The Vampire Diaries “The Ties That Bind” Review

In ‘The Ties That Bind’, The Vampire Diaries introduces us to Bonnie’s mother, Abby, and her pseudo-brother, Jamie, and sees the return of Elijah. A summary is surprisingly simple this week: Bonnie dreams that her mother can help open the mysterious locked coffin and goes to find her, Klaus gets there first and uses threats to reveal the location of three of the coffins, Damon hides the locked coffin, Tyler asks Caroline’s dad to help de-sire him and ends up transforming for most of the episode, Alaric’s doctor love interest uses vampire blood to heal her patients, and Stefan goes all emo. Okay, so maybe it’s not quite that simple, but almost.

I’m just going to out and say it – I didn’t like this episode. There wasn’t anything fundamentally wrong with it, it just bored me silly. Somewhere between Tyler turning-but-not-quite and Elena being Elena I kind of wanted to just give up and channel hop instead.

I’m not sure how to explain what I disliked about the episode. Overall it was fairly solid, but there was something in the writing that just wasn’t up to par. Take Dr Fell for example. She noticed Alaric getting up and walking out of the hospital after being near-death — and yet no one else in the hospital notices when Fell’s patients do the very same thing after she’s juiced them up with vampire blood? We’ve already seen how quickly vampire blood can work. There wouldn’t be a whole lot of difference in the recovery times, I bet. (I’m assuming that there will be some ‘oh no, I accidentally made vampires’ storyline coming up because surely, despite her best intentions, some of those critically ill patients end up dying anyway?)

My love for this show is waning and it’s almost solely down to Elena and Stefan. I whine about the Klaus storyline every week, but every so often it pulls back from the edge and reminds me why it’s not totally awful. (Elijah turning up just about made me cheer.) But Elena and Stefan need to just go away or shut up or something. I kind of want Elena to be a little more like Cassie in The Secret Circle. Cassie may not have been through as much crap as Elena, but she’s a lot stronger and smarter and much more tolerable, in my opinion.

Instead Elena makes gets all soft around Stefan even though he’s been an utter ass to her, and he’s enough of a bastard to tell her that Damon isn’t good enough for her, even though Damon is the one who’s been trying to keep Elena alive while Stefan is off being all broody and ‘I don’t want you, Elena’. (It could be argued that he’s doing this to try and protect Elena. Since Klaus is all but sharing her toothbrush at this point, I think we can all say it isn’t working.) I think I’m just going to start calling them Bella and Edward.

Also, there’s more romance in the amazing bromance that is Damon and Alaric. Plus ten to Damon for watching his friend’s back. Minus 10 to Alaric for dating Dr Fell anyway, despite her pumping random people full of vampire blood (again, how could that possible work out well every time? It couldn’t) and despite her not being cleared of involvement in her ex-boyfriend’s death. I’d be suspicious mainly because if she was able to overpower Damon, she’s probably overpowering other vampires to get her blood supply. And that means she may also be good with a stake. Which is what killed her ex-boyfriend. Following my train of thought yet, Alaric? You’re probably not.

Bonnie’s mother is no less annoying. She says she left because of Bonnie and her ‘best friend’ (Elena’s mother), and yet the expanded reason boils down to her not wanting to be known as a witch anymore. Here’s a thought, Abby – you could have taken Bonnie and moved. Don’t tell anyone you’re a witch, don’t tell Bonnie she’s a witch, and then deal with the awkward ‘omg, I lit a fire with my mind’ conversation fifteen years down the line. Or if you’re worried someone might sense your power – stay with your kid because they’ll probably sense her power and hurt her. I’m just saying, you’re a pretty crappy parent. And then you’re all ‘I’ll get back my awesome witchy powers to help you if you really want me to, Bonnie’? Yeah, because that’s such a damned sacrifice, being able to protect yourself and your family. Sheesh.

I’m almost done whining, I swear.

And finally – Papa Forbes’ big idea to cure Tyler of his sire bond is to make him turn so many times that the process becomes painless. Okay, I get the theory. If Tyler no longer feels pain then he’s no longer fearful of turning into Tybrid, so he won’t feel like he’s indebted to Klaus anymore. Alright. Except Tyler isn’t conciously indebted to Klaus, at least on no level he can control. And it’s the pain that’s keeping him from going Tybrid whenever he feels like it. What will happen when he’s pissed off at something trivial and turning is no longer painful? He’ll turn. And attack. Which makes no sense.

TL;DR – Almost everything in this episode was ridiculous apart from Damon, Klaus and Elijah. Also, Mystic Falls seems to be morphing into Forks, at least where Stefan and Elena are concerned.

What did you think of ‘The Ties That Bind’, dear reader? Were you more enthusiastic about it than me? Are you also wondering if common sense has left the building? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!