The Vampire Diaries season 4 episode 8 review: We'll Always Have Bourbon Street

Review Caroline Preece 10 Dec 2012 - 07:29

Caroline hopes next week's mid-season finale loses the love triangles and gets The Vampire Diaries back to business...

This review contains spoilers.

4.8 We'll Always Have Bourbon Street

I had an extreme reaction to many things that unfolded in last week’s The Vampire Diaries, and this week’s episode doesn’t go very far towards fixing the problems dredged up by the series’ suddenly made up vampire sire rules. Fans get a pretty saucy Delena scene the morning after their first encounter, but their happiness, just like Damon and Elena’s, is short-lived. I realise that a show originally pitched as ‘a girl torn between two vampire brothers’ has to have some drama, but couldn’t we have at least one week off from the perpetual love triangle?

The episode didn’t seem overly concerned with all those life or death crises that are still looming, as we spend the hour with Damon and Stefan as they take a trip to New Orleans. The point of this isn’t clear, as the one-in-a-million chance of a human being tied to a vampire has apparently happened to Damon twice. Thinking that he’d cured his former sired girlfriend back in forties, the brothers search for the witch who had promised him the problem-solving spell. The only problem is that Charlotte has been hanging around their meeting spot for seventy years, hoping he would return one day.

This doesn’t bode well for his finally-realised relationship with Elena, who is spending the weekend with Caroline and Bonnie. The sleepover, fuelled by the extensive Salvatore wine collection, starts off in the irritatingly girly way you’d imagine (lots of giggling over absolutely nothing), and then descends into a mess of judgement and resentment. Coming mainly from Caroline, who is of course aware of the power Damon may have over her friend, it seems boys can still drive a wedge between the friendships of teenage girls, no matter how super-powered they are.

I liked how Elena brought up Caroline’s brief relationship with Damon, even it was under compulsion (or abusive/rapey/just wrong). No matter how much it seems like the writers are trying to alienate half of their audience, which is what I immediately assumed last week, I actually think this sire bond sub-plot is designed to make the Damon/Elena romance the epic couple of choice for fans. This makes them more of a forbidden romance than they’ve ever been, and has forced Stefan into an impossible situation in which he’s reacted selfishly. He may want to restore Elena to her ‘original Team Stefan factory settings’, but we’re clearly not meant to want the same.

We’re left on a cliffhanger, somewhat ruined by the teaser for next week’s mid-season finale, as Elena pushes against Damon’s desire to order her out of his life. The only way out of the sire bond, which only happens when a human has feelings for her vampire before they’re turned, is to force them to move on. This might be one rule too far in a MacGuffin-filled season that’s testing even the most experienced The Vampire Diaries fans’ patience. We already have a sire plot going on with Tyler and his hybrid army, and to introduce another variation on these rules this late in the game just insults our intelligence.

It doesn’t help that the ongoing Tyler vs. Klaus storyline is really, really dull. At this point, Caroline’s allegiances are to Stefan more than anyone else, and it’s not clear whether she and Tyler are even in a relationship anymore. We meet a new hybrid every couple of weeks, when they either get killed or turn against alpha-Tyler, and there’s absolutely no time to get to know the most important one – Hayley. Secret Circle fans will know and love Phoebe Tonkin, but those just being introduced to her as Hayley will have no sense of the actress’ talents.

She, and her relationship with Professor Shane, are the most worthwhile parts of this episode however, as it’s revealed that she’s promised him twelve un-sired hybrids in exchange for information about her biological parents. At the end of the episode she’s told that they’re actually dead, but Atticus promises her that she could see them again. I smell a resurrection plot line, which could mean that the Pastor’s assignation of the Founder’s Council was all part of a larger plan. It obviously wasn’t a random event, and I’m intrigued as to how this might play out this year.

Which is the point, isn’t it? I might be the only one, but isn’t The Vampire Diaries more interesting when it’s preoccupied with things more important than the love stories? The show is at its best when these relationship issues are wrapped up in action and intrigue, and to have several episodes entirely focused on who Elena is in love with is a big snooze for a certain section of viewers. Next week is the mid-season finale, and I really hope it gets back to business.

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, My Brother's Keeper, here.

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Couldn't disagree more. Elena & Damon's relationship is what we've been waiting for, with all it's attendant Stefan and friend angst. More, please!

I disagree...i think the last few episodes have been the most entertaining in a long while including episode 2 of this season. Elena w/ Damon has definitely spiced things up and changed the whole dynamic plus her being a vampire on top of it - makes her all the more interesting. I can't wait for Thursday to see more of Damon x Elena.

No mention of the magic? That actually got interesting this ep, with Bonnie unknowingly moving into something very dark. Prof's motivations are verrrrrry shady!

I can't believe how Vampire diaries try to be like Twilight..they even copied sound track songs from Twilight on this episode while Damon is doing Elena in the morning !!..Summit should sue

I want to send you a muffin basket for this review as it's everything I've been feeling about the show for the entire season so far. Well done.

I'm a bit worried about Caroline after reading this. If Prof Shane thinks he can do some sort of resurrection spell for the council members then Caroline is going to be in danger because at the end of season 3 Alaric told them all that she is a vampire. If anything happens I really hope Klaus saves her.

I completely agree about the "new rules" for the vamp sire bond. When we are first introduced to the sire bond, it is Damon who explains it, and he says it is the result of gratitude for being turned, even for vampires, rare though that may be (not "having feelings for the sire" whatever that might be). First of all, this new rule fails on logic alone. Wouldn't Stefan and Damon both be sired to Katherine? Since Anna says in the first season that one of the main reasons vampires turn people is to spend eternity with them, you'd suspect that "siring" would be relatively common, rather than extremely rare. It is disappointing in a show where the writers have thus far been surprisingly good at remembering their own history. I also think it would have been far more interesting for the writers to spend some time exploring why Elena, so against becoming a vampire before, might actually have been grateful for being turned. I can think of a few reasons off the top of my head. 1) Given all the people she's loved who have died, Elena may have a very legitimate fear of death. She might not have wanted to see Matt die, but she still may have been grateful that she didn't really totally die. 2) Being a vampire also allowed her to love Damon freely, which she couldn't as a mortal. Then she was obliged to morally disdain him for his people-eating and killing ways. But now that she is a vampire too and is no better than him, she can surrender the guilt she may have had about loving him. 3) Having eternal life also gives her an "out" of so many pressures and choices that go into being a teenager: where to go to college, what to be when you grow up, whom to marry, whether to have kids, etc. For us mortals, those are tough questions because we only get one shot in life. She is freed from all that, and maybe could be grateful from having those choices taken away -- as Katherine said, to make her own rules. Although TVD doesn't often recognize the fact that its characters are still in high school, that would have been an interesting path to explore, I would think.

Well, this review of Caroline, whoever she may be, in my opinion, is completely wrong and very negative! Vampire Diaries remains a great series, and in case you haven't noticed, majority of the audience have been cheering on a relationship between Elena and Damon basically from season 1 already! Tut tut for critical writing

I'm afraid I disagree - the entire point of The Vampire Diaries is the love triangle. Everything else is window dressing. Complaining about the prominence of the love triangle is like complaining there's too much moping about sparkly vampires in Twilight. And I like it partly because it focuses on it, as opposed to sitting through everyone else's boring storylines in True Blood, waiting for Eric to show up again.

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