The Vampire Diaries season 4 episode 16 review: Bring It On

The Vampire Diaries returns to its roots while Elena tries on a new personality. Here's Caroline's review of Bring It On...

This review contains spoilers.

4.16 Bring It On

So, switched-off Elena is awesome. When we last saw the Mystic Falls crew they were in a considerably bad way, with Elena so distraught over Jeremy’s death that Damon though it appropriate to turn off all her feelings. No longer caring what happened to her previous, human life, she burned down the Gilbert house with her brother’s body still inside, and now we’re left with a new, improved, and considerably more bad-ass version of our heroine.

Having your main character turn into a violent sociopath is a ballsy move, even for The Vampire Diaries, but now we can at least say that they fully committed to turning Elena into one of the undead. She may have been a vampire for sixteen weeks, but that was just the transitionary phase between whiny, indecisive Elena and the reckless party girl we saw here. It’s loads of fun, first and foremost, and leaves the show at a bit of a crossroads. The tone is considerably lighter, also – not surprising when the previous episode had most of us crumpled in the corner crying our eyes out.

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The opening scene was particularly awesome, with Elena adopting Damon’s favourite party trick of lying in the road until someone tasty pulls up. It’s hilarious that this is her go-to move after being such a moral stick-in-the-mud for so long, and it’s really quite refreshing to see Nina Dobrev let loose with the character like this. Hats off to her, she’s now played three completely different personalities on the show, and I’m intrigued as to what would happen if this new Elena met up with Katherine. As the latter still has the cure they’re all after, the odds are we’ll get to see that meeting before season four is done.

In many ways, this episode went back to the show’s roots, which were admittedly of dubious quality. Early on, The Vampire Diaries wanted to be a supernatural high school drama à la Buffy, and now we have a whole hour of cheerleading practice, b*tch fights and keggers to enjoy. Remember when Elena and Caroline were rivals for popularity? Well, despite all they’ve gone through since then, that resentment is back, and Elena’s still winning. I’d think, after being the stronger, luckier one for three seasons, Caroline’s a bit miffed about Elena trying to take her spot back in the high school world. When was the last time she even went to class?

Having a character like this offers the show a chance to speak a few home truths to certain characters, and no one gets this more than Caroline. She’s still pining after Tyler, speaking to his voicemail and updating him on life in Mystic Falls, but the letter he sends her at the end of the episode suggests that the character is gone for good. Her face when she can’t get into the Lockwood house is really quite sad, and it’s revealed that Tyler has left the house to Matt. I was wondering where he was living, to be honest, and I guess now he can provide the meeting place for exposition sessions. This is actually a genius idea, as it keeps him involved.

Meanwhile, Klaus and a returning Hayley are doing their best to create reasons for their approaching back-door pilot, as they head to New Orleans after some steamy bedroom action. I can’t say there was anything especially compelling about their exchanges – unlike with Klaus and Caroline – and it makes me a little concerned about how their dynamic will work when they have their own canvas to paint on. I wasn’t expecting them to sleep together, either, as this removes any ‘will they, won’t they’ undertones that have made the Klaroline pairing so popular with fans.

But, before New Orleans, we’re going to have a New York episode, as Damon and Elena head off to the Big Apple for some much needed excitement. As predicted by some, the sire bond has now broken, and this looks like a good way for the writers to weasel out of their mistake once they decide to switch Elena’s feelings back on. She obeyed him before, she doesn’t now, and she won’t when she returns to normal – it doesn’t make any sense, but we’ll take whatever we can get. At least it injects some fun back into the couple, as this is the version of Elena that Damon has always secretly wanted. New York should be interesting.

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Stand By Me, here.

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