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Vampire Diaries: The Rager

“There’s more to you than meets the eye, isn’t there?”

This episode had some wonderful moments and some wonderful set-up, including “vague threats, ominous prophecies, and disappearing tattoos.” But it also made me realize why I have been a little bit uncomfortable this entire season: Elena’s transition to vampire is—how to put this?—kinda horrifying, and not in the good Halloweeny way.

Elena is overcome with exaggerated emotions, especially rage against Rebekah. Stefan sees that she is struggling to control herself, and he wants to help her learn to be a better, happier vampire. So does Damon. Elena seems to be more drawn to Damon’s brand of vampirism, and that’s her choice. But I’m not entirely cool with Elena’s two much-older boyfriends (let’s be honest, that’s what they are) taking the initiative on helping Elena become a grown-up vampire. It’s creepy and rubs my feminism the wrong way.

Especially since Caroline is right there, super-awesome and woefully underused. Even Stefan admired her transition to well-adjusted vampirism, and offered her a position as transition-consultant. But why not just give Caroline full rein? Make it a lovely testament to the power of female friendship, rather than a young woman (or wo-pire) being molded by her older lover and older wannabe-lover?

Is anyone else feeling creeped out?

Anyway, on to the good: Elena exploring immortality’s freedoms was delightful, and the moments she has that aren’t filled with crazy emotions (like bringing Matt a bandaid) show that she’s still a great person. Damon and Dr. Fell flirting was even more delightful; I sense some new ‘shipping potential. I wonder how that potential relationship might conflict with Elena’s visions of Damon. And I wonder if she’ll start having visions of Klaus now that she’s blood-shared with him. (Or maybe the visions were brought on by werewolf venom, not blood-sharing?)

I grimaced when Klaus appeared, but loved his scenes with Damon. And I’m enchanted by the possibility of “the five,” which I assume are a group of hunters bound together by fate and mystical ancestry. And are smarter than the average bear faster than the average hunter.

What does it mean that Jeremy might be one of them? Does that mean his dad (or mom) was a hunter, too? Or is it not genetic? Klaus saved Connor Jordan from the explosion because he’s more useful alive than dead—what does that mean? And how cool is it that Vampire Diaries seems to be taking a mysterious-mystical-mystery approach to this season? Connor Jordan is awesome, too: delightfully quippy.

The truly evil part of me is also dancing the dance of joy about Tyler. No, seriously: he cheated on Caroline, eh? Sounds like the potential for a juicy break-up. I don’t want Caroline to be sad, but I do want her to find a better man than Tyler.


• Stefan: “I thought I’d teach her to have some fun.”
Damon: “Those who can’t do, teach.”

• Caroline: “You should write a book. Go on The View.”

• Dr. Fell: “You are a good brother.”
Damon: “I’m the bad brother.”

• April: “You used to read me bedtime stories.”
Elena: “And now I’m giving you beer. Sounds about right.”

• Damon: “Did I say that I was a germaphobe? I meant ‘vampire.’”

• Damon: “Maybe clue me in on this ‘greater evil.’ Because I’ve fought this guy, and there’s nothing more evil than that.”
Klaus: “Yeah, truth be told, I’m as evil as it gets.”

• Jeremy: “See, I told you I could be a badass!”
Damon: “Badasses don’t say that.”

• Dr. Fell: “I am not your new partner in vampire crime.”

And Pieces:

• Needle! In gums! Needle! In the gums! Maybe the next cold open can just be five minutes of nails on a chalkboard.

• Why is Stefan still attending high school?

• I laughed out loud when Connor Jordan asked Matt which of his friends was a vampire. I half-expected Matt to say, “Don’t you mean, which one isn’t?”

• Elena has now blood-shared with Damon and Klaus. Stefan better get in on that action before he gets pushed out.

• Matt took a turn towards the dark side, didn’t he? Completely willing to kill Rebekah. She deserves it, too.

• The song playing over Tyler’s reunion with Haley (Phoebe Tonkin of The Secret Circle, sporting an ambiguous accent) was The Lumineer’s “Ho Hey.” It is getting a massive amount of radio play here in LA, and is the cutest pop song I’ve ever heard:

I’m not sure how to rate this. What do you think?

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


  1. Glad to hear that you're as bemused by Tonkin's wandering accent as me and Paul are, Josie. He's dubbed it Tonkinese, one part Aussie, one part faux-American, & one part something-no-fucker's-ever-heard of.

    I wish Caroline would take over as Elena's vampire mentor too. Besides being self serving, Stefan and Damon are both kinda crap at it.

  2. Josie I didn't have any creepy vibes until I read your review! Why why WHYYY??? You're right it's kind of unsettling how these older guys are trying to mold her!
    But you know what, I'll try to overlook that since I'm just adoring this year and I have a feeling it's going to be the show's strongest yet!

    Elena's transition has taken the show to a whole other level and infused all the relationships with an interesting dynamic!(but Caroline as Elena's full-time mentor sounds like an excellent idea)

    I still don't like Klaus or Tyler and just pray they get written off the show soon. I find both actors to be terribly boring and lacking in charisma.

