The Vampire Diaries 5×08 – Dead Man On Campus

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Review by John
In my review for the season premiere, I noted that there were a number of elements that reminded me of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not only was there the transition into college, complete with the arrival of a strange roommate, but there was the intrigue with at least one of the professors. While Buffy didn’t have to take the first third of the season to resolve the lingering plot and character issues from the previous season, there was enough to make me wonder how much else would be similar.

Maybe The Vampire Diaries is trying to do their own version of The Initiative on purpose, or perhaps they are just sliding into that same territory because it’s a logical place to go. But honestly, that’s exactly what I’m beginning to see every time Dr. Maxfield and this Augustine Vampire business comes up: The Initiative. And now there’s even the revelation that Damon was once a test subject! (Anyone else thinking of Spike?)

On the other hand, if humanity is going to experiment with vampires for some goal that enhances survival of the human species, modifying them to feed on their own kind is a fairly logical idea. It’s not a completely viable solution, since the most powerful vampires would just set up a system of turning humans and then drinking the freshly-turned vampire dry (or something similar), but it does represent one step on a science-based solution to the vampire population problem.

Is there an unwritten rule that Caroline can never be happy again? Here we have one of the sexiest characters on the show, the one who has found the silver lining in being a vampire more quickly than anyone else, who openly admits to being supernaturally libidinous, and she never gets to have a moment to capitalize on any of it!

Meanwhile, Bonnie is one of the most annoying characters on the series, not only gets resurrected after being a really talkative ghost for the past several episodes, but spends the episode getting naked with Jeremy on a regular basis. Well, when she’s not getting her naked plans interrupted by her role as the anchor, which involves depressing conversations before repetitive bouts of screaming. Which I suppose makes sense, given that I feel the same way whenever Bonnie sucks the life out of an episode.

After hinting at a possible Stefan/Caroline relationship, now there is reason to think that Stefan and Katherine might actually regain a connection. Katherine was always more interested in Stefan anyway, so I suppose it makes sense, but unless Katherine can break him out of his eternal PTSD funk (on top of his already soul-crushing angst-a-thon).

Conclusion
Considering that it had to take the fallout of the previous episode and start setting the stage for the next story arc, this was a perfectly serviceable transitional installment. I’m still not at all sold on the need to bring back Bonnie, especially if it’s just so she can scream a lot, but I like that Katherine is still a big part of the series and looks to be for a good while to come.

John Rating
C

Previously Posted on Critical Myth.

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