Do you remember when The Vampire Diaries wasn't boring?
After the revealing that he still had some white oak left at the end of last week's episode, Damon, Alaric and Stefan get to work right away and build almost a dozen stakes to kill Klaus and the originals. Elsewhere, Klaus and Rebekah have caught up with their brother Finn who is still determined to kill himself and his family in the process. Luckily for them, his mind is quickly changed after being reunited with his former love Sage for the first time in hundreds of years. Always one step ahead of the game, Klaus has coerced Bonnie into breaking the spell that links him to his family and a lack of cooperation would spell the end of Jeremy and her mother Abbie. Just to top things off, Rebekah hasn't forgotten how Damon mistreated her and after taking down Alaric and she has every intention of bleeding the vervain out of him and compelling him to kill Stefan. With the odds already heavily stacked against them, Stefan must choose between saving his brother and killing Klaus.
While I was hoping for a rebound from last week's Break on Through, The Murder of One was alarmingly predictable throughout. Whereas Stefan and Damon used to come up with brilliantly intricate plans last season, that skill appears to be all but lost at this point. Immediately after revealing the existence of the white oak stakes to the rest of the group, they start coming up with their plan for that very night. Wouldn't it have made more sense for them to kill the originals after thinking this one through? It would have made more sense if the episode dealt with Stefan and Damon trying to prevent Klaus from breaking his linking spell and rather than skip ahead to just trying to kill them right away. It may seem like a minor quip but it's entirely out of character when Stefan and Damon used to actually think things through (at this point, they are predictably stupid because their plans never work).
Another issue that is becoming more apparent with each episode of The Vampire Diaries is how each character is slowly becoming a caricature. Stefan used to be more complex with his guilt from the past, love for Elena and violent nature when people threatened Elena or Damon. Now he is the angry, brooding guy, Damon is the smooth charmer, Elena exists to pout and whine when people disagree with her, Klaus is the villain and Rebekah is the attention starved prom queen. Each of them could be summed up in less than five words because their characters have stopped developing this season. If this was at the benefit of a great overarching story it would be fine but even that has been weaker than seasons one and two.
Even with not one, but two Buffy the Vampire Slayer references ("Hello lover" and Buffy the Vampire), nothing was going to prevent The Murder of One from being a mess. Maybe Alaric, the homicidal psycho killer with a heart of gold, has another trick up his sleeve when The Vampire Diaries returns April 19th.