Following tonight’s “Vampire Diaries” episode, I’m sure most of the fans are going to be discussing Elena’s big moves, her fight with Stefan, and Damon’s confession that he loves her as much as a vampire as he did when she was a human. I posted some fantastic insight about them from executive producer Julie Plec, but now in lieu of my regular recap, I want to talk about this season’s unsung hero: Tyler Lockwood.
It’s no secret that Tyler is one of my favorite characters. He’d developed from a narcissistic overcompensator with daddy issues and a quick temper to a reliable, strong, trustworthy member of the team. In the second episode of the season, he took a shower of bullets to protect his friends, and his act of bravery was barely acknowledged by the rest of the gang.
And while we’ve all been assuming for two weeks that Tyler hooked up with Hayley in the woods, betraying Caroline (and sort of betraying the fans who have been rooting for him), we were dead wrong.
“We like to introduce a trope, where you think you know where it’s going, and then everyone gets all up in arms, because ‘Oh, here comes the slutty little victim into the show, and Tyler’s a cheater, and that’s how they’re going to break up Caroline and Tyler and get Caroline to Klaus, oh, hack hack hack,'” Plec says, “Because we’re masochists. And then we like to be like ‘No, that’s not at all what we’re doing.'”
The way that things play out between Tyler, Hayley, Caroline, and Klaus is far more complicated than that. Now that we know Tyler and Hayley have essentially been planning to stage a coup against Klaus, the stakes are high here.
“Not to say that Hayley herself doesn’t have her own strong attachment to Tyler, but she is there for a reason,” says Plec. “It’s about Tyler’s story and, as a hybrid free of Klaus, what he wants to accomplish.”
In the meantime, Tyler, Caroline, and Hayley will let Klaus believe he’s got Tyler blackmailed into submission. “If anything it’ll give Klaus this gleeful, perverse little power thing he thinks he holds over Caroline and Tyler,” says Julie. “It will allow him to be emboldened enough to try to squeeze in there and make a move or two, when in reality, they’re kind of currently pulling the wool over his eyes a little bit, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes.”
In the meantime, Tyler has managed to do something that no other character has done successfully. He’s overcome his supernatural instincts. Tyler is the sole person on the show who has completely broken free of at least one of the confines of the creature he has become. “This show is so much about compulsion and addiction and urges that you can’t fight,” says writer Michael Narducci. “Tyler is someone who beat the sire bond, and now he’s free, and he looks at all these other hybrids around that Klaus is using to do whatever, including be cannon fodder. A hero would say ‘This is wrong. I should be involved and do something about that.'”
According to Plec, Tyler’s newfound heroism propels his story through the first part of the season. “Hero Tyler, I’ve got to say, man, I just saw Episode 8 … Michael Trevino. Just on fire. [He has a] strong point of view about Tyler stepping up, becoming a man and really taking a stand, and it’s good for him, and he’s doing a really good job at it.”
Is there potential for Tyler to lose his girl while he’s making big moves to free the entire race of hybrids? Probably. But he’s on a mission, and it’s incredibly refreshing to see the payoff of his sire bond and of his time away from the show last season. That douchebag bully from Season 1 is a man about to start a revolution, and I love it.