Review by John
It’s interesting that the writers for The Vampire Diaries still have elements of the character’s family backgrounds to mine and explore, considering just how inherent those histories were in the first few seasons. Grayson’s involvement with the Augustine experiments feels like a major retcon, but given that the series has to constantly push the envelope to maintain its legendary pacing, I suppose it’s worth it.
Also interesting is the question of whether or not it is ethical to experiment on vampires to find medical breakthroughs to prevent human suffering. When it comes to the vampires that are in the limelight in Mystic Falls, it’s hard to reconcile; with the occasional exception of Damon, they don’t act too differently from human beings. But it’s worth noting that vampires have been established to be, on the whole, far more of a serious threat. Just look at Klaus and the questionable ethics of the Originals, for that matter!
From an extreme point of view, where human survival is more important than anything else, this is essentially the same thing as animal testing. And the plan to alter vampires to be stronger and predatory towards their own kind, while somewhat cruel, is a logical means of eliminating a major threat to the human population. Not to discount the suffering by the vampires in question, but with the history of Mystic Falls in mind, maybe it’s not hard to understand why local scientists would be willing to experiment to find a permanent solution.
It’s unlikely to work as cleanly as Maxfield intends, and since that syringe is out there and in Aaron’s hands, this is not a good thing. What if it wasn’t the “final solution” that Maxfield believes, and it only makes the injected vampire that much stronger and frenzied? A new Ripper would be a disaster. That said, it does seem like the writers are setting the stage for Damon to go bad in a big way, so perhaps that’s how all of this is meant to converge.
That’s all fairly interesting, and it does a great deal to counter my misgivings over two other, more troubling developments. While it’s nice to see that Enzo has a greater meaning in the context of the season and the whole Augustine vampire arc, this was another example of the writers using a great deal of time to deliver a massive exposition dump. I understand that there’s a desire to just get it over with and move on to the character interactions, but there has to be a more organic way to give the audience all this information!
More concerning to me is the strong suggestion that Katherine’s only means of survival is to jump into someone else’s body. The most obvious candidate is Nadia, since she’s a blood relative, but that would mean that Nina Dobrev would no longer be playing Katherine. Dobrev loads on the sexy so well as Katherine that it would be a serious blow to be resigned to only seeing her play the far less interesting Elena. Perhaps they could have the whole situation backfire? Seems to me that one solution could be having Katherine switch with Elena, though it would be an annoying way to reverse one of the better plot twists of recent seasons.
All that said, The Vampire Diaries has been rather good at avoiding the obvious choices, so this might just be another step along the path to some unanticipated means of “curing” Katherine. That makes it more of a matter of faith, and after the past few seasons, that is a slightly unsettling proposition.
Previously Posted on Critical Myth.