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Thursday 8:00 PM on The CW (Returning October 2, 2014)
The Vampire Diaries has been an amazing show for many reasons. The amazing characters, amazing plots, amazing pacing, amazing villains, etc... I can go on and in depth for each, but this post is about something that's been bugging since the beginning of this season. Is The Vampire Diaries in decline? Now I'm not posing this as a simple yes or no question because I think the show fluctuates violently between good and bad these days. I just want to throw out my argument as to why the show is in decline. Does that mean it can't improve? Not at all. But it is something that should be discussed.

The Plot

The recent plots for the show have been absolute garbage in my eyes. Silas was not an effective villain and the whole conflict with Tessa (I know her real name, but I misspell it far too often lol) had no real stakes to it. Silas made threats...and more threats and more threats. He very rarely did anything. He'd screw with your mind, but then afterwards the characters would be fine. He was made even less threatening due to how willing the main cast was when it came to helping him. It wasn't like with Klaus where they were intimidated or under duress. With Silas he was just another monster of the week and they helped him because it benefited them for example bringing Bonnie back.

What compounded all this was the added backstory with Silas, Tessa and Amara. Today we are on a whole other plot and can we really say the Silas plot has any effect today? Any lingering consequence or lesson learned? Jeremy as a hunter is all but forgotten. Bonnie as the anchor seems to have been forgotten as well. Stefan has no more PTSD. Katherine isn't a dying Human anymore. I mean in actuality it is as if the Silas plot never happened. This would be acceptable if it was awhile ago, but that plot was in the same season and just a few episodes ago! Yes you can say the Travelers were introduced under that plot, but their connection to it was fragile at best as we see today with no mention of their centuries long struggle in regards to the anchor. The writers even found a way to keep them going without mentioning Silas by connecting them to Katherine.

The Whitmore plot is another example of terrible story telling. This season was supposed to be a new start for the characters. Going to college, meeting new people, getting involved with new dangers etc... So let's recall what has happened. They went to college. Already they aren't going to class. They aren't involved in any college specific activities. The Bitter Ball was just another random party which involved no interaction with actual college people. Nothing has actually felt different or new regarding their college experiences.

They meet new people. Let's go down the list.
-Roommate girl whose name I forget. Already dead and forgotten.
-Jesse. Dead and forgotten.
-Aaron. Dead and forgotten.
-Wes. Dead.
-Witch girl who can spin a pen. Used as plot device by Ms. Plot Device to use a plot device spell to find Mr. Plot Device.

There has not been a single new character introduced from the college plot that has had any impact. They are all forgettable. Even April who was the single worst character to ever be created had more involvement(unfortunately ;_;) With the new people angle failing what about getting involved with new dangers? From Whitmore we got the Augustine Vampires plot. The plot served to add more backstory for Damon, give him a new friend to play with and send him down a dark path. Sounds great!...

But wait! What about the rest of the cast? I mean Damon doesn't even go to Whitmore. -Elena got a nugget of plot involving her father's working with the Augustines. Though there has been no resolution from that.
-Katherine spent five minutes talking to Wes to confirm her dying when really that could have been found out any number of ways.
-Caroline was with Katherine during that and Jesse, her twenty second love interest, got killed through it.
-Stefan has been dragged into it by every character and seems to run away from it every chance he gets.(Why Stefan is the show's MVP currently)
-Bonnie and Jeremy...
-Matt and Tyler...

Okay well I guess that's the gist of the involvement. Yes the plot has added a bit to Damon, but has it added anything good to his own story? I won't go deeper there since it is still up in the air.

Those two main plots have been very weak in my eyes with little long lasting effect. The Katherine plot, as many have been saying, is pretty much singlehandedly carrying the show. That is a well done plot. Every character has had involvement in it and their are actual conflicts and consequences. Nadia isn't my favorite character, but she has been a decent addition and has actually had an effect on the cast. The Travelers have been far better served in this plot than in the Silas plot. The pacing has even been good especially considering how it was competing with the Silas and Whitmore plots for attention. Is it the perfect plot? Not at all, but overall it doesn't feel like a been there done there plot and it has found a way to involve the entirety of the cast in reasonable ways.

The Characters

I droned on enough already so I'm just gonna list the main characters and why I think they have been compromised, if they have that is.

Elena hasn't been hurt too much by this season. She isn't the most compelling character these days, but she hasn't been bad. Really though outside the Katherine plot she has had little to really do. She was hardly involved with Silas and was central to the Whitmore plot, but ultimately has not been affected by it. The biggest thing next to being taken over by Katherine was the break up with Damon, but due to Katherine taking over we really got no mileage out of that.

