Since Esther told her that she planned to kill her entire family, Elena has been torn as to whether she should save Elijah or let Esther destroy him along with Klaus and rest of the originals.
Following the emotional fallout after last week, Stefan and Elena are brooding (which usually happens at the end of each episode). Damon on the other hand is revelling in his latest sexual conquest over Rebekah and as she is about to take her walk of shame, Elena is waiting at the door. With her latest crisis of conscience, she feels guilty knowing that Elijah will die with rest of family even though he may not deserve it. Unlike their mutual love interest, the Salvatore brothers are more than willing to let Elijah die with the rest of them but suspect Elena may do something stupid; they were right. After taking a short trip with Elijah and very little persuasion, Elena quickly spills the beans to Elijah and that is when everything goes south. Elijah is willing to take every measure necessary to save himself and his family and if that means letting Elena die, then so be it. Unwilling to let any harm come Elena, Stefan and Damon are once again faced with the task of making one person suffer to save someone they love.
Aptly titled, All My Children, Elijah sums up everything quite nicely in the line "Mother made use vampires; we made ourselves monsters." Esther turned her family into the undead in order to save them, not have them destroy the lives of others for the rest of time. While her plan necessitated deceit over the ones that she cared for, her intentions were ultimately to restore balance to nature but I believe that it is more on the personal level of redeeming herself from her mistake so long ago. Though the idea of redemption isn't new to television, it has always been an endearing quality that everyone can empathize with.
In a surprising move, Elena seems to have taken several steps back since she began spending more time with Stefan. Just as we began to see a more hardened Elena, her character is quickly taken back to the helpless child that we have seen all too much of. Afraid to make the tough decisions and actually catch a break, it reminds us that Elena is still just a young girl in high school. What The Vampire Diaries has consistently proven is that Elena is easily the most selfish character in the series as she constantly puts the ones she loves in harm's way without ever considering the consequences. Hopefully, Bonnie will hold onto the anger of her mother being turned because at fifteen episodes into the season, it's time for Elena to feel the pain.
In classic Vampire Diaries fashion, the show also continues to bring in characters for brief stints rather than allow them to naturally develop over time. Esther, Finn and Kol once again take a backseat to the more established Elijah, Klaus and Rebekah and it's become tiring. Regardless of how soon they return, it would be nice to see what makes these new faces the people (or vampires) they are. Bringing them back just for an 'exciting' finish to the season would be a disappointment and I hope we get to see more of them before season's end. If you're wondering why I haven't mentioned Alaric and Dr. Fell yet, it's because I (and you) always knew she was a psycho. There's more too it of course, but who leaves the evidence of their kills on a kitchen counter? Couldn't they have come up with something better before the all too predictable cliff hanger ending that every second episode ends on?
At the end of All My Children, The Vampire Diaries is back in the same spot that it was a few weeks ago. My biggest issue with this season of the show is that for every step forward it feels like it takes another two steps back a few weeks later which in turn makes it feel as though nothing is happening. It's this lack of forward momentum in the characters (Elena being helpless, Damon being the pseudo bad guy, Stefan being a wuss) and the over arching story that hold season three back from being much better than it is. The Vampire Diaries is well over halfway through the season, we'll see where the pieces fall when the show returns with new a episode on March 15th.