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?


Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (1835 Votes)

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


It was kind of a better episode, but I don't get where the head with Stefan. I mean last season he was drinking HB and Damon said he wanted to help him, but this sl stopped with the pure idea of helping Stefan, but we saw Stefan drinking I have a hard time to believe this is the Stefan from season 3....I mean is he back on AB? This makes no sense to me where he is standing what he is doing. It only feels like they wanted to create as much drama as possible and having two different philosphies to have Elena in between...ughhh..I like that they take their time and it is not rushed like before, but it would be nice to follow what a character learned me this is season 1 Stefan...
But I kind of liked the new hunter. He feels fresh, he is not too fast and rushed. But I missed Klaus, Klefan and darker Stefan....


You right Kath will come back she will be a hero to everyoneto the humans not only that Jeremy going to get Her parents also.


This was good storytelling from the beginning to the end. Love every second of this ep including boring Stefan. And i totally agree with Matt. For the first time the triangle felt natural. The feeding scene was not personal it was supersexual. But that wasn`t what caught me off guard. It was the stunning connection Elena now had with both brothers. On the one side you`ve got her human connection to Stefan. The one all teenage girls dream about. He`s the white knight, handsome and pure. On the other she coudn`t hide any longer the different connection to Damon. It´s the connections all older folks know about. When you are not afraid of sharing your own dark sides with somebody and that makes you feel "soulmate" with somebody..Great work, Julie..Love dark Connor..It was a really strong hour of television


One of my favourite episodes. Everything felt so fresh. And not to diminish the importance of all the scenes, especially the Alaric one, but is it just me or is Damon kind of experiencing a renaissance of badass, seductive, crazy amazeballs? And are his eyes looking different? Maybe it's just that the hiatus was so long, or maybe it's Elena's transition or something, but everything does seem heightened this season. If Elena felt even a scintilla of attraction to Damon as a human, I don't know how she wouldn't feel a bajillion times more attracted to him now.

Drea xoxo

n i didn't think damon deserved that punch from stefan. i think he needs to get over his insecurities and realise that elena is going to always pin them two together, it runs in her genes to get kicks out of it (original doopleganger with klaus n elijah -side note bring elijah back anytime soon kfanx) and ofc the ever mesmerising katerina and teh brothers a century or 2 ago.
Overall this to me is the season opening and will see a b+ (would have been c+ but damonric always gets me) P.S. as you can tell i really am a big fan of katerina and alaric so cough cough writers BRING HER BACK!! i also want to know more on the original doopleganger, i felt we were lured into thinking we were going to see how she was portrayed and why esther felt so threatened.....

Drea xoxo

i feel alaric character will find info and help them too n why couldn't they do a ghost whisperer move and make alaric touch damon =[ that way he'd know alaric is listening to him. and the reason we miss him so much on show is because he was such a big part of the show and helped make the show run smoothly


Better than the first episode. I did love the ending. I do wish elena would stop being such a push-over all the time. Nobody is that spineless.

Drea xoxo

@llk_vomit i totally agree too!! we are missing some katerina petrov action here =[ she would add an interesting mix to the fold i think. her take on elena will prob be of a mother upset that her child defied her. i say she gonna save them from conner n originals will then be in-debt to her
4) bring back alaric!! still don't know why he had to be sacrificed =[
5) everyone is so wrapped up in themselves that they didn't realise that alaric and damon always sat at the grill bar together and that he was probably talking to him before we arrived on him.
6) conner character i'm still indecisive on him. i feel we may find more information on bloodline and understand more
7) irony that both matt n damon willing to give blood to elena and know when something wrong but her boyf can't i chuckled at that.

Drea xoxo

1) the reason this episode warranted a 5 was because of damon n alaric scene. i agree with @maria it was consistently boring up until 30 mins i think or when they are at the grill and matt made that pun and jer viewing of this mysterious tat. only glimpse before that was damon holy water, its myth that vamps are apparently killed by it.......
2) elena is still boring as a vampire HOW IS THIS POSS??? stop the whining, stop the self pitying, stop playing off the brothers and live with caroline and control self JHEEZ! i'm so over this pity me act, jer lost people too shoot he lost more. did anyone pick up on the fact that she never mentioned alaric? just me then.....


And yes this episode was a fine return to form :) . . But watching Elena vamp out is seriously making me miss Katherine. •Cue Alice and Sarah with her Hopper and Train ride•

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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]