Is possible to live a normal college life when you have too many secrets, and complications, that seem to follow you wherever you go? That’s part of the premise behind the fifth season of “The Vampire Diaries,” which took away three popular characters and added way too many in their place against the detriment of the show itself. Of course, the show will still entertaining to watch, but it needed to resolve a few plots before they demonstrated the season for too long.
“The Vampire Diaries” followed the ever complicated love triangle between Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev), Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) and his brother Damon (Ian Somerhalder) that continued to grow more complex. Both Salvatore brothers were vampires with a need for blood and were always in the thick of dangerous situations. Elena were once involved with Stefan when she was just an ordinary human teenage girl, but once she became a vampire her feelings shifted to his Damon. When she declared her love for Damon, Stefan’s heart was broken and he left town as a result of his heartbreak. Sadly, he was stabbed by his supernatural double Silas and locked in a safe that was thrown down a quarry for months at a time where he was submerged in water. Stefan suffered on a daily basis and thoughts of Elena kept him from going over the edge. Meanwhile Elena was happy with Damon, she prepared to go to Whitmore College with friend and fellow vampire Caroline Forbes (Candice Accola) as she pretended to be normal freshmen. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to happen when some supernatural incidents started happening on campus and the fact that Elena had an aching suspicion that Stefan was in great danger. Elena’s instincts didn’t prepare her when her brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) revealed that their beloved friend Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham) died last summer when she cast a spell that brought Jeremy back from the dead and she died in his place. As Elena and her friends dealt with the shocking loss, they had to deal with the looming threat of Silas’ plan to become mortal and the supernatural activity happening around Whitmore College. Will Elena be able to stay alive long enough to choose which Salvatore brother was truly right for her or will she die not knowing who she was meant to be with?
In terms of questions, the show posed quite a few big ones for viewers to ponder each week. The biggest one was whether the show was starting to go a little too far in certain plots, such as the doppleganger storyline. The show managed to surprise viewers by revealing that Stefan was actually Silas’ doppleganger, which gave Wesley a chance to show a darker side to a character that he wasn’t able to before with Stefan’s often moody behavior. By incorporating Stefan and Silas together, it also helped to explain why the Salvatores were connected to Katherine and Elena in their own ways. It also helped to foreshadow that Elena’s relationship with Damon might not be forever, because each version of herself was somehow fated to be with a version of Stefan over the years. As for the other dopplegangers, that’s where the story got bogged down in too many details. It was interesting when Elena and Katherine shared scenes together, but the addition of a third (Amara) made the story a little hard to swallow on more than one occasion. Fingers crossed that the number of Elena dopplegangers will be reduced for fear of confusing long time viewers and driving away new ones before they even begin to watch the show. Another storyline that seemed intriguing was the Whitmore College secret society that had a connection to the supernatural, but it also managed to take away from the rest of the cast having decent stories of their own to make room for some new characters. Michael Trevino’s Tyler appeared to be finally off the canvas for good, while Zach Roerig’s Matt has been sidelined for weeks at a time as well. Hopefully, the show will make some changes to help either give Trevino and Roerig a chance to shine, or the perfect swan songs when the time was right.
As for breakout performances, Dobrev and Wesley led the pack as they played multiple characters this season and still managed to give them each a unique personality. Dobrev embodied Elena with a sense of strength and vulnerability that made her the perfect heroine and constant victim who always walked into a dangerous situation without spotting the warning signs. She also embodied Katherine with a sense of playful dangerous and fear as she realized for the first time that she was no longer immortal. Dobrev’s Amara seemed to be a cross between Elena and Katherine to many viewers. On the surface, Amara was an innocent creature as she put her prey into a false sense of security before she revealed her true colors. Once that happened, it was too later to avoid her. In terms of the three characters, Dobrev seemed to excel better as Katherine this season as she was forced to confront her own mortality and the consequences of her past actions, such as abandoning her daughter centuries ago to come across her in such an unexpected manner. Dobrev’s most memorable scene came as Katherine when she struggled to persuade Damon to not sacrifice her life to keep Silas’ plan on track. She expressed Katherine’s fear and shock when she realized that she didn’t die as she thought she would. Wesley, on the other hand, got to play very different roles as the show’s newest villain and its constant martyr. As Silas, Wesley was able to play the part of the wild card who got to act on his worst impulses and never worried about the consequences. As Stefan, his character usually suffered to the point where viewers would start to lose interest. The only different between Elena and Stefan’s dopplegangers was that Silas wasn’t meant to be alive for too much longer. It wasn’t a question of if, but a question of when it would happen.
“The Vampire Diaries” premiered on October 3rd and airs on Thursdays at 8:00 pm on The CW.
Verdict: The show took a huge risk in removing the Original family and giving them their own show, but this season has added too many characters and subplots that need to be reduced sooner rather than later before driving away too many viewers.
TV Score: 3 out of 5 stars
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)