The most shocking part of this premiere is not Elena’s new, um, stage in life. It’s not Damon’s disgust at Stefan’s decision, or Stefan’s emphasis on choices (his own, Dr. Fell’s, and Elena’s). It’s not even the surprise guest star Grams. It’s the possibilities for what’s coming, since it’s just not like The Vampire Diaries to blow up a whole shack of cultish bit players and not mean something by it.
Last season, I was deeply upset at the loss of Alaric, especially since all indications are that his death happened so he could get his own show (which is exciting, I’ll grant) rather than any (admittedly artificial nonsense) organic storytelling. So I was surprised when I didn’t miss him—and, in fact, didn’t really notice his absence until about 24 hours after I watched the episode.
Alaric’s death and Elena’s transition seem to point this show in a new direction: suddenly, all of our heroes seem like twenty-somethings rather than teenagers, of an age with folks like Meredith Fell. Carolyn isn’t staying in Mystic Falls because she is a (blood-craving) sixteen year-old, but because it’s home. Elena doesn’t need protecting because she’s young, but because she is loved. And now she has a new “family”—vampires.
That must be why Rebekah helped Stefan save Elena, right? That and a little bit of compassion, which is something Rebekah doesn’t like to admit she has but which occasionally pops up, as when she asked about Matt’s car insurance. Regardless, Rebekah has the potential to be an ally, although I’m still not willing to hope she’s a friend. And with Klaus’s whole “I abjure you” thing, Rebekah could use a new family just as much as Elena.
Is that how things will break down? Probably not. VD’s whiplash-fast pace doesn’t seem to be letting up, and I suspect both Rebekah and Klaus will continue to be occasional allies, occasional enemies. Hopefully they can all team up together to defeat whatever bizarro plan the fundamentalist wing of the Council are cooking up in the afterlife.
Because those guys are somehow the big bad, right? No way would we get so much of their hardcore vampire hatred if they weren’t important. And “Friends, we are the beginning” sounds slightly ominous. Hopefully Klaus, who sadly is still lurking around, will finally make himself useful. Ditto Bonnie, whose powers—like those of my air conditioner—only work when they’re not really needed.
• Damon: “Way to get her hopes up for something that has never happened in the history of vampirism.”
• Tyler/Klaus: “Ah! You incessant woman!...Hi, mom!”
• Matt looks so old! I think that actor saves all of his aging for the summer months just to shock us every new season.
• Quite a few shots in the shack/jail were oddly framed, with Elena off in a far corner and lots of dust motes floating around. It was pretty.
• I’m dying to see how Elena’s memories of all that Damon had compelled her to forget affect her decisions over the next few episodes. And Damon’s.
• Elena choosing life—well, unlife—was so beautifully done. No violence, no big drama, just tears and touching her fingers to her lips.
Three out of four quarterbacks.
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