The Vampire Diaries: Daddy Issues (Review)

The Vampire Diaries: Daddy Issues (Review)

Daddy IssuesComing off the disappointing first episode of 2011, I had my fingers crossed for this week’s installment of tVD to harken back to the days of yore (or seven weeks past) and return with a vengeance. My prayers were answered as “Daddy Issues” really delivered the goods.

Back in Mystic Falls for the first time since Stefan’s (Paul Wesley) forceful suggestion that he extricate himself from the area, John Gilbert (David Anders) returns, ironically at the vampire’s behest. Desperate to find a way to break Elena’s (Nina Dobrev) agreement with Elijah (Daniel Gillies), Stefan calls upon her biological father to pick John’s brain on any knowledge he can provide on the Originals. In addition to babysitting Elena for a portion of the episode, he does provide the good guys with the key to killing an Original; a dagger dipped in white ash wood from a tree dating back to when the Originals first walked the world. Of course, it doesn’t take a genius—or a distrustful and spaztastic Damon (Ian Somerhalder)—to see that John’s got his own agenda in line.

On the other side of things, Tyler (Michael Trevino) confronts Caroline (Candice Accola) about Mason’s death. Taken aback by her friend’s knowledge, Caroline admits to the truth but is unable to explain the circumstances before Tyler storms off in a wolfish rage. Though no match for Caroline in a standup fight, we are given a glimpse into the superhuman power of a werewolf (the amber eyes when in a rage was a sweet touch).

Caroline knows that Tyler’s in danger; one sniff of what he knows in front of Damon and there’s one less werewolf in Mystic Falls. Unable to switch off her concern for a good friend, Caroline turns to Stefan, begging him to talk sense into Tyler before he meets his uncle’s fate. The do-gooder that he is—in addition to this inexplicable connection he’s developed with Caroline—Stefan agrees. Ever the one to talk first before action is required, Stefan is not above a little strong arming, something he has to do a few times to gain Tyler’s cooperation to listen. And where Tyler’s IQ won’t be winning him any scholarships, he’s not a complete fail on the intelligence scale. He listens to what Stefan has to say but doesn’t trust it all…of course he does reach out to Jules when she calls, thinking she’s his way out of the vampire’s grasp. I can’t blame him for not trusting Stefan but putting his faith in Jules because she told him the truth about Mason’s death…guess he never heard the quote on just how much worse a “truth that’s told with bad intent” can be over a lie to keep you safe…and breathing.

While Stefan and Tyler are having their Vamp to Wolf talk, Caroline is a bit preoccupied, absconded by Jules (Michaela McManus) and her hairy beau, Brady (Stephen Amell). Leaving the questioning to Brady, Jules demands Stefan to bring Tyler to her or Caroline’s a dead vamp. With no other options, Stefan does with Damon arriving shortly thereafter.  The two vampires soon find themselves surrounded by werewolves brandishing guns, knives, and flamethrowers, oh my! What ensues is something tVD has been missing, some full-contact ass kicking. Outnumbered 4:1 the two vampires hold their own, breaking necks, tearing out hearts, and generally making a mess of their natural enemies. But wooden bullets and the sheer number of opponents are two much and the Salvatores are overwhelmed, with the werewolves ready to turn the brothers to dust.

Enter Dr. Strange.

Okay, so Jonas (Randy J Goodwin) may not have the aptitude of the magical arts as Marvel’s cape wearing sorcerer, but his entrance to the party, head down, hands extended as he put down all the werewolves (save for Tyler) at Elijah’s behest was my favorite scene of the episode. The man is a serious player and I am more than a bit interested in just how much of a BMF Jonas will turn out to be.

The casualties of the battle are steep; Caroline’s psyche is damaged more than she admits, though the anger and hurt she felt at Tyler’s indecision while the vampires fought for their lives was more than adequately expressed. Though not his progeny, Stefan’s emotional connection to Caroline allows him to understand just how much pain she is in and, with Elena and Bonnie’s help, he provides the emotional support the teenage vampire desperately needed with an all girls’ slumber party.

But all things aren’t quite as happy ending-ish. John makes his way to Katherine’s prison and the vampire demands that he get on with it and free her from the tomb. Conniving smirk firmly in place, John assures her that he and Isobel are already working on a way to break through the barrier.

  • You only need one word to describe the most unpredictable character right about now…UNSTABLE. Damon is a powder keg of emotions right now, unable to decide just who he is. His admonition to the reporter and willing bootie call, Andi Starr (Dawn Oliviero) of changing to someone that he’s not for Elena. Andi’s response that maybe he’s that man now is very poignant and, in most respects, accurate. Just how long will it be before Damon comes to terms with just who he is now?
  • While we’re on the topic of Damon, it’s only a matter of time before Elena slips and expresses more than a friendship vibe to him. Her discomfort at Andi’s obvious advances toward him are the little hints that he holds just a bit more than a friendly place in her heart. In addition, this Damon/Elena thing reminds me more and more of the whole Spike/Buffy thing. Elena’s mantra of “be the better man” is just another way of saying “I believe in you”, Buffy’s words to a soulful Spike.
  • Okay, so when did I miss the whole Bonnie (Katerina Graham)/Jeremy (Stephen R McQueen) ‘ship? Sure, they’d explored it several episodes ago but there had never been an inkling of them actually being together in the, well, together sense…Not sure if it’s official and the layoff may have messed with my memory but I don’t recall them being this googly eyed for one another
  • You gotta wonder just how long Jules, Brady and their werewolf gang are for this world. I don’t think they are going to take to heart Jonas’s warning in time to save their canine asses. And while I do want Damon to get his revenge on Jules, methinks Mr. Elijah will be making an appearance to show who’s really top dog.

Grade: B+

– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)
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