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Posted by | October 15, 2012, 10:06 (MST) | 40 Comments
Category: In Review, The Vampire Diaries TV

Nina Dobrev as ElenaOur show is back! And in true Vampire Diaries form, this was an episode packed to the brim — dealing with last season’s cliffhangers, introducing a baddie in Mystic Falls, and transitioning into this new era for Elena.

Though there were many, many tense moments in Growing Pains — Elena crushing the light bulb, the car crash scene, Klaus-as-Tyler ripping out his own heart, to name a few — there was also a lot of emotional business to take care of in the wake of Elena’s death. For those of us who spent the hiatus thinking about the fallout from the finale’s final five minutes, this felt like the episode that realized those character beats — and that next week, with Memorial, season 4 proper will begin. All the choices from last season came to bear consequences here, and in Mystic Falls, choice is often an illusion — selecting the slightly better of two awful options is hardly a celebration of free will. Carol and Liz are taken to task for making a tentative peace with the supernatural forces in Mystic Falls rather than destroying their own children, and Elena’s death fills Stefan with regret, Damon with anger, and Matt with survivor’s guilt. Bonnie’s attempts to exercise free will are brutally smacked down: cut off from the spirits’ power — as punishment for helping Klaus at the end of the previous episode — Bonnie turns to dark magic and ends up unwittingly hurting her Grams in order to save Tyler. It’s as Damon says: there is no door number 3, and someone always suffers.

A fate worse than death: At the center of this episode, the primary choice bearing an unwelcome consequence is Elena in transition. Fittingly for the beginning of a new era of the show — where our human heroine becomes the thing she least wants to be, a vampire — Growing Pains gave us a visually jarring change from the usual TVD style to give us Elena’s new heightened senses and emotions. The extreme close-ups and jump cuts and shifts in focus disoriented us, just as Elena felt overwhelmed by a world full of detail and sensory experience she’d never experienced before. More powerful for me in eliciting understanding for Elena’s transition in Growing Pains was Nina’s performance, which masterfully ranged from manic laughter to the stillness of near death. I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: this show simply would not work without an actor of her caliber at its heart.

As from the beginning of the series, Elena is surrounded by those who will do whatever it takes to save her, to protect her from her worst nightmare being realized. Though Stefan may know he did the right thing by honoring Elena’s wishes and saving Matt first, he is filled with regret and feels responsible. And though he’s hopeful, he has a backup plan — a daylight ring in his pocket — and a willingness to kill a guard to get some blood for his lady. Running counter to Stefan’s reaction is Damon’s — who is pissed off in the awesomest, unexpectedly violent, Damon-y way. He’s furious that Matt should live and that Elena has lost her future, her mortal life. It’s a reaction that he describes as selfish but we know better — and with Elena’s immersive recollection of the confession he compelled her to forget, Elena knows better too. There’s nothing selfish about doing whatever he can to make the woman he loves happy.

Even in her darkest moment — moments from dying locked in a cell unable to see Stefan on the other side of the barrier between them — Elena is still surrounded by love and a believer in hopefulness. And what I found so tragic about that scene was how Rebekah sat there, alone, watching, knowing she doesn’t have that. (And to add insult to injury, Stefan was once in love with her.) Rebekah sees how connected the Mystic Falls gang is, how they would literally die for each other, and she finds herself with only a brother who takes her for granted and devalues her time and again. Hurt by his selfishness once again, Rebekah destroys Klaus’s precious doppelganger blood bags, and he reacts by further rejecting her. Will he truly disown her? Where will Blondie Bex go from here?

Broken alliances also bite Bonnie in the grimoire: she can’t seem to escape the ties that bind her to the witch spirits or to the vampires, caught between doing the bidding of one power or the other. Bonnie has long had a “whatever it takes” attitude to saving Elena, but she seems to believe as Jeremy does that Elena becoming a vampire is the worst thing that could happen. (Knowing this show, those kids are in for a rude awakening…) Has she learned her lesson about messing with dark magic? Or does she simply have less to lose now that Grams’s spirit has been hurt and Elena is a vampire?

Stefan makes the point to Matt that he has an obligation now: to make Elena’s sacrifice worth it. And that determination fuels Stefan as well, as we see in the sweet but sad rooftop scene at the end. With their “one day at a time” and “everything will be okay,” Elena and Stefan are committed to being hopeful, however unrealistic it may be, about the forever that now lies ahead of both of them.

Compelling Moment: Elena’s single tear falling as she finally completed her transition into a vampire.

