The Vampire Diaries – Isobel – Episode review

As we edge toward the first season finale of Vampire Diaries, Elena meets her birth mother. And discovers that she’s a complete b*tch.

Yes, the gorgeous Mia Kirschner enters the fray as Elena’s mother Isobel. Who is also Alaric’s ex-wife and a former lover of Jon Gilbert. And yes, the “former lover of Jon Gilbert” has ramifications for the finale, I presume.

We come to this episode as the town is preparing for the Founders’ Day parade, an antiquated custom that I’m thoroughly tired of at this stage. Feels like Founders’ Day has overshadowed the entire series so far. On top of that is Isobel’s threat to Alaric that she’ll start to kill the townsfolk one by one if he doesn’t set up a meeting between her and Elena. I can only buy this “threatening the villagers” crap because it’s freakishly town-proud Mystic Falls. Your average teenager doesn’t give a rats ass about whether the regular people of the town live or die. In fact, I’d imagine the scandal of dead bodies turning up everywhere might be a break in their otherwise monotonous small-town lives.

Kirschner gets the lion’s share of the snappy lines in this episode, but thankfully Ian Somerhalder’s Damon is as quick witted as ever.

Though Isobel is the most relentlessly evil vampire to stalk through Mystic Falls this series. She’s a remorseless killer with nary a shred of humanity left inside her. This presents the ideal opportunity to look at the shades of darkness versus light that our vampire friends The Salvatores have exhibited throughout the series. Alaric laments to Damon the fact that the woman he loved is such a deranged b*tch: “Hell, you’re a dick and you kill people, but I still see something human in you. But with her, there was nothing.”

Testament to Isobel’s cruelty, poor old Matt Belamy – the Vampire Diaries equivalent of a crash test dummy – gets a parade float dropped on his arm. And she kidnaps Jeremy with every intention of killing him. She’s (literally) one bad mother.

What disappoints here is the attempt to show some redeeming features: she revisits Alaric at the end of the episode and kisses him goodbye, talking about how she made her mistakes, blah blah blah. Then she compells him to forget the conversation. And in a belated “concerned parent” gesture, the vamp mom orders Jon Gilbert to kill Stefan and Damon to protect her daughter. Sorry, but it just doesn’t work for me. I’d have preferred her to be the extreme end of the spectrum rather than having shades of grey like everyone else. Maybe that role is reserved for Katherine?

Elsewhere, Bonnie does a bad thing. Although she reveals to Elena that all Jonathan Gilbert’s inventions were junk that had been enchanted by her ancestor to work, she deliberately fails to remove the enchantment. And since the device is a weapon against vampires, and since John Gilbert is about to do some ethnic cleansing in Mystic Falls, and since Elena’s got both Salvatore brothers hot for her (well, as hot as a vampire can get), things in the next episode do not look good. Bad Bonnie!

Also, I’d like to talk about the Bing search engine, which is just about the best way to find pictures of last year’s Founders’ Day float. Bing makes such regular appearances in this show that it should be listed in the end credits.

Uncle Jon seems to have brought Jeremy over to the dark side – he’s now refusing to speak to Elena because of all her deceit. This sub-plot felt like one spinning plate too many though. Jeremy didn’t seem remotely concerned why Jon was working with the vamp who’d kidnapped him, even though she double-crossed him. The fact that Jon was up to something secretive behind their backs should have raised the alarm bells. It’s really no wonder Elena doesn’t trust him with important stuff!

Bit of a mix this episode – there was really too much happening, and not everything made sense. But that’s Vampire Diaries, and we just have to accept the rough with the smooth and the nonsensical is sometimes just a part of it. The finale will no doubt be equally exciting, baffling and will have a plot with more holes than a fishing net.

Quotes from this episode

  • Isobel: Why Stefan? Why didn’t you go for Damon? Or do you enjoy them both like Katherine did?
  • Alaric: Stefan has his humanity, he’s a good guy. Hell, you’re a dick and you kill people, but I still see something human in you. But with her, there was nothing.
  • Isobel: You’d better tell Elena that I want to meet, or I’m gonna start killing the citizens of this town one by one. And I’m gonna start with your history students. Got it?
  • Damon: You’ve successfully cured him of anything that was interesting about his personality.
  • Alaric: I was a little too distracted by my dead vampire wife to ask any questions.
  • Isobel: Don’t look for any redeeming qualities in me, because I don’t have any.
  • Isobel: As long as you have a Salvatore on each arm, you’re doomed.

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