Review of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES – Ghost World (2011)

Reopening old wounds, old relationships and old grudges only leads to more pain

Whether to help or hinder, Mystic Falls’ ghosts made life more interesting, that’s for sure!  It was a parade of familiar faces:  Lexi, Grams, Mason, Anna, Pearl, Frederic, the Tomb Vamps.  Should we take it as a sign that Katherine is still alive since she didn’t come back to haunt them too?  And where were Isobel, John, Aunt Jenna, and Tyler’s dad?

Also, was anyone else creeped out by the notion that the dearly-departed and the vengeful-dead are constantly watching over us waiting for a door to be cracked open between their other-world and our world so that they can slip back in?  And should we be crying because all the ghosts were banished?  Feeling so conflicted right now.

‘Ghost World’ was a roller-coaster of emotion.  The “shall they stay or should they go” question hung in the air tonight.  It was a tug-of-war as to whether the ghosts could help more than the threat they posed.  In the end, it was decided that the balance had to be restored, or who knows what else may slip through the doorway between dimensions.  The saying is “dead is dead.”  Vampires may be technically dead, but their existence in our world allows them to remain until otherwise dispatched to the otherside.  But for everybody else, humans and werewolves alike, once they cross death’s threshold, it is supposed to be a one-way ticket.

Just because Bonnie was selfish and could not let go Jeremy and resurrected him when he died in the Season 2, did not mean that it was permissible for all the other dead to return as well.  Alas, with Jeremy and Anna thinking of each other, the “push/pull” between the dimensions was weakened.  The crack that Bonnie made by resurrecting Jeremy became a door and the door was propped open when Vicki used the dead witch’s power to become corporeal.  Ah, the trouble Bonnie unleashed on both herself and the world around her because she could not let go of the person she loved.  Not only did the balance have to be restored and the doorway slammed shut between the two dimensions, but also Bonnie had to pay the price — she may have saved Jeremy’s life, but she lost his love.

Jeremy is a man that remains tethered to both worlds.  He was dead, but resurrected.  He does not really belong here, but is because of the power of witch’s magic.  Is it a wonder that his heart feels torn between his old girlfriend, Anna the ghost, and his current girlfriend, Bonnie, a witch?  But the minute Jeremy kissed Anna, he had made his choice.  He gave his heart to Anna and Bonnie’s heart was broken.

It may seem that Jeremy gave up Anna and let her go when he took the necklace from her and gave it to Bonnie to be destroyed.  But it was too late and Bonnie knew it.  She’d lost his love.

It was an episode that should have been about Elena and Stefan, but in the end, Elena still had Stefan.  Their story and their future are still to be decided.  But for Jeremy and Anna, their love story ended.  Jeremy may love and chose Anna, but she gave him up the minute she handed over the necklace.  She gave him back his freedom.  Now it is up to Jeremy to win back Bonnie’s love — if she is willing to trust him with her heart again. Bonnie’s heart will go on, but will she find a way to love Jeremy again?

Points of Interest

1.  Someone sure had it in for Damon in this episode.  Not only did he have to suffer a re-enactment of his own torture of Mason, Damon was nearly sheared in half by the criss-cross spikes that skewered him in the cave.  Not to mention, having a shot glass shattered on his head.  The universe itself seemed to be looking for a bit of payback.

2.  Stefan did not fare much better as he must have had a “kick me” sign on him as well.  Lexi not only slammed his head into a car window, she shackled him and then stabbed him repeatedly while compelling him to feel withdrawal symptoms from his blood-lust at heightened stages, making mere seconds feel like years had passed.  But, unlike with Damon, who needed to be reminded of the pain he has inflicted upon others and put out in the universe, Stefan only needed to be reminded that he can feel pain — that pain is an emotion that connects him to his humanity.  It is a necessary evil if he is to find his way back from the brink of non-humanness.

3.  Apparently that blasted necklace is not so easy to destroy.  Bonnie and Grams sent it back to the otherside in order to banish all the ghosts slipping through the cracks; but then low and behold, the necklace reappeared again.  What is that supposed to mean?  Did the sneaky old witch put another spell on it?  Or is she merely returning a gift to help Stefan find his humanity again?  It is, as Lexi said, the one thing that he clung to the first time he successfully flipped the switch.  Maybe he needs the necklace as a reminder that he can do it again.

What Worked

So much worked in this episode that it will be hard to touch upon it all.  But briefly, there was:  Anna’s sacrifice, Mason’s honor, Bonnie’s pride. Caroline’s courage, Elena’s love, Damon’s trust, Alaric’s forgiveness, and Stefan’s hope.