    And Elena standing on the back of the motorcycle? It made me all warm inside. So touching and beautiful.

  3. I don't have a problem with Stefan and Damon being the ones to teach Elena how to adapt. They're the best qualified. Yes, Stefan was complimentary of Caroline's efforts, but Caroline's not been and come back from the dark places the boys have. They have experience on their side. Plus, Elena's having problems with her transition, some of which even the boys don't understand. If Elena went off on a murder spree would Caroline be able to stop her? Probably not as easily as Stefan or Damon. Using the strongest, most experienced vampires to guide/watch over her, makes total sense to me. And, obviously, Stefan's her bloke.

    It also sets up a nice new tension between brothers. Now Elena's made her choice over who she wants to be with, and Damon kind of accepts that, we don't want them sat around the camp fire singing Kumbaya. We want new conflict, which in turn will hopefully cause all manner of emotional confusion for Elena.

    And I totally agree about the needle in the gums thing. We really don't need to see that. I'll never have a filling again... particularly not in a front tooth.

  4. Wo-pire, Josie?
    Hahaha. Cool!
    Amen to Caroline being Elena's mentor.
    Problem is, these Salvatore bros always want to up the other, especially where Elena is concern. :)
    Awesome review, Josie.
    A marvelous weekend to you.

  5. It was interesting that, although Stefan was upset about Elena turning to Damon for help, Stefan turned to Caroline in this episode. Now there's this Damon-Elena, Stefan-Caroline dynamic building. It'll be interesting to watch Damon, Stefan, and Elena interact while helping teach Elena. I hope Caroline gets to be more actively involved in helping. I'm very curious about the five. Also now Klaus is on the good guy team...? And how does blood-sharing work?

  6. Yeah, I didn't get creepy vibes, either, by Stefan and Damon being the ones to help Elena out, though I did wonder why Caroline wasn't helping out more.

    I assumed the hallucinations were from the werewolf venom (which in itself is a whole new aspect - who knew that werewolves had venom?). Didn't Damon hallucinate Elena after being bit?

    And I don't think the bloodsharing with Klaus will effect Elena since it was for healing only - though that could be just True Blood mythology messing with my logic (on that show, vampire blood heals sick/injured humans, but healthy humans can take just a drop and get high). I LOVED Damon and Klaus teaming up to take down Connor! Made me miss Alaric. Damon does need a new frenemy to trade quips with.

    While it was kind of mean for Matt to turn on Rebekah, it was also the smartest possible thing he could have done. He couldn't deny he had a vampire feeding on him, so he pointed Connor toward the one vampire at school he can't kill - Rebekah. Who knows, maybe Matt thought Rebekah would take Connor out and save everyone else the trouble.

    I've heard that it's likely Tyler didn't actually cheat on Caroline with Haley - they just became very close. But lying about it and hiding her aren't really going to win him points.

  7. It's interesting that you reacted this way, Josie, because even though I was indeed thinking that Caroline has been underutilized, I haven't been at all creeped out by the Salvatores teaching Elena how to be a vampire. I've been seeing it an extension of their love triangle, with Elena still trying to be Stefan's good little girlfriend even though she's changed so much, and finding it so much easier to go to Damon for actual help. It just feels to me like Damon loves her for who she really is, even when she's like this. It reminded me of Spike loving Buffy no matter what, even if she came back from the dead a little bit wrong.

    I'm liking the new vampire hunter stuff, too. And Damon and Klaus teaming up was hilarious.

  8. Damon and Stefan have been vampires for a much longer time than Caroline and Elena (has it even been a year for Caroline, time moves very slow in Mystic Falls), so I find it natural that they are the ones helping her adjust to her new way of living.. But what Caroline lacks in age and 'wisdom', she makes up for by knowing Elena longer, and being a girl of the same age.. I say the more helpers, the merryer ;)

    Smart thinking saying Rebekah's name, Matt! Although, I forgot; do we know who the Salvatore brothers, Caroline and now Elena was originally turned from? (which bloodline)??

    I did not think of Elena drinking Klaus' blood as blood sharing. It was not to feed, it was to heal. Damon also got his blood once, although not from the vein.. And this time, Stefan asked him (Klaus) to do it, so he can't be jelaous..
    But as Chela Madison said; Elena turning to Damon, and now Stefan to Caroline.. If Stelena can't be honest about their trouble/weaknesses with eachother, I can't believe that's a healthy relationship..(but what do I know, I'm still single) ;)

    "The five"?! I really hope Jeremy isn't one of them (although it would be nice if he was more valuable alive than dead)..
    Guess we'll just have to wait and see...

  9. "The Five" a "major" Evil! Lots of new mysteries this season, hope they deliver on them soon! ;o)

    Not creeped out By Damon-Stefan-Elena either... I too think Caroline doesn't have enough experience, although perhaps since she was turned more recently she remembers better the problems she had? Which I don't remember as being too many except the guy she killed.

