The Vampire Diaries Review: Witchy Washy

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Perhaps it was due to my constantly high expectations for The Vampire Diaries. Or the extra couple weeks fans had to wait this season for the October premiere. Or simply an off episode that was used more to set the stage for what's to come than thrill and shock on its own.

But I was let down by "Growing Pains."

Stefan in a Panic

Chalk it up to a combination of predictability and confusion, starting with the most pressing issue of all: Elena as a vampire.

We all knew she was going to turn. There wasn't much drama in whether she would feed within 24 hours, removing a lot of the suspense and sadness from that (very well-acted) scene between Elena and Stefan in the barn.

Granted, we still aren't sure what sort of blood sucker Elena will make. Will she gorge on rabbits or humans? Give in to her heightened emotions? Or put up an icy exterior to fight them off? All questions for the season ahead, all likely to come after she and Stefan have some seriously passionate vampire sex.

Another question: How did she, Stefan and Rebekah break out of their cells? Actually, one more question: How did the council get access to the Salvatore collection of Vervain? The episode glossed over a few key details, leading to my biggest issue with the premiere:

Bonnie. Grams. Spells. The Other Side. And... WTH?!?

I applaud Elena's bestie for taking proactive action to save her pal, but The Vampire Diaries really needs to stay away from its reliance on spells and ghosts and the after-life. Aside from being a easy plot device (Bonnie can fix anything!), it's simply confounding. The rules, if there are any, have never been fully explained.

Bonnie was able to visit Elena in the barn because Elena is dead? Even though she isn't actually on The Other Side yet? And Grams stopped by from that Other Side to alert her granddaughter that she was playing with dark fire? And then Grams died... again?

It's just a confusing mess and far too much of the episode was dedicated to Bonnie's unclear actions.

A large chunk also featured the re-configured Council, with a major promotion given to Pastor Young. It felt a tad sudden, but I enjoy the potential dynamic at work here. My favorite aspect of True Blood is the ever-delicate balancing act between humans and vampires, with the latter out and about and known to all on that show. Did the Pastor's seemingly suicidal act to close the premiere aim at bringing attention to Mystic Falls? In order to make the presence of the undead no longer a secret?

I could be intrigued by that. Realistically, there's only so long so many supernaturals could reside in one place in secret.

We are the beginning. Of what?!?

What else did I like about "Growing Pains?"

  • Michael Trevino as Klaus. He was convincingly bad ass, though I'm sure female readers are wondering how Caroline was able to pick up on the "love" usage when the actor was shirtless. It's possible for brain cells to function when in the vicinity of such a sight?!?
  • Klaus cutting off Rebekah. Let's just hope this is once and for all. The siblings' relationship has changed course on numerous occasions. But a scorned/vindictive Rebekah is an entertaining Rebekah and, damn, can Claire Holt cry?!?
  • The depiction of Elena's enhanced senses, from the lights to the sounds and the sights. Very well filmed.
  • Stefan telling Matt to "earn" his second chance at life. Very Saving Private Ryan-esque. This gives Matt a storyline outside of serving drinks at the Grill. Finally.
  • Elena sticking with Stefan. It was a nice touch to have her remember Damon's declaration of love, but the triangle needs to be put on hold for awhile. She chose Stefan. She clearly loves Stefan. There best not be any more back and forth any time soon.

So that's where we are heading into episode two. Elena is a vampire. Bonnie has traveled down a very dark and dangerous path. Klaus and Tyler are back in their respective bodies. Matt feels guilty. Forces within Mystic Falls are closing in on our heroes and heroines.

What did you think of the Season 4 opener? Watch The Vampire Diaries promo for next week's "Memorial," sound off in the Comments and grade the premiere now:


Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (2148 Votes)

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


"True love is selfish." Not true. Passionate love is selfish. I root for the smexy, charged and emotionally confusing Delena scenes because it's what generally happens in real life, especially when you're in your twenties. But true love? That's the kind you don't see very often. It's the all-sacrificing kind. And I don't mean "let's sacrifice everyone but the two of us" kind of way. Stelena is a heck of a lot closer to true love than Delena. Delena could get there, especially now that they have forever and a half to figure out their lives. But as of now, I wish the writers would spend more time actually developing ALL the characters instead of flip-flopping on the triangle. Also, Rebekkah can do no wrong in my eyes. There's a girl who is selfish, driven, knows it and doesn't apologize.


Still can't make up my mind, I'm still so affected that I can't write an appropriate comment about this episode. All I can say for now that this is an Amazing, Mind blowing, Awesome, Outstanding episode. Love it so much !!!


in the council scene at the end, i wasn't sure what was happening at first till the pastor locked them all in and then started talking about their future, im guessing he took the vampire blood from dr fell and mixed it into drinks, then he kills everyone turning them into vampires




What I am hoping to see is an exploration of Klaus realizing that he can no longer create and control a new family and how he fights against falling in love with Caroline. Klaus is too much a control freak to give in easily. Plus we could see more of him with his family, especially Elijah, as he tries to repair the relationships while still trying to control them. Seriously, I hope that they force Klaus to grow up a bit as it will be delicious fun watching him mess it all up. Plus, he's never been in love so watching that will be great to see. His ideas of courting are a thousand years old, should be fun and I hope we get to see it.


The fact the everyone is much more interested in Elena's life than his own is simply unbereable! All the fuss is about her! I mean, ok, this must be hard on her but she made her choice, and it has been fulfilled thanks to stefan so can we please move over? Damon said the only smart thing to say in this situation, as usual. If he was Stefan, he would have saved Elena instead of Matt. That would have been terrible on Elena's concience but, in the end, she would have remained human and so everybody would have been happy. You can't have both things, it necessarely one or the other. And Damon would have made a choice and then face the consequences, in Elena best interests. That's why I'm always on Damon's side.

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This episode turned out shocking and amazing at the same time and I can't wait for the next episode of season 4. =) =D


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I agree with Fran i don't understand why Elena's life is so much more important than everyone else's and I don't get why bonnie is so willing to sacifice her life for Elena's. Why is Elena's life so much more important than her own.


i will never understand the fascination there is about damon. he does not represent anything that is pure and honest about love. he has never respected elena's wishes and done as she asked of him. he always does what he wants no matter the consequences. on the other hand, stefan has always made sacrifices by choosing elena's wishes over his own. now that is true love and respect for another person. damon is selfish and he even said it himself. love is not selfish but the ultimate sacrifice of giving yourself completely to another person, which stefan has done. this is something damon will never be able to do. he does not want to give any control over to elena, and this is why they should not be together. stefan trusts elena completely, and damon does not. damon has always questioned her decisions and not stood by her and supported them. i am so glad that she chose stefan, it was a no brainer. i would never choose someone like damon, someone who does not respect my choices.

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The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Episode 1 Quotes

Where ever you go, Salvatore Brothers seem to follow.

Pastor Young

We all know the way. You feed or you die, there is no door #3.