Reviews

Vampire Diaries Season Review: The Best & Worst of Season Three

Vampire Diaries Season 3 Cast

There are few things I love more than this show. There are few things I dislike more than saying bad things about this show. Sometimes a viewer just has to be honest. It’s been a few weeks since the season finale and as I look back on the highs and lows of season three, one has to wonder how so many aspects that should have been good, turned out to be so bad.

Season 3 Cast of Vampire Diaries

There are few things I love more than this show. There are few things I dislike more than saying bad things about this show. Sometimes a viewer just has to be honest. It’s been a few weeks since the season finale and as I look back on the highs and lows of season three, one has to wonder how so many aspects that should have been good, turned out to be so bad.

From Stefan’s off the wagon journey to Elena’s complicated feelings for both Salvatore brothers to Mystic Falls being taken over – it was an interesting season to say the least. What I love most about this show is it’s constantly ability to go from zero to a hundred miles per hour in a matter of seconds. The weekly twists and turns are what drives this show and keep viewers on the edge of their seats.

However, I found myself rolling my eyes at certain storylines and what were supposed to be OMFG moments, almost unable to enjoy them. In fact, I’d say the second half of the season after the winter hiatus dragged until the second to last episode of the season. And that is such a painful thing to say about a show I love so much. Some shows suffer sophomore slumps. At least Vampire Diaries made it to season three. So without further ado, let’s do a quick run through of the good, the bad, and the oh-do-ugly that occurred in Mystic Falls this season.

The Good:

1. Ripper Stefan – When Klaus forced Stefan to go on a bender last season, we knew we were in for one hell of a ride. A look into his dark past of tearing people apart and putting them back together was deliciously dramatic. It was nice to see the usual oh so boring and so good and so white bread Stefan dirty his hands a little bit. His character is the most interesting when he has edge and despite the fact that he’s a recovering human drinker now, I’m hoping this edge sticks around.

2. Klaus – Whatever your thoughts are on the originals, it’d be impossible to say that Joseph Morgan isn’t an incredible addition to this cast. He’s cunning and downright cruel yet has moments where his inner desires and vulnerability come through. Klaus isn’t just a big bad guy. He’s a big bad guy that wants to love and be loved in return, which makes him all the more interesting. His scenes with Caroline, primarily the one on her birthday, are some of the most standout of the season.

3. Caroline – This blonde vampire is all around flawless. Whether she’s sexing up Tyler, ignoring Klaus’ advances,  being tortured by her father, or sobbing over the loss of his life, Caroline is just about everything I love in Mystic Falls. Candice Accola was given many storylines that made her shine this season and she acted the hell out of every bit of dramatic material given to her.

4. Caroline and Tyler – From the moment these two bickered, became friends, and then more, they’ve been downright amazing. A paranormal version of Romeo and Juliet, who have overcome teenage angst, him being a hybrid that could kill her, and Klaus’ sire, it’s impossible not to root for them. Considering that Klaus is currently inhabiting his body, it’s unclear whether or not these two will make it.

5. Elena’s a vampire – This season Elena found a little bit of independence and made decisions without Damon and Stefan’s advice. It was nice to see her take control of her life, even if her choices led to even bigger problems. At least she tried. And viewers have waited for the moment that Elena would turn, a significant moment that would change everything about the show. It was the perfect cliffhanger for a semi-lackluster spring and left viewers freaking out because this will change anything. In a lot of ways, it feels like this triangle has been reignited. Will Stefan accept the darker vampire side of Elena? Will Damon be the one to help her with the transition and fight her blood lust? This is going to open brand new doors to her feelings for the Salvatore brothers.

6. Matt – I know that viewers are mixed when it comes to Matt, the poor guy who is always the friend and never anything more. I disliked that he was used as a prop for Elena and had to listen to her constant man troubles, but I loved that he stepped up to the plate to fight the vampires and do what he thought was right. Especially in regards to Elena. His bromance with Jeremy was another major plus. Jeremy aside, who does have the ring, Matt’s the only non-paranormal character, and it’s important that the show has and uses those.

The Bad:

1. The Mystic Falls Serial Killer – The only plus sign was that it brought out a side of Matt Davis’ acting skills we’d yet to see. He proved he can be dark and sinister and it was fun to watch. Otherwise, it seemed like nothing more than a fumbling way to secure Alaric an intense storyline. The buildup to the killer’s reveal was very intense, but the reveal of Alaric just felt like a letdown.

