The Vampire Diaries season 4 episode 21 review: She’s Come Undone

The penultimate episode of The Vampire Diaries' fourth season may have a dubious moral code, but it's still a great watch...

This review contains spoilers.

4.21 She’s Come Undone

Going into this penultimate to the penultimate episode of The Vampire Diaries, I knew I was going to have a couple of problems with the central storyline. For various reasons that I’m not going to question too much, watching two big strong men physically and emotionally torture their girlfriend so that she’ll love them again just isn’t my favourite thing to watch. Add the usual dubious moral code that this show lives by and you’ve got a decidedly dodgy storyline dressed up as a demonstration of noble deeds and doing what you have to do.

Surprisingly, however, the episode was so good that these quibbles aren’t what dominated my viewing experience. From what I gather, fans of the show have not enjoyed this season at all, so to have a couple of strong episodes leading into the finale might be the only thing to save it from a significantly reduced fanbase going into season five. This was one of those episodes, and all signs suggest that the next two will be just as strong. Cutting a long story short: Elena has her feelings back on and she’s mightily cheesed off with Katherine.

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The trouble is that Elena’s vow to kill her doppelganger once and for all might clash with Bonnie’s own plan to give her invulnerability. We don’t see too much of Bonnie this week but we do find out that she’s using Katherine in her dealings with Silas, promising her the same protection their nemesis has in exchange for the tombstone. She’s also promised (a promise that is magically binding, no less) to lift the veil after all, and we can only hope that she has a couple of tricks up her sleeve to prevent the world from ending when she does.

It helps that Silas no longer has power over her after she saw his true face, but Caroline has her own confusing altercation with him in this episode. The chase to her house and subsequent switch with her mother was thrilling stuff, and led to one of two fake deaths that fooled me good and proper. The ability to appear as your enemy’s nearest and dearest is a great tool to have if you want information, and the reveal that Silas can appear as living people, too (judging by him adopting Matt’s face), adds to that sense of unknown danger. I’d be setting up safety questions if I was them.

But let’s get into what the love triangle was up to this week. As we saw from the previews and last week’s teaser, Damon and Stefan plan to torture an emotion out of their ex-girlfriend, and they’re willing to go to extreme lengths. Elena’s self-inflicted full body burn was a striking image. Predictably, however, nothing they do works, and even bringing Katherine in just makes Elena more determined to prove them wrong. That is until they use the most human and personal thing still left in her life – Matt. He’s always been the Xander Harris of this show and this week he got to pull his own ‘Evil Willow I love you’ speech.

The clever thing was that the speech didn’t make a darn bit of difference and she ate him anyway. Stefan and Damon knew this and elicited a response by snapping his neck right in front of her. Our emotions (if you’re, like me, very fond of Matt) are Elena’s emotions, and the stunt finally closes the dark Elena chapter of season four. I was impressed by this scene mainly because, despite looking at things from every angle I could think of, I truly believed Matt’s time on the show was over. We know that Damon wouldn’t hesitate to trade Matt’s life for Elena’s humanity if he felt it necessary, after all.

But courtesy of the resurrection ring, Matt lives to see another day. Elena has her emotions back on and doesn’t seem remotely interested in reconnecting with the Salvatore brothers, which is also a relief. When Stefan told her to anchor everything in one strong emotion I felt for sure that it would be love for one of the brothers that brought her back, but instead it was pure hatred for Katherine. I’ve thought for a while that Katherine would be killed off this year, especially since there are now two sassy vampires played by Nina Dobrev on the show, and it looks as though her time might finally have come.

Next week it’s all about the return of old faces, however, as it appears Bonnie succeeds in her plan to drop the veil. The good news about this is that we might see Jeremy, Jenna or Alaric again but the bad news is that Kol’s dodgy accent is back in our lives. 

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Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Originals, here.

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