The Rules: Lots of unknowns in the world of dark magic: Bonnie dips into the dark power to visit the Other Side by stopping her own heart. She appears to Elena — her living physical self (imprisoned at the ranch) — but Bonnie also sees Grams. When Bonnie uses dark magic to put Klaus back into his own body, the spirits punish her for her choice by hurting Grams — she is painfully torn from the Other Side into some other realm. Unlike Tyler, who we’ve seen make a full man to wolf transition only, Klaus can change just one part of himself into wolf form, as he does in this episode with his hand — which is helpful when you need to rip your own heart out.

Foggy moments: How did Klaus know where to find Caroline and Rebekah? Why did Pastor Young let his captive vampires escape — was he alone after the Salvatore bros killed his three minions? Why wasn’t Pastor Young in the inner circle of the Founders’ Council this whole time?

Thoughts & questions before Memorial (ep402):

  • What did you think of the opening sequence — did you miss the “Previously on” or like the new recap?
  • High five to Rebekah for her automobile insurance line.
  • Did Damon grab the super Original-killing stake he had dropped as Rebekah was being shot?
  • Just a reminder to Carol Lockwood: you were never actually elected mayor of Mystic Falls.
  • How violently anti-vampire were Elena’s parents?
  • Pastor Young makes a point of saying that they’ve gathered up the vervain supply that the Council had, as well as that at the Salvatore house; we see a big pile of it on the table at the ranch — right before it exploded. Is there no more vervain in Mystic Falls?
  • Rebekah destroys Klaus’s three bags of Elena’s blood — is that the end of Klaus’s hybrid-making era? What will the estranged Original siblings do now?
  • Will Jeremy invite Elena into the Gilbert house?
  • Where did Grams end up?
  • Why did Pastor Young blow up himself and his followers?? Will they be literally reborn as some kind of supernatural creature?

 
What did you think of Growing Pains? Sound off below with your likes/dislikes, theories, and predictions. It’s good to have our show back — and to be back writing here! Thanks, V-D.net, for having me back.
 
 
Crissy Calhoun is the author of the Love You to Death companion guides to The Vampire Diaries: Season 1, Season 2, and Season 3. Find her online at crissycalhoun.com and tweeting @crissycalhoun.



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  • Melissamil

    will binnie bring back elena to humman, so she can have her own family, like she wants and if the Doc. ws going to change elena to a vamp. why did she not take elena eggs?? so she could have that family, come on think about it.

  • Amy

    Just got my signed copy of ‘Love you to death’ today. Thank you so much! Can’t wait to read it. :)

  • Iansfan

     Hi Crissy, how nice is it to have you back! ;)
    You´re right  all of them are caught  between a hard place and a rock and in Mystic Falls  there is always a very fine line between free will and the need to do what the situation claims. I loved how you described that for all our characters.And you´re right that they picked up most of the storylines from last season. But what I missed was any hint about Stefans state of mind. The last we saw about Stefan and Damon was that Stefan was still suffering from his blood addiction and Damon wanted to be there whenever he was endangered to lose it and exactly that guy now wants to tell Elena how to deal with bloodlust? I didn´t get that. It´s like letting a trouble drinker lead a self help group, right? What I didn´t understand either is that neither the Sherriff nor the Mayor were warned about what to come. They all knew that Ric told the council. So how could the Pastor take over completely without the police being one step further. What reason might Klaus have to stay in Mystic Falls now that Elena, his life long meant to be hybrid-blood-supply died? Why doesn´t he move to the Bahamas and wait another 500 years for another Doppelganger. What is his plan?BTW I like the new opening, it gives those who didn´t start with us in season 1 a bit of an insight where we are now.
    All in all I felt this episode to be sort of a new start. Elena, the center of the first three seasons, the one who always and ever needs to be saved from death can care for herself now and everyone seem to be back to square 1.

  • Kego

    Some call the Stefan & Elena roof scene cheesy,I don´t care!My Stelena heart is happy :D I´m sure it had a meaning as Stefan puts the ring on Elena´s finger :) And when she said “we can be together forever” I loved it when she added with a wink “if I want”,because with Stefan she can always make her own decisions and he is okay with that.

    The end confused me: “we are the beginning”…. looks like powerful ghosts will come to MF as a threat to the vampires,werewolves and hybrids. Bonnie will be verrrry busy :D

  • Annemoore

    It’s so wonderful to have our show and your thoughts about it back, Crissy – great recap – thank you!
    But I’m missing one very foggy moment though:
    In the beginning Jeremy talks to Elena and says when he watched Vicky go through the transition she was a mess and all that. But I thought Damon took all those memories away from him…
    So what the he** did that mean????????????
    Writers fault or something about compulsionresistance that we don´t know yet?

