"Homecoming" was an exciting hour of television, a fine way to conclude the first 1/3 of the third season. The twists were plentiful, the stakes were high, and I actually believed the series would kill Klaus off. The episode kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the hour, except for the end, when the final twist was a bit underwhelming. Every major character, except for Alaric and Jeremy, were able to play a part in the dramatic reunion between father and bastard son. Relationships were significantly altered and storylines shifted. A job well done by the writers, especially when the episode's more of a transitional episode than a mid-season finale (but perhaps the terms mean the same thing).
The most important event in the episode happened as Damon attempted to drive a stake through Klaus' dead heart. Damon planned and planned and planned for the moment when he'd confront Klaus with a stake in hand. He anticipated Mikael's treachery and the group of hybrids ready to kill at Klaus' command; however, the vampire didn't anticipate Stefan jumping in to save Klaus' life. Stefan's act separated Damon and the dagger, which allowed Klaus to use the dagger on the father who turned him into a monster. Damon fled to the Salvatore mansion where he began drinking and brooding. Elena waited there and felt confused upon witnessing Damon's vexation. Damon explained that Stefan saved Klaus' life and he doesn't understand why. Elena told Damon that they'd let Stefan go now because there's no point in holding onto someone who won't return. Of course, both were unaware of the deal Stefan made with Klaus. The delivery of Mikael would restore Stefan's humanity as well as remove Klaus' compulsion. Ultimately, we learned that Katherine intervened because Klaus promised Damon's death regardless if he himself lived or died--a hybrid's duty extends beyond the death of their master. Katherine demanded Stefan to find some part of himself that cared again. From what we saw, compulsion Stefan's able to act boldly if he witnesses something or personally feels for it, so the request for his compulsion to be lifted came from his desire to save his brother's life.
Damon doesn't know about what happened. The vamp literally has no idea that two people risked their lives because of their love for him. I'm not sure how long the brothers will be separated but I dread their reunion because Damon's not one to forget a slight, and fictional characters have issues with communication. I'm more interested in exploring Katherine's sliver of humanity she let dominate when she made the decision to save Damon's love. Once upon a time, she loved both Salvatore brothers (and still does, if I recall correctly). Unfortunately, Katherine's on her way out of Mystic Falls because she needs to put as much distance between she and Klaus as physically possible--her derring-do hasn't reduced her fear of original vampires. I imagine Damon and Elena's decision to let Stefan go will lead to a romance of sorts, which will complicate matters when Stefan returns to them a hero.
Oh yeah, Stefan took his compulsion free life to the caskets of Klaus' other siblings. We learned last week that Klaus dealt with his siblings by stake when they disappointed him, so Stefan decided to wake them up because the taste of revenge trumps the taste of freedom. Stefan resembled another brooding vampire in his final scenes--one Angel from Buffy and ANGEL. He donned leather on his car ride with Katherine and explained that he can't remember his humanity until he atones for the sins he committed whilst controlled by Niklaus. Stefan won't help the hopeless or the helpless. He's more season 2 Angel, if one cares enough to compare the two. It will be cool to see Stefan spread his wings without Elena being at the forefront of his mind, and without Klaus hovering over him.
The direction of Klaus is also interesting. The furious exchange with his father before he murdered him was loaded with resentment and insults. Mikael accused Klaus of compelling people to be around him. Klaus resented that statement, though it reeked of truth. Will Klaus quit using his mind to build an army or won't he care about what his father thought? His hybrids are tethered to him, so much so that Tyler damaged his relationship with Caroline. Klaus is supposed to be one of the most important characters in the series. His power doesn't translate into a compelling character to watch each week, though. Hopefully the writers have a new direction for him in January.
The Katherine twist didn't fool me. I liked it. I'm not criticizing the series because I wasn't fooled. Nina Dobrev embraces the sexy whenever she's Katherine though. The hair and the dress were entirely Katherine. I even remarked aloud that Nina Dobrev looks good in everything she wears. I thought the constant cutting as twists were reveal was distracting and unnecessary. TVD's done that before and will do so again. Consider it a staple of the series. Overall, though, I thought "Homecoming" was exciting and a great deal of fun.
The Vampire Diaries won't return until January 5, 2012. Evan Bleiweiss wrote the episode. Joshua Butler directed it.
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