2. The Triangle – A good love triangle is supposed to leave viewers up in arms about who they want the person in the middle to end up with and while I walk the line between being a Stelena and Delena fan, this triangle just fizzled for me this season. When Elena wasn’t mourning the loss of Stefan, she was flirting with Damon or kissing him and then taking it back. If anything, it was just frustrating. Indecisiveness needs to be realistic in a love triangle and this felt forced. I think most viewers knew she’d always pick Stefan in the end.

3. Sage/That flashback episode – What purpose was that supposed to serve? She was simply a way to introduce the fact that if an Original died, their entire line did. She revealed nothing significant about Damon’s past and her love for Finn didn’t mean anything to us. I get that the Originals have been around for over a thousand years, but the writers can’t simply pull out someone from their past to prop a storyline for an episode or two without it feeling cheap. Introducing new characters takes away from main characters, so those characters need to be meaningful (think Rose in season two) or else it’s just frustrating.

4. All that body morphing – When Klaus entered Alaric’s body last season, viewers were shocked. With Esther going into Rebekah and Klaus going into Tyler, it starts to feel a little played out. Things are only shocking if they rarely happen. By the time Esther entered Rebekha, it felt really predictable.

5. Katherine – I’ll keep this short: there was just not enough.

The Ugly:

1. Bonnie – I’m well aware that viewers go one of two ways when it comes to her. They either adore Bonnie or they despise her, but like her or not, she is a main character and has been around since season one. Therefore what happens to her and the storylines she’s given (or not) matter. Bringing out just so she can judge someone for making what she thinks is a bad decision isn’t very kind. Her character deserves more. Like you know an onscreen story where her relationship with her mother is developed or we see her and Jamie bond more, so it doesn’t feel like she got over Jeremy so shortly. We see a lot of the character’s growth onscreen, except for hers because so much is always happening to her offscreen. And that leads me to my next issue.

2. Things happening off camera – When Bonnie’s mother transitioned, it should have happened onscreen. This was a significant moment for her character. We got to see Caroline deal with her father and his decision not to transition. Or when Katherine breezed back into town and took Elena’s place at Tyler’s party and got stabbed by Klaus – what a way to jerk viewers around, especially when the last time we saw her she had been drained by Mikael. The only indication that she was alive was when Damon mentioned talking to her. Little things like that are annoying. What drives this show is the amount of storytelling and story they show onscreen.

3. Telling instead of showing/Fangirling – I fangirled along with every other Delena fan when they pillar humped and Rose waxed the poetic about how wonderful they were for each other. The problem is that no character should ever have to explain why Elena and Damon work. It sounded like an overly sweet passage from a fanfiction story. And how many times did Elena have to explain to people that Damon consumed her? We should see why they love each other and what they bring to each other. We shouldn’t have to be told. We should just see it. Otherwise it’s lazy storytelling.

4. Damon meeting Elena first – I guess this is supposed to be significant because Elena told Damon things might be different had they met first, but it just seemed like a copout to me. Yes, she’ll remember this now that she’s a vampire and the compelling will come back, but it shouldn’t change things. It was a rewrite to history that didn’t feel necessary. It shouldn’t matter who she met first. It matters who is the better fit for her.

5. Displacing characters for the Originals – I did enjoy the Originals. They were witty, amusing, and insane, but I disliked the fact that they took airtime from significant characters like Bonnie, Tyler, and Jeremy. There was so much stress about their characters and killing Klaus only to find out that none of them can die. New characters should never take away from the original cast unless that cast is being written out or no longer exists. Otherwise it just feels lame to have three of important characters offscreen for a prolonged period so the Originals story can be told and then only using those characters when they are needed for the Originals story. There was just too much focus on the family and not enough on what was happening to everyone else.

Whew. That was a lot to cover. If you’re still reading this, I thank you. If you hate me, I somewhat apologize, but at the end of it all, I’m still a fan of this show. I just won’t settle for mediocre on a show that has proved it has the possibility to be one of the best on TV.

And on that note, I’ll see you next season!

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About the author

Amber Cunigan

Amber Cunigan is a sarcastic mid-twenties undergrad, extreme book hoarder, Netflix addict, and reality TV aficionado. She enjoys excessive amounts of chocolate and caffeine, tweeting, and all things Ezra Fitz and Ryan Gosling. When it comes to TV, she expects to be thoroughly entertained and when not, she will slam and mock you, but still tune in next week. She's a glutton for punishment. Basically, she's awesome.

  • cosmo

     i like the It shouldn’t matter who she met first. It matters who is the better fit for her. line because that is true.