Anna made the ultimate sacrifice.  The saying is, “if you love something, set it free, and if it comes back to you, it is yours forever.”  In this case, she set Jeremy’s heart free when she gave him the necklace, which could banish her forever.  In exchange for her giving up one love, the universe gave her back her mother’s love.  Mason perhaps said it best when he told Damon, “You know what the other side is like?  We’re all alone, we watch the people left behind and we regret our decisions.  That’s it.”  Imagine that all death holds for you is an eternity of watching those you love living their lives without you.  It is agonizingly painful and lonely.  To be condemned to life-ever-after simply “watching.”  Anna could no longer bear to just watch anymore.  She had to let go.  Thankfully, she was rewarded for that sacrifice.

Next was Mason’s honor.  After how brutally Mason died after being tortured by Damon, it would have made sense for Mason to not feel so forgiving and be more intent on enacting his revenge on Damon.  Instead, he returned not for vengeance, but for love.  Mason’s love and concern for his nephew Tyler outweighed his desire for personal retribution.  He may have taken a few moments to torment Damon, but soon revealed that he wanted Damon’s help to seek the one weapon that would kill Klaus — because Mason wanted more than anything to free Tyler from the hybrid curse.  It was honorable that Mason extended the olive branch and asked for help — only so that he could ultimately help them.  For as he told Damon, “I don’t need revenge, Damon.  I need redemption.”  Mason needed to do something honorable in order to live with himself — and saving Tyler may just be the one thing to do that.

Then Bonnie’s pride.  Wow, it was about time that this girl got a moment to truly shine.  She was not trying to save the world, nor trying to save Elena.  Instead, Bonnie was simply trying to fix her mistake.  She was the one who comprised everything because she could not bear to let Jeremy die.  Once she realized it was her mistake that created the fractures between the two dimensions, she had to fix it.  She had to swallow her pride and ask for help.  Luckily for her, Grams answered her call and helped her.  Bonnie also had to discover how to stand up for herself.  She could not avoid the fact that Jeremy’s love for Anna is what created the hole and ultimately the bridge between the two dimensions.  That betrayal hurt, but in the end, Bonnie reclaimed her pride by rejecting Jeremy’s tentative offer of love.  His love had proven weak and not fully given.  She was right to stand up for herself and reject his half-hearted attempt.

On the flip-side, Caroline’s selfless courage in rushing to Carol Lockwood’s defense against the angry Tomb Vamps was awesome to behold.  She did not hesitate, knowing full well that she would be outnumbered and that they were would be stronger.  Her desire to protect the defenseless was courageous and admirable.  Plus, any chance to watch Caroline kick-ass just rocks!

While Anna was learning sacrifice, Bonnie was reclaiming her pride and Caroline was fearlessly taking on anyone who threatened she loved and cared about — Elena had a different discovery to make.  Elena has always been the “heart” of the show. The one everyone loves and will do anything to protect, even sacrifice their own lives.  It is Elena’s love for Stefan and the love she inspires in others that makes the Mystic Falls so rich and intoxicating.  But this time Elena had to learn a different kind of love — “tough love.”  She had to learn and see for herself what it takes to love someone through the good and the bad, and how long that love must last to truly save someone.  Lexi loved Stefan enough to plague and torment him for years, to help break his blood-lust and reintroduce him to his humanity.  Elena had to see if she would be strong enough in her love to tackle such a long and arduous journey.  Does she love Stefan enough to fight his blood-lust and drag him kicking and screaming back to his human self again?  So Elena had to learn to love again — a different kind of love.

Damon, on the other hand, had it somewhat easier.  He had already flipped the switch and turned back-on his humanity because he wanted to feel love again.  Damon wanted to love Elena.  So loving is easy for Damon.  What is harder for Damon is to trust and recognize the value of friendships.  Every instinct Damon had was to not trust Mason, but he went against his better judgment and decided to do it anyway.  He had to.  If Mason knew of a way to kill Klaus, Damon had to risk it.  But he too was rewarded for taking a leap of faith.  Damon not only discovered perhaps a way of defeating Klaus, he learned that friendship is something he needs in his life.  He may never know if Elena will be able to fully love him the same way he loves her — with her whole heart — so Damon needs another lifeline to humanity.  Human friendship maybe that one secret ingredient.  He had been mourning the loss of his friendship with Alaric, and by deciding to trust Mason, he set an example as to why Rick should trust him in return.  Under all friendship is a foundation of trust.  Damon needed to learn to trust again and to show he was trustworthy in order to reestablish his friendships again.  Perhaps he and Mason can never be true friends, seeing as Mason is a ghost and trapped in another dimension, but Damon and Alaric’s friendship still has a chance.

