At what point do good guys become bad guys? That’s the question I ask myself as I watch the most recent Vampire Diaries episode. We’re well into season five and– at this point –I don’t know who I’m supposed to be rooting for.
In one of the most recent episodes, “Gone Girl” Tyler bites a vampire, Nadia, who didn’t really do anything wrong. A werewolf bite kills a vampire so as Nadia slowly and painfully dies. Yet, it becomes clear nobody really cares about saving her. Nadia isn’t a “good guy” in the show but she’s not really a “bad guy” either. In fact, most characters are sympathetic towards her and her plight to save her mother, Katherine. However, nobody in the main group (Elena, Stefan, Damon, Bonnie, Jeremy, Caroline, Matt, Tyler) lifts a finger to help her even though they all have very *sympathetic* facial expressions. Instead, Caroline and Tyler fight about their relationship because of course.
All season long Caroline’s ex-boyfriend, Tyler, has been giving her shit for sleeping with evil dude Klaus (when they were broken up, at that!) and Caroline makes a great point: “Your hybrid bite just killed someone and no one even batted an eye. I sleep with the wrong guy weeks ago and I don’t hear the end of it. How is that fair?” In a television show, when does the morality of the main character group get to the point that becomes OK to kill someone but not OK to sleep with someone? In Vampire Diaries these days every auxiliary character drops dead at the expense of someone else’s romantic relationship or hook-up-gone-wrong.
Most new episodes of Vampire Diaries have this plot structure: XYZ is trying to kill Elena/Stefan/etc. so the rest of the gang has to kill XYZ and/or kill some random person XYZ tells them to in order to “save” their friends/loved ones. At what point is that not an okay thing to do anymore? At one point should you say “instead of murder, maybe we can find another solution?” I understand killing bad guys but in the most recent episode, Caroline and Enzo (a sort-of ally, sort-of enemy) journey to Atlanta to kill Stefan’s completely innocent doppleganger (seriously, he was just a human paramedic trying to live his life) and there was no more remorse or retribution other than a “sorry about that but it’s not really my fault!” from Caroline.
Another example: A storyline this season revolved around Damon turning into a “ripper” or an evil vampire who kills dozens of people savagely for no reason. You know why he became evil? Because Elena broke up with him. That’s it. That’s the reason. While Stefan and Elena are genuinely concerned for him, they act like this is a justified way to get through a break-up. They act like this murder spree will all be rectified by Elena and Damon *just working it out.* I can understand eating two quarts of ice cream but killing college students? Shouldn’t someone have to pay for that? Even if it’s bad karma? When do we stop being so understanding about all this?
I understand maybe killing one person for your loved ones and I understand killing infinity vampires for your loved ones but here is the list of humans who have died as a direct result of protecting someone (usually Elena) or because someone (usually Elena) broke up with them and they’re bummed: Tom Avery, Dr. Whitmore, Jeremy Gilbert, Wes Maxfield, Dianne Freeman, Aaron Witmore, Andie Star, John Gilbert, Jessica Cohen, Jolene and countless extras. Actually: Jolene, was “killed by Elena Gilbert to prove Stefan and Damon if they didn’t stop trying to fix her there would be consequences.” WHAT? How am I supposed to like these people??
I get the antihero. Walter White, Tony Soprano and Dexter Morgan all killed people and made morally questionable decisions but that was the entire conceit of those shows. Vampire Diaries is all about “good vampires” and struggling with your inner demons but, ultimately, overcoming them. When does the overcoming start and the struggling end? We’re in season five!
What makes it so bad is: all of the characters on Vampire Diaries are constantly on their high horses about what’s right and what’s wrong. They are constantly condescending to the “morally bankrupt” bad guys on the show. That’s what makes it so irritating when they indiscriminately kill random people in every episode to “save” each other or because relationships are hard. You can’t have it both ways. It would be okay if this was every once and a while but it’s every episode. At this point they’re more like the mafia than a family unit. What is this show ultimately teaching us about relationships and how we deal with them? That we should just accept when our significant others do terrible things because feelings are tough? At this point, I have no idea.
The best TV shows have characters that flip-flop between good and evil. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the romance in this show but I’m starting to not like these characters anymore because of the selfish choices they make. I’m beginning to love characters like Katherine because she is flawed yet she tells it like it is. This is why Klaus got his own TV show. Oh well, maybe that’s the Vampire Diaries grand plan. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.