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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:

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (2142 Votes)

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

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@MrsMorgan
no.. the bloodline link is related to the originals, not to damon and elena alone. if klaus dies (assuming he is the source of the blood that created the rest of our favorite characters) they'll all die.

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Also, hands down the best realization I made after the episode: Damon's blood turned Elena and, thanks to their whole 'vampire bloodline' plot that came out of nowhere, that means that he can't die. If Damon dies, Elena does too by blood connection, and you can't kill the main character. So, this means Damon is safe, does it not? Random crazy idea here, but my last random crazy idea was Elena turning into a vampire to kill Darklaric so I'll throw this one out there too: is it possible for Elena and Damon to have some sort of blood connection since his blood turned her? Would this interfere with her choice of Stefan?

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Just remembered what I wanted to put in my original review.
Every time Elena says she doesn't want to be a vampire, I always think: then why are you dating one? If she saw herself growing old and having children, why does her life revolve around two VAMPIRE brothers who ARE immortal? What did she expect? That she could grow old and Stefan/Damon would keep hanging around, youthful as ever? There was no realistic way she could stay human and still maintain a relationship with a vampire. There was also no way she could have children with either one of them, so how would that work out? If she wasn't planning on being a vampire she should have let them BOTH go as soon as she knew that, because there's no way for that to work unless she changes (which she thankfully now has).
Also, hands down the best realization I made after the episode: Damon's blood turned Elena and, thanks to their whole 'vampire bloodline' plot that came out of nowhere, that means that he can't die. If Damon dies, Elena does too by blood connection! You can't permanently kill the main character, so Damon's safe! Also, is it possible for Elena and Damon to have some sort of blood connection, since his blood turned her? Will this mess with her choice of Stefan?

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OK episode. Elena finally transitioned, so her friends can stop trying to prevent her from transitioning. Plus her blood is not longer useful to Klaus and he can't make more hybrids. The love triangle is way overdone; it just ends up cheapening of Elena's relationship with either brother. I just want her to make a decision and set one of them free. I don't care who I'm also starting to dislike Damon, who keeps behaving like a childish brat; the scene where he tried to kill Matt just showed how little he's changed. I'm still not interested in Klaus. no matter, no matter what body he's in. Plus if Bonnie is so powerful, why can't she figure out a spell to double-cross Klaus? Bonnie losing herself to the dark magic was heartbreaking to watch. What makes absolutely no sense, is that Bonnie was willing to sacrifice everything to prevent Elena from becoming a vampire, but didn't try the same for her own mother? I don't get why Elena's life is so much more important than the lives of Bonnie and all of her relatives.

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Part 3:
4/ Happy that both Tyler and Klaus are back to their bodies.
5/And now my best parts of the show are Elena's transitioning reactions especially her laugh-crying scene , the remembering scene ( it was really beautiful ), Damon's impulsive and crazy actions (trying to kill Rebekha & Matt ) and for sure the conversation between Damon & Elena after her escape: that's my faverite scene even that I didn't like Elena's insensitivity toward Damon but I believe that it had a huge impact on her and on the way she used to see and think about Damon. (amazing job by Ian Samerhalder & Nina Dobrev)

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Part 2:
2/ loved Stefan & Elena's scene when she told him about the reason for her being in the bridge ( I disagree with her though ) it was a nice moment.
3/ Loved Rebekha & klaus' scene, it was so emotional. I felt really sorry for her realising that her brother that she loved after everything he has done and that she mourned is alive and all he cared about was saving the girl he love and leaving her to die. Plus after this scene I'm sure than ever that Klaus has a major issue toward the definition of family. How can he have a family that he doesn't care about and want to create a family of hybrids?

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Part 1:
Welcome Back TVD !!!
1st of all, I want to say that I loved this episode and in my opinion it was what it should've been even that I have problem to get Bonnie's twist although I loved the ritual scene and Jeremy's reaction ( love that kid ) and I would've loved to see how Elena, Stefan & Rebekah have maneged to escape.
Back to what I loved:
1/ I loved the headline of TVD feature: it was really beautiful, special and refreshing ( well done ).

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oooh myyyy gooood bonnie has to go!! i am soo frustrated with this character it's killing me! and btw they're really gonna have to do something about the so called triangle cause i feel sick every time stefan and elena vow to be together and that crap. delena has to happen,it just does.

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I loved the intro, it was perfect. I found the episode to be lacking only because they had so many things going on and not enough time to put everything in. I should just be satisfied that the writers are considerate enough to tie everything up before jumping into the next BIG thing. I think Elena is the selfish one, she always has to have it her way, if Stefan won't give her want she wants, she will run to Damon

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Even if Michael Trevino was good in Klaus shoes, you gotta love some JoMo. Speaking of Klaus, that’s one thing I don’t really get. He saved Caroline, because I guess in some way if likes her, that’s okay and kind of nice I guess. He didn’t free Rebekah to gain time and liberty of movement, that’s also ok. But what I don’t get is why he was so mean to his sister. Trust me, I am more than open to Klaroline but I find it hard to believe he would be nicer to her than to his own sister. I’ve got to say, Claire Holt’s Rebekah almost broke my heart. I love her more and more! It was nice to see her with Stefan and Elena in the cells and Caroline in the van. I would love to see my two favorites blondes to bound. I guess we’ll see her join the Salvatore side and it will be a struggle to see herself accepted since she’s the one who caused the car accident! But if you ask me, it one more reason to be enthousiastic about the whole thing.

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.

Damon
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