Season 2, Episode 5 (“Kill or Be Killed”)
The whole time I was going back through and writing these reviews for season 1, I kept thinking that I just wanted to get through it so I could get to season 2. One of the reasons I was so excited to get to season 2 is that it does a great job of developing a lot of the underdeveloped characters of the first season, especially Caroline and Tyler. Both of these characters were hardly used in the first season and when they were it was just to be someone’s friend and neither were super likable. But early season 2 has been so focused on them as they learn about their new supernatural identities and how they change who they are and their relationships with other people.
The relationship between Caroline and her mom has been strained from the beginning of the series. They have never really understood each other, and though they both love each other, they show it in different ways. Caroline has been consistently angry at her mom for working too much and not spending enough time with her. Liz sees her work as protecting Caroline and the town and that is how she shows her love for her daughter. But Caroline needs to see it and hear it from her mom to believe it. When she reveals her vampire self to her mom, she hopes that even with their strained relationship, her love for her will transcend any hatred towards vampires. She hopes that that will be enough for her to keep Caroline and the Salvatores’ vampire identities secret.
Liz is shaken to find out that both her daughter and her friend are the enemy that she has been fighting. She can’t agree to keep their secret, not even for Caroline’s sake. She would rather die than accept it. Damon won’t kill her though because he really does see her as a friend, despite knowing that she wants to kill vampires. She agrees to have her memories erased so she will forget what they are because she can’t live with knowing. When she tells Damon that Caroline is not her daughter anymore, Caroline’s fears that her mom doesn’t love her seem confirmed. But of course she loves her or she would have killed her and the Salvatores. It’s been her principle to kill any vampire she comes across, but she can’t do that to her daughter.
The other relationship that is developed in this episode is that of Jeremy and Tyler. So far throughout the series they have been mostly antagonistic towards each other over Vicki but Jeremy has been cooler to Tyler since he found out that his dad was a dick and that he is likely a werewolf. For a lot of the episode they are hanging out at Tyler’s house drinking with two girls, but they seem more interested in bonding with each other than with them. Having real, emotional friendships between guys is rare on shows and it is nice to see them becoming that in this episode. Jeremy has always been an outsider and Tyler the popular athletic type, but now that he is going through something no one will believe or understand, he needs someone like Jeremy to confide in. Jeremy needs a sense of purpose and getting involved with the supernatural seems to be that for him now.
In addition to developing these two relationships, there is also forward plot momentum in this episode with the revelation that Mason is working with Katherine. He finally gets the moonstone from Tyler, which she is also interested in. She was involved with triggering Mason’s curse as it is implied that she compelled the guy to get in a fight with him (or at least told him that Mason was sleeping with his girlfriend). So far Katherine has been insistent that she came back for Stefan, but we always knew there was more to it.
This was a pretty decent episode, not as strong as some of the earlier episodes this season but still keeping the show elevated above its first season. As we get settled into season 2, the plot is still moving forward but settling down a bit from the pace of the first few episodes. I enjoy when we get to dive into certain characters and their relationships and plot takes a back seat. However, this is The Vampire Diaries and plot is never too far in the back. As Tyler learns about what he has to do to trigger the curse, we see how he is processing that information and how it informs his character. He now knows what the darkness inside him has been for, and he scared himself when he almost hoped for the girl to die. He doesn’t want a part of it, but his nature is pushing him towards it. Is it only a matter of time before he triggers the curse? Will Caroline compel her mom to forget that she is a vampire? How long can she keep it a secret? How many times will she have to do this?
Episode Grade: B
- Mason killed that guy in front of an entire crowd of people, did no one call the cops? He doesn’t seem to be concerned that he will get in trouble for it. Was he able to sell it as self-defense?
- Elena and Stefan pretending to fight is not interesting. When they actually get into a fight at the end I was so happy.
- Event of the Episode: Historical Society Volunteer Picnic
- The girls that Jeremy and Tyler are hanging out with want to drink margaritas – is that something that high schoolers drink?
- Looks like the dichotomy of human vs animal blood will be returning – can Stefan handle it this time? I was happy to see Elena realize that he needs to learn how to control it instead of just denying himself. I think her reasons for wanting him to say away from it are more about keeping him as human as possible and being the good vampire.
- “Hi mom” – what else do you say when your mom sees you eating one of her deputies
- I was annoyed that those girls were making fun of Tyler and Jeremy for hanging out by themselves, we should encourage male friendships ladies!
- They purposefully made those girls annoying so that my only concern when one of them falls down the stairs was for Tyler’s sake, not for hers. They could have dialed them back a bit.
- Sheriff in the detox cellar!
- Body Count: 3, Caroline kills the 2 deputies, Mason kills the guy in Florida.