The idea of the paranormal has always been a staple in television; the various accounts and beliefs of supernatural occurrences are so rich and vast that the potential of storylines is never ending. Such is the case for fan favourite The Vampire Diaries, which returns for its fifth season with more drama and romance than you can poke a stake at.
This season sees A LOT of excitement, A LOT of brooding and most importantly A LOT of hooking up and general nakedness for our favourite Mystic Falls gang. Season four ended on a huge cliffhanger as per the norm, and this season returns to sort through last year’s drama while new problems are created in the process. A quick rundown of the season sees Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) still very much in vampire love, with Elena starting college with Caroline (Candice Accola). Yet they remain blissfully unaware that third girl group member Bonnie (Kat Graham) sacrificed herself in order to bring love of her life and Elena’s brother Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) back from the dead. Stefan (Paul Wesley) is left trapped in an underwater grave by his immortal doppelgänger Silas (also played by Wesley), leading to a showdown between the two.
Another double causing problems is Katherine (also played by Dobrev), who finds herself human and struggling to cope with submitting to mortality. We get an insight into former bad boy Damon, when blast from the past Enzo (Michael Malarkey) creates friction in his and Elena’s relationship. A bunch of Travellers show up looking to strip Mystic Falls of all its supernatural powers using witchcraft, led by the absolutely crazy Markos (Raffi Barsoumian), not only causing obvious problems but also pushing together my personal favourites Stefan and Caroline closer together. The finale sees Bonnie and Damon making the ultimate sacrifice to bring those they love back from the Other Side, marking an emotional cliffhanger that left fan girls everywhere weeping in its wake.
This season also marks the 100th episode for the show, an impressive feat considering the fickle nature of television today. One detail I loved this season was what felt like the destruction of the love triangle; safe to say Elena and Damon will end up together as it makes little narrative sense to put Elena back together with first love Stefan. Although crazier things have happened so maybe I shouldn’t jump the gun just yet.
One must never expect Academy Award winning performances on a show whose bread and butter is the absolutely outrageous, but shout outs have to go out to the core four – Dobrev, Wesley, Somerhalder and Accola – for bringing raw emotion and subtlety to their characters while surrounded by such loud storylines. It’s not easy playing two characters who often have to interact, yet Dobrev and Wesley play both (sometimes three) with a certain authority that you can understand why this series has an almost cult following.
With a show like The Vampire Diaries, it is easy to mistake it for another Twilight situation, the romanticized and campy quality that is so painful to bare its unwatchable. But this season marks a turning point by shifting away from the eternal Stelena vs. Delena battle and focusing instead on each characters beliefs and their fundamental love for one another do we really get a fully realised season. Sure there are always going to be elements that feel very ‘soap opera-ish’ in nature, but that’s what makes this show great, the balance between the outlandish, unbelievable moments with the understated, genuine ones.
The fifth season of this supernatural success story is definitely the best yet, pushing overused and boring plot lines to the way side and instead focusing on character development is a great move by showrunners Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec. Such a shift has created a well-rounded season, and as a result a series that doesn’t look like slowing down anytime soon.