The late season 3 slump continues

Season 3, Episode 17 (“Break on Through”)
Matthew Davis (Image: The CW)

The last episode was much better than I thought it was going to be, and after watching it I was excited to find more hidden gems in this last half of the season that I had forgotten about. This episode however was not one. There is plot movement forward with the confirmation that Alaric is one who killed the medical examiner, and Bill Forbes, and that his alter ego likely has something to do with the Gilbert ring. The rest of the episode however was a mess. We get the return of Sage (was anyone hoping she would show up again?), another weapon to kill the Originals (I’m sure this will be the one!), and we say goodbye to Bonnie’s mom who was barely a character.

I’ll start with the most interesting part which was the emergence of Alaric’s alter ego. The Gilbert ring that has let him cheat death comes at a price – overtime the wearer becomes unable to resist their dark side. They probably should have realized that there would be consequences to the ring, since it was made by witches. Witches are servants of nature and whenever someone tries to cheat death, nature fights back. Witch magic was used to create vampires and nature fought back with the sun, vervain, and wooden stakes. So it makes sense that the ring wearer would ultimately turn into a murderer. Alaric seems to be specifically targeting those that help to cover up the existence of vampires. The medical examiner calls death by vampire “animal attacks”, Bill knew that Caroline and the Salvatores were vampires but did not out them, and Alaric has become friends with them, which is probably why he stabbed himself.

Onto the weirdest part of the episode, the entire plot with Damon, Sage, and Rebekah. Damon and Sage seduce Rebekah in order to find out what she is up to. Their scheming methods are very sexual and seem unnecessary. Were there people hoping to see a threesome between them? It technically never goes there, but it is as close as you can get. Regardless of the reason for this, it is ultimately successful and Damon finds out that Wickery Bridge was made from the same white oak tree that could kill the Originals. Rebekah burns all of the original wood but doesn’t know that Damon has the sign, also made from the tree. So now we have another weapon that might kill an Original, and this same story gets recycled once again. The circular finding of a method to kill the Originals, having that method fail, and then finding out there is another one is definitely the weakest aspect of this season. It is a huge part of the reason that I find the last half of the season boring and forgettable, so needless to say I am not excited about having to watch more attempts to kill the Originals.

And finally the most boring part of the episode is Bonnie and her mom dealing with the transition. Abby is having trouble with the transition and ultimately decides to leave town, abandoning Bonnie once again. She leaves town knowing what she is leaving her daughter to deal with and that makes it worse than some of the other absent parents in the show. Death in this town seems to disproportionately affect parents:

  • Elena lost both of her adoptive parents before the show started and since then has lost both of her biological parents and her aunt. Jeremy lost his parents and aunt as well.
  • Tyler lost his dad at the end of season 1
  • Bonnie lost her grandmother in season 1, and now her mom has left again
  • Caroline lost her dad this season
  • Matt’s mom left town and I don’t think his dad was ever in the picture
  • The Salvatores obviously lost their parents a long time ago (Stefan did kill his dad)

Dead or absent parents are a common theme in young adult literature/movies. It certainly forces our heroes to be independent and stronger than the average teenager, which they need in order to defeat all of these supernatural evils. Seeing Elena walk around her house at the end of the episode and realizing how alone she is once Alaric goes back to his apartment, was very sad. She sent Jeremy away for his safety and now she is all by herself. Found family is very important for all of these characters as they lose all of their human connections and are completely consumed by the supernatural.

I think it is fairly obvious that this episode was not my favorite. It is not the worst episode of the show so far (I think “Friday Night Bites” can never be surpassed in that sense) but it may be my least favorite of the season. There are some interesting developments that happen towards the end of the season so I am looking forward to that, but we are definitely in a slump of the show.

Episode Grade: C+

Other Thoughts:

  • Damon: “Ah yes back when you two were in love, and it was all rainbows and unicorns” that pretty aptly describes Elena and Stefan’s relationship.
  • There has been a serious lack of Caroline for the past few episodes which needs to be righted soon.
  • Damon: “Ric the world can’t stop just because you are an accidental psycho killer”
  • Sage was in love with Finn which is why she is back. I’m not sure I see it since she seems like someone with a personality.
  • When Alaric tells Meredith that he killed her cousin, Logan, it had honestly never crossed my mind that they were related. Like I know they are both Fells but they seem to exist in different universes.
  • Rebekah: “I stole it from Nik who stole it from a queen. I’m not sure which one.”
  • Body Count: None!

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