Vampire Diaries: Growing Pains

“And now the world has one more quarterback.”

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.

Bites:

• 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!”

And Pieces:

• 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.

• Grams!

• 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.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

8 comments:

CrazyCris said...

Klaus and Rebekah are going to continuously be a "can't live with'em, can't live without'em" deal. They're both desperate for a family, and they're both the only family they truly have left!

I'm worried not having killed Klaus last season will bite the series in the ass... you shouldn't keep a good villain past his prime! It's not like we can put a chip in his brain and turn him into a love-sick puppy (wait, he kind of already is for Caroline) and then give him his soul back... Do vampires have souls in this series?

Poor Jeremy "I need my sister, not another one of them"! *sigh*

And you're right, the shocker of the episode was that explosion at the end!!! Because of the way it was filmed, for a moment I thought it was Damon getting revenge! But nope... what will we get from this? Very, very curious...

Mark Greig said...

I was a bit disappointed with this one. I felt that they tried to cram too much into one episode and it suffered as a result.

ChrisB said...

This was the one, the show I've been waiting for since last season. It didn't disappoint.

I thought the opening with all the voices speaking about themselves was inspired. And I agree, Josie, that the scene with Elena choosing to live was beautifully shot and acted.

My one quibble was the scene at the end where Stefan put the ring on Elena's finger (dear God, I hope that's not foreshadowing!) while the new day dawned. A tad too on the nose for me.

But, that aside, I am very interested to see where they are going to take this. Bonnie, the reverend, the possibilities are endless.

Billie Doux said...

I was ready for a re-set button. But I forgot that this show doesn't use those. Loved Damon in this one. He was so upset and channeling his emotions with snark but with even more of an edge than usual.

Nadim said...

"Ditto Bonnie, whose powers—like those of my air conditioner—only work when they’re not really needed."

Hahah that line KILLED me!
Wonderful hour. Can't wait to see what the rest of the season has in store for us. The possibilities really are endless.
And by the way, I didn't even remember Alaric until I read your review! Crazy!

Paul Kelly said...

Totally not disappointed! I've been saying since the middle of season two "Surely they can't maintain this pace," and yet they keep on maintaining it. But am I the only person in the world who likes Stefan and thinks Damon's a bit of a yawn? Being in a minority of one is a lonely feeling.

Suzanne said...

Paul, you aren't the only one. I like Stefan, too. I don't dislike Damon, but like you, I sometimes find his responses to be too predictable. I am a little tired of the whole triangle thing that these shows always feature, too. It is getting a bit old.

I liked the premiere fairly well. I am worried that they might be jumping the shark, but I look forward to watching more episodes this season to hopefully be proven wrong.

Marianna said...

The ending actually seemed forced to me, like the writers bit off more they could chew and needed to find a way out. They couldn't continue with half the town knowing they were vampires so they had the aggressive vampire-hating council kill themselves?! It didn't really fit.