There’s one scene in particular from the season one of The Vampire Diaries that every fan has seen more than once. It’s the scene where Alaric and Klaus talk about Elena; about how beautiful and perfect she is, and how they want to do bad, dangerous things to her. In that scene, Alaric says, ‘You know what, Klaus? She’s a fucking miracle. She is beyond human, and it’s our duty to nurture her. To make her better. To make sure she never needs to experience suffering ever again.’ And Klaus replies, ‘Good. I’m glad you agree.’ These are the kinds of lines that help make this scene unforgettable. They say so much about Alaric and Klaus and their relationship, and about what they want from each other and from this relationship.
But the truth is, these two wonderful characters—and the scene in general—didn’t happen exactly like that. In fact, the director of that episode, Julie Plec, gave us some insight into how it all went down. And it starts with Alaric. Plec told Entertainment Tonight, ‘I always picture Alaric as a bit of a loner, a bit of a hermit. A lot of the time he spends by himself, and he reads a lot and he thinks a lot. So, to me, he’s a bit of a genius.’ She continued, ‘I think Alaric is starting to realize that Klaus is not the enemy, which is why he comes back and helps Klaus in the end. But he’s also starting to realize that Klaus could be his own worst enemy.’
So what exactly happened on the set of that scene? (Well, besides the one where Peter Parker watches the whole thing go down and is like, ‘I’m so fucking smart.’ Then he goes on to help Alaric and Klaus in their fight against the apocalypse.)
A Real ‘Vampire Diaries’ Mind-Game
If you’re a bit of a conspiracy buff like me, you know that just about every TV show has its version of ‘The Twilight Zone’. Situations that seem too good to be true and scenarios so strange that you have to think about them in a different light. The Vampire Diaries is full of these kinds of moments. It’s also one of the most popular shows on television today, so it seems fair to assume that some of these moments are deliberate. For example, the show’s very first season opens with a scene of a man drinking a can of cola while floating facedown in a pool of blood. This is just a tiny taste of the horror that the vampires of Mystic Falls will inflict upon the citizens of its quaint little town. And from the very beginning, it was clear that this was no ordinary can of soda. The man in the scene is Robert Pattinson, and the soda he’s drinking is from the show. We later learn that this is a reference to Twilight. So this is obviously part of a bigger game that the show is playing with its audience. And what kind of game is it playing? Well, I’d say it’s a mind game. Because if you’re watching the show and haven’t read the books, you have no idea what’s going on. You don’t even know where the story is headed. So it’s easy for the show to keep messing with your head, to keep you guessing. Like when they put a map on the ceiling of one of the vampires’ lair and you’re just going, ‘Wait, the map of where? My GPS is broken so I have no idea where I am.’ Or when Jeremy Carver gets staked by Renee and then keeps coming back to life. Or when they put a portal in Emmett’s house so that he can visit other dimensions. This is a show that loves its set-pieces and loves playing with your head.
An Outstanding Villain Is Born
There are a few reasons why I love The Vampire Diaries. One of them is that it has an outstanding villain. Let’s face it, we live in a world where anti-heroes and villains are both incredibly popular, and The Vampire Diaries does a fantastic job of convincing you that evil is an option, a preferable one at times. While the world of The Vampire Diaries is plagued by vampires, it is also filled with other creatures who want to do evil. Among these creatures are werewolves. And it should come as no surprise that the most memorable and iconic villain of the twenty-first century was also a werewolf. This is the man who killed Ken Peters and Billy Bob Thornton, the men who murdered Sue Snell, Terry McDermott, and Victoria Cartwright. And let’s not forget about the entire town of Forks, Washington. This is the man who turned himself into a giant wolf and chased after Caroline. He was only stopped by an angry mob that dragged him to the woods and beat him with baseball bats. That was the end of the Jesse Ventura story. He never had to face criminal charges or an internal investigation. The official ruling on the case was that John Doe was suffering from a ‘wolf spell’. So basically, what happened was—and I’m sure this will come as a shock to many of you—John Doe was crazy. And also, the man who killed him was a superhero. Don’t worry, in the end, he was stopped by a combination of human and supernatural efforts. The point is that this is a show that knows how to engage an audience by having both heroes and villains who are both memorable and iconic.
One of the things that made John Doe so frightening was that he could—at any time—change his appearance, to whatever form he desired. He could grow his fingernails and toenails as long as he wanted. He could stretch his skin like taffy or wrinkle it into a thousand sharp wrinkles. He could use his teeth like a pickax and tear through walls, or he could turn himself into an impenetrable ball of fire. He had all the abilities of a super-hero combined with the unpredictability of a rabid animal. The fact that he was also gorgeous didn’t hurt. His physical perfection and charisma made it easy for women to fall under his spell. And let’s face it, the men of Mystic Falls were no different. Every single one of them wanted to be his friend, his lover, his protector. This was a man who could give them what they wanted, and more. And this, in turn, made them want to destroy him. Especially Klaus. He hated the idea of letting others get in the way of him and his beloved Elena. He wanted her for himself, and nothing, not even a 100-year-old werewolf with a grudge, was going to stand in the way of him getting her. This, in turn, made him the most fascinating villain in modern cinematic history.
And now, let’s take a look at how the other characters relate to this fascinating character, shall we?
A Real-Life ‘Love Triangle’
There are plenty of stories and novels out there about love triangles. Usually, these stories involve two people who are in love with the same person, but one of them is either too scared or ashamed to admit it. And then there’s the other person, who is always the one to suffer. In this story, the two people are Alaric and Klaus. And let’s face it, the way that the two of them interact with each other, it’s pretty much a done deal. They’re never going to be friends, at least not while Klaus is alive. And even when he’s gone, they’ll never be completely comfortable around one another. It’s the same with every couple on the show. While some of them may get on quite well, at least in the beginning, there’s always going to be that tension between Alaric and Klaus. And it’s interesting to note that this is a theme that the show repeats over and over. We’ll have a scene in which one of the characters—probably John—will come between Alaric and Klaus, maybe even push them both away. Then, before the end of the episode, they’ll be together, or maybe even hug. But it’s always going to be that tension, that fear of being around the other one, that fear of being liked or rejected by the person you love the most. It’s the same with Jeremy and Lexi on The Vampire Diaries, with Matt and Jenna, and with Damon and Julia. While the stories are different, the underlying theme is the same. This is a show that knows exactly what it’s talking about. And that, my friends, is why I love it.