Sunday, October 14, 2012

A Case of the.... The Vampire Diaries - Episode 4-1

Alright, folks, I’m back with another season of The Vampire Diaries!  However, my reviews for the time being are going to be a little later than usual.  My current cable provider no longer carries the CW, so until they resolve their issues (hug it out!), I’m going to have to wait until the CW website posts the episode.  And while they seem to be pretty prompt about it now (they used to wait a few days), it’s still a bit of a hassle to watch it on my computer.  But I’ll do my best to get these up quickly!  Now, onto the premiere.

Season four kicks off right where season three left us – with Elena coming to the realization that she has died and must now complete her transition, or else she’ll meet the true death (to steal a term from True Blood).  And while Elena isn’t the first central character to go through this transition (we’ve seen it with Caroline and with Bonnie’s mother), this was the first time we really got a “first hand” look at what the shift is like.  Everything from hearing the buzzing of a florescent light bulb to the increased sensitivity to sunlight was felt throughout the episode, and I enjoyed getting that more personal look at the experience.

We also came to learn more about the spell Bonnie did to save Klaus’ life.  In my review of last season’s finale, I brought up the fact that she seemingly sacrificed Tyler in order to save her friends (just necessarily a judgment, just an observation).  In an arguably deus ex machina-like development, it turned out that Klaus’ body remained intact after he was staked by Alaric.  Granted, I may have misunderstood the circumstances and I may also be misremembering, but didn’t Finn deteriorate (or burn to ashes) after he was staked?  Anyway, it seems that Bonnie agreed to transfer Klaus from Tyler’s body so that both could survive (and now, as luck – coughdeuxexmachinacough – would have it, he could just return to his old body).  All joking aside, I’m a sucker for body swapping episodes because I love seeing actors mimicking the voice pattern and body gestures of another actor, and I have to say Michael Trevino (Tyler) seemed to have a fun time behaving like Joseph Morgan (Klaus).  And while I poked fun of the contrived nature of the story several sentences ago, truth be told I actually didn’t mind it.  Klaus is an interesting villain and Tyler has developed into a fun character, so I don’t particularly mind having them both stick around.  I am glad, though, that the transference was dealt with this episode.  There wasn’t a need to extend it out for a long arc.

The story of the best friend who dabbles with magic and then becomes a witch who is too powerful for her own good seems to be a popular one on vampire shows, huh?  I do wonder if that weird abduction of her grandmother was the extent of Bonnie’s punishment, or if this will be a running theme throughout the season.  It might be interesting to see Bonnie’s power minimized, though.

I actually really enjoyed the storyline of the Founders Council coming together and neutralizing those that have had sympathies for the supernatural (the mayor, the sheriff, Dr. Fell, the Salvatores and Elena).  I was intrigued by the explosion at the end, though.  I assume that means that there’s something supernatural about Pastor Young, as well.  And with the remaining Council members dead, I guess that eliminates that particular group.  Now who’s going to have all those swanky parties?

While brief, the scenes with Damon and Elena were good.  I especially liked the one where her compelled memories began flowing back, making her remember certain things that Damon had forced her to forget (and Damon’s allusion to this later on, by referring to himself as “that selfish”).  The ongoing philosophical differences between Damon and Stefan regarding Elena being able to make decisions which may put her in harm’s way seemed to culminate here as well, particularly in everybody’s different treatment of Matt.  Elena was protective, Damon was downright violent, and Stefan was somewhere in between.

Probably my favorite scene of the episode was when Elena and Stefan were talking to each other, each in their respective cell, with a wall standing between them.  They both realized that Elena didn’t have long to live, and Elena revealed to Stefan that she was crossing the bridge to return to him because she had chosen him (and until that point, I never quite realized that he wasn’t even aware of that).  I also thought it was sweet of them to lie to each other about being happy and smiling, when in reality the severity of the situation was written on their face.  And I absolutely loved the tear that dropped from Elena’s eye the second she tasted the human blood.  That was a truly beautiful and understated moment.

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