The Vampire Diaries season 4 episode 5 review: The Killer

The bodycount rises again in season four of The Vampire Diaries. Here's Caroline's review of The Killer...

This review contains spoilers.

4.5 The Killer

The Vampire Diaries is regaining its kill-happy reputation this week, as someone I was expecting to stick around for the whole season is unceremoniously offed. As the title suggests, however, it’s the one who does the killing that we should really be concerned about. Before we get there though, the episode includes another hostage situation with Matt, Jeremy and April all held at the Mystic Grill by a hunter on a mission. Damon, Stefan and Elena must work together to get them out but, with one of them working on someone else’s orders, that’s easier said than done. Oh and there’s also some guff about Bonnie lighting some candles.

There’s been a lot of talk over the years about the diary voiceover that accompanied some of the first season. The show is called The Vampire Diaries of course and, to begin with, the show took its lead from the first person narration of the books. Realising it was a little silly and restricting, the series dropped the device, but it makes its return in this episode. Why that’s the case I’m not sure, but it probably has something to do with saying goodbye to the innocent, whiny, melancholy version of our heroine and making way for a whole new phase of the character. Elena hasn’t really had the time or luxury to write down her thoughts, but now she’s feeling lonelier than ever.

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She’s still struggling settling into her new life, and Stefan’s good intentions aren’t helping any. Still working with Klaus to locate and find the mysterious ‘cure’ we’ll have to wait another seventeen episodes to see (though Klaus did successfully dig up the hunter’s sword this week), he’s keeping secrets from everyone. In the process, he may have turned Elena against him for pushing her to breaking point in this episode, so there’s still hope for all those Delena fans still watching. Then again, now Damon’s also in on the secret, so I don’t think she’ll be best pleased when what they’re doing comes to light.

As opposed to last week, there was at least some sense of honesty in the love triangle stuff, and Damon’s admission that he’d love her as a vampire or not was a genuinely nice moment. I thought Stefan’s self-hatred would have played more of a role in his dynamic with Elena this season, and I hope his search for the cure brings some of that out over the next twenty-odd episodes. He loved Elena because she was a pure, innocent version of Katherine, and will do everything in his power to stop her descending into true vampirism. That’d be no fun, though, so I hope this episode marks a permanent change for the character. We don’t want a guilty Elena but we do want to have some fun.

The end of the episode suggests the former, and next week will be entirely focused on bringing Elena back from the brink. In a fit of rage over her brother put in danger again, she’s now a fully-fledged killer just like the rest of them. Having killed Connor, too, it looks like there’ll be some unforeseen consequences that come with murdering a hunter. I’m a little disappointed that Connor is now out of the running, but the moment when Elena lost it was absolutely brilliant. There was no hesitation and, for a second, that dreary Elena we’re all tired of was completely gone. The guilt dream in the bathroom was also appropriately gory, and The Vampire Diaries has really done a great job of building up expectations before throwing Elena’s first kill right at us.

Once again, Matt and Jeremy are used as leverage in the eternal supernatural struggle. Those poor guys are like the Xander Harrises of The Vampire Diaries, and I’d love for the show to do a The Zeppo-style human-centric episode following the secret life of Matt. It may sound really, really boring, but it’s still an interesting proposition for frustrated fans of the character. We now have a third human in April, though, and she still hasn’t made much of an impact. She seems to just wander around getting compelled but, with Jeremy giving her his vervane bracelet and Connor telling us how pivotal she and her father are to the grand plan, I have hope she’ll become a more central player over time.

For some reason, with everything going on at the Grill, scenes with Bonnie and Shane, and Tyler, Hayley and Caroline, are shoe-horned into the episode. The Bonnie stuff might be the most pointless, as we don’t actually see the Professor do anything shady or peculiar. There’s hours and hours of lost time in which Bonnie was hypnotised that would have been nice to see, and the climax of the storyline – Bonnie lighting some candles – rendered it utterly, utterly worthless. The writers still seem keen to craft some tension with Tyler, Hayley and Caroline, too, but all they’re doing is pissing Forwood fans off. The real story is that Tyler and Hayley are planning to free the rest of the hybrids, but The Vampire Diaries never saw a love triangle they didn’t like.

What did you think of the episode? Will Elena ever get back to her former self? Katherine’s back next week which means double-duty for Nina Dobrev and a whole lot of fun for us. See you there.

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

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