  • Whoneedsthecullens

    Great recap, Crissy, glad you are back on the website. Actually I liked most of the episode (are they ever going to listen to Damon, who is easily the smartest guy in MF???) and I don’t get how Elena could quietly sit on the rooftop with Stefan after the conversation she had with his brother.
    But it was nicely done and yes, Nina was doing a great job.
    Granted, Elena is in transition, not only her, but the whole town of Mystic Falls is in transition, so to speak. And you are right, for the plot, the next episode will be the starter. The premiere was to show where the characters stand now, at the beginning of their next journey. 
    Btw I liked the new cold open – I think it’s not easy to put everything you need to know into 30 seconds. I would still recommend to newbies to start with ep 1.1 if they are interested in the show. LOL.
    To all fans: Crissys book on Season 3 is wonderful to drown in, ponder and relive the best moments again. With so much information my head is spinning. Not to mention the awesome timeline…
    On to the next episode!

  • http://twitter.com/slikkback Whelmed

    I honestly thought Matt was going to be the human Elena feeds off of to complete her transition (similar to the books). Kudos to the writers for that scene because we got to see a lil’ glimpse of a Rippah Stefan moment, killing a gaurd for Elena to feed =D. How I love my Rippah Stefan.

    Anyone else noticed that added touch of Stefan getting his alcohol on when Elena was trying to eat in the kitchen?? Elena’s new life as a vamp is going to be really hard on him and I can’t wait to see how Paul Wesley portrays it (can you tell I’m Stefan fan hehe).

    What if the cult’ish councel are going to return as a spirit army to fight the vamps?! Too similar to the books? It’s the only thing I can think of. Desperate times calls for desperate measures, especially when some members of the Original Family seem to have a permanent residence at Mystic Falls.

  • Stevie1421

    As always, an awesome recap Crissy. They’re always so in-depth, thought-provoking and unbiased.
    I loved this episode, for so many reasons. Mostly because it felt like a fresh start. And after a few disappointments last season i needed that.
    Favorite part of the episode is when Elena is reaching for the blood so she can turn. i’ve read a few comments saying Elena’s decision to compete her transition came from no where – I disagree. I think this is the scene where Elena realizes that she actually wants to live, and instead of her decision being done in the form of a big, dramatic speech, we actually see her fighting for her life. As she was reaching though the bars you could see her survival instincts kicking in, which is good because i didn’t think Elena had any survival instincts :p
    Not to seem random but the magic-y moments in this episode reminded me of what they always say in Once Upon A Time – magic always comes with a price. Poor Bonnie paid that price – or more accurately her Grams did. I wonder what actually happened to her? It wasn’t very clear, I’m sure we’ll find out. I just hope Bonnie doesn’t blame everyone else, as she usually does. Don’t get me wrong I love Bonnie (most of the time), like Elena she makes silly, self-sacrificing choices to save people she cares about – good intentions, bad choices! The difference (and the reason I like Elena more) is that when it all goes wrong Bonnie instantly blames others. When her grams dies she blamed the Salvatores (even though no one forced her to try and save Stefan), when her Mom was turned she blamed Elena (even though no one forced her to work with Esther). I just hope this time she doesn’t go all ‘My Grams in now damned because I tried to save you’ on Elena. I mean, Elena risked her life to save Matt and died because of it, but she doesn’t blame him – she protects him. Maybe Bonnie could be given a non-magic storyline? Please?
    And while I’m on the subject why did Damon go after Matt? That wouldn’t have saved Elena it just would have made her death pointless. Why would Damon be so bent on killing someone Elena gave her life to save – it makes no sense to me but I understand that Damon is angry – actually no, I don’t really get that either, anyone explain it to me?
    Loved the scene on the roof at the end, as I said in my post on Thursday it was like the calm before the storm. It felt like everything was starting new with the dawn. But it wasn’t going to be a perfect new beginning, actually I think it’ll be kind of messy! – Sounds fun, can’t wait.

  • Cherrie

    Ahhh I missed you recaps! So glad the show is back! 