Likewise, Alaric had to learn to forgive.  While it is hard to want to forgive someone who can so casually kill you and toss you aside like you were no more than garbage, both Damon and Alaric need each other’s friendship.  Both have lost women they have loved, have had to take lives and are at sea on a world where so many people are depending upon them to guide them and protect them.  Alaric had to realize that he needed to let his hurt and anger over Damon’s thoughtlessness go.  Damon kills because he can.  But he usually regrets his mistakes pretty quickly.  So Alaric just needed to accept Damon’s apology (recycled or not) and accept his attempt at friendship again.

Lastly, there was Stefan’s hope.  Stefan may have been forced to give up his humanity and is in no hurry to get it back.  But one day he may be freed from Klaus’ compulsion.  Somewhere buried deep inside has to be memories, feelings and the soul of Stefan.  At least, that is what Elena hoped that Lexi could find.  Alas, Lexi did not have enough time.  Even by accelerating the blood-lust withdrawal by compelling Stefan to believe years had gone by, it was not enough to break Klaus’ spell over Stefan.  When Stefan told Elena, “It’s probably best that you don’t torture yourself with memories from the past.  It’s best that we both just move on and accept things as they are,” that was not really something that Stefan the Ripper would say.  That is something that the old Stefan would say.  It is those fractures in the facade of the impenetrable Ripper Stefan that reminds us that all is not lost.  Stefan is just locked up inside.  So with Lexi’s final words, “He’s still in there, Elena.  You just have to break through,” it was to give both Elena and Stefan hope.  It is a message to Stefan that he must not give up hope — they will find a way to reach him and save him.  So, in the end after Lexi had gone, Stefan taunted Elena by saying, “I was wondering when you were going to give up.  Did Lexi give you enough of a glimpse into your tragic future?”  To which Elena merely looked at him sadly and replied, “I haven’t given up, Stefan. I still have hope.  But there’s nothing I can do until you get yours back.”  Stefan may not feel hope yet, but he needs to think that there may be a possibility of hope in order for the seed that has been planted to take root. So she told Stefan, “You can break through this.  Fight for it.  Feel something — anything, Stefan.  Because if you don’t, you’re going to lose me forever.  I won’t love a ghost for the rest of my life.”  Elena may have told Stefan that she won’t love a “ghost” for the rest of her life, but we all know that it is only to enrage the Stefan locked inside and spur him to fight harder.  For only by searching for hope will Stefan survive.

What Didn’t Work

So many ghosts, so little time.  It would have been nice to have cameos by some of the other lost Mystic Falls comrades and loved ones.  Imagine what fun could have been had with John and Isobel around to tell Elena, “I told you so,” about Stefan?  Or what final words Jenna may have had for Rick — perhaps to remind him that he needs to take his parental responsibilities more seriously?  And who wouldn’t love to hear what either Zach or Andie would have to say to the Salvatore brothers responsible for their untimely demises?  Perhaps next time . . .

It was also criminal to bench Tyler and Rebekah when there was so much fun to be had.  Tyler’s mother is putting on a huge light up the night event and he does not even make a token appearance.  And he leaves all the heavy lifting to his girlfriend to protect his mother from the Tomb Vamps?  Tyler’s absence was just wrong.  Time to bring him back into the action!

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due

“Ghost World” was written by Rebecca Sonnenshine and directed by David Jackson. ‘The Vampire Diaries’ stars Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Joseph Morgan, Steven R. McQueen, Candice Accola, Katerina Graham, Michael Trevino, Zach Roerig, Matt Davis, Malese Jow, Taylor Kinney. ‘The Vampire Diaries’ airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.


“Fun behind-the-scenes candid pictures of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES cast from the CW Premiere Party 2011”

LINKS to more great candid photos from the CW Premiere Party 2011 HERE and HERE.

LINK to fun behind–the-scenes VIDEO from the CW Premiere Party 2011 HERE, featuring the cast of “The Vampire Diaries.”

*** “THE VAMPIRE DIARIES Comes Back With A Vengeance For Its 3rd Season – Interviews with Julie Plec and Joseph Morgan (VIDEO)”

*** “Review of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ – Smells Like Teen Spirit”

*** “Review of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ – The Reckoning”

*** “Review of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ – Disturbing Behavior”

*** “Review of ‘The Vampire Diaries’ – The Hybrid”

*** “Review of ‘The Vampire Diaries – The Birthday”

2 thoughts on “Review of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES – Ghost World (2011)

  1. The thing about that is that Anna is not gone for good. Jeremy even asked if she could still be around after the crack was fixed since he is her anchor to the world, and she replied that she could be, but that it isn’t right to continue doing this. I don’t think it is a stretch to say that Jeremy will think about Anna nearly all the time, while Anna might occasionally think about him, and be drawn back.

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