The Vampire Diaries: The Descent (Review)

The Vampire Diaries: The Descent (Review)

The Vampire Diaries The DescentIt took seven weeks of patiently waiting (really, what choice did we have?) but we welcomed back The Vampire Diaries this past Thursday. The last episode of 2010 left quite a few unanswered questions such as what’s going on with Tyler (Michael Trevino) and Caroline (Candice Accola)? What is Elijah’s (Daniel Gillies) angle in helping Elena (Nina Dobrev) remain off Klaus’s radar? How much trouble is Rose (Lauren Cohan) in after being bitten by a werewolf? While these were not the only questions we were left with, they were the most prevalent. What remains is just how many would be answered in this episode?

The primary driver this week was the effects of a werewolf bite on Rose. Aside from its less than aesthetic appeal, the poisonous bite acts much like the flu, complete with body aches, vomiting, and fever-induced hallucinations. Even with Damon (Ian Somerhalder) caring for Rose and feeding her blood, the vampire continually gets worse and, on more than one occasion, mistakes Elena for Katherine (who Rose blames for her and Trevor’s 500 years of running).

Damon, for his part, does everything he can despite knowing that time is against them. He finds Jules (Michaela McManus), the werewolf responsible for biting Rose, and demands to know about a cure for the poisonous bite. Like any villain (though in truth, Jules is not your typical baddie), she refuses to help—though her answer that there is no cure could be legitimate. As the Rose’s suffering gets worse, she begs Damon to end it; it is an act of compassion that he shares a dream of a sunny hillside with her before sliding a wooden stake into her heart as she sleeps.

Throughout Damon’s plight, Stefan (Paul Wesley) is on a mission of his own. Rightfully not trusting Elijah’s supposed altruism, Stefan contacts Elena’s mommy dearest turned vampire Isobel to gather more information on discovering more about Elijah and his motives. Though he is unable to get Isobel to Mystic Falls, dear old daddy John Gilbert (David Anders) returns, a development that will play out in the next episode, aptly titled “Daddy Issues”.

One of the other questions addressed was the burgeoning connection between Caroline and Tyler. Despite admitting to Matt (Zach Roerig) that she loves him, Caroline is still drawn to the newly turned werewolf. They are kindred spirits, newbies in their current condition that can relate on levels that she and Matt can’t. Based on her interactions with both young men, it won’t be long before this love triangle blows up into something violent and potentially deadly.

There were some good things in “The Descent”, both in plot and acting. Is Damon going back to the human diet? His pain at losing Rose showed us a few things: we already knew he had a big heart that he tries so desperately to hide. I mentioned in an earlier episode review just how similar to Spike (from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) Damon seems to be. A veritable badass that hides behind an armor of sarcasm and disinterested wit but desperate to maintain control over the sensitive soul housed within. I’d also mentioned where, in the last few episodes Ian Somerhalder did a bit too much facial acting that took away some of the subtleness that he’d had earlier in the year. Well, he was back this episode. Watching him drive the stake into Rose’s heart and his anguished declaration to Jessica (Ahna O’Reilly), an unwilling victim, showcased the depth of both the actor and the character.  Just where that leaves him remains to be seen.

After such a long hiatus and the power of the final two episodes of 2010, I had much higher expectations for “The Descent”. Again, there were some very positive things that went on but, as a whole, it was a decent episode that just didn’t keep pace to where tVD left off in 2010.

Vampire Bites:
  • While she may not be a villain in the traditional sense, I cannot wait until Damon takes Jules out. She’s made an enemy with someone who she is so not ready to handle. Bringing Tyler into the mix is going to add some serious drama to things all but ensuring but bloodshed will be had.
  • How about Damon’s admission that he misses being human!? It suggests that he may not have readily accepted Stefan’s apology for turning him. What does it mean for Damon, especially after killing again?
  • John’s return will also be something to watch. Based on what season two has brought to the table, I’m guessing that John has a few more secrets he’s on his way to revealing.

Rating: B-/C+

– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)
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