The Vampire Diaries

Thursdays 8:00 PM on The CW
The vampire diaries
TV Fanatic Works Better with Prime Instant Video
Try it Now for Free and Instantly Watch The Vampire Diaries.

The Vampire Diaries Review: Witchy Washy

by at . Comments

Perhaps it was due to my constantly high expectations for The Vampire Diaries. Or the extra couple weeks fans had to wait this season for the October premiere. Or simply an off episode that was used more to set the stage for what's to come than thrill and shock on its own.

But I was let down by "Growing Pains."

Stefan in a Panic

Chalk it up to a combination of predictability and confusion, starting with the most pressing issue of all: Elena as a vampire.

We all knew she was going to turn. There wasn't much drama in whether she would feed within 24 hours, removing a lot of the suspense and sadness from that (very well-acted) scene between Elena and Stefan in the barn.

Granted, we still aren't sure what sort of blood sucker Elena will make. Will she gorge on rabbits or humans? Give in to her heightened emotions? Or put up an icy exterior to fight them off? All questions for the season ahead, all likely to come after she and Stefan have some seriously passionate vampire sex.

Another question: How did she, Stefan and Rebekah break out of their cells? Actually, one more question: How did the council get access to the Salvatore collection of Vervain? The episode glossed over a few key details, leading to my biggest issue with the premiere:

Bonnie. Grams. Spells. The Other Side. And... WTH?!?

I applaud Elena's bestie for taking proactive action to save her pal, but The Vampire Diaries really needs to stay away from its reliance on spells and ghosts and the after-life. Aside from being a easy plot device (Bonnie can fix anything!), it's simply confounding. The rules, if there are any, have never been fully explained.

Bonnie was able to visit Elena in the barn because Elena is dead? Even though she isn't actually on The Other Side yet? And Grams stopped by from that Other Side to alert her granddaughter that she was playing with dark fire? And then Grams died... again?

It's just a confusing mess and far too much of the episode was dedicated to Bonnie's unclear actions.

A large chunk also featured the re-configured Council, with a major promotion given to Pastor Young. It felt a tad sudden, but I enjoy the potential dynamic at work here. My favorite aspect of True Blood is the ever-delicate balancing act between humans and vampires, with the latter out and about and known to all on that show. Did the Pastor's seemingly suicidal act to close the premiere aim at bringing attention to Mystic Falls? In order to make the presence of the undead no longer a secret?

I could be intrigued by that. Realistically, there's only so long so many supernaturals could reside in one place in secret.

We are the beginning. Of what?!?

What else did I like about "Growing Pains?"

  • Michael Trevino as Klaus. He was convincingly bad ass, though I'm sure female readers are wondering how Caroline was able to pick up on the "love" usage when the actor was shirtless. It's possible for brain cells to function when in the vicinity of such a sight?!?
  • Klaus cutting off Rebekah. Let's just hope this is once and for all. The siblings' relationship has changed course on numerous occasions. But a scorned/vindictive Rebekah is an entertaining Rebekah and, damn, can Claire Holt cry?!?
  • The depiction of Elena's enhanced senses, from the lights to the sounds and the sights. Very well filmed.
  • Stefan telling Matt to "earn" his second chance at life. Very Saving Private Ryan-esque. This gives Matt a storyline outside of serving drinks at the Grill. Finally.
  • Elena sticking with Stefan. It was a nice touch to have her remember Damon's declaration of love, but the triangle needs to be put on hold for awhile. She chose Stefan. She clearly loves Stefan. There best not be any more back and forth any time soon.

So that's where we are heading into episode two. Elena is a vampire. Bonnie has traveled down a very dark and dangerous path. Klaus and Tyler are back in their respective bodies. Matt feels guilty. Forces within Mystic Falls are closing in on our heroes and heroines.

What did you think of the Season 4 opener? Watch The Vampire Diaries promo for next week's "Memorial," sound off in the Comments and grade the premiere now:

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.1 / 5.0
  • 4.1 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (2143 Votes)

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

Tags: ,
Avatar

Tyler/Klaus… this was one of the best storylines of the night for me. Michael Trevino as Klaus was awesome. I love how they were able to write lines for Klaus, and having them come out of Tyler so you could still tell it was Klaus. I especially loved Tyler’s mom calling, and the pure Klaus response of “that incessant woman� and then “hi mom!� I enjoyed Klaus threatening to kill Tyler if Bonnie didn’t put him back, too. I would say Tyler/Klaus probably stole the show for me last night.
Klaus as himself… The fact that he can so easily abandon Rebekah doesn’t entirely surprise me, but he just spent how long wanting his siblings together, and now he wants to strike off on his own?
Rebekah… There is just something about her that I love, especially when she’s on the war path. I can’t wait to see what they’ll have for her next.
Bonnie… really didn’t do a whole lot for me. It was completely anti-climactic. Sure, her Grandma no longer gets to live in peace on the other side, and that knowledge will torture her, but what did that really accomplish? I was hoping we’d get to see something like her powers being taken away, or the character stuck on the other side, trying to get back. That would put the whole ‘other side’ plotline to good use, in my opinion.
Caroline… not a whole lot going on for her tonight. I hope there’s more later!
Pastor Young… I have no idea what’s going on there, but it intrigues me. I wonder if they’re supposed to come back or something with the help of the witch spirits? This will be one of the things which keeps me tuning in… for now.
All in all, an episode that hopefully sets up for a good season!

