The Vampire Diaries Review: Livin' on a Prayer

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With apologies to beach-based sunsets and the sight of puppies asleep, is there anything better than flashback episodes of The Vampire Diaries?!?

The CW smash delivered another mythology-heavy thrill ride with "The Five," as we went all the way back to the 12th century; learned of a cure (yes, a CURE!) for vampiredom; witnessed Elena lose control of both her body and perhaps her heart; and discovered a key connection between Connor and Bonnie's new mentor.

And Rebekah got staked. And Stefan struck an alliance and Klaus. And a hybrid was beheaded. Yes, it was an eventful episode...

Paul Telfer as Alexander

And with Stefan being forced to strike a deal with the devil (Klaus' words, not mine!) in order to live on the prayer of saving Elena from the pain of her first kill, please indulge me as I rundown the installment via song titles from classic rock band Bon Jovi...

LIVIN' ON A PRAYER Stefan was at his sweetest and his most rational tonight. As usual, Damon was basking in the moment, raving and drinking and dancing, while Stefan was looking at the big picture. He's like a chess player, always thinking many moves ahead.

In this case, that meant playing out Elena's new state to its logical conclusion. She will eventually kill. She will eventually turn off her humanity in response. And she therefore will be lost forever. Hence, the deal with Klaus and the desperation to cure Elena of what will soon make her... no longer Elena.

It was a beautiful sentiment all around, capped by a speech to Rebekah that, granted, may have been manipulative, but was also undoubtedly truthful. Stefan would cure himself in order to die alongside his one true love. Pass the Kleenex and come on, people. That's awfully sweet stuff.

YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME Go ahead, laugh at the girl who loved too easily, Rebekah cried right before her brother daggered her once again. The show has been steady and consistent in portraying this Original as someone who simply wants to be loved, and tonight's flashback to Alexander served its purpose well.

Credit the writers and/or credit Claire Holt, but Rebekah has always maintained an air of vulnerability and sadness, even at her bitchiest and most conniving. It was impossible not to feel for her here. I have no doubt she'll be back, but her multi-layered character - of pride and anger and bitterness and loneliness - will be missed until then.

BAD MEDICINE That's pretty much what Elena was served at the frat party. Who really thought it was a good idea to turn a new vampire loose at "douche central?!?" Aside from the danger of exposure for her and Damon, it was akin to dangling fresh meat in front of a ravenous Doberman. Pounds and pounds of fresh meat. I fail to see how this was meant, in any way, to "teach" Elena how to feed, as Damon claimed.

The main takeaway, of course, is that she's a lot more like Damon than she wants to believe. That heartfelt monologue to Stefan at the end may have been true, perhaps she does not want to be a member of a "predatory species," but she was also referring to her feelings for Damon, the ones that simply won't go away.

Elena doesn't want to admit that she has a lot more in common with Damon now - but it's safe to assume this will be a realization that she won't be able to avoid for much longer. None of the sentimental words Stefan utters will match the raw connection that now exists between Elena and Damon.

HAVE A NICE DAY I'm pretty much assured to have one any time Elijah makes an appearance. How frickin awesome is that guy?!?

SOMETHING FOR THE PAIN Yes, there's now a cure. It's out there. It's real. And it gives The Vampire Diaries the sort of through-line at which this show excels. It's at its best when there's a goal driving each crazy episode, something to tie together all the twists and turns on a weekly basis.

How did we get there? Or how WILL we get there? It's complicated: Connor has a tattoo... which he somehow got from a soldier upon his death... and it grows every time he makes a kill... and it's a map to this cure... but it's only readable via a sword that is buried with Alexander... and Connor was sent to Mystic Falls by Professor Shane, the man who took over for Grams at the local college.

That's a great deal of plot, and yet it's fairly easy to digest. I'm fully on board. I'm dying to know more about this professor, I very much buy both Klaus and Stefan's motivations for wanting the cure and by making Connor a pawn in the professor's game, the show has opened up any number of possibilities.

Who knows what else is out there, or what Shane motives may be. Remember: we still don't even know how the Council and that fire plays into any of this. Bon Jovi once sang about a "Two Story Town," but there's no conceivable way to count the number of stories now at play in Mystic Falls. I love it.

Just how action-packed was this episode? I scarcely even noticed that my girl Caroline was absent.

BLAZE OF GLORY Really, is there any series in the history of television that goes out every single week in one of these? Another terrific hour tonight, one that promises the take the show - considering Bonnie's new apprenticeship, the agenda of her teacher, Elena and Damon's growing bond and Klaus and Stefan's secret mission - in a whole new direction.

Check out the official promo for next week's "The Killer" and sound off: WHAT DID EVERYONE ELSE THINK?


