Season 2, Episode 18 (“The Last Dance”)
Event episodes are always some of my favorite Vampire Diaries episodes, especially decade dances. This is the second one of the series and they are doing the 1960s. I have to say it looks pretty much like what I would expect high school students in the 2010s throwing a 1960s dance to look like. It’s like half there, but no one really committed. Any Mystic Falls event is always good background for schemes, as well as attacks from evil vampires. Last time it was Anna and her friends who were trying to open the tomb, and this time it is Klaus using Alaric’s body as a disguise.
It is interesting that our first introduction to Klaus is via another actor. Since we meet the real Klaus in the next episode, they had likely already cast the actor who ends up playing him (Joseph Morgan) when they made this episode. However, he would not have done any scenes yet and his personality has not been established. So there really isn’t much for Matt Davis to go on as far as how to imitate him which is probably why he seems so off. He is mostly acting like a creepy stalker in this episode and comes off more silly than intimidating. When he says to Damon “special dedication huh? This guy is a little twisted” seemed very un-Klaus to me.
Something that I did appreciate about the whole Alaric/Klaus plot is that the show doesn’t even wait until the end of the episode to reveal to everyone that Klaus is using Alaric’s body. This is typical pacing for The Vampire Diaries, but not very many shows. Most shows like this, that have 22 episodes to fill in a season, would drag out the other characters not knowing his identity for three episodes before making the reveal. One of the things I really like about this show is that they prolong these kinds of plots. Just as with earlier in this season when Katherine was imitating Elena before anyone knew she was back, the other characters figured it out within the first few minutes of the season premiere. This quick pacing allows us to move past the things the audience already knows and get to the much more interesting fall out.
The current plan for killing Klaus is to use the power Bonnie is channeling to take him down. Bonnie and Jeremy are the only ones that know that the amount of power required to do it could potentially kill her. Bonnie doesn’t want anyone, especially Elena, to know because they will try to stop her. She is doing the same thing Elena was doing earlier this season, but no one would let her. Bonnie is willing to die to save Elena just as Elena was willing to die to save everyone else. When Elena finds out she of course doesn’t want Bonnie to do it, but is being a bit hypocritical. She is constantly telling the Salvatores and everyone else that she is free to maker her own choices and they have to respect that. But when it comes to Bonnie trying to do the same thing, she doesn’t want to let her. The difference here is that Damon is also willing to let Bonnie die in order to save Elena.
This episode and the next few will really highlight the differences in the ways that Damon and Stefan express their love for Elena. Stefan recognizes the importance of letting Elena have agency and make her own choices, even if he disagrees with them. He loves her and wants to protect her, but he also has to respect her. Damon on the other hand is all or nothing. He would rather Elena be alive and hate him, than be dead. He sees this as a good trait because he will do whatever it takes to keep her alive, even if it means that others have to die. Stefan cannot make those kinds of decisions because he values all human life, not just Elena’s. He also knows that Elena does as well and that she wouldn’t want him to kill anyone for her. Damon values her life over her loving and respecting him, but that often means that he makes decisions that don’t take into account what she wants. This divide will continue to be a theme for these characters and this love triangle.
This is an episode that definitely sticks out to me when I think about season 2, but that may just be because I have a soft spot for decade dances. We get a half introduction to Klaus, the mysterious villain we have been hearing about for 10 episodes, who finally arrives. Klaus is the only villain in the series that the show really takes its time with, and as we get into it it will be obvious why. The trick that Damon and Bonnie play on Klaus is a good one, they also trick Elena and Stefan into thinking that Bonnie is really dead. I don’t know if the audience is ever really fooled since no one important ever truly dies on this show. But with Klaus thinking she is dead, she is once again their secret weapon against him. Only a few episodes left of the season and things are about to get insane.
Episode Grade: B+
- Bonnie jokes that she wouldn’t want to clean the Salvatore house because of how big it is and there is a lot of fancy, valuable things in there. But does someone clean it? We never see any maids or anything and I can’t really imagine that Damon dusts.
- Poor Matt: He is struggling to keep up the innocent act with Caroline, but Sheriff needs time to process.
- Event of the Episode: 1960s Decade Dance!
- It is supposed to be the same school year as season 1, so does this school have multiple decade dances a year? That seems excessive. My high school hated dances so they only begrudgingly put on homecoming and prom every year.
- Jeremy pulling the “my last two girlfriends died” card with Bonnie was kind of sad.
- Alaric/Klaus seems disappointed that Damon doesn’t think his special dedication was twisted. I don’t think real Klaus would care about Damon’s approval on anything.
- Bonnie/Damon: “Careful Damon, I might start to think you actually care” “Wouldn’t want that”
- Caroline is very underused in this episode. Couldn’t they have used another strong vampire during all the decade dance shenanigans?
- Product Placement: AT&T Mifi? I am not even sure what that is. This is like three episodes in a row that have outdated technology product placement. The show must have started getting much higher ratings at this point.
- The episode ends with Elena pulling the dagger out of Elijah, she is doing things her way again.
- Body Count: None!