This review contains spoilers.
4.6 We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes
After last week’s big game-changer, we get into the nitty gritty of what killing a hunter will do to the hunted, and Elena’s experience in this episode goes far beyond normal guilt. With Connor gone, we also need a brand new big bad for the season, and The Vampire Diaries may well have sneaked in some clues this week. We start off with the shocking sight of Elena stabbing Jeremy in the neck, and end with the inevitable scene of her stabbing Stefan in the heart. Is this a turning point for the most tedious love triangle on telly? I doubt it, but at least we might get to see the other side of it for a while.
I’ll start off with the love triangle, since it’s still a point of interest for most fans who haven’t tuned out yet. At the end of season three, Elena chose Stefan. Then she turned into a vampire and everyone assumed this would lead her to Damon’s brooding arms. When that didn’t happen, Stefan and Elena’s rekindled relationship was more weird and co-dependent than ever, and this week sees our heroine finally make a definitive choice for herself, rather than whining about how hard it is to have two handsome immortals love you. She doesn’t trust Stefan as much as she used to, and has much more in common with Damon now that she’s joined team undead.
Despite being tired of the whole plot thread, I thought the final break-up scene was handled very nicely. The writers know they have two opposing shipper groups to please and so far they haven’t kicked any of them while they’re down, so my guess is that they won’t start now. We’ve got a two week break before we see the results of Elena’s now-requited feelings for Damon, but I don’t expect them to jump in the sack right away. Despite the mythology unravelling at break-neck speed and plot lines coming and going at an admirable rate, The Vampire Diaries has always taken its time with the love stories, for good or ill. Delena fans should get their big romance, but in a way that respects the characters.
But before she has time to worry about which Salvatore she’s smooching, there’s a little mystical madness to see off. As promised by the final scene of last week, her hallucinations are graphic and insightful, with visions ranging from a decomposing Connor, to a home truth-giving Katherine and a manipulative mother talking her right up to the ledge. I was kind of hoping our glimpse of Katherine in the promo meant she was returning for real, but this was good enough. The whole episode reminded me of Buffy’s Conversations with Dead People, when The First tried to talk Willow into killing herself.
Some of the stuff Elena’s mother was saying really hit home, with Jeremy possibly being better off with a ghost sister than a vampire one. Having killed him (with the family ring on, thankfully), in the opening scene, this isn’t an unrealistic notion and, seeing that Jeremy is the only one keeping Elena from giving up entirely, I can understand her urge to die where she ought to have (twice). Damon came to the rescue, but had her friends not implemented their own plan at just the right moment, she really would have burned to death on that bridge. It’s emotional stuff and, once again, Nina Dobrev does a great job with an often unlikeable character.
The episode does a great job of bringing everyone’s stories together, with absolutely everyone contributing to the ‘Save Elena’ mission. Damon and Bonnie go to Atticus for more information on the hunter’s curse, and find out that in order to stop the hallucinations Jeremy has to become a hunter himself. With us only finding out about his potential two weeks ago, it’s brilliant that he’s already hunting down vamps and hacking them to death. The only problem is, the one that bites the dust is one of Tyler’s hybrid pack, and he’s none too happy with Stefan, Caroline and Jeremy for killing his buddy.
As far as the search for the season’s main villain goes, Atticus Shane seems like the most obvious candidate. Matt does some digging around this week and finds out that Pastor Young had made ten calls to the professor on the day of the explosion and, thrown in with April’s vague recollection of him, it seems he’s up to something shady. And what about his lecture on Silus? Every moment in this episode counted for something, so I doubt the writers would throw in some exposition about an immortal, about to rise again, without it meaning something. Could Silus be the source of the vampire cure? And – just throwing it out there – could Atticus be the one they’re searching for?
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, The Killer, here.
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