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+.


Speaking of things related to the "Rainbow" Why would klaus have Conner bound to the rack with no shirt on ? lol...thats just a tad fruity in my book...And yeah i get that Jeremy needed to see all the tats,but still !! He could of had a shirt on then Klaus could of tore it off once Jer was in front of him....It just kinda looked like a gay sexual torture chamber when Klaus opened up those doors.


I know this will sound gay but did anyone notice how clean shaven the chests of the five were. You could really tell that whoever wrote and directed this episode were real idiots. No one in the twelfth century shaved their chests. Its so ridic. No wonder CW shows are held with such low regard. I do like that they are bring this cure storyline which is similar to the book with the whole kitsune and that flower thing that can be eaten to cure VAMPIRISM.


Forgot to mention earlier: maybe Stefan thinks he can outwit Klaus and plans to use the Cure on that Original as well, so he wouldn't be a threat to Saint Elena anymore.
But if that's really the plan ... I'm already worried on whom it will backfire!


Elena..Elena..Elena!!! always whines.You are a vampire now, just get yourself over to it. I really like the whole idea of flashbacks. Originals are way better than whining elena. I miss caroline, she is pleasant.Stefan made a big mistake.He shouldn't made a deal with klaus.Overall,i'm looking forward to the whole concept of cure.


I loved this episode!!!!!!! Damon and Elena scenes(and i am not a delena team) were sensual funny and higly entertaining! Loved relaxed Elena for a change-until her usual re-emerged the secong Boonie appeared! Stefan was solid as always but i didn't like he double-crossed Rebekah!Professor+Bonnie..Professor+Connor= Gold! I also thought Boonie was extremely beautiful tonight! Rebekah has become one of my favourites truly.. Everytime i see her my screens lights up- The highlight of the episode for me was though..Klaus!!! He was in half of the scenes- he was looking better than ever,he old threatning self,sexy,funny,charming,his tear when daggering rebekah broke my heart! I am not sure how i feelabout the cure- but i don't know without it how many things are left to say on the show long-term. I also missed Caroline- I want a Klaroline scene! Common people-pleaseee!


I noticed there's alot of people who think Stefan's useless and dumb, I thought I was the only person who didnt treat stefan as a saint. Pleased to see


Stefan is HANDS-DOWN the most dumbest character on the show, a brick makes better decisions than him. I think all that gel he puts in his hair seeped into his head and killed tons of brain cells. How is it last season he's gung-ho on killing Klaus so he won't use Elena as a blood bag and now he's making deals with him!? What type of 180 is that?! Elena just needs to lose it and turn it off, then ditch Stefan. I liked her partying and feeding, it's what vampires DO! She wants to have fun!


I think Stefan was a total coward, never mind that he trying to save Elana, as usual with no results. He allowed Klaus to kidnap and threaten Jeremy and then betrayed Rebakah. For All his bravado, he hasn't saved Elana from anything. Please dagger him, I'm sick of his constant weak attempts to be a hero and a traitor to Elana and Damon.


I was hugely disappointed with this episode. Rebekah and Stefan's 50 Shades of Grey reference were the highlights of this one. It was nice to see Elena let loose and have fun dancing away with Damon at the party. As much as I enjoy that things are typically face paced in this show, they definitely blew it by rushing through the party scene. Elena's struggles through the transition could have been delved into more and given Elena even greater depth and made us feel more for her but instead Bonnie buzz kill stepped in and with one look ruined the whole experience and turned her back into her whiny self. She doesn't need to turn off her humanity but she does need to accept who she truly is which is someone who does like to have fun and enjoy life and not someone who wants to sit around crying and worrying all the time. Damon knows she has it in her to balance the two, and he's trying to show her it is possible while Stefan has no faith in her and is now on his noble quest to find 'the cure'. Then to top it all off by having Stefan screw up Damon and Elena's time on the porch (which is sacred ground for them) just added insult to injury in this episode. I'm team Delena all the way, but I'm so tired of him getting the shaft. He so deserves better.


I think that Elena fights the fight every woman is fighting only differently, should she go for the bad guy or the guy who is good for her, wants whats best for her and not for himself. Damon is just selfish, he treats Elena like one of his little slaves, he doesn't really love her deep down like Stefan does, he just wants to have fun with her, he is not able to see the long-term future for Elena other than yes she is a Vampire, so we just have fun and behave like frat boys because that is the life of a Vampire meaningless. Damon would never say that he would become human for Elena. Remember, it was Damon who wanted to be a vampire in the first place although Stefan had to convince him to drink blood and Damon had the desire to be with Katherine, not Stefan. I think in the end, despite his old days; Stefan is still more human than Damon, more importantly he wants to be human and have a normal life. Its his goal to grow and learn, to have a purpose, even grow old and have kids with Elena. Damon is one of those guy who always wants to have fun and never grow old because its just to "freaking awesome" to be 21 and in college all the time. So go Stelena, I hope they end up together for good and that in the end both Elena and Stefan decide to become human when they find the cure... BTW@Ian Somerhalder: I love your acting as reading from your tweets you are the complete opposite of Damon in real life!

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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