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Vampire Diaries Season 4 Episode 1 Recap: Growing Pains

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Last season, we said goodbye to Matthew Davis’ Alaric, watched Klaus take over Tyler’s body and saw Elena in the first seconds of her transformation. In the season 4 premiere, Growing Pains, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) had very different approaches to Elena’s predicament and the Founder’s Council put their plan into action.

An unwelcome surprise
The episode picked up merely hours after the 3rd season finale as Elena (Nina Dobrev) awoke in her bedroom, with Stefan and Damon watching over her. They had the unfortunate task of informing her that even though Matt survived the accident, she did not. However, Meredith secretly dosed her with Damon’s blood to heal her previous injuries and she was now in transition. Elena was horrified at the thought of becoming a vampire and wanted to continue searching for any possible alternative. Damon was quick to point out that vampirism is not something one can merely reverse and that if Elena wanted to survive, she needed to feed ASAP. Elena chose to ignore Damon’s advice, usually a good move when it comes to Damon, but this time he may have been right.Vampire Diaries photo: CW

Hybrid shenanigans
Klaus (Joseph Morgan) -- still possessing Tyler (Michael Trevino) -- wanted to be put him back in his own body, since it was damaged but not destroyed. Bonnie (Kat Graham) informed Klaus-Tyler that she had to focus all of her witchy energy on finding a way to save Elena’s life and when that argument failed, she reminded him that he needed Elena alive if he planned to make more of his precious hybrids.

Later, Klaus-Tyler received a call informing him that Caroline had been captured by the Council. Klaus rescued Caroline (Candice Accola), who was more than a little shocked to see that ‘Tyler’ was still alive. The two made-out a bit before Caroline learned who ‘Tyler’ really was and demanded that Klaus get out of her boyfriend’s body, lickety-split.

Dark (death) magic
With everyone banking on her to save the day yet again, Bonnie tried to contact the witch spirits but when that did not work, she told Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) there was another way to help Elena. Bonnie said Elena’s soul was probably stuck between the worlds of the living and the dead. If she could cross to the other side, she might be able to bring Elena’s soul back with her, thus restoring Elena’s humanity. Unfortunately, the only way to accomplish that was for Bonnie to die. (Just how many times will Bonnie sacrifice herself via magic before she realizes that Elena always survives?) Jeremy was very much against this plan (rightly so) but Bonnie was determined to see it through.

Bonnie did a spell to stop her heart and travel to the other side. Before she could bring Elena’s soul back to the living world, Bonnie’s grandmother showed up. Grams’ told Bonnie that she should not be messing with dark magic and if she continued to do so, there would be unimaginable consequences. Grams’ then pushed Bonnie back into the real world and Bonnie had to tell Jeremy that she was unsuccessful in restoring Elena’s soul. (The Jeremy/Bonnie scenes were a nice reminder that there is someone in this town who still worries about what all this magic-use does to Bonnie. It’s a shame the writers split them up before we got to see that relationship develop.)

Body-swapping consequences
When Bonnie refused to reverse the possession spell because she was not strong enough, Klaus threatened to rip out Tyler’s heart and jump into the nearest body. With Tyler’s life on the line, Bonnie once again tapped into some serious dark magic and restored Klaus and Tyler to their original forms. Unfortunately, the warnings proved to be true and the witch spirits took out their anger on Grams. Bonnie was horrified by the results of her actions but with her access to the witch spirits cut off, will she be forced to tap into dark magic again? Is this the start of the dark! Bonnie arc most Bonnie fans have been waiting for?
Vampire Diaries photo: CW
The Council made their move
Pastor Young, under orders from the Founder’s Council, rounded up the town’s supply of vervain and used it to capture some of the vampires. Caroline managed to escape but Stefan and Rebekah (Claire Holt) were not so lucky. Once Pastor Young realized Elena was in transition, she was imprisoned with the others. And since she had yet to feed and there was no human blood in sight, Elena was dying. In what could have been her final moments, Elena told Stefan that she was on the bridge that night because she chose him and it was the best decision she had ever made.

The two affirmed their love for one another and even Rebekah was touched. But since this show would be nothing without its leading lady, Rebekah and Stefan worked together to get Elena some much-needed blood and she completed her transition. Elena was now a fully-fledged vampire.

Relationships are complicated
Elena’s first act as a newbie vamp was to save Matt (Zach Roerig) from Damon, who was more than a little enraged that Matt survived when Elena did not. Elena and Damon got into yet another argument and Elena revealed that she remembered all the times Damon compelled her, including their first meeting and the night Damon confessed his love.

After witnessing Stefan and Elena’s devotion to one another, Rebekah was less than thrilled by Klaus’ return. She was furious that she had loved Klaus through everything and all he cared about was creating a new family. In her angered state, Rebekah destroyed Klaus’ remaining supply of doppelganger blood, thus ending his plan to create more hybrids. Klaus reacted by strangling Rebekah and disowning her as his sister. (Here’s hoping Rebekah will come into her own now that she is finally free of Klaus.)

One day at a time
The episode concluded with a lovely moment between Stefan and the newly-vamped Elena. Stefan told Elena that the days to come would be the hardest she ever had to face, but Elena chose to be grateful that she would still be around to see those future days. Stefan gave Elena a daylight ring Bonnie made for her (because apparently Bonnie had no shortage of time even with the dark magic spells and momentary death) and the two agreed to take things one day at a time.

And what about the Council? It looks like our heroes will have a few less enemies to worry about, as Pastor Young became a sort of suicide bomber and took the Council with him into the afterlife.

Despite missing some crucial scenes, I thought this episode was a fairly good start to the season and it should be interesting to see where the writers take some of these new storylines.

 

Contact Megan Cole at mfirefly10@gmail.com

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