Editor Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.8 / 5.0 (1539 Votes)

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


Ideally even if the product and you can see survival gear can be used in legit kits for your next camping trip. survival kits Know this that must be waterproofed with a larger model that is used daily!

David and sabrina 2014

Who knows if the cure will be discovered but I can't wait for more episodes of season 4. The cure reminds from the Shadow Souls book when it was a mysterious black rose that Damon accidently took and became human even though Elena is a human with strange mysterious powers. =|


Yes Damon and Elena have this bond but his clearly not the best person to "teach" her, she gets into the feeding moment then regrets it afterwards so it's not really doing any good, I think his methods are too reckless. Stefan is right in saying it's only a matter of time before she loses herself in all of it (and for people saying Bonnie was judgemental...I think she needs that reality check, she clearly can't deal with the consequences of feeding benders). I think Caroline is the best choice to teach her. I’m also intrigued by professor Shane and his connection to the Five, that should be interesting.


Can't leave Elena and Damon alone sheesh. Anyone else find it funny that both of the times Elena and Damon started getting hot and heavy 3x19 and this 4x4 they were always out with a third wheel running interferance right when things could really escalate haha. (Jeremy/Bonne Professional C***Blockers). Wonder how things will play out if there ever isn't a third wheel. Would Elena come to her senses before things went "too far?"


Plus we all know that what make Elena and Damon have this bond and understanding relationship is there honesty to each other, they don't lie or pretend to please each other and even that their honesty hurts it's a good thing for their relationship 'cause at the end it makes them know and understand each other better.


Damon And Elena my favorites (even that things ended badly between these two at the end of the episode). It was great to see these two having fun. Actually that was the 1st time to see them so happy, having fun and enjoying being themselves with no one around judging them but sure that didn't last for a long time 'cause Elena came back to her old self the moment she saw Bonnie's judgy face, she felt scared and guilty for what she was doing (yes it was painful to see her shouting out loud that she shouldn't do what she did and that she should be with Stefan and not Damon ) but the truth is that she was blaming herself for enjoying being a vampire for enjoying herself with Damon and not her boyfriend she felt scared of the fact that she's like Damon more than Stefan. She's scared of what she want and feel and keep holding to what she should do and be. Plus we all know that what make Elena and Damon have this bond and understanding relationship is there honesty to each other, they don't lie or pretend to please each other and even that their honesty hurts it's a good thing for their relationship 'cause at the end it makes them know and understand each other better.


and let Klaus daggering her at the end.
Professor Shane: I really hoped that he would be a good person who wants to help Bonnie, even that I felt that he was hiding something and knows a lot of things I just kept hoping but my hopes faded the moment I knew that he was the one who sent Conner to MF into a « killing vampires » mission.


That was a great episode. I loved the flashback (happy to see Elijah again, plus Klaus and Rebekah looked charming) I loved watching Rebekah & Klaus shared scenes. I felt so sad for both of them when they were fighting after Klaus killing the five hunters and I felt bad for her knowing that after all these years all she got was being betrayed by those she loved the most: her lover, brother, mother (can this get any worst for her?) PS: I still want her to change her attitude when she come back and I want Klaus to stop daggering his siblings everytime they have a disagreement or when it serves his plan ( I loved his one tear drop it showed that he really cares).
About Stefan, I felt sad when he agreed to be part of Klaus' plan. I know that all his thinking about right now is having the cure of vampirism and turn Elena back into human and save her from the guilt of killing still it felt bad to see him manipulating Rebekah to tell him about her secret and let Klaus daggering her at the end.


I agree with @mrsmorgan except that Caroline only fed from a human once and it was the man she killed. She uses blood bags and Elena can't do that. Damon is the only one who can handle drinking from the vein so it has to be him


Oops, I thought I might be over.... by hating what she is, she wants to repress her new nature, and that means that when she slips up and gives in, she loses control and becomes a Ripper. If she accepts it and DEALS WITH IT (strange for Elena, I know) then she could probably cope a lot better than she currently is.
Damon's teaching methods are probably not the best, however. Maybe if he had approached it differently, it could have worked, but it just didn't. I would honestly say Stefan was right in suggesting Caroline. She is, in Stefan's words, good at being a vampire. She had the moments of lost control, so for Elena to say she wouldn't understand is not true. I think she would be far better at helping Elena to deal than either of the brothers, just because she's kind of the middle ground between them.
I would also like to add tht I was extremely happy to see Elijah in this episode!

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The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Episode 4 Quotes

Klaus: I was feeling benevolent.
Stefan: You're never benevolent.

You're the one whose getting me through this, no matter who teaches me how to feed.

Elena [to Stefan]

The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Episode 4 Music

  Song Artist
Olivia broadfield happening Happening Olivia Broadfield iTunes
Song Glamour Anders Magna
Song Sweat Hard-FI