The Vampire Diaries

Thursdays 8:00 PM on The CW
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The Vampire Diaries Review: A Tale of Two Hunters

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What an absolutely terrific episode of The Vampire Diaries.

While past top-notch episodes of this CW drama relied on flashbacks or major twists/turns (See: "Blood Brothers," "The End of the Affair"), "Memorial" required no such visit into the past.

It was simply tense from beginning to end, incredibly tense, featuring the introduction of a fascinating new character; taking us deeper into Elena's transition; and giving Matt something to serve aside from drinks at the Grill.

Scared in Church

Let's start there. The Season 4 premiere was a slight letdown because it focused so much on something every viewer knew was coming: Elena turning into a vampire. It felt anticlimactic by the time that act finally took place.

But this episode shifted the focus to how such a development will impact Elena's relationships, from her rekindled romance with Stefan; to her complicated bond with Damon; to her new, extremely close connection to Matt; to her mentor/student relationship with Caroline.

This storyline is at its most powerful and its most effective when we witness its impact across all our favorite Mystic Falls residents. There are multiple layers to Elena turning, far beyond the simple fact that she will now live forever, and it was interesting to watch their domino effect play out here, specifically when it came to the tension between Stefan and Damon.

To feed on human blood or not to feed on human blood, that is their question. It's a legitimate moral debate and it brings back up the history between these brothers. Stefan knows the Ripper-like consequences that can result from one's immediate turn and foray into Homosapien digestion. He wants Elena to avoid the mistakes of his past.

Damon? He's never been as forward-looking as his optimistic sibling. He's always about the here and the now and he sees the girl he loves in pain and he offers up the fastest solution possible, his blood. And now our love triangle - thankfully - has a new twist.

It had grown tiresome last season. There's only so much of Elena pining for both Salvatores that viewers can take, especially when she's listing the same reasons over and over for why this is such a difficult decision. But this feels fresh. I spent the episode sincerely wondering on which side I'd fall, Damon or Stefan's. I can understand both, and I'm curious to see how Elena balances Stefan's big-picture thinking with Damon's quick-fix blood lust.

She isn't just trapped between two brothers now; she's caught between dueling philosophies.

And she was part of maybe the most moving scene in TVD history. That ending. Wow. It was unexpected, it was appropriate, it was touching, it gave us a Lexie shout-out. For a show that prides itself on hanging off the cliff at the conclusion of every hour, this was a surprising/emotional/perfect way to conclude an episode that focused so much on death and life and the choices we make. I absolutely loved it...

... and that was before we even moved to Damon in the cemetery. My goodness, Julie Plec! Are you trying to put Kleenex out of business?!? Any regular readers of my Vampire Diaries reviews understands the soft spot I have for both Matt Davis and Alaric Saltzman and Damon's mourning of his best friend was nothing short of beautiful.

I'm going to pretend like there's someone there because the alternative is too damn depressing. | permalink

Stefan and Caroline

From saying farewell to one hunter to greeting a new one... what the heck is up with Connor?!?

An outstanding debut by this dangerous new foe, the bad ass' introduction raises a number of questions: How is he connected to the Council? Is he related to the council? What prompted his appearance in Mystic Falls? What's up with the markings on his bullets? Why can only Jeremy see that tattoo on his arm?

Easily one of the more gasp-worthy moments in recent show history, the ink sighting makes it apparent that Connor is... what? A ghost? He doesn't seem to be a regular human, that's for sure.

The entire scene in the church was gripping television at its best. With Connor and his rifle lined up in a pew, April bloody by his side, a series of supernaturals sitting down below, everyone plotting his or her next move, it was simply heart-pounding to watch.

The same can be said for the episode as a whole. I just loved every minute of it. It's hard to remember an hour that so richly developed relationships and delivered with action-filled sequences.

Who is Connor? Down which path will Elena go? Will I ever stop crying over Alaric? Following a lackluster premiere, questions abound, trouble is brewing, tears are flowing and I can't wait for next Thursday.

What did everyone else think?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.9 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (1834 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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5/ The last scene was so emotional and moving scene. Beside the fact that it was so beautiful and sad to see Alaric & Damon talking to each other again (sure without Damon's knowledge) this scene gives us glimpse about damon’s true feelings, how he sees his life what he thinks of elena being a vampire & about the others and how he feels about loosing his best friend. That was so great that I couldn't stop crying.

