws foreground characters into sharp relief. The Vampire Diaries is no stranger to deep focus, but usually it’s only truly noticeable during night scenes, when blurred background lights can look pretty. Here it’s used in many daylight scenes, giving them a slightly edgy, unnatural, dark fairytale feel.

Then there’s the twist with Bonnie, which was certainly an unexpected development. Is she really dead? If she is, will she be resurrected? Or is Silas still “deep in her mind” as he puts it? You have to assume that Silas isn’t dead, as Bonnie’s victory over him here seems too neat and quick. If he is dead, then next week’s finale will be… erm, interesting. In an “interesting to see how they fell 45 minutes” kinda way. Let’s hope one of the ways isn’t Galen Vaughn mumbling incomprehensibly for scene after scene.

“The Walking Dead” is a fun, shocking, surprising and decent enough episode’s worth of entertainment, but it doesn’t feel like the lead in to a season finale. Now, “Ghostapalooza”… that would have been the kind of cliffhanger we were expecting.

LET’S TWIST AGAIN Anybody else convinced that whoever’s draining blood at the hospital is nothing to do with Silas, but the first signs of season five’s new baddie?

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PUPPET ON A STRING Nina Dobrev’s acting as Katherine while she was tethered to Bonnie was highly amusing; she walked like Captain Jack Sparrow and had an expression like a cat that’s just about to choke up a fur ball.

GHOST WATCH Here are all the dead supernaturals (whom we saw at least) who took advantage of veil-dropping day in Mystic Falls:

(To be honest, we’re not entirely convinced about “Grams” Bennett, though… we’ll know in a few days time, but we reckon that Silas wasn’t lying when he said to Bonnie that he was always one step ahead, and that Grams was actually him in disguise again, tricking Bonnie into keeping the veil drawn.)

WELCOME TO THE… ERM CENTRE OF THE TRIANGLE Anybody else think, “Hellmouth!” when Mystic Falls High was revealed as the centre of the Expression Triangle?

CRUEL GAG OF THE WEEK Sorry, but we can’t resist…

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Bonnie only seems mildly perturbed when she discovers she’s dead.

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QUICK FIX For a show that regularly ODs on exposition and wordy soul-searching, ’Ric’s solution for proving to Damon that he really was ’Ric and not Silas was a witty and concise piece of scripting. “Who else would know about locker 42?” he says, pulling out a secretly-stashed bottle of whiskey. (And it’s also another great example of the random use of 42 in telefantasy.) If this had been Elena proving to Bonnie that she wasn’t Silas, it would have taken 10 minutes and a swimming pool’s worth of tears.

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SMUG STEFAN When Stefan tells Elena, “You’re transferring your rage onto me. That’s good,” he’s so insufferably equanimous, magnanimous and downright wet, if Elena hadn’t slapped him she’s have deserved the Nobel Peace Prize for restraint.

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BEST MOMENT Sorry, but all the big “emotional” scenes with Elena breaking down by Jeremy’s grave, then getting the chance to say goodbye with him, fell rather flat, while the simple moment when Lexi turns up to say, “Hi” to Stefan leaves you with a big cheesy grin. “There was someone that I thought I would see today, and, uh, I didn’t. That’s all,” says Stefan glumly to Caroline. “You’d better mean me,” says a voice behind . Stefan turns and breaks into a broad, joyful smile we don’t ever recall him giving Elena. And then she teases him about the slap Elena gave him (“Take a hint!”). Go girl!

Bonnie: “This is the site where 12 witches were killed.”
Katherine: “13 if you don’t get to the point.”

Rebekah: “Look Caroline, you’re graduating and Uncle Bob and Aunt Mary really want you to graduate with both your hands.”

Stefan: “You’ve been back, what, five minutes, and already you’re laughing at me?”
Lexi: “I’ve been laughing at you for a while, you just haven’t been able to see me.”

Dave Golder

New episodes of The Vampires Diaries season four air in the UK on ITV2

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