This review contains spoilers.
4.19 Pictures of You
It’s been a couple of weeks since there was a party in Mystic Falls, so it must be time for the ladies and gents of the town (or at least the high school) to dust off all of their finery for senior prom. Episodes of The Vampire Diaries set around some kind of event are usually entertaining and, despite all of the same problems season four of the show has been stumbling over for nineteen weeks, this is no different.
Pictures of You works best if you ignore everything that Elena, Damon and Stefan are doing and, as they’re our three leading characters, that just illustrates how confused The Vampire Diaries has really become. No, this week is a chance for Matt and Bonnie, usually ignored or missing half of the time, to shine. If you’ve been reading my reviews of the show for a while, then you’ll know that I despise Bonnie and everything she gets up to, but I genuinely enjoyed her this week.
She gets to be badass while at the same time not acting like an idiot – two things you can’t usually say. Because this is a sentimental high school rite of passage episode, Jeremy pops up a couple of weeks early, first in a dream sequence and then outside of the high school ready for a dance. Of course, as has been guessed by fans across the internet, Jeremy is actually Silas in disguise, doing his best to sway Bonnie on the whole ‘opening the gates of hell’ issue. She resolutely refuses, but her magic starts getting her into a bit of trouble.
Since this is senior prom, there’s plenty of relationship drama to go around. Elena still refuses to turn her emotions back on, and Damon and Stefan are still intent on forcibly defying her wishes. This whole thing is just creepy and deeply sexist – it would be slightly better if one of the people trying to change her mind was a fellow woman. Caroline, for example, could be used to explain how being a vampire has helped her through various traumas. In the end, the two boys literally drug her and lock her in the cellar, planning to torture her until she agrees with them – great boyfriends, eh?
Their original plan doesn’t even make sense – that they could ‘stir’ feelings in her – surely the switch works like an on/off button – no one would want to feel grief and pain if they had the chance. Seeing a picture of Jeremy or a photo that her mother took before freshman year wouldn’t stir anything in her because she has no feelings to stir. I really need a proper explanation as to how the switch works and, for that matter, a list of characters who currently have it on and off. Also, let me know in the comments if I’m mistaken, but didn’t Rose once tell us that the switch was a work of fiction?
In addition to the central trio, another love triangle makes a brief (and final?) return when Tyler comes to visit Caroline. It’s a sweet little scene that presumably plays as closure for fans of the couple, and makes prom a little more romantic than it had been up until that point. But I do wonder, in a show so focused on its characters’ romantic entanglements, what they’re going to do with Caroline after Klaus runs off to New Orleans (more on that later). Will we be getting some new characters? Or will we be seeing the long-awaited and very popular Stefan/Caroline pairing? They get my vote, if only to get him away from Elena.
And another couple popular with the fans get their last hurrah before The Originals, too, as Matt goes from telling Rebekah that she’s the antichrist to actually recognising that she wants to be a better person. It’s satisfying to see him be telling her the blunt truth, but also completely in character for him to offer her some forgiveness once she selflessly saves April’s life. Whether she’ll get her reward in the cure is now in question though since, via a neat editing trick, we and Elijah were tricked by Silas into thinking he was the littlest Original and handing over the vial of blood.
We’re unlikely to find out what happened to it next week, as we’re taking a holiday to New Orleans for the backdoor pilot of The Originals. That letter from Katherine to Klaus in this episode was clumsy as hell, but it did the job in giving him an excuse to pack his bags. I’m going in with high expectations, so let’s all hope that the episode meets them. See you there!
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, American Gothic, here.
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