This review contains spoilers.
4.10 After School Special
We’re finally back in Mystic Falls after a long hiatus, and no one’s really concerned over the big death that took place during the winter finale. Poor Tyler is used and abused more than usual this week and, as far as I can tell, isn’t even inducted into any of the teams formed at the end of the episode. After a Breakfast Club-style honesty game in the library, war has broken out over the prophesised vampire cure, and the cast are split up in surprising ways. Damon is still training Jeremy up at the lake house, and Bonnie finds the dark side of her magic lessons with Shane. Oh, and Bonnie’s dad is now the mayor.
This was a great episode of The Vampire Diaries for a number of reasons. For one, it’s always nice to see the characters in high school, even if it isn’t during the day or in class. Rebekah and April have hatched a plan to get information out of the group (useful when no one seems to be talking to each other), and compels Stefan, Elena and Caroline into obeying her orders. Instead of doing any physical damage, however, she uses this power to stage an elaborate game of truth or dare, and the gang’s romantic entanglements are brought to the fore. If she wanted to torture Stefan for his games with her a few episodes ago, this was the best way to do it.
Getting the shipper stuff out of the way as quickly as possible, Elena realises this week that she loves Damon, sire bond or no sire bond. Courtesy of Rebekah’s twisted (yet oh-so-fun) game, she tells Stefan in no uncertain terms that she’s no longer in love with him, but her reasons for this actually make sense for once. Stefan looks at her now like a broken toy in need of fixing, and the weird, slightly creepy, relationship with his brother is preferable at this moment in time. Heartbroken, Stefan almost pulls an Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and asks Rebekah to wipe his memories of Elena, but she refuses in order to leave him in his eternal torture.
Damon and Elena are separated for the entire hour, with the former still staying at the lake house with Jeremy and Matt. This gang forms one of the aforementioned teams that also includes Klaus and Elena, as they attempt to find the cure to restore Elena’s humanity. Jeremy wants to stop the urge to stake his sister, Matt presumably wants to alleviate his guilt, Damon wants to eradicate the sire bond element, and Klaus wants his doppelganger back. Klaus, however, is getting impatient with the slow and steady approach that a now moralistic Damon is taking, and delivers a bar full of transitioning vampires for Jeremy to stake at the end of the episode. Thank you TVD writers for not watering down Klaus’ ruthlessness.
The second team is Stefan and Rebekah, who have now teamed up in an effort to find the cure first. The fact that they don’t have a hunter on tap poses a problem but their bond over shared loneliness is probably going to become a problem for the rest of the cast. We all love dark Stefan, and most of us love Rebekah, so this is the perfect way to inject some life into a flagging series that’s been far too focused on the love triangle. Caroline and Tyler will probably join this team also, so we can expect one helluva showdown in this second half of the season. The third and final corner of this story is Professor Shane, who doesn’t want the cure but wants to free the immortal that it’s buried with.
The Vampire Diaries is back, and it has returned with a renewed sense of purpose that really helps to reignite excitement. It’s a little strange that there are currently no B-plots that don’t relate directly to this hunt for the cure, but the question of who will be able to use it is certainly an enticing one. Will Klaus be forced to become mortal again? Will Rebekah finally be rewarded with a normal life? Will one of the Salvatore brothers take it? We have no idea, and that leaves the rest of the season wide open.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, O Come All Ye Faithful, here.
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