    Wasn't Stefan supposed to be in the same class as Elena? That would make him a "senior" so that explains the school thing. Anyhow this year they graduate. I wonder what they'll do after that? Leave Mystic Falls? Or invent a local University à la UC Sunnydale? But those are questions for next year.

  10. I think because Elena has to drink from humans Damon is the only one who is really qualified to teach her. Caroline only drinks from blood bags and Stefan is definitely in no position to help. In fact I think Caroline would be a better teacher for Stefan than Damon because she shares the same views as him. Damon had the right idea but he doesn't mind drinking straight from humans while Stefa does.

  11. Nice review once again. However, I'm surprised you didn't mention Rebekah at all, her goading of Elena was truly the highlight of this episode, with the "ring-theft" the true epitome.

    Does anyone else think that it's weird that Rebekah seems to have forgotten that Matt killed her brother Finn, and the one "good" vampire but keeps bending over backwards to apologize for almost killing him and Elena, both of whom are still alive.

    Also, worthy a mention of sorts is that it's apparently the first week of school and Bonnie didn't turn up for classes... And that nobody else seemed to give a damn where she was.

  12. Enjoyed Rebekah's goading Elena.
    Very naughty considering the state Elena is in right now.
    Matt's guilty-for-being-alive status needs to ease a bit also.
    Good review, Josie. Thanks!

  13. After an akward start to the season I feel the show is finally back in the game. (I'm sorry, but mentioning 1,000 times how everything was heightened, but having no time to explain how the unescapable cells became escapable was extremely annoying. Even just showing the keys jingling from the guard's belt would have appeased me.)

    "Too Close" was a brilliant song to play when Elana & Stefan were having their hot vamp sexy time. The intensity of the music fit the scene perfectly but a nagging voice in the back of my head was saying "Hey, isn't this a break up song?". And then hello Damon! The lyrics couldn't be more perfect for Elana's situation.

    I seem to be one of the few who is happy Klaus is back and about to wreak havoc between Tyler & Caroline. This love triangle seems too similar to E/S/D though - Klaus & Tyler are brothers in a hybrid sort of manner; Caroline is truly in love with Tyler and has had a love/hate relationship with Klaus; Klaus is the selfish, destructive bad boy who is his better self with Caroline. Anyway, I could watch a whole show of just him & Damon chasing hunters together (sigh). Possibly joining the 5 together with Elana may make her human again??? Lots of clues were thrown out there this episode.

  14. I love Klaus and Rebekah and am delighted to see them awkwardly teaming up with/locking horns with our heroes. I also really like Matt and Rebekah as a totally weird and ridiculously unlikely couple, though obviously the fact she tried to kill him and is the reason Elena is a vampire is a problem there.

    I wasn't creeped out - judging by what I've been reading while catching up all week (leading me to think I should probably never watch season 1) that's the least of my moral concerns by a long, long way. Like Spartacus Blood and Sand or True Blood, real world issues get turned off for this show (otherwise the lovely Matt would easily be the sexiest guy on it. He's not half bad as it is).

    I'm sensing a Stefan/Caroline vibe, plus obviously Damon/Elena, and Klaus probably going after Caroline again as well. tyler can run off with his werewolf. Didn't even notice Bonnie wasn't in the episode, didn't care!

    Didn't Evil Alaric leave a message about Jeremy carrying on his evil ways? Is that where Jeremy's link with the vampire hunter comes from - something to do with the resurrection rings?

    I miss Alaric. I hope Ghost Alaric comes back soon.

  15. HI, Josie, great review. Since you asked, I didn't feel any bad vibes with Stefan and Damon coaching Elena into her new phase of undead life. They've always been much older than her, so age shouldn't be an issue now. I don't think either of them want to mold her, but really help her go through these first hard times as a vampire. And Damon I think he's the most qualified one to help her out.
    I'm pretty intrigued by the Five now, and why Klaus got so interested in Connor he kind of saved him from the blast and what he knows about the Five that we don't know and that made him get interested in saving Elena. Because he said to Stefan that if he had called him 30 minutes before , he wouldn't have given a damn about Elena dying, after all she's no use for him. Why changed after he knew Connor was one of the Five? Plus, Jeremy being a vampire hunter to be? Didn't he try to turn into one? Anyways, I soooooooo want to see the next episode. And I stil hope to see Ghost Alaric soon too - I guess he may be a help from the other side.

  16. I was really interested by your take on the Salvatore boys and their relationship with Elena. Something was bothering me during this episode, but I couldn't quite put my finger on it. I'm not sure I'm creeped out by their helping Elena; it's more that Elena is obviously drawn to Damon and there's a weird chemistry thing going on with Stefan and Caroline. The relationship between Stefan and Elena feels really odd right now.

    And, while the scene with Elena on the back of the motorcycle was meant to be freeing and touching, the green screen effect was so obvious and badly done that I just groaned through it.

    But, this show was worth the price of admission just to watch Klaus and Damon working together. I love Damon and his bromances. I say, let them work together a lot.

    "Ho Hey" is this month's song. I have now heard it as part of the soundtrack to four separate shows that I watch, all within the past month. Good thing it's a good song; it gets stuck in my head for hours every time I hear it!


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