The mystery of the attacks on the council members begins to be revealed

Season 3, Episode 16 (“1912”)
Ian Somerhalder and Paul Wesley (Image: The CW)

In my past couple of reviews I have complained that the Originals are taking over the show and becoming the more interesting part of it, despite not being the main characters. This episode thankfully largely leaves them out, with the exception of Rebekah who is doing a bit of digging into the old white oak tree. But even that is a fairly small part of the episode. Leaving them out allows the show to return to some of the core relationships, while moving along the plot about the attacks on the council members. It is another flashback episode, this time to 1912. Flashback episodes always tend to be pretty good for The Vampire Diaries and this one is used to both solve the mystery of the current day attacks and provides some more backstory on the Salvatores.

Alaric has become the prime suspect in the attacks which is a theory primarily championed by Meredith, who seems to have been building up the evidence against him. She believes that he is the one killing people, he just doesn’t know it. In the 1912 flashbacks we learn that at the time there were similar attacks happening on the council but the culprit was never caught. Also through a combination of Stefan and Damon’s own memories, and another Gilbert journal, it is realized that Samantha Gilbert, granddaughter of Johnathan, was the killer then and it has something to do with wearing the Gilbert ring that Alaric has now. Exactly how this works is explored more in the next episode, but things are not looking up for Alaric right now.

Stefan is struggling to stay on the wagon now that he has stopped drinking human blood. Damon notices that he is clearly craving it and is determined to help him learn moderation this time. The flashbacks help to showcase how the brothers’ relationship has changed over the past 150 years, but particularly in the last couple of seasons. Damon could have helped Stefan in 1912 when he first saw him become “Ripper Stefan”. Stefan had been denying himself human blood for a while, but Damon convinces him to drink again and when he does he can’t control himself. Damon however, didn’t help him because he was still mad at Stefan for turning him into a vampire. But that has changed now. He finally understands what Stefan needs and wants to help him be the best version of himself, even if it is not the version that Stefan has always strived to be.

Elena spends most of the episode with Matt as he helps her to try to clear Alaric’s name. Since she has been on the outs with both Salvatores lately, she has been spending a lot more time with Matt. Not sure if the show is trying to remind us that they are indeed friends, or if they are trying to set up a potential rekindling of their relationship. However, it is pretty clear Elena doesn’t seem him that way anymore, and probably never really did. She even explains to him her feelings about each of the Salvatores. Her explanations for both seem to track. Stefan came into her life at the exact time she needed him to. He helped her to feel safe again after her parents died and like she wanted to live her life again, even if it is a different version of it. The fact that he wasn’t going to die was appealing to her after she has lost so many people. On the other hand she can’t yet explain why she fell for Damon, other than it happened without her realizing it. I was kind of surprised that she didn’t shy away from the fact that she does have feelings for him since I don’t think she has really admitted it yet. In this way the love triangle felt less obnoxious than it has for the past few episodes. We don’t actually see her interact with either of them very much and she is finally admitting to having feelings for both.

I liked this episode a lot more than I remembered which is the fun of going back more slowly through the show. The first time I watched it, I binged the entire thing in a couple of months. The problem with such viewing is that the episodes tend to blend together more and you remember which chunks of the show you liked the most more than individual episodes. So even as I have rewatched portions of the show since my initial viewing, I have not rewatched the second half of this season again. I am enjoying discovering some episodes that I had not appreciated as much the first time around (like “Bringing out the Dead”) as I am forced to consider each one more carefully.

Episode Grade: B+

Other Thoughts:

  • Meredith is the one that turns Alaric into the Sheriff but then later forges the coroner’s note to clear his name. Why? If she knew he was behind the attacks but didn’t want him to be a suspect, why bring him to their attention at all?
  • The jail cell that Alaric is in looks very old… Mystic Falls definitely has the money to upgrade the facilities. Or did Sheriff put him in older facilities to hide him from the rest of the police department? How much of the police department knows about vamps? I feel like Sheriff hides a lot from them.
  • Matt is tired/struggling to keep up with Elena while they are running. Isn’t he a varsity athlete? And Elena has never been shown to be particularly athletic.
  • Damon: “I’m mean, you hate me. The Earth is back on its axis”
  • There is a callback to the crow at the beginning of the series in the 1912 flashback as Stefan sees one in the cemetery right before he sees Damon. Having already complained extensively about the crow, I will spare you here.
  • Damon and Stefan don’t seem to have been in Mystic Falls for 50 years before their relative’s funeral. Why did they feel the need to go to it?
  • Stefan: “I’m not being self-righteous, I’m just not interested in slaughtering innocent human beings anymore”
  • Damon: “No more no-humanity-Stefan. There’s a road called recovery, and we are on it”
  • The flashbacks serve as a bit of origin story for both Stefan and Damon. We see when Damon started enjoying being a vampire and thus became the Damon we know. We also see when Stefan first became “Ripper Stefan”.
  • Body Count: 2, Stefan kills the Fell girl in 1912. Also in 1912, Samantha Gilbert kills Zachariah Salvatore.

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