The Vampire Diaries 3.19 "Heart of Darkness"

A tv review article by: Shawn Hill

Elena and Damon travel to Denver to check in on Jeremy and to see if his special abilities can help them track down the information they need about the ancient vampire bloodlines. When they arrive, they quickly realize that Jeremy has been hanging around a bad crowd. Meanwhile, Stefan and Klaus both go to extreme measures as they try to find the missing weapon. Caroline is ecstatic when Tyler returns to Mystic Falls, but he quickly starts to suspect that something has been going on between Caroline and Klaus. Matt stays busy trying to keep Rebecca focused on organizing the school's upcoming 1920s Decade Dance.

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursday nights at 8:00 on the CW.

Is there any point in comparing this fun episode to Joseph Conrad’s canonical novella? More than you might think, maybe, in the sense that classic story was in part about the evils of European colonialism (on the big scale) and the similar potential for evil in men’s souls (on the personal level). And this season, with all the Originals and their near mythological, divine powers and whims, has been about the first vampire family rising and falling on their own sense of power, entitlement, privilege, forgiveness, generosity and love, leaving many innocents in their wake. And they did it as early Viking colonists to our native shores, where Mystic Falls, Virginia has always seemed much more like an original colony than a true exemplar of the modern world.

So far we’ve got maniacal control freak Klaus, the misfit outsider turned fascist; casually cruel Koll; brooding suicidal Finn; elegant and organized Elijah; and needy, vindictive Rebekah. Not to mention Archetypal Earth Mother (and vagina dentata) Esther, and Worst All-Father of All Mikael, both happily shuffled off this mortal coil along with Finn at this point. Would that the one-note Koll would join them.

Not that you can keep a perennial witch like Esther down, as she pops in to see her daughter one last time before dying (finally?) in Rebekah’s arms. But not before she insists that 1000 years is too long for anyone to live, to which Rebekah quite reasonably counters that she’s never had a chance to live at all. Yeah, it’s all Oedipus and Elektra up in here, even moreso when sneaky Ghost Esther literally possesses her daughter in order to screw with Klaus’ peskily persistent survival instinct. Tricky, those uber-witches.

There’s also a quest in this story, in the form a road trip (which starts on a plane but ends up in a rental car, both means of traversing our country from one coast to another taking about equal time, apparently). Elena and Damon decide to go get Jeremy, to save him from Koll, revealed in sadly yet another attempt by Jeremy to have a bromance that turns out to be all about ulterior motives. Stick with Tyler, Jer, he’s probably free of Klaus’ influence now, mostly. Or Matt, he’s really not as boring as everyone says, I swear!

The air-miles (we never actually see a plane) slash SUV-trip is all about getting Damon and Elena alone together, where she proves pretty hot for his moves, which he isn’t even making, so she’s doubly into him after all. In fact, far from trying to seduce her, he promises to try and not piss her off on purpose, a pretty big offer from our bitchiest of Southern dandy vamps (Stefan’s the strong, silent type by contrast).

Also, everyone’s trying to get Alaric’s serial killer alter-ego to come out and play, including Alaric, which means Stefan has to torture him nearly to death … and praise goes to Matt Davis, who makes the switch to psycho-vamp-hater as palpable as a sudden chill sucking all the air out of the room. He taunts poised, calm Stefan (as has been happening a lot lately), but Stefan is back to taking things in stride.

Wouldn’t the brutal beatdown would have been so much easier if Stefan had just tried to drink him to death? And a lot sexier than just beating on him with vampire strength, which, given how strong that is, should have shattered every bone in his body, come on show! Since we know every man on the show who isn’t her relative has the hots for Elena (unless Caroline has one of her good days), we’re not going to worry over a little homo-social subtext, are we? I thought you were better than that!

Speaking of Caroline, she and Tyler get freaky in their favorite underground dungeon, but then he really doesn’t appreciate the Klaus illustration of Caroline and her horsey. Just calm down, art lover, it’s actually pretty decent. More on that next week, but this week the last remaining White Oak Stake is found, only the “vamp” who does so is all too willing to cooperate with Alaric the Ripper. Oh, and I totally left out Jeremy’s useful seeing dead people power (hi Rose!), but really, they packed so much into this episode it’s definitely worth a re-watch or two and the frenetic pace bodes very well for the remaining three episodes to come!

Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at

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