Since his introduction in Season 2, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) has been very much positioned as a villain in The Vampire Diaries— at least in the eyes of the Mystic Falls gang. The audience, on the other hand, has always found the Original so charming that we're usually willing to forgive him for whatever his evil doings (though his murder of Mayor Lockwood was a true test of any such sympathies).
He's gotten so empathetic that even Stefan (Paul Wesley) is experiencing a change of heart. "I thought I'd be happier watching Klaus get lead away to the slaughter, but for some reason I can't help but feel kind of guilty," Stefan told Caroline (Candice Accola). "We've all done horrible things. I'm sitting here trying to figure out what makes us any better than him."
The answer to that, Stefan, is that you're not any better than him. And neither is your brother. Here are five reasons why:
1. Klaus only picked up where Damon left off Most people have forgotten that when Damon (Ian Somerhalder) first came to town, he wasn't just a bad boy — he was The Big Bad! Throughout the first season, Damon continuously tempted Stefan to get back on human blood, knowing full well the repercussions, and he threatened Elena's (Nina Dobrev) life as often as he took someone else's —which was, if you remember, quite often and usually for no reason at all.
And it wasn't just strangers that were the victim of Damon's twisted impulses. Caroline, Vicki, Lexi, Mason, Bonnie — the list of those who have suffered (and sometimes fatally) at the hands of the beloved vamp is exhaustive. Not to mention that he once tried to compel Elena to kiss him. Hello?! That's called sexual assault!
2. Klaus isn't the only one who can't control his impulses Since transitioning in 1864, Stefan has struggled with his own uncontrollable dark urges. And when I say dark, I mean dark! (Let's just say, he didn't earn the nickname "Ripper" for nothing.)
But in Season 3, Stefan crossed a line that went far beyond any violent past discretion. In order to intimidate Klaus, Stefan force-fed Elena his blood and threatened to drive her off Wickery Bridge, the same bridge where her parents died and that would later take her life, as well.
And Stefan isn't the only one who constantly struggles to stay on the side of good. Must we remind you about Alaric's evil alter ego or the fact that Jeremy's been training so that he'd be able to resist the instinct to murder his own sister? Yeah, and they think Klaus has issues...
3. We're all victims of our upbringing Klaus' werewolf gene always isolated him from his family, shaping him into the recluse with trust issues that we know today. But who can blame him? His own parents wanted him dead!
That's why Klaus' hybrids are so important to him. And that's why, when Tyler turned the hybrids against him, Klaus
went on a murder spree lashed out -- because it was the only way for Klaus to distract himself from the pain of losing his family all over again.
It wasn't anything Klaus enjoyed, but it was how he was trained to survive. "In those cases when Klaus loses it, in my mind he disconnects and goes cold," Morgan tells TVGuide.com. "Walls come up around him and he removes himself from feeling anything. And that's when he can say the most horrible things to his siblings. He can break necks and pull out hearts and he's to being deliciously malicious and he's not got a wry smile on his face, he's really just trying to feel nothing as opposed to the rage that's inside."
4. Klaus is just really, really lonely Because his own parents viewed him as an abomination, Klaus never felt worthy of affection. That's why he isolates himself from those around him with violence and a false display of apathy — but that doesn't mean Klaus is at all happy about it.
After Stefan insulted Klaus for keeping victims' letters to memorialize them, the Original pointed out that Stefan wrote his victims' names on walls. According to Klaus, this wasn't a celebration of the deaths, but simply a "reminder that in the end, we're left infinitely and utterly alone."
It's partially because of this overwhelming loneliness that Klaus seems to revel in violence and chaos. By accepting his role as Forever Alone, Klaus was able to take control of that hurt and thus went from being a victim to becoming the predator, a coping mechanism that both Salvatores have utilized in the past.
5.Love heals all (even evil vampires) Damon was evil before landing Elena, and love has brought Stefan back from the dark side multiple times. Would the caring arms of a woman have the same effect on Klaus? Morgan seems to think so. "I'm very happy to have a romantic interest in the show," Morgan says of Klaus' crush on Caroline, "but he's not getting love, maybe that's what he needs."
Do you think a relationship with Caroline would be the difference between Klaus being a Big Bad and being just another bad boy?
For more on Klaus, check out this week's Vampire Diaries Bite below.
The Vampire Diaries airs at 8/7c on The CW.