Vampire Diaries

Episode Report Card
Cindy McLennan: B- | 3 USERS: B+
YOU GRADE IT
No Secrets, Only Dirty Shame
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

"Memory Lane" is a provocative episode full of sharp dialogue, lies, betrayal, secrets, threats and violence. The acting (particularly Nina Dobrev's execution of dual roles) deserves a standing ovation, and "Memory Lane" is a rich story. Arguably A+ work, yes? And yet I'm only giving it a B-. How? What? Why? Well, where it suffers is in the telling. Here, let me show you...

Previously, on The Vampire Diaries: Stefan has to get to know Elena. Elena learns Stefan is a vampire. Stefan and Katherine meet for the first time since the 1800s. Stefan tells Katherine he was never in love with her. Mason "Brick House" Lockwood arrives in Mystic Falls and is particularly interested in locating a family heirloom -- a moonstone. Tyler finds the moonstone, but doesn't turn it over to his uncle. Thanks to Damon's prompting and Alaric's help, the gang figures out the Lockwoods' secret: they're under a werewolf curse. Ty, too, realizes Mason is a werewolf. Damon feeds Caroline his blood to save her life. Katherine smothers Caroline in her hospital bed, which kills her/turns her into a vampire. Katherine convinces Caroline to be her minion.

Now: We begin with a flashback, so perhaps my "now" is overstated. The chyron reads: "Lockwood Mansion, 1864." Stefan and Katherine, delectable in their period attire, dance and flirt. When Stefan looks across the ballroom at his brother, he finds him cozying up to Elena Gilbert, who is in modern day street clothes on account of being a modern-day woman and all around hip chick. So... this is a dream. That's all well and good, except it's a DREAM that opened with a damned CHYRON informing us we're at the "Lockwood Mansion, 1864." Either Stefan's subconscious is even freakier than we imagined, or that chyron is misleading, and not in the "What clever misdirection" sense, but in "that's ridiculously unnecessary" sense. I am so not one of those "I called it" people, mainly because (and witness my Lost recaps) I'm always calling things wrong, and yet I now know how the rest of the cold open is going to play out. That is annoying -- almost as annoying as a chyron in a dream sequence. Okay, it's not even close to that annoying. Who puts a chyron in a dream sequence? I'll tell you who -- people who think their audience is full of idiots who couldn't otherwise suss out (from the period clothing, intentionally blurry cinematography, and sudden switch to modern surroundings and costume incongruity) that they were watching a dream sequence. Please don't talk down to us, Show. We don't need that, and you're better than that.

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Vampire Diaries

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