Vampire Diaries Season 4 Chat: Will Matt ever get his chance to shine?

The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Episode 12 A View to a Kill (2)

Fans will know that, above all, The Vampire Diaries boasts a very large cast. We’ve got Gilberts, we’ve got Salvatores and we’ve got the original vampire family, each of which has several existing members and a seemingly endless store of long lost relatives. But then there’s Matt Donovan, the unassuming good boy of the show who also happens to be the only one of the lot who’s actually still alive. As the only human, viewers don’t know if he’ll ever survive until the end of episode, and there are great swathes of Vampire Diaries that don’t feature him at all.

So why am I talking about the show’s most boring character? Well it’s because he’s such a weird anomaly within Vampire Diaries at this stage in the show’s evolution. While we may have started off with a crew of normal high school students discovering the supernatural world that had been hidden from them, now we have an assembled super-team consisting of vampires, doppelgangers, witches, werewolves, hunters and hybrids, with Matt the only human left. Now, with Jeremy quite probably killed off and Elena with her blood-lust under control, is there any reason to keep Matt around for the rest of season four and beyond?

I sure hope so, since his mere presence stops The Vampire Diaries from becoming lost in its own complex and convoluted mythology. His existence keeps them grounded and keeps them a part of the human world, and we can assume that he’s the only one of them who still stands a chance of graduating high school. When they need a scene at the Mystic Grill, Matt provides a reason and, rather cruelly, when they need a human blood bag, he’s always on hand to help them out. This might not make him the most active member of the cast, but it does make him important in keeping the high school element of the series alive.

It’s well documented how much of the TV incarnation of Vampire Diaries is influenced by Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but not much has been said of the theoretical similarities between Xander and Matt. I say theoretical simply because I don’t feel like Julie Plec et al have the same passion for the character as Joss Whedon did for Xander, who was granted many poignant acts of heroism through the series’ seven-year run. Why shouldn’t Matt have his own storyline, for example? Or heck, even a girlfriend would at least keep him occupied while the rest of his friends were out fighting the apocalypse.

Wouldn’t it be glorious if, suddenly, we were given a random Matt-centric episode that catalogued his solo adventures? Like with Buffy’s ‘The Zeppo’, we could spend 40-minutes on the character while Elena, Damon and co. were off gallivanting in Nova Scotia, they’re own selfish desire for the cure distracting them from a smaller threat back home. I’m well aware that I’m pitching an episode of Vampire Diaries which has no chance of happening, but I suppose I’m just desperate for Matt to have a reason to exist on the show again. Even if, like Xander, he was defined as the one who watches and understands, it would apply some sense to an often senseless character.

I had high hopes this for season four, since Elena had chosen to save Matt’s life over her own in the previous finale. Thoroughly annoying her various suitors with the sacrifice, he was not everyone’s favourite person. Matt was overcome with guilt and offered himself up as a blood source while she figured out how to drink other people without ripping their throats out. Then that storyline evaporated, and the show hasn’t figured out quite what to do with him since. His potential romance with Rebekah was popular with fans, but she’s now dating Stefan before heading on over to the spin-off in the 2013/14 season.

In theory, the Matt/Rebekah partnership could have been as interesting and morally grey as Caroline and Klaus. She wants to be human so badly that Matt would be her perfect partner – normal, hard-working, and morally unwavering – and the move would have seen him become a bigger part of the storyline (really, what has Caroline had going for her this season apart from her relationship with Klaus?). Instead, the story thread has been largely abandoned in favour of more time devoted to the central love triangle, and Matt has been left languishing on the sidelines once again.

He’s had his heroic moments, such as staking an original vampire (one of only three who have been killed), or saving the gang from being exposed at the Pastor’s funeral, but he’s been more absent than ever this season, and it’s worrying for those fans who’ve become attached to the guy. What’s really stopping the writers from killing him off? I once had hope that he would provide Rebekah with her final happy ending but, now that she’s got a deal on The Originals, he’s even more disposable. If the producers decided that they were going to make him part of the team, then they would but, as it stands, he’s just walking cannon fodder.

Now that Jeremy’s gone, he’ll probably be stuck pulling double shifts at the Mystic Grill forever but, wouldn’t it be glorious, just once, if Matt got to save the world?