    DAMON/ELENA ~ I was thinking about what Damon said to Elena “I would have saved you in a heartbeat. No question…But you wouldn’t be. You would have gotten to grow up & have the life that you wanted. The life that you deserved. And I didn’t used to get that. But I do now. And I wanted that for you Elena and I would have gladly given it to you Elena & let Matt die. Because I am that selfish.” I loved every word of it. He was right about him not getting that before because he wanted her to be a vampire than to be dead-dead. I’m so glad he gets it now. Unfortunately it’s too late since she’s now a vampire. Oh well, either way I will always root for Delena. I love them way too much too give up. When Elena was remembering the scene from 2×08 I was literally in tears (again). I was freaking out! I’ve been waiting for that scene since forever. I know that he doesn’t change anything, and it shouldn’t but her knowing about it makes me so happy. I just get the feeling this season we will finally get Delena! 

    MATT ~ My poor baby! He feels so guilty! I felt like crying every time he was on screen. I would like to say that I hate what the Salvatore brothers said to him. Especially the way Damon treated him. I love Damon & he has and will always be my favorite character but I was sick of him giving Matt crap for living. Why should Elena’s life be more important than Matt’s? Damon trying to kill Matt won’t do anything either. It won’t make Elena human & will most likely make Elena hate him. So it was pointless trying to kill him. So leave him the f–k alone dude! Like I said I love Damon, but he has a lot of growing up to do. He definitely has come a long way since the series began but the whole temper tantrum, impulsiveness needs to stop! Which I know in  time it will! And someone please get Matt insurance! Poor kid needs it!

    CAROLINE/TYLER/KLAUS ~ Loved their scenes. Found it hilarious. Michael Trevino did an excellent job! You can tell how much Tyler and Caroline love each other in this episode. I think Klaus is just an obstacle for them. Klaroline happening would be the weirdest thing ever. No offense to people who ship them. It’s just that Tyler would be the better option considering Klaus has basically ruined so people’s lives. Especially people that Caroline love (Elena, Stefan, Bonnie, Tyler etc). So yeah FORWOOD FTW!!

    BONNIE ~ OMG I loved her in this episode. LOVED! Never actually thought I would say that because I haven’t liked her character since season 1 but what she did in 4×01 just made me like her a bit more. She tried everything to help Elena & she saved Tyler. She’s a great friend & I’m so excited to see where her story lines takes her this season. We all know there will be consequences to her actions. That should be fun to watch. Ahh she was such a badass! 

    REBEKAH ~ Poor girl! Like I hate that she is the reason Elena went off the bridge & became a vampire but she sort of made up for it in 4×01. She was definitely touches by the love between SE. Maybe now she gets them as a couple lol .I mean she helped Stefan kill the guy so Elena can feed. Also I can’t even with Klaus right now. He was such an a–hole to her! When she said “I loved you through everything & you don’t even care.” Broke my heart. I was crying. He seriously f–ked up then again he is pretty heartless. So it’s not that shocking. Poor Rebekah though. 

    STEFAN/ELENA ~ Stefan finally knows that Elena chose him. I bet SE fans were so happy with this episode. Even as a DE fan I liked their scenes. When Stefan was crying I was balling my eyes out. I hate seeing my favorite characters cry. It’s heartbreaking. I have to admit that there were times last season where I questioned Elena’s love for Stefan because of 3×19 & stuff but damn I was wrong. I remember how in 3×01 Stefan was miles away & now a season later in 4×01 he is with her again. And even after everything they still love each other. Guess Klaus was right when he said “That kind of love never dies.” Moreover, when Elena said “I was coming back for you. I had to make a choice and I picked, because I love you. No matter what happens it’s the best choice I ever made.” She never wanted to be a vampire but it’s worth it if she can be with Stefan & she would do it again if for him. Sigh, that’s actually really sweet. And this is coming from a hardcore DE fan. When Elena says “You had hope. That’s all I wanted you to have and you had it.” I just thought about last season when all she kept doing was fighting for him & holding onto hope that he will be okay again. And that he will get his hope back. Which he ultimately did! Finally, their last scene was sooo sweet. Stefan giving her the daylight ring and all. I know that the happiness won’t last (DELENA duhh) but after all they’ve been through last season I feel as though they deserved that scene. 

    PARALLELS ~
    1×02- SE shared their first kiss at the Salvatore boarding house, during the night time
    4×01- SE shared their first kiss as Elena being a vampire & it was also at the Salvatore boarding house. Right before sunrise. Plus the quote “I met a girl we talked it was epic but the sun came up, reality set, but all of this is reality.”

    1×06- Stefan: “I would never hurt you. You’re safe with me.”
    4×01- Elena: “He would never hurt me. You have no idea what you’re talking about.”