Avatar

I’m honestly not too sure what to think at this point. There were things I liked, and things I didn’t. This episode had a lot going on, but I think it was mainly to set the stage for what is to come.
Elena… is finally a vampire! I went into this episode thinking that if they found a way to prevent this from happening, I would never watch it again. I’m glad the show finally went there, and didn’t find a way to back out of it.
Elena’s Choice… Well, we all saw that coming. Even the memories of things Damon compelled her to forget weren’t enough to sway her… for now. I’m glad she didn’t just get all confused again, because I’ve had enough of confused Elena for now. Maybe once she gets accustomed to her new life, we can see her revisit this choice. For now, Stefan may be the right choice, just because he respects her decisions, unlike Damon. I think that if Damon wants a real chance, he needs to take that particular page from his brother’s book. Elena wants to be independent, not have a man who just ‘fixes’ everything for her (even though that’s exactly what they do anyways). I love what Damon said to her outside of the ranch, I only wish it made her love him as much as I do. But, like Damon said, he’s selfish, and that isn’t something I see changing anytime soon. It’s what makes him distinct from his brother. Stefan sees Elena as more his equal, and Damon needs to do that before they could actually work. I’m willing to wait!

Avatar

I would have liked Elena turning into a vampire a lot more if they had followed the book a little closer on this one. Elena woke up and ran away with Damon in the book. I thought this episode was boring.

Avatar

This episode was really great! Exactly what I had been waiting for all summer long. I loved the scenes of Elena and Stefan the most, they were amazing as always. They are finally back together and soooo deserve each other. I hope they stay together strong as they can get through anything. Cannot wait for their hot vamp sex next week!

Amie

- And of coarse, Bonnie....srsly, what was the point of that "No one bosses me around" talk last season if Klaus can use her whenever and however he wants to? Or anyone at that matter? And Bonnie was so ok about making a ring for Elena? Remember what speech she gave to Caroline in s2? So yeah, black magic my ass, you are still a plot device Bonnie!

Amie

This was an ok episode for the following reasons: - Rebekah RIPPED THE BLOOD BAGS into pieces which hopefully means I won't ever have to hear anything about using Elena's blood to make hybrids...God, the amount of time wasted on that sl. - JoMo is back as Klaus!!!!!!!!!!!! Best treat of the episode, I didn't expect that to happen so quickly. TVD you are getting back in my graces! - The show did not drag out Elena's decision into 5 episodes. Yes, thank you! What I did not like - Ok, so after 2 seasons of no one giving an eff about everything happening in MF, now a bunch of council ppl we never met can suddenly have so much power and take over the town? Nice try TVD, but not after 2 seasons of no one caring about the vampires as they did in s1! - Aside from Elena turning, what is the direction for this season? - And of coarse, Bonnie....srsly, what was the point of that "No one bosses me around" talk last season if Klaus can use her whenever and however he wants to? Or anyone at that matter? And Bonnie was so ok about making a ring for Elena? Remember what speech she gave to Caroline in s2? So yeah, black magic my ass, you are still a plot device Bonnie!

Jtl

The only thing that got me interested is why the pastor committed a group suicide with all the council members. Overall I give this episode a D maybe a C at best!

Jtl

Yeah he saves her and then would of had sex with her if she didn't pick up on him. Then he attempts to kill Tyler in order to get his body back sooner then later! Lol I mean really after this episode if you still ship these two you got problems and you may need to sit down with doctor Phil. Elena turning into a vampire like we didn't think she wasn't going to turn. Please we all new it was going to be a matter of time. And we really have to hear her whine about becoming a vampire! I saw really no difference in her personality. It was still boring Elena! It would of been better if she became a little dark and it ended with her feeding on a few bodies and Damon and stefan catching her in the act. Maybe she could of said to them in a dark way that she's got a problem. But no! She acts the same and all she can do is think about choosing Damon or stefan. This episode dropped the ball on her turning and instead we end with Stefan and Elena on top of the roof. How cute lol. The only thing that got me interested is why the pastor committed a group suicide with all the council members. Overall I give this episode a D maybe a C at best!

Jtl

So far every season Caroline has been captured and some seasons more then once! There's no reason why Damon should be taking out all his frustrations on matt who is an innocent bystander in all of this. I don't like Matt characters on the show. But to blame Matt and act like a complete ass shows that he hasn't grown at all. Also Stefan telling Matt he has to earn it! Really because he just happened to be in the same car that Elena was in that got ran off the road. He would of died because of holy elena and they dont care about that. Stefan and Damon are really tough to take as "Heros" of the show.The pastor and council was really sudden. Why not build it up a little! Instead of bringing in a character to take over everything and never introducing him to us. It made no sense for klaus not to save both Caroline and Rebekah. Do these vampires forget that they move faster then the speed of light! Klaus and Caroline can get anymore sicker. Yeah he saves her and then would of had sex with her if she didn't pick up on him. Then he attempts to kill Tyler in order to get his body back sooner then later! Lol I mean really after this episode if you still ship these two you got problems and you may need to sit down with doctor Phil. Elena turning into a vampire like we didn't think she wasn't going to turn. Please we all new it was going to be a matter of time. And we really have to hear her whine about becoming a vampire!

Avatar

•CoCo
October 12th, 2012 12:42 PM Anyone else pick up on Damon telling Elena after she revealed to him that she remembers everything that he commented back "that's not all she remembers." I can't wait to see everthing he's compelled her not to remember! It's a whole new storyline and another side of Elena, maybe a twisted dark dirty side that will be revealed to us throughout this season :D You bet I caught it! I am hoping for some juicy memories to pop up...the possibilities are endless!

The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Episode 1 Quotes

Where ever you go, Salvatore Brothers seem to follow.

Pastor Young

We all know the way. You feed or you die, there is no door #3.

Damon
× Close Ad