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3/I understand that Stefan was mad at Damon for the blood sharing between him and Elena cause as we knew that "blood sharing is kind of personal" as Damon said (I would love to know more about that) but I think that he was too harsh on his brother. How can he think of punching him wile he was wounded and Lying on the ground. Even that I don't want him to hit him at all but if that has to be done I think he could've waited for a better timing.
4/ If you ever want to know how can a bloody scene be so beautiful all you have to do is watching Damon and Elena: the blood sharing scene, Elena calling Damon to hurry up with the new dress, when she vomit even the blood bag and he's comforting her. Even with all that blood I still feel like melting with them.

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2/I know that Stefan is trying to protect Elena from being like him or like Damon but at this point I think that he's in denial and delusional. 1st he wanted to celebrate Elena's first feed that she "survived" as he said when we all saw how she vomited it and then we see him telling her a new vampire who wasn't been able to keep blood down for days and surrounded by the smell of blood that she has to fight her hunger and that she can get through this. Seriously, Damon aside, even Matt knew that she won't be able to do that !!!

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Outstanding episode. I loved the entire episode but I think that I'm more fond by Damon & Elena's scenes. You can feel and touch their feelings and emotions and understand what they're going through & suffering... I have many things to say that I don't know where to began from:
1/ I loved the church scene: apart from Damon's fun moment when he came into the church everything was crazy that my heart almost stopped. How Matt told Elina to feed on him (I believe that he won some respect from Damon over that gesture),Tyler made himself a target to the vampire hunter so he would made his friends scape and specially the moment when everyone was aware of the blood smell all over the church and how Damon told them not to move cause it's a trap (it was beautiful to see them talk to each other with no one noticing that + I love my smart Damon !!! )

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Wow, this was one of the best episodes ever!

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If everyone can see Connor but only Jeremy can see the tattoo, I'm guessing that Connor is possessed by a ghost.

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Damon is thinking long term because he wants her to experince the blood lust so that she can start to control it unlike Stefan who wants hert to ignore it and have the blood lust take over her and become a ripper like Stefan.

Amie

Here it just looked weird and gross, because only Damon was enjoying it while Elena had no idea what it meant to a vampire. So again Damon abused a woman on this show because he was overstepping as usual. Remember the pact the brothers made last season, whomever Elena chooses, the other brother had to leave town. Shipping aside but I am not saying Damon had to leave town, we all knew he wouldn't t ever do it. But helping Elena in her struggle is one thing, but taking advantage of that situation for his own enjoyment is sick. So Stefan had every right to hit him. Everything was awesome though - I enjoyed the scenes at the first memorial and the second. It reminded me of something the show could do so very well, intense scenes that would have the viewers really invested into what it happening, the other the emotional side of things (which we haven' t seen in a very long time) so the idea of everyone remembering those we have lost over the past three years was great.

Amie

This episode was so much better than the premier, I am liking the fact that the writers are not neglecting the difficulties Elena is experiencing, even if it is the constant disgusting blood caughting , I am fine with it. TVD needs to get back to being brutal. With previous characters who got turned, we did not get to see the whole process of becoming a vampire. Vicky and Caroline mainly suffered from blood craving and once they drank blood they were fine. Elena not being able to keep animal and human blood down is an interesting thought. Also taking into consideration Damon's theory on doppelgänger blood rejecting other blood - I feel there is a loop hole for turning Elena back into being human some day, who knows. As for the whole Elena drinking Damon's blood, well I'pto me it's not as special as the books, as there book Damon always drank Elena's blood from her neck and she had to do the same and that really did make it intimate. Here it looked just weird and like an easy way out for Elena, and just another dumb reason to fuel the damn boring love triangle. Stefan hitting Damon had a point though, shipping aside does anyone remember the pact they made last season? Whomever Elena chose, the other one had to leave town. Damon is not only sticking around, he is complaining about to dead Rick and not having any respect for his brother's relationship - helping Elena is one thing but making it into something so intimate while Elena had no knowledge of what that means to a vampire, to me that's another form of abuse. Everything else was awesome though, I loved the entire memorial service it was intense and interesting, I loved seeing all the gang trying to keep it together. The memorial scenes at the end were also very touching.

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Sorry I skipped this part *we choose to either act on those emotions or let go! That is called CHOICE*