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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Blu

That was a BRILLIANT episode! I mean it was incredible and I found myself engrossed with rapt attention. My interest in some characters and some storylines was renewed. The final scene was breathtaking because this show is always at a high speed and one of the complaints I've often had was the craptastic way in which they deal with death. Death always lacks impact but they finally took time and addressed it the way that they should.Ugh and that final scene with Alaric was so gut wrenching and so beautiful and well crafted and acted I had to rewind it three times to let it sink in. Kudos to Matt Davis for returning all of a minute and breaking me with one line and his presence alone and Ian who is just tremendous. One of my favorite episodes of the series.

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And one more thing. Julie? When will we see Stelena having hot vampire sex? I mean they were close, but not nearly done. WE NEED HOT VAMPIRE SEX.

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Oh, I just cried through the whole episode. It was a very good episode indeed and seeing Alaric again, made me cry some more. I WANT HIM BACK. And yes, Elena's transition is growing more interesting, and the love triangle is happening, but in a new twist, which I enjoy, (but this time, don't drag it out please!)
You know, when you mention it Matt Richental, that Connor could be a ghost, it makes sense.. Because we all know for a fact that Pastor Young killed himself and the Council so another "great force" could come and save Mystic Falls, and maybe Connor is this force who met the Council on the other side or felt the powers and supernatural because of all of the ley lines that Mystic Falls is on. (If it is on any ley lines like Fells Church in the books..) But, yeah, that Connor guy is scaring me. He's a better hunter then Alaric, but then again who isn't? The man befriended vampires instead of hunting them.
Over all, great episode, can't wait till next one.
BTW: TVFANATIC should have a tag button or a reply button, so people knew that others were having a discussion with them. Just saying

Neejan

Excellent scene in the end. very emotional, especially the "i miss you too buddy" part.
@Angie When a vampire feeds his/her blood to another vampire they form a strong bond, stronger than the human bond.

Sarah silva

I totally forgot to mention Jeremy and being the only one to see Connor's tattoo that was crazy! I have to find out how he can see it and no one else can!

Sarah silva

This was a fantastic episode! I loved it!
Damon is back at his best, every line that came out of his mouth was so funny!
I can see that Stefan would be hurt by Elena keeping the fact that she could not keep blood down from him but for Elena this is all brand new!
I think her relationships with everyone with deepen and strenghten in their own ways.
I cried at the end when they were doing the latern tributes, I was actually shocked that Elena did not say hers was for Alaric too.
I had thought that Jeremey would say for Elena too, her human self is dead after all, but yes she is still there.
Then I cried even more when I saw Matt Davis....I was not expecting that but I was happy to see Alaric eventhough it was a sad sweet moment.
I really hope they get the Vampire Hunter, he is the ooposite of Alaric and will not help/be friend our favorite Mystic Falls Vampires.

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(Continued from my last comment) tune in to have my questions answered, bare witness to the supernatural pieces falling together, and of course since it is only true Mystic Falls fashion I'm sure next week I'll have a whole new set of questions to be asking!

Crazybrit

OMG!!! best episode ever,first of all dis episode is full of sex but hate the pointless unnecessary sex happen btw stefan & elena.but always just love caroline and tyler sex!!!ahahaha,btw hate dat black hunter!!!wat a douche!!!!finally just miss ALARIC,poor damon!!!

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By far the best episode in TVD history. I have very high hopes for this season. You know when you have a great show when you, the viewer, become so entangled in the characters that you even find yourself mourning their absences. I miss Anna, and Alaric the most. I am hoping that Matt Davis (Alaric), will make appearances every now, and then. In the last few minutes of the season three finale, Alaric told Jeremy, that he wasn't going anywhere. That he will stick around for Jeremy. I hope this remains true. Lastly, let's get down to the speculations of Connor's elusive tattoo, that only Jeremy could see. I have many questions, and a few things do not add up to me. Why is it that only Jeremy can see this invisible ink? If you remember, Matt drown himself last season so he could see his sister Vicki. He crossed over, and came back. So if in fact the Hunter's tattoo is some sort of ghostly spell, shouldn't Matt be able to see it too? Alas, Thursday seems like such a long way off, but I will tune in to have my questions answered, bare witness to the supernatural pieces falling together, and of course since it is only true Mystic Falls fashion I'm sure next week I'll have a whole new set of questions to be asking!

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WHY IS IT A BIG DEAL WHEN A VAMP FEEDS OFF A VAMP????