Stefan is the barometer for a weak plot this season. When he is good the plot is good. When he is terrible the plot is terrible. For example everything involving him in the Silas plot. Terrible!!! His amnesia douchebag phase. Tessa and him flirting... And his overall being a dick through out it. His PTSD plot wasn't bad especially since it pushed him and Katherine closer and also helped further flesh out his friendship with Caroline. But as you can see when the Katherine plot steps in suddenly he is a better character. Stefan during that plot has been excellent and the hero/good guy he was always meant to be. He has been a generally nice guy and has taken action to do heroic things. He's even been more chill lately.

Damon has had a trickier progression. His relationship with Elena was well earned according to a certain part of the fanbase and I'd agree to that. We did get to see them happy for a bit. His improved relationship with Jeremy was a huge highlight and how he was almost acting as a father figure. Even his decision to break up with Elena was admirable. The backstory with the Augustines was kind of left field, but not damaging. Enzo's intro though the flashbacks was excellent, but this is where things start to fall apart. Enzo as a character in the modern day has been hit and miss. His effect on Damon has been odd especially considering how the Whitmore plot has had no discernible effect on Damon based off everything we know of his history. He had no PTSD from it. Really the only effect it had was his killing the Whitmore family, but even then we saw none of it. We were just told about it. Then of course we get to his terrible plot today where he would go so off the deep end that he would threaten Jeremy's life. Damon is running around giving his best impression of season 1 Damon without actually being as good as season 1 Damon. I love Damon, but he has come so far to revert like that. Yes he can fall off the deep end and do messed up things, but as he once told Klaus. He is evil with a purpose. He does things because it gives him results. Kidnapping Jeremy to force Bonnie to randomly find a witch is absurd. How would Bonnie find one? Damon knows how pathetic she is. He says it all the time! Him turning into an Augustine Vampire might save his character, but as of right now he is insanely unlikable.

Caroline has won the worst main character of the season award IMO. The only redeeming plot with her has been her burgeoning friendship with Stefan. She has been condescending from episode 1. Doesn't care about Human life in anyway as seen with her hatred and carefree attitude about their roommate dying. Her plot with Jesse was weak and ultimately pointless. Her relationship with Tyler has been a trainwreck. Her sleeping with Klaus would have been good if it meant anything afterwards, but all it served to do was demonize her in a sense as seen when Tyler confronted her about it(which let's be unbiased for a moment. He was right about it all. Hate him but he's right.). And what little progress they made between her and Katherine was destroyed by her drinking to Katherine's death and Katherine purposefully setting up a conflict for Caroline with Tyler. And worst of all is the potential that now she wants to jump on the Stefan train. This isn't guaranteed, but it seems to be going that way. To not allow their friendship to bloom a little longer would be an injustice.

Bonnie is, like usual, pointless. The Anchor development was supposed to be great, but now it is all but forgotten. Her not mentioning anything about not seeing Katherine actually die has killed any potential for that plot. And don't forget her being left out of entire episodes lol. Her death and unwillingness to tell anyone was good, but again amounted to nothing.

Jeremy is so underutilized and marginalized as pointless too. His Hunter story line seemed like it was going to be great, but then it went nowhere. He can't defend himself! His entire plot hinges on Bonnie these days and with her being pointless he is now anchored down(get it! anchored! HA!)

Finally Katherine who is arguably now main character status. She has benefited immensely overall. Her human arc was phenomenal television and her taking over of Elena's body was creative. The relationship between her and Nadia is very entertaining to watch though fawning over Stefan is very odd, but I guess it fits with her changed attitude on life. Now that Katherine has eternity ahead of her she doesn't want to spend it running anymore. Her arc has been top notch and is the single ray of hope in the show in my eyes. If the writers can replicate her plot's ingenuity to the rest of the cast I can see the show getting back on track

Is The Vampire Diaries in decline? Honestly I think it is under going a very difficult period. It seems like the writers don't have a clear direction to go. I loved the Originals, but do not feel they were integral to the show. Yes the timing of them leaving and the dip in quality is near each other, but I'd argue they were losing quality before they left. It just feels like all the quality writing jumped ship to The Originals show. Vampire Diaries needs to get back to what it is good at. Being absolute balls to the wall insane! Price's photo recaps captured the insanity of the show in a bottle and allowed those of us who would never ever watch it a look into the brilliance buried underneath the insanity. Return to giving us lightning fast plots that shift from episode to episode. No more drawn out arcs(The Cure), revamping of the mythology(Silas and Tessa) and inconsistencies(everything these days lol). The show can fire on all cylinders again and recapture the adoration of those spurned by the show's recent twists and turns.

Thanks for reading all. Sorry for the length! I'm still learning how to be quick and concise with my thoughts lol.
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