In "Bad Moon Rising" we discover the vampires have yet another lethal enemy with a potentially fatal bite and that becoming a vampire means more than learning to use new teeth.
After Mason Lockwood prompts the suspicions of the Salvatore brothers, the gang decides to take a road trip back to school. While Damon, Elena and Rick search for the truth, Stefan decides it would be better to stay behind in Mystic Falls and continue to be Caroline's vampire sponsor. Meanwhile on the Lockwood estate, Tyler's party runs late on the night of a full moon as his uncle Mason chains himself inside a crypt to protect everyone from the family curse.
"Bad Moon Rising" is an episode that was divided into three parts and still left me wanting more. Having the cast split into three groups made for a very disjointed episode without a focus on any one in particular. While Damon and Elena (played by Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev) have fantastic chemistry, their strained relationship doesn't lend the opportunity to see more of either character and instead we get bits and pieces here and there. I've noticed in the past few episodes that since Catherine made her return, Damon has been a neutered version of himself. The charm of Damon's character is how he always teeters on the line between villain and reluctant hero with his sharp wit. However these days, he has been relegated to the role of the dog chasing Elena with his tail between his legs. It's understandable that any reconciliation between Damon and Elena will probably take place over the course of the season but I would like Damon to get some of his charisma back while the story runs its course.
It's about time the werewolves made their appearance on the show. After three episodes, the Lockwood family secret has been exposed in one of the most obvious reveals in television I have seen in quite some time. While their story has stolen the show, it gets very little time in each episode in order to spend time with Caroline who can do nothing but ruin every scene she's in.
Caroline's struggle with being a vampire is just as much of a struggle to watch throughout the episode. Stefan acting as her vampire sponsor is forced and without humour; even clever dialogue falls flat. I guess the formula of Gossip Girl + Fangs = Caroline has yet to be perfected but is just painful to watch.
Just as the young vampire has problems adjusting, the young witch is not faring out any better. While it is understandable that Bonnie is always hesitant to help any of the vampires, she continues to lecture everyone and their dog when she uses her witchcraft to "help". Even after Caroline killed someone Bonnie gives another chant and hands her the freedom to walk around during the day but just blames Damon when things take a turn for the worse. It's tiresome when a character takes the moral high ground but fails to take any responsibility.
"Bad Moon Rising" had its share of weaknesses and made them worse by not acknowledging its strengths. The story with Tyler and Mason Lockwood took the back seat to watch Caroline falter and see Damon get shut down again. Also, there were shirtless werewolves and I am still reviewing the show despite my empty promises to stop. My gripe is how The Vampire Diaries wastes time on predictable stories when I am more interested in seeing the Lockwood's or Jeremy. The strength of the episode lies in its potential rather than what it had to offer; which is only half of what it had going last season.