    1×18- Stefan: “I love you so much.”
    1×06- Elena: “I’ve been so selfish because I love you so much.”
    4×01- Stefan: “I love you so much.”

    2×20- Stefan: “If it were my choice I’d want to be with you forever.”
    4×01- Elena: “I’ll be with you forever.”

    2×06- Stefan: “I promise you we’re gonna get through this.”
    4×01- Elena: “I’m gonna get through this. Just like we get through everything.”

    2×01- Katherine: “I came back for you.”
    4×01- Elena: “I was coming back for you.”

    Finally, I would like to mention that Damon Salvatore is always right! People need to listen to him! Cannot wait to see Katherine find out Elena is a vampire. That will be amazing! I’m going to love that scene! Plus I really miss her. Ugh and I miss Alaric! Cannot wait to see where the season goes! ♥

  • Tal1tha

    I think Damon only erased his memory of Vicky being a vampire… that she attacked him and was killed.

    Not what happened before, her coming to the Gilbert house being in transition.

  • Whoneedsthecullens

     Geez, I like your parallels. That really puts the show in a nutshell. Awesome. Thanks :-)
    And yes, I miss Alaric too.

  • Cona

     I think Damon erased the memories after her transition. That day he and Mat just thought she had a crazy ‘party’, but after reading Elenas journal he knew that this behaviour was the pre-transition time.

  • Cona

    Loved every bit of it! The only weird thing was the last scene. I read a comment about coming back as spirits liked it happend in the books or something. I havent read he books so I cant understand why the pastor did this to them. Yes they want to eliminate the vampires, but does that worth their lives? And more important without even asking or discussing it?

  • katherine_fan

    I’m gonna answer a few of your questions,Crissy.Well,I’m gonna try,b/c like you said,we never know with this show!
    *I really liked the new opening sequence!Especially,b/c I hated the previous one:Katherine :”does Elena enjoy having both of you worship at her altar?”-never again,show,never again!
    *Damon took the stake,b/c the pastor wanted to know where it was,after he had kidnapped Rebekah.
    *Judging by the amount of stakes and wooden bullets they kept hidden at the lakehouse,it’s a safe bet to assume that Elena’s parents were seriously anti-vampire!
    *I hope that this is the end of the hybrid storyline.It certainly looks that way.The three blood bags were the ones Klaus had collected before Stefan killed him.He must have used all the blood Elena ‘donated’ in 3×05 when he was out of town.
    *I really hope Rebekah teams up with Elijah and Kol to take Klaus down since she finally realized that her brother cares only for himself.
    *Do I dare say it??I sure do!Grams ended up in the Dark Dimension!
    Even when an episode is not as good as I would have expected it to be,your recap always makes me like it a little bit more,Crissy!

  • katherine_fan

     In the book,the spirits were of those who were buried at the Fell’s Church cemetary.The storyline from the show that is similar to this one from the books is when Bonnie used the spirits of 100 witches to kill Klaus.

  • Mizk532

    I love that breakdown of the episode..awesome..!!

  • TRChick

    There will be no more doppelgangers as far as I can tell! Elena did not have a child, therefore the Petrova bloodline has ended (recall, Katherine had a child before she became a vampire, allowing the bloodline to continue)

  • lolalovestvd

    There could be more doppelgangers. We actually have no knowledge of how many children may have resulted from Katherine’s child and so-on down through the centuries. Elena could have dozens and dozens of distant cousins. One of them could be or could produce a doppelganger.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/rita.curry.180 Rita Curry via Facebook

    It was great!!!!!! Always watch & record the program, then get the DVD set when it comes out. HAVE A GREAT YEAR, IN MISTIC FALLS.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rita.curry.180 Rita Curry

    Yes I’m glad VP D is back. I always watch it. Love all of these actors, that make the show, come to life. Thank You All. You bring so much to your rolls, its almost like we really know all of you.

  • Kego

    I love your parallels :) and I noticed: Elena confessed her love for Stefan in every season premiere!
    S1 Premiere  Love at first sight,first kiss
    S2 Premiere  I love Stefan.It´s always going to be Stefan.
    S3 Premiere  I love you Stefan.Hold onto that.Never let that go.
    S4 Premiere  I picked you,because I love you.No matter what happens it´s the best choice I ever made.

  • a_softsong

    Nina Dobrev is a good actress and so is her supporting cast.  I think Damon did a superb job.  Stefan and his tears, nobody cries like Stefan.  Joseph Morgan once again with just a few words brought my attention back to the show.  Caroline and Rebekah were great in their roles too.  They are all superb actors. 

