The Vampire Diaries 5.10 “50 Shades of Grayson”

A tv review article by: Shawn Hill

The Curse of the Campus Vampire has one interesting aspect, and that’s the involvement of Elena’s non-bio dad Grayson Gilbert. Who apparently was experimenting with using vampire blood as a healing agent long before Elena was even born. Charming flashbacks to a childhood Elena being on the brink of discovering a basement full of monsters ensue.

The present is so much less charming, what with Elena now being one of those captive experiments, strapped to Dr. Maxfield’s lab table in that old abandoned warehouse of her father’s. He’s harvesting her blood with some kind of dialysis machine, and planning all sorts of tests on her rights-free (from being undead I guess) body. No joy with this guy.

Meanwhile unattended Damon punches a wall until it falls down (vamp healing being what it is, he can go all Beatrix Kiddo on rocks in hard places with even less consequence), and heads off to enlist Damon for the classic Salvatores-rescue-Elena-gesture. This is slightly hard because they don’t know where she is. So they kidnap Aaron to put the pressure on. Creepy Dr. Max puts the pressure right back, and they’d be in a kind of stand-off until Aaron notices that the murderous vampires aren’t treating him any worse than his supposed human guardian. He may have figured out that this vampire thing is much more complex than he thought, even, though I don’t hold out too much hope, because he’s not very bright.

Does anything else happen? It’s cool to see Damon and Stefan team up, we find out that Megan was probably a sick child who had the benefit of vampire blood thanks to Dr. Gilbert (so how ironic that a vampire eventually killed her, I guess), and Katherine and Nadia keep working on their mother/daughter issues.

Right, that’s the main thing, Nadia offers to help Katherine survive as a disembodied spirit. Considering Katya killed Gregor on purpose when he was possessing Matt, it’s hard to believe she’d take being bodiless as a serious option, and she doesn’t. But then she apparently has a heart attack due to her accelerated aging. Is that supposed to be our winter-finale cliffhanger, show? Have even you noticed we’ve transferred our loyalties from Elena to her doppelganger? It’s just that Katherine always has so much more to do, and much juicier scenes.

And still no Bonnie, Matt, Tyler, Caroline … a few seconds of Matt … in giving Damon some airtime at last, the show has dropped everyone else. Just like Damon drops Elena, because he really has been killing people while dating her and doesn’t want to keep letting her down. Or some brooding approximation. As a tantrum, this one is less convincing than Katherine’s suicidal fall last week.

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

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