Well I was right about last week’s A Few Good Men being a transitional episode, because this week’s The Vampire Diaries is already taking us in a new direction with new vampire take-over plans. This time it isn’t even Damon concocting up these plans. There Goes the Neighborhood gives us the true aftermath of what really happened at the tomb and all of the vampires who have been depraved as they hungered for blood for over a century. Now these vampires are just outside of Mystic Falls. Pearl has them contained in an old farmhouse, compelling the human owner to give them blood; something the blood starved vampires take full advantage of. They are getting restless, locked up in the house not much different than their confinement in the tomb for all of those years. They want to go out and live. Pearl fully plans on them reclaiming the town but in good time.
Anna and Pearl give Damon a visit offering to help him find Katherine if he tells them the names of all of those in the town who know of the vampire’s existence. They also want him to retrieve all of the vervain. It doesn’t make it very easy for them to hunt when a number of people in Mystic Falls are not affected by their mind control. Damon’s first reaction when unwanted vampires enter his house is to kill them himself. Of course as Pearl notes, she is 400 years older, wiser, and stronger than Damon, not giving him much of a choice in the matter despite him predicting this as an unnecessary disaster. Elena and Stefan aren’t alerted of the vampire’s presence in the town until one mistakes Elena for Katherine. The two of them are so determined to have their night of normalcy that when the vampire disappears in to the night, they decide to continue on with their double date with Matt and Caroline and worry about any suspicious vampires tomorrow.
While I still enjoyed it enough probably the weakest part of the episode was Caroline’s insecurities about Matt and Elena’s relationship. I’ve said it before; I’m really not interested in any created drama based on their relationship. I think they could be good for each other and do make a cute couple, but they should either be together or drop it rather than going back and forth as it goes boring quickly. The double-date material was fun enough, but really the highlight of that it showed a bit more spark in Matt. I guess you can understand why Caroline would be jealous when the most life we have seen from Matt is when he and Elena reminisce about their past.
It just always seems like Matt’s far more serious and somewhat of a downer in the TV series while he was always so much more upbeat in the book series. It’s good to see a little bit of his personality shine through in the show once in a while. This episode gives us a little further insight on why he might be so lackluster most of the time, not just because he’s miserable without Elena, but he has some serious home issues. We already knew about the troubles and grief he had with Vicki and continues to have, thinking she left without so much as a word. I was a little concerned that the introduction of Matt’s mother, Kelly, might have just been a way to keep Matt in the storyline and wouldn’t be developed very much. Luckily, we get a little further development. Kelly acts like the irresponsible teenager out drinking at the bar she was supposed to have a job interview and hooking up with a vampire. Matt is the one trying to escape his daily pressures of making enough to pay the bills.
There was some mild but amusing comedy in the introduction of these ancient vampires in to the modern world. Anna has to train them on TV remotes, texting, and a number of technological changes over the last hundred years. While the new vampires weren’t particularly memorable, I think they could offer some potentially interesting material. I enjoyed last week’s episode, but some parts felt a little off. The show needs another direction to go after everything it had been building up to has now passed. Sure, there are a few lingering questions, but these new vampire’s trying to reclaim the land they were forced out of over a century ago certainly offers a new interesting angle. A strong plot point is the power dynamics with them against the Salvatores, particularly Damon since he thrives on being able to exert that power over others. He couldn’t let himself be shamed into being inferior to anybody, even a vampire who has over 4 centuries on him and her entire nest of bottled up, bitter vampires ready to be unleashed at any time.
The real highlight of the episode was with Jeremy and Anna. As far as he knows she left town. He is becoming more and more open to the idea that all of the “animal attacks” in Mystic Falls over the centuries might have been covered up vampire attacks. Jeremy begins thinking that there might be some currently living among them, possibly even his friend Anna who seemed to know so much on the subject. There’s a certain desperation in him needing this to be true, because that would explain what happened to Vicki. The last scene is particularly exciting where Jeremy tests out his theory on Anna, making her vulnerable and forcing her to show her true nature.