The Vampire Diaries Season Premiere Review “Growing Pains” (Season 4, Episode 1)

“Then you shouldn’t have let her die.

After months of painstakingly waiting, the hit teen drama, The Vampire Diaries, is back with a bite for its fourth season on The CW.

At the end of season 3, fans were left with their jaws gaping open when the lead character, Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) was laying at death’s door. Elena was the victim of a car accident caused by vengeful original, Rebekah (Claire Holt), and she was led to believe her brother, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) was dead.

Alaric (Matt Davis) did manage to stake the hybrid, but in a surprise move, Bonnie (Kat Graham) transferred his soul (or something to that regard) into the body of fellow hybrid, Tyler (Michael Trevino). When Rebekah stepped in front of his truck, sending it flying off of the bridge and into the lake below, Matt (Zach Roerig) was racing back to Mystic Falls to reunite Elena with Stefan (Paul Wesley) before the unthinkable happened and Klaus’ death caused a domino effect that tore them apart forever.

She had finally made her decision, and it only took her all season to do it. Stefan tried to rescue Elena before she drowned, but she was adamant that that she not be first this time around. The result was that Elena died. All of which led to the big, jaw dropping reveal that she had vampire blood in her system.

Basically, an entire chain of events unfolded because of one giant miscommunication. It was all very tragic in a Romeo and Juliet-esque way.

The premiere picked up right where last season of The Vampire Diaries left off in the same fashion, more or less, that we saw with season 2. I have to admit that although the way they played it last year – using the summer as a nice back story to divulge later on – worked, it’s nice to feel like you haven’t skipped a beat.

With the question of whether or not Elena will complete the transformation and become a full-fledged vampire hanging in the air like the imaginary elephant in the room, I for one don’t want to miss any part of that decision making process – not even in the interest of a tale for later.

When Elena finally comes to, it doesn’t take long for Stefan to clear up any misconceptions that things had miraculously worked out in everyone’s favor. As she struggles to come to grips with the decision she might have to make, and the short period of time she has to make it, another option is presented. Bonnie has decided to put all her witchy brewhaha and what not into reversing the whole inconvenient death thing. The new plan is to bring Elena back from the dead, before she becomes the undead – a pretty sound plan if you ask me, I am definitely pro-life when it comes to Elena.

There was really no element of surprise in the fact that in the end she had to make a decision that didn’t involve dying in the permanent sense. As much as the episode tried to create this dramatic climactic experience around whether or not Elena was going to survive, the truth is that she’s the main character and everyone knew she wasn’t going anywhere, no matter the shock wave that it would have created. Also, the series is pretty consistent about saving the best deaths until the end of a season – i.e. Aunt Jenna (Sara Canning) in season 2, and Alaric in season 3 – so it’s pretty safe to say that Elena has at least the rest of the season to “live.” But most likely, she’ll live longer than the series itself.

The most surprising part of the episode was how quickly and rashly the council reacted to the news Alaric delivered before his tear-jerking end. When the original witch spelled Alaric and turned him into a vampire, vampire hunter with one goal: eliminating the entire vampire population, and tethered him to Elena’s life – he approached the council with all his insider knowledge.

Since the Mayor and Sheriff were compromised now that both of their children were supernatural – Tyler, a vampire/werewolf hybrid, and Caroline (Candice Accola), a vampire – it makes sense that they would become obsolete in the eyes of the council when the information started flowing. Meredith Fell (Torrey DeVitto) also lost face given her history of using vampire blood to help patients who were beyond the care of modern medicine.

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