  • http://twitter.com/slikkback Whelmed

    Hey, great point! Totally forgot Damon compelled him to forget Vicky’s transition. Maybe it’s because he died so many times?? It’s the only loophole I can think of =S

  • Ricesky007

    What better way to turn the entire town of Mistic Fallians against all things “supe” than to blow up a houseful of “innocents” and pin it on the weres/vamps/witches, etc. 

  • RoswellGirl13

    I don’t think there will be anymore dopplegangers because the reason for them was so that Klaus could have a chance of breaking his curse. Now that he has broken the curse why would there be more dopplegangers now? There would be no point. That is just my opinion and my knowledge from the show. 

  • Tiaserena

    Another foggy moment: why didn’t Bonnie just gave K/yler some aneurisms, like she used to do in Season 1? Just long enough for them to chain him to a chair and prevent Klaus from harming Tyler until she was able to deal with the dark stuff? It was such a basic kindergarden magic I am sure it would not have angered the Spirits….

  • lolalovestvd

    I have no idea if they would have more doppelgangers on the show or not. My reply was related to the mythology of the show and the fact that there could technically be other doppelgangers in the world because we have no knowledge of whether Katherine’s line consisted of “only” children for 500 years. The doppelganger didn’t exist BECAUSE it gave Klaus a chance to break the curse, it was simply an element that was required IN ORDER to break it. 

  • http://twitter.com/sergiomikaelson Sebas Andrea

    I honestly expected a lot more from this episode. Klaus is just annoying now. Be bad or be gone. Seeing this was a season opener it didn’t really do what Season 2 pulled off amazing and season 3 kind of did, which was keep me interested in the plot. The ending meant nothing for me, as we do not know those characters. That’s what I loved about 2, Caroline being killed at the end of the premier was just epic, it was a character we all knew and loved. We know nothing and don’t care about the Pastor just yet. 

    Also, if they change Elena back to a human, then come on. They’re just gonna be breaking their own rules, again. 

  • Vanessa B

    I very much feel for Bonnie as a charater in this show. She has sacrificed so much because of goody goody Elena. Losing her grandmother, her mother being turned into a vampire, and now she touched black magic to save her. I mean really. I hope these writes realize that ELENA should take responsiblity for her actions instead of making her into a whinny do-gooder.And lets not forget how she did the deed with Damon and you mean to tell me Stefan  isn’t the least bit angry at her!! Come on now

  • Sherrie

    I have another foggy moment. Wouldn’t the blood of the guy Elena tranistioned off been full of vervain???? I mean logically they would have been dosed up with it to protect themselves. So what does that mean to a transitioning vampire? Would they really transition or would the verain stop it happening????

  • Amberv78

     Dr. Fell had no intention of Elena becoming a vampire. She only gave her Damon’s blood to help her heal.

  • DJ

    That is such a good point.  I was wondering how Elena got out of the cell when she went to save Matt too?????

  • dman

    GROWING PAINS

    Nice to have my favorite show back. It’s been way too long for my taste. This extra month was interminable. Hopefully it’s all worth it if it means less dreadful hiatuses. I don’t think I could take too many of those, this time around. But all in all, it was a solid episode. I was expecting a little more, but there was just enough there to not make it a total disappointment. There were some things I liked, and some that were a bit of a letdown. It’s only the first episode, so we’ll see how everything goes from here.

    THINGS I LIKED

    *Nina was tremendous in this episode. She had to go through a wealth of emotions, and she nailed everyone of them. I particularly loved the opening sequence ( which was nicely done, btw) where Stefan and Damon were explaining everything to her. You can tell she’s a good actress by how natural and believable her performance was in that scene. She was shocked; she was angry; she was in denial; she was basically everything a person goes through in that situation. And it was all nicely done by Nina. Great job by her.

    *I liked the way they captured the Damon and Elena scene from Rose. It was beautifully done. Since you couldn’t actually be inside Elena’s head when she remembered, this was the next best thing. Great job by the writers for thinking of this.

    *Elena coming to Matt’s rescue was a really great scene. I love how she used her first vamp-out moment to back Damon off. If it wasn’t for her, Matt probably would’ve died. It’s about time someone stood up to Damon. Go Elena!

    *For the little time he had, I thought Michael did an admirable job as Klaus. Sure, some of his material wasn’t the best written, but he was able to convey the character enough for me. Too bad it only lasted an episode.

    *Grams! It’s always nice to see her. Though, her storyline was a little confusing. Why was she there? Did she actually die? Technically, she’s dead, so how can she die again? I don’t know, it was all a little tough to figure out, but hopefully this is something that’s resolved in time.

