"Vampire Diaries" Episode 10 “The Turning Point” Review

11/20/2009 Posted by Admin

By our guest blogger, Eva Medoff

Trying to asses the cultural vampire barometer has now become the stale pastime of almost every media outlet. Why is it that blood-sucking immortal creatures were able to permeate the mainstream, and no adults saw it coming? I would argue, as others have, that it never really left. “Twilight” is a natural extension of “Harry Potter,” which is a natural extension of “The Lord of the Rings.” (Moreover, are we to forget “Interview with the Vampire?”) And once a trend proves profitable, there’s really no question as to why networks and studios would sink their claws into it—or in this case, their teeth.

The latest addition, the CW’s “Vampire Diaries” had a tough act to follow after the dark brilliance of HBO’s “True Blood” and the tween dominance of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight.” Based on a series of books (aren’t all these vampire shows?) by L.J. Smith, the show follows high school student Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev, looking bored), who has just lost both her parents in a car accident and lives with her overwhelmed aunt and juvenile delinquent brother. The Gilberts reside in the vaguely New Englandish town of Mystic Falls, which apparently is in Virginia. Enter Stefan and Damon Salvatore, two hunky and mysterious newcomers to the town, who are vampires, of course.

Stefan (Paul Wesley) poses as a high school student in order to be closer to Elena, who just so happens to look like his long lost love, Katherine, whom he loved circa 1860. The brothers engaged in a rivalry over Katherine more than a century ago, and the competition didn’t end there. Damon (Ian Somerhalder of “Lost,” by far the best actor on the show) returns to Mystic Falls to haunt his brother, drain some bodies and wreak some high-school havoc.

As it turns out, Katherine was herself is a vampire, and, if this were “True Blood,” we’d say she’s the Salvatores’ maker. As the show progresses, we come to find out that she isn’t in fact dead, but imprisoned in a tomb along with the rest of the vampire colony she had begun to create during the Civil War. Stefan considers her evil now; Damon may or may not still be in love with her. Whether Damon can bring Katherine back is a continuing point of tension on the show.

On “Vampire Diaries” episode 10, the “Turning Point,” Stefan is prepared to leave town in order to protect Elena--which is, in fact, the entire plot of “New Moon.” Damon, who has become increasingly less evil and more likeable as the show has gone on (we haven’t seen him kill anyone in awhile, for instance) wants to bury the hatchet with his brother and travel the world as friends. However, when they find out that there’s a new vampire in town, they’re obliged to stay to clean up the mess.

Said vampire is Logan, an unfortunate news anchor who Damon feasted on and assumed was dead. However, someone must have snuck in after and turned Logan into a vampire--we just don’t know who. Logan goes around spooking everyone all episode until he is met with a stake to the heart by the town’s new history teacher, Ric Saltzman, who definitely knows more than the Average Joe about the supernatural, and probably isn’t human himself. Werewolf? Shape shifter? It’s anyone’s guess.

Throughout the season, Elena has been constantly changing her mind about whether she should be with Stefan, and finally, finally admits she’s in love with him. What happens next--a sex scene--signifies how “Vampire Diaries” is staking its territory. Call it Diet “True Blood,” but definitely don’t call it a descendant of “Twilight,” where the Mormon messages ooze off the pages (the main character waits until she’s married to have sex with her vampire beau, and refuses to have an abortion even when the baby vamp inside her is eating her from the inside out, literally).

“Vampire Diaries” may sometimes be silly and contrived, especially when we’re obliged to sit through the high school nonsense that’s injected into every CW show, but when it’s caught up in plot, which is about 70 percent of the time, it’s surprisingly compelling. Like “True Blood’s” kid sibling, it always ends on a shocking note (and is starting to pick up next episode exactly where it left off, again in homage to its raunchy predecessor).

Oh, which brings me to where “Turning Point” actually ended. When Stefan leaves the room, Elena happens upon a photo of Katherine, which of course looks exactly like her (actually, it is her, Nina Dobrev, in period costume). More than a little creeped out, she hastily drives home, and suddenly crashes into a strange figure in the middle of the road. Her car flips over, trapping her inside, and we watch as the figure stands up, repairs its broken appendages, and starts walking toward the car. The episode ends on Elena’s screams--and we may as well have been listening to Sookie Stackhouse.

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