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

With the emergence of the new town protector springing up, the ending to this episode seems completely out of left field. How would that help to eliminate vampires from Mystic Falls? Anyways, before that they seemed to be on the right path with the off-the-grid farm house (which was a great find by the location scouts for sure), but obviously failed to take into consideration what they were really up against – not vampires, but love. Stefan loves Elena, and so does Damon (Ian Somerhalder). Naturally, Damon was going to come to the rescue of Elena. His sidekick may have not been ideal, but the job got done anyway.

One of the things I was most excited to see in this episode were the moments when Elena remembered everything that Damon had compelled her to forget. I was sure that seeing these memories through the emotionally heightened eyes of Elena was going to be the highlight of Growing Pains for me. Unfortunately though, her almost non-reaction took away from what could have been a really great jumping off point for the rest of the season.

When Elena confronted Damon about his reasons behind making her forget, he seemed to be the only one with any emotional investment. She might have chosen Stefan, but ignoring the intense history between her and Damon would be a mistake, and oh, a complete waste of season 3.

Considering the strong opinion about her human versus vampire future that Elena has been carting around since she became aware of vampires, the whole whimsical tone at the end seems very uncharacteristic. Both Elena and Stefan seemed emotionally undeveloped in this episode, which made everyone else’s actions and reaction seem like they were overboard.

Other than that, starting the season out with a spat between originals is a brilliant play. Placing Klaus and Rebekah on opposite teams opens up a whole new series of potential storyline options. Klaus risked his safety to save Caroline from the council, which seems very unlike him. He is willing to sacrifice almost everyone in his life, including his own family, if it furthers his personal vendetta, yet he can never manage to forsake Caroline entirely.

That doesn’t mean he hasn’t allowed terrible things to happen to her, like compelling Tyler to bite her and using saving her life as an excuse to flirt. Considering how his threat to rip out Tyler’s heart ended up for Bonnie, it doesn’t seem like the best endorsement for his dating potential. Even though, I’m not opposed to letting them make a go of it, as I’ve made no secret of. He’s almost pleasant, and definitely more bearable, when he’s got her attention.

Speaking of Bonnie, she was extremely well utilized in this episode. In the past there would be several episode lags where it seemed like she was only making a cameo on the show. It looks like her dark magic storyline is going to be a huge part of this season. And, what was the “other power source” she now has that she referred to? I can’t wait to find out what kind of magic she’s tapping into. It’s a smart move bringing her in more. Alaric’s absence not only leaves the Gilbert kids parent and guardian-less, it leave a big gap in general that won’t be easy to fill.

Despite the lack of passion from Elena and Stefan that set a dreadfully boring tone all the way through, The Vampire Diaries is officially back and off to an interesting start. It’s anyone’s guess which of the multiple possible storylines will take center stage over the course of this season, and what new ones have yet to be revealed. Considering what relationship hell last season was, you’d think Elena and Stefan would be more than just comfortable with the idea of forever. After watching this episode, I think I’m going to have to start rooting for “Delena” again.

What do you want to see this season? Do you like Elena’s relationship to stay as the status quot or do you want to see more hot Delena moments? Should Caroline play it safe and stay with Tyler, or does she need some Klaus in her life? And, what happened to the council?

Let us know what you think and what you’re most looking forward to in the comment section below!

Welcome back for another round of The Vampire Diaries! I’ll be here all season.