    *While I didn’t particularly liked Bonnie’s insistence on using magic to save Elena from her vampire state, I thought Kat Graham gave a really good performance in those scenes. She was really convincing. I especially liked the scene with her and her grandmother. When grams was “dying”, you could tell how sad and distraught she was. Great job by Kat. I know if she’s given some proper material to work with, she would really shine on this show.

    *Even though the way Elena became a vampire wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, I did like her scenes in the jail cell. Not only her beautiful speech to Stefan, but her entire state as she neared her death. Once again, Nina was able to really sell those moments. I was amazed watching her. I particularly liked her reaching for the blood. It was really suspenseful. Just when you thought she wouldn’t get to it, she did. Talk about a close call. I would’ve liked to have seen more of a reaction from her, as far as the blood affecting her (it’s suppose to be euphoric), and her taking on her vampire face. It would’ve been cool to see.

    *Being an SE fan, I absolutely loved the scene with her and Stefan on the roof. It was tremendous. Talk about a beautiful moment. It really reminded me of their “epic’ moments of season one. Though Elena doesn’t want to be a vampire, I’m glad she’s beginning to accept things a bit. She needs to, and I’m happy Stefan’s there to help her. “One day at a time.”

    THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE

    *I’m not rally fond of the new title sequence. I think it’s unnecessary and a little ridiculous. It also waste time that could otherwise be devoted to the show. The Vampire Diaries isn’t nearly long enough for me, and any extra time is always welcomed. Hopefully, this isn’t an every episode occurrence.

    *The fact that they didn’t show Elena waking up in the morgue was a big disappointment for me . I was really looking forward to that. It would’ve been a great way to tie everything back to season three’s epic final moment. I know the show can’t always pick up exactly where they left off, but in this case I think they should’ve done that. I would’ve love to have seen Stefan’s initial reaction to Elena’s sudden revival. I think they missed out on a great storytelling opportunity.

    *One of the preview clips they showed during the hiatus was the initial scene where Elena wakes up. I did not like that. I think it was a bad idea. Even though the scene was good, and well-acted, my appreciation was somewhat diminished by having seen it. If they are going to show preview clips, no more pivotal moments from the episode. I think I’ll stay away from those types of clips from now on. It’s ruining the show for me.

    *I’ve commented before about how the constant reliance on magic is ruining the show–and once again, there it was on full display. Having Bonnie trying to find a way out of Elena’s vampire dilemma was really idiotic. It was a waste of time, and bad storytelling. We all knew Elena was going to be a vampire, so why have some futile quest to find a “cure.” They should’ve focused their attention mainly on Elena’s transition: How she feels; what she remembers; how her friends and family are reacting; her struggle with the decision to turn, etc. She is the heart and soul of the show, and these vitally important moments should’ve been all about her. I’m really upset that wasn’t the case.

    *I understand Damon is angry, but why does he have to take it out on Matt? It’s not his fault Elena “died.” Choking him because he essentially had the “nerve” to live, is just another stupid, impulsive, Damon move that he never ceases to make. I wasn’t really surprised he did that. I’ve actually come to expect that from him. You would think he would’ve learned some lessons by now, but I guess not. Poor Matt. He’s feeling all guilty about everything, but still gets the life chocked out of him. I felt bad for him. Poor guy.

    THINGS THAT DIDN’T MAKE SENSE

    *What happened to the Jeremy and Elena scene where he asked her if her fangs came in? I really wanted to see that. I don’t understand why they took that out of the episode. I mean…it wasn’t even a long scene, so why the omission. Argh! I hate when TVD does that. What’s the purpose of showing a scene when it’s not going to be in the episode. They seriously need to stop doing that.

    *Is it just me or did the Council seem to come out of nowhere? I mean…where were they all this time? I’ve never seen any of those members before. Now they’re everywhere, all gung-ho about killing vampires. Didn’t make any sense. Granted, Alaric outed everyone to them, but that still doesn’t explain their ineptitude all this time. They seemed really smart, and militaristic, so even if things were hidden from them, you would think some of their members would’ve wised up when all the chaos from season two and three were happening. Their whole story was just off.

