Tyler Lockwood: The unsung hero of Mystic Falls
If you’re an aspiring actor, there are certain shows you probably don’t really want to be cast on. For example, if you’re cast on any kind of ‘CSI’ or ‘Law & Order,’ there is a good chance that you might be a murderer, rapist or murderapist.
If you’re cast on ‘The Vampire Diaries,’ you’re either going to be turned into a vampire and killed, eaten for dinner and killed, have your heart ripped out of your chest and thus killed, or be killed in a ritual sacrifice. There’s the slim chance you’ll stick around for a couple of episodes and get to makeout with Damon Salvatore before being killed, but all in all – it’s not a very friendly show for guest stars.
And if you’re cast as a family member of one of the main cast members, you better believe you have a countdown clock on your back, because it’s only a matter of time before someone evil uses you as bait in one nefarious scheme or another.
What I’m trying to say is: guest stars are used and abused and then we rarely ever think about them again. Guest stars are expendable to most viewers – and rightly so, we’d rather see a random hybrid staked than one of our beloved Mystic Falls gang, but they’re still someone’s family member or friend, right?
And it seems that we might finally be exploring a bit of that in a roundabout kind of way. With the introduction of Hayley this season, it appears that we’re headed in a direction that features a world outside of our core cast.
Tyler Lockwood has a group of friends outside of Mystic Falls – the hybrids and other werewolves that he met during his sojourn to find himself/take yoga/break his sire bond. And in the last two episodes, we’ve seen two of Tyler’s hybrid friends bite it for the good of our Mystic Falls gang. And I think there’s something to explore here: 1) Tyler is the only person to have any friends outside the group and 2) How long until Tyler stops putting up with the complete disregard for the lives of his other friends?
Let’s start with the first topic I brought up: outside friends.
It makes sense the core group of friends stay close; they have a lot of secrets between them. For starters, aside from Matt, every single one of them is a supernatural being or has supernatural abilities of some sort. Stefan, Damon, Caroline and Elena are all vampires, Bonnie is a (kinda crappy) witch, Tyler is a hybrid and Jeremy can see ghosts and is a vampire hunter.
Matt is the lone human in the core group of friends – everyone else has been turned, killed or turned and killed (RIP Vicki and Aunt Jenna). It makes a lot of sense that they don’t fraternize with outsiders because the more people they let in to their lives, the more people they put at risk. They’re at risk of finding out the numerous secrets our core group harbors and they’re at risk of being used as bait by Klaus or some other evil creature we’ve yet to meet. So there is a very good reason that multiple friend circles simply do not exist for these characters.
But by Tyler’s own supernatural fate, he’s bonded to another family – his fellow werewolves and his fellow hybrids. Wolves by nature are pack creatures, and even though Tyler has no real pack of his own, it’s still in his nature to bond with others similar to himself. It makes complete sense he’d feel personally threatened or hurt by his own friends caring so little about the wolves and hybrids that they’d use them for their own gain.
And that brings me to my second topic: how long will Tyler sit by and let his friends use and abuse those he considers family by nature? We’ve already seen how he reacted to the last hybrid’s death (and for the life of me, I cannot remember his name – see what I mean about being expendable?), he was outraged. Tyler and Hayley have their own storyline this season involving the hybrids and breaking the sire bond with Klaus, and I think we’re finally going to see a side of Tyler that we maybe haven’t seen before – the real leader and protector.
Yes, we saw him take several bullets to the chest in order to save the lives of his friends and neighbors in the church, but we haven’t really had a chance to see Tyler play the hero. He’s always been there to help when his presence has been needed, but the heroic bits have usually been left up to our favorite Salvatore brothers. The direction of Tyler’s storyline this season opens up an entire world of possibility for his character. And I personally cannot wait to see how he and Hayley work together to fulfill their mission.
Photo Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW