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The Vampire Diaries Review: A Tale of Two Hunters

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What an absolutely terrific episode of The Vampire Diaries.

While past top-notch episodes of this CW drama relied on flashbacks or major twists/turns (See: "Blood Brothers," "The End of the Affair"), "Memorial" required no such visit into the past.

It was simply tense from beginning to end, incredibly tense, featuring the introduction of a fascinating new character; taking us deeper into Elena's transition; and giving Matt something to serve aside from drinks at the Grill.

Scared in Church

Let's start there. The Season 4 premiere was a slight letdown because it focused so much on something every viewer knew was coming: Elena turning into a vampire. It felt anticlimactic by the time that act finally took place.

But this episode shifted the focus to how such a development will impact Elena's relationships, from her rekindled romance with Stefan; to her complicated bond with Damon; to her new, extremely close connection to Matt; to her mentor/student relationship with Caroline.

This storyline is at its most powerful and its most effective when we witness its impact across all our favorite Mystic Falls residents. There are multiple layers to Elena turning, far beyond the simple fact that she will now live forever, and it was interesting to watch their domino effect play out here, specifically when it came to the tension between Stefan and Damon.

To feed on human blood or not to feed on human blood, that is their question. It's a legitimate moral debate and it brings back up the history between these brothers. Stefan knows the Ripper-like consequences that can result from one's immediate turn and foray into Homosapien digestion. He wants Elena to avoid the mistakes of his past.

Damon? He's never been as forward-looking as his optimistic sibling. He's always about the here and the now and he sees the girl he loves in pain and he offers up the fastest solution possible, his blood. And now our love triangle - thankfully - has a new twist.

It had grown tiresome last season. There's only so much of Elena pining for both Salvatores that viewers can take, especially when she's listing the same reasons over and over for why this is such a difficult decision. But this feels fresh. I spent the episode sincerely wondering on which side I'd fall, Damon or Stefan's. I can understand both, and I'm curious to see how Elena balances Stefan's big-picture thinking with Damon's quick-fix blood lust.

She isn't just trapped between two brothers now; she's caught between dueling philosophies.

And she was part of maybe the most moving scene in TVD history. That ending. Wow. It was unexpected, it was appropriate, it was touching, it gave us a Lexie shout-out. For a show that prides itself on hanging off the cliff at the conclusion of every hour, this was a surprising/emotional/perfect way to conclude an episode that focused so much on death and life and the choices we make. I absolutely loved it...

... and that was before we even moved to Damon in the cemetery. My goodness, Julie Plec! Are you trying to put Kleenex out of business?!? Any regular readers of my Vampire Diaries reviews understands the soft spot I have for both Matt Davis and Alaric Saltzman and Damon's mourning of his best friend was nothing short of beautiful.

I'm going to pretend like there's someone there because the alternative is too damn depressing. | permalink

Stefan and Caroline

From saying farewell to one hunter to greeting a new one... what the heck is up with Connor?!?

An outstanding debut by this dangerous new foe, the bad ass' introduction raises a number of questions: How is he connected to the Council? Is he related to the council? What prompted his appearance in Mystic Falls? What's up with the markings on his bullets? Why can only Jeremy see that tattoo on his arm?

Easily one of the more gasp-worthy moments in recent show history, the ink sighting makes it apparent that Connor is... what? A ghost? He doesn't seem to be a regular human, that's for sure.

The entire scene in the church was gripping television at its best. With Connor and his rifle lined up in a pew, April bloody by his side, a series of supernaturals sitting down below, everyone plotting his or her next move, it was simply heart-pounding to watch.

The same can be said for the episode as a whole. I just loved every minute of it. It's hard to remember an hour that so richly developed relationships and delivered with action-filled sequences.

Who is Connor? Down which path will Elena go? Will I ever stop crying over Alaric? Following a lackluster premiere, questions abound, trouble is brewing, tears are flowing and I can't wait for next Thursday.

What did everyone else think?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (1834 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Oh, man! Am I the only who think this episode is kinda bad? The new hunter isn't really that interesting. The sex scenes in the first few minutes aren't really necessary. Elena going to Damon to help? Yeah, I think her 'stupidity' and 'naive' were heightened as well. @sarah: I agree. Give the triangle a rest! I'm tired to hear Damon pining or Elena giving glances to Damon or Stefan acted kinda jealous. Julie Plec, stop servicing those fan girls and give us some vamp action!

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Screw Damon/Elena/Stefan triangle. The most beautiful, sad, powerful thing was the ending scene. Damon at the grave of Alaric. GOD! I miss Dalaric. :(

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I lOVED the ending with Alaric...OMG I really miss him and his friendship with Damon. That was such a touching scene. I was hoping Jeremy would happen along and tell Damon Alaric was right there next to him. FANTASTIC. Great show!!! I want Matt Davis back on the show...please Julie Plec ..make it happen.

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Getting tired of the show catering to Delena fans. Just to let the show know, some of us actually love to watch TVD's because we want to see a show about vampires. Not a show about a pathetic guy who chases his brothers girlfriend.Before the usual rant from the Delenas no I'm not Stelena I'm just tired of this show.

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What is the meaning behind a vampire feeding off of a vampire

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BUT, I do not want the brothers to be her mentor. I'd rather have Caroline do it. Honestly that girl grew up soooo much and became that awesome character, sure Stefan helped her, but DAMN she had her share of BS. I think Elena should think about that ! Look at how she handled her with that April girl. Go on Car !
And yes, Bonnie's scene was very touching. Love that she's not doing magic. But Stefan and her have always had thsi strange relationship. Liked Liked Liked !!!

Soapjunk

Operation Getting Alaric back has started

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Great, episode 2 is finished and I'm in tears ! Oh Alaric, we miss u too... I knew tha seat meant something.. Damon... Well That episode was very nice ! But Please, let Elena suck some veins, go crazy, enough of the sweet Elena, the won't turn bad Elena ! Though, I too, thought of her being a doppleganger, there would be things going differently than for "normal" vamps. Oh and nice touch with the "feed from me" reference from True Blood !!! I'm sure it's the same.
That new Vamp Hunter is PISSING ME OFF !!!! WTF entering people's house and shoot at 'em ! I hope they rip his head off ! Jer, honey, what the heck was it that you saw...tattoo from the underworld/Other Side maybe?
Nice move at the funeral, now THAT was some action. The blood, the vamps on hold, wow ! And Matt, I'm proud of you, offering your vein in such a fashionable manner lol !

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Wow, what an episode! I weeped at the end, i miss Alaric :'(

Jess-gannon

This episode reminds me why I love this show!!! Please keep episodes of this standard coming!!!!!

The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Episode 2 Quotes

Damon: You know what they are? Children. Like lighting a candle's going to make everything OK, or even saying a prayer. Or pretending Elena's not going to end up just like the rest of us murdering vampires. Stupid, delusional, exasperating little children. And I know what you're going to say: 'It makes them feel better, Damon.' So what? For how long? A minute, a day? What difference does it make? Because in the end, when you lose somebody, every candle, every prayer is not going to make up for the fact that the only thing you have left is hole in your life where that somebody that you cared about used to be. And a rock with a birthday carved into it that I'm pretty sure is wrong. So thanks, friend. Thanks for leaving me here to babysit. Because I should be long gone by now. I didn't get the girl, remember? I'm just stuck here fighting my brother and taking care of the kids. You owe me big.
Alaric: I miss you too, buddy.

You better hope she's not a fan of Bambi.

Damon [on Elena]
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