    *Speaking of the council, what was with the crazy speech the pastor was spouting? What was that about? And how about that massive explosion in the end? What was the purpose of that? I thought they were about killing vampires and keeping the town safe, not mass suicide. Didn’t make any sense to me. When the pastor was giving his swan song, I loved how one of those guys were like: “Hey…wait a second…what the hell is going on here? I didn’t sign up for this. I thought we were just killing vampires.” BOOM! Haha! Sorry buddy. Looks like you joined the wrong cult. See you in another lifetime. lol

    *As much as I prefer Joseph Morgan as Klaus, couldn’t Michael have played him a little longer? I would’ve liked to have seen what he could’ve done with the role. I mean…what was the point of him playing Klaus if it was only going to be for one episode. Didn’t make any sense to me. And Caroline found out way too soon for me. Klaus barely got to enjoy himself before everything fell apart. I think they completely botched that. That could’ve been a really interesting and funny storyline, but they gave up on it too soon.

    OTHER THINGS

    *The pastor seemed really interesting. He looked like someone who actually knew what they were doing. He could’ve made a really great villain. (Since when is a man of God a villain. Ha!) Too bad he died.

    Klaus has some serious issues. The fact that he would choose his precious hybrids over his family, is really saying something. I felt bad for Rebekah. She was the only one who stood by him all this time, and he just abandoned her to “die” Then she gets her neck snapped for her troubles. Poor girl.

    *I can’t wait till Katerine comes back. She will flip when she finds out about Elena. I would love to see the look on her face. Here’s counting the days…

    *I love scenes (when Rebekah spilled the blood on the floor)
    like that in tv shows and movies. Everyone acts like the “substance” is really gone, when in actually, it’s still there. All they have to do is pick it up with the right tool. Sure, it might be slightly contaminated, but if the substance is really valuable, you would think they’ll be eager to get it back. But they never think about doing that. I don’t know, but I always find situations like that funny. Ha!

    *I think Elena might have a little more difficulty adjusting to her vampire state. Unlike Caroline, who’s very organized and a bit of a control freak, Elena is much more emotional, and thinks a lot more with her heart. She might let those emotions get the best of her and do something stupid. Yes, I can hear the fandom now: “She might? What show are you watching? Haha!” Yeah, she has made some “decisions” in the past, but hopefully this time she’ll be a bit more prudent. I’m really looking forward to her storyline.

    *I liked Elena’s Daylight ring. I thought it was nice. It looks like she liked it too. Or at-least she didn’t complain about it, unlike…say Caroline. Though, I wouldn’t be surprised if Bonnie picked a really nice ring for her best friend, and gave Caroline some cheap knockoff. I mean…the girl is willing to die for her, so there’s no way she’ll give her some crappy ring. Sorry Caroline. Haha!

    *Yeah, long comment. I get it. lol 

    I’m really looking forward to the next episode. I was a little disappointed by this one, but hopefully Memorial is a little better. The show is back, and that’s never a bad thing. Here’s hoping for a great season.

  • Tia Serena

    Logic does not show up in this show as often as it should….
    There is no logic in Damon hating Matt, in Stefan not being able to save both, in Klaus spurning Rebekah, in Bonnie insisting on doing “all it takes” to keep Elena human…
    By the way, didn’t she do that already??? After Damon fed her blood so she would not die in Klaus’ sacrifice, back in season 2??? Of course nobody misses creepy “uncle” John, but she aleeady knew a spell that worked – all she needed now was another human who loved Elena so much they would be willing to die for her…. Any volunteers??? Matt??? Jeremy??? “Do you really mean it when you say you want Elena to stay human????”

  • Cona

     Well the thing uncle John wasnt exactly the same.. Elena hadnt been killed yet, she wasnt in transition.. Now Elena was killed and needed blood in order to live.

  • Shannapearce

    It’s probably too late for anyone to see/reply to this question, since “Memorial” was shown last night, but I have a fuzzy moment from “Growing Pains”: When Rebekah was staked by the pastor’s minions, why did she take on the appearance of being temporarily dead, as the Originals do when they are staked with ash from the white oak tree? Was the stake dipped in ash, and if so, how did the pastor know about that, and where did he get the ash? Just wondering…still LOVE that the show is back! Yay Ian!  :)

  • Tania Rahman123

    I really hope that Season Four is about Elena coming to terms with being a vampire and not one spell after the other to try and turn her back. Or it should turn everyone back. Will the writers please get rid of Rebekah, listening to her waffle on and on is driving me nuts. How on earth the writers thought she was a good idea is beyond me. Lets hope Jeremy or Matt drive a white oak stake through her soon.

  • Tania Rahman123

    Sorry a post script here. Liked Bonnie this season so far, but can the writers stop using her as a loophole or quick fix and try to let the characters find alternative solutions, which means more creative thinking on their part.





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