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Dead Man on Campus

Season 5, Episode 8 Aired: 2013-11-21

The Vampire Diaries: Dead Man on Campus Review

Déjà Vu

Reviewed: by Tyler Olson

***The review below contains minor spoilers.***

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When the ugly Silas story wrapped up last week, I was overjoyed. Not because of the status it left the characters in, but because it left the series to explore what seemed to be the better story... but I think I might have celebrated too soon.

If you, like me, watched the cult classic Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You will remember that during season 4 the series introduced the Initiative, which was a secret military group operating out of the university to run tests on the local monsters in an attempt to turn them into a weapon. Well, it looks like the Vampire Diaries is copying that too, only this one has apparently been running successfully for decades, even after the Sunnydale one failed.

I was so hoping that this Augustine group would have been something unique and evil, but instead it is just a copy of another series' work (much like Silas' powers seemed to be the same the Buffy's The First). I know many fans of both series refer to TVD as Buffy-lite, but this is getting may too similar for my tastes. Are the writers really out of ideas to the point where they need to copy and paste someone else's work, then just change a few minor details? I'm not happy about this at all! This story better take a very dramatic shift to something new, and quickly!

To make things even worse, this new faction has already succeeded in ripping apart the tight-knit group even further. We already had Stefan brooding alone, but now with Damon away and Caroline angry at Elena again for something that she never really had any choice. What are the odds that Caroline would run around the corner at that worst possible time? What happen to vamp-speed anyway? This actually reminds me of yet another hated plot in Buffy where the group turned on Buffy. (These similarities are getting insane!)

Speaking of insane... Damon, put the rabies down!

At least Bonnie is back, though, right? Sadly, instead of helping her friends, she seems more interested in spending every waking moment with Jeremy... when she isn't feeling the pain of the ghosts passing through her, anyway. She knew everything that they knew about the secret initiative, but instead of learning more information by snooping around the Augustine house, she just kept current by following her friends. Would it have been so difficult to have Bonnie blow the lid wide open on the mystery instead of Damon playing with the not-so-good doctor?

Another problem I have with Bonnie's situation is that it doesn't seem to match up with what we know of Jeremy's abilities. Why can she see certain spirits when Jeremy can't? Can he only see ghosts that wish to show themselves to him? If so, that is a very poor power. They had better explain this one, and soon!

And why doesn't Bonnie have any magic? The dead witches we encountered in previous seasons still had power from beyond the grave, so Bonnie's loss of power seems very convenient. While this means that she won't be the ace up everyone's sleeve again, it does remove almost everything about her that felt unique. So very, very sad.

The only decent thing in the entire episode was Katherine, Stefan, and Matt working together, but it wasn't even that exciting. Sure, we now have a Matt free of possession, and the unwelcome daughter pushed off to the side again (that will likely come back to haunt them in the future), but all it really did was clean up some of the mess left from their adventures with Silas.

Where oh where has the great Vampire Diaries gone? Oh where, oh where could it be? Oh, right, the Originals. At least there is a place for the current Vampire Diaries exodus to go to... that is, if the series doesn't improve soon.

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