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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Beautiful episode all around. Excited to see how really bad ass Connor is cos we were promised he'll be darker than dark Alaric so really looking forward to that. On the other had, Elena called Damon cos she knows he nurtures her dark & wild side, what does one expect from a brother who thinks its ok to obsess over & pursue his brothers girl? There is absolutely no justification for that crap & that's the only reason I will always abhor Delena. Granted we don't choose who we're attracted to BUT we choose to either act on those emotions. How else do we stay faithful?

Fortyseven

It was much better than the premiere. I give the episode a B-. Connor is better than the average antagonist for the main group but he's not that smart (e.g. why shoot Tyler again?). It'd be nice to have an antagonist that isn't The Ends Justify The Means for a change. Connor's tattoo looked like Original runes. There was way too much vomiting blood. Caroline did more for Elena in 5 minutes than the brothers did in days. Elena exceptionalism is annoying. I liked the environmental nod.

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LIz, I totally agree with you about John being excluded from the deadly shout out. I was thinking the same thing too. He did in fact die for her, and he was her father. At least list the dead man. SusieJane, I think that the fact that Elena called Damon means that she's changing. When she and Stefan first got together, Elena was a totally different person. Fragile in a lot of ways. And I think that's something that Stefan loves about her, that she's good, kind, compassionate and vulnerable. But when he went ripper on the show, Elena had to change a lot. And much of that change came through her interactions with Damon. She doesn't want to hurt others but there is a part of her that doesn't want to be like Stefan. I think that's why she called Damon because he understand that there needs to be a balance whereas Stefan is always on one extreme end. I like that Elena is becoming much more complicated, she's no longer the good versus evil kind of girl but the "it's complicated" type of person. Damon can understand that far more than Stefan even if he wants to. And I'm also glad Stefan got mad at her, he's finally showing some real human emotions...besides the typical tortured soul. It makes his character far more dynamic.

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I noticed how when elena threw up before the ceremony who did she call?? damon!! I dont think it would have neen so hard to call stefan and be like "look im sick i just threw up blood all over my dress. i tried, i havent keept anything down, im starving, i need human blood please bring me a bag and a change of clothes" but instead she she called damon! There HAS to be an underlying reason here! Id love to her your thoughts!

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I love the show, and I loved the episode. But I'm seriously tired of the word "heightened." It was said so many times in just this one episode. Seriously, there are other alternatives to use. Let's mix it up! #Thesaurus

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And mo, id like to comment on your opinion of elena feeding on damon. Ya he might have been meddleing but in his defense he deserves to keep some sort of intimacy with her, they cant just pretend the last year of them growing closer didnt happen. Stefan is the one who, for a long time, was pushing damon and elena together until just recently, stefan one day decides its ok for her to love him again. ( did we forget he tried to drive her off the wickery bridge! And left her there for damon to rescue!) Stefan needs to understand elena and damon and elenas relationship is much of his doing. And he should be jealous, yes, but also selfless like damons love and try and help her cope with damons bond. she chose stefan and so he should help her be happy with that decision(whole heartedly), being jealous and mad will only turn her even more to damon. Damon wants whats best for elena wether he gets what he wants or not. Stefan wants whats best for stefan, they have both shown these qualitys since season 1 in many different ways.

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Damon did steal the show!! Now that elena is a vampire it looks like what she needs is a swift dose of reality! I think through the last 3 seasons we have seen, yes, she is compassionate but she is also stong and has handled more than she should have to handle and shes just come out stronger! So i dont know why stefan wont stop treating her like shes gonna fall apart at the seams! Boring! And if you ask me elena drinking damons blood was so much more intimate than stefan and her making out in the woods. Im definitely a "delena" fan but i love the triangle aspect! It just makes you keep wanting more. I love that she "picked" stefan but is still obviously "consumed" by damon! I just cant get enough. I love this season already!

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This was a good episode compared to the premiere and most of season 3. The only thing that disappointed me was the lack of a shout-out for John. I know most people in Mystic Falls (and most of the fans) hated him but I have loved him since his first appearance. And come on Elena, he was your FATHER who GAVE HIS LIFE FOR YOU, he deserved more than to be included in the "everyone else that we have lost" part.

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Absolutely loved this episode. I cried when Damon was at Alaric's grave, its definitely his thing to deal with his emotions privately. However, I didn't like the fact that he meddled with Elena by letting her feed on him. He does such things on purpose cause he knows perfectly well its going to annoy Stefan. And I am glad Stefan was mad at Elena for once cause he lets her do whatever most of the time. I definitely predict Elena's diet to be an issue for awhile yet.
And finally Connor, very intrigued by him...my guess is his definitely not human, maybe a vengeful ghost? Can't wait to see how his character plays out.

Ilkvomit

*Previous Post* My guess is that Conner is going to be somewhat similar to GHOST RIDER.He's going to be the shows spirit of vengeance. Think about it,im sure if Jeremy looked upon Nic Cage as Johnny blaze in the Ghost rider films he would see him as GHOST RIDER...flaming skull and all.