The Vampire Diaries Review: “Because The Night” (Season 4, Episode 17)


The Vampire Diaries Review: "Because The Night" (Season 4, Episode 17)

A change of scenery, a tangible lead toward Katherine (Nina Dobrev) and the cure, and a brainwashed Bonnie (Kat Graham) – what more can you ask for in an episode of The Vampire Diaries? If you were looking for anything that might resemble familiarity, than this episode was probably not what you were expecting. If there’s anything more annoying than a predictable, self-righteous Elena (also Dobrev), it’s a vengeful, superficial vampire with tunnel vision bent on messing things up for everyone she doesn’t remember she loves.

When Elena became a vampire her extreme humanity was the one thing that set her apart. Even as a supernatural being whose most basic instinct is to drink human blood, she was stuck in a guilt-heightened emotional state. Elena was still essentially the same person that we’ve watched for the last 3 seasons except that she was no longer the damsel in distress – at least physically. Emotionally, however, Elena was the same basket-case we’ve watched episode after episode suffer through tragedy after tragedy, somehow still managing to come out on top.

Now that Elena, through the suggestive sire influence of Damon (Ian Somerhalder), has flipped off the switch to her humanity, she’s become another person. Usually in shows you watch as this happens either at a gradual pace or something extreme causes a change in behavior, but when dealing with vampires the change can happen in an instant. There was no leading up to this. No signs of the direction she was going in. One minute she is falling apart over the death of her brother – the only remaining family member she had – and the next, she’s emotionally catatonic.

The obvious question when all this happened was how close would this new Elena resemble her doppelganger, Katherine. Katherine is the way she is for a lot of reasons, but none of them involve her humanity being shut off. Katherine is a master planner. She has survived for centuries purely because she has extreme forethought – she makes strategic alliances, she plans, she always stays one step ahead. Elena may be willing to betray those closest to her at the moment in a very Katherine fashion, but her plan only reaches the cure. What happens after she finds it? What will she do once she’s destroyed it or given it to someone else to take? She’s not stupid, but I don’t get the feeling she’s thought passed that moment.

I thought that a new version of Elena was exactly what the show needed, and don’t get me wrong, I am intrigued by her new emotional shortcomings – but, she seems more like a brat than ever. The old Elena never really bothered me. You always knew where you stood with her and which side she stood on. Now, Elena is like a bad version of Katherine, and almost just as unlikeable. Although, at least she got a new haircut to go with her new killer personality. It won’t lessen the blow this betrayal will have on Damon, but at least she looks good in the process.

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