*Spoiler Alert: Please note that this post is a recap of the first episode of The Vampire Diaries Season 4 and therefore contains spoilers and scene description. Do not read any further if you have not yet watched the season premiere.
The Vampire Diaries Season 4 premiere had it all: gut-wrenching moments and heart-warming ones. Downright terrifying scenes and ones that made us laugh out loud. Recap the whole event below to find out what happened as poor Elena Gilbert embarked on the transition process and as the Founders Council sweep through Mystic Falls ambushing everything and anything with fangs!
Elena awakens to the sound of a lawnmower, beeping cars, and birds chirping. However, this is anything but a normal scenario. She finds Damon and Stefan waiting by her bedside and they inform her that she actually drowned with vampire blood in her system and is now in transition. FREAK OUT TIME!
In an interesting contrast set-up, the Salvatore brothers are on opposing sides in terms of what Elena needs to do now. Stefan wants her to hold off on drinking blood since Bonnie mentioned there might be a spell out there that can prevent the transition. Meanwhile, Damon is seizing hope by its head and smashing it right out the window. “There is no way out of it. We all know the drill — you feed or you die. There is no door number three,” he snaps.
What does Elena want to do though? Her situation reminds us much of Buffy Summers’ situation in Season 6 of Joss Whedon’s hit series. In the episode titled “After Life,” Buffy divulges a huge secret to Spike — one that she cannot share with her friends since they were the ones who caused her great depression: “Wherever I … was … I was happy. At peace. I knew that everyone I cared about was all right. I knew it. Time didn’t mean anything, nothing had form… but I was still me, you know? And I was warm and I was loved… and I was finished. Complete. I don’t understand about dimensions or theology or any of …but I think I was in heaven. And now I’m not.” Elena has a similar moment of clarity. She knew what was at stake when she sacrificed her life for Matt and was ready to meet death (some might even say even more than willing considering all the sadness and pain in her life). She cries out, “I was ready to die. I was supposed to die. I don’t want to be — I can’t be a vampire. If there’s something Bonnie can do we have to try.” Case closed.
Flash forward to later in the day. Elena is staring into her mirror and feeling around her mouth for fangs. None spotted yet. However, she can now hear the whizzing of a nearby light-bulb due to her blossoming vamp powers and you can tell she’s quite sickened by it. She then sees Jeremy in the hallway and runs to him. The Gilbert siblings hug and he asks her if she’s okay because he’s an expert on transitions due to all that Vicki Donovan drama. In a rare moment, Elena snaps at him for pelting her with all these questions but then apologizes. (We really thought she was going to go in for the kill right then and there!) Jeremy then announces that Bonnie has gone to the witch ghosts for help just like she did when Jeremy died in the Season 2 finale. With a bewildered grimace, Elena exclaims, “Yea but the consequences were horrible!” Jeremy then assuages her concerns with the cold, harsh truth, “What could be more horrible than you turning into a vampire?” (We have a few ideas but we’ll just let them enjoy their bonding session.) “We’re going to find a way out of this. Everything’s going to be okay.” Oh Elena, sweet Elena. And as she goes over to unscrew the light bulb that’s filling the room with the sound of electric currents, she accidentally smashes it to bits with her new-found vamp strength. Clearly, she’s okay everyone!
Meanwhile, Bonnie is back at Tyler’s man cave where she’s staring at the dessicated body of one Niklaus Mikaelson. Klaus (as Tyler) walks in and saucily comments, “It’s beautiful isn’t it?”
Bonnie sighs at his vanity and asks, “What is that doing here, Klaus? The deal we made with Tyler is that you’d leave his body and jump into someone else’s the first chance you got.” She then tells him she has no time for his hybrid shenanigans and that she’s too busy helping her best friend Elena. Klaus smirks and without warning, lifts Bonnie up in a choke-hold. Wriggling under his strong grasp she gasps out that preventing Elena’s transition would benefit him too since he could have 24/7 access at the doppelganger ATM machine. He loosens his grip and relents.
Pastor Young and Founder Council members wake up and decide to stage a coup. They sweep the hospital for blood and Dr. Meredith Fell is beyond shocked. “Who gave you that authority?” she demands. Pastor Young responds that the Council has asked him to secure the town and unlike some “other” (nudge nudge) founding families, he doesn’t have “conflicting interests.” Meredith continues to pretend she doesn’t get the hint and asks, “What is that supposed to mean?” The good reverend just looks at her and utters the final blow: “Alaric Saltzman told us everything, Meredith…probably time to start looking for a new job.”
Rapid fire scenes: Matt and Caroline hug and talk about being a fugitive and why she’s sticking around. They hug and reminisce about Tyler and then she flees when a intense council member comes sniffing about. Carol Lockwood is arrested because Pastor Young and his crew have a few questions to ask her about Tyler. Sheriff Forbes hurries to the scene but finds herself blocked off by Pastor Young who tells her she’s going to be stripped of her badge. She’s apparently no longer fit to protect them. (But she’s more than fit to rock some sexy blush!) Liz calls Caroline to ensure that she’s safe and far away but Caroline’s back at the house and leaving with packed suitcases. When she exits the house, the deputies zoom in and incapacitate her via syringe to the neck.
Elena and Stefan are in the Gilbert kitchen and she’s biting into a delicious looking turkey sandwich (adorned with tomato and lettuce..probably mayo). But blegh! It’s disgusting enough to make her want to throw up. (It’s okay, Elena. It’s the cool thing to do these days. Cue a montage of Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber puking mid-performance.)
Stefan: I should have saved you first. You shouldn’t be going through this right now.
Elena: No. If you’d saved me then Matt would be dead. What do you think I’d be going through then? Stefan, listen to me. You did the right thing. You did what you always do. You respected my choice.
Stefan: And what am I supposed to do if Bonnie can’t figure out a way to help you? Because then you have another choice to make. Either let yourself die or become a vampire.
Elena: Well then we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. OMG. Did I just say “cross that bridge?”
Stefan: You’re laughing. I’m pretty sure you don’t actually think that’s funny.
Elena: I can’t stop though.
Stefan: Your emotions are bit heightened today. [pauses] A lot heightened.
Laughter turns to tears. Stefan embraces her and whispers, “It’s okay, it’s okay” into her long, shiny hair and tells her, “No matter what happens, I’m here for you. I can help you.”
Elena goes back upstairs where’s it dark to rest for a bit and sees Damon waiting for her in his room. However, he’s not really there. Her memories are coming back to her and immediately she remembers what happened in Season 2 when he gave her back her pendant and confessed that he loved her and because of that he couldn’t be selfish with her and didn’t deserve her and had to compel her to forget (aka the scene featuring the soul-sweeping song “I Was Wrong”).
Back at the Mikaelson manor, Rebekah is mourning the death of her brother Klaus and looking at his sketches. With one angry sweep, she tosses all his artwork onto the floor. Damon of course finds this the most opportune moment to enter the room. Rebekah mutters through clenched teeth, “You should know better than to sneak up on a lady.” Damon acts surprised and says, “Good advice! Have you seen one?” Well, two can play at that game. She remarks haughtily, “Tragic about Elena.” She adds, “Not to make a gray cloud grayer but does Matt even have automobile insurance?” Damon goes in for the kill with a stake in his hand and the two battle it out. Damon appears to be winning but then bullets whirl through the windowpane and right into Bex’s back. (Damn, son! Now her cool leather jacket is all ruined!) Anyway, Damon makes a run for it while Rebekah turns around to see what’s happening and is struck by a bullet right to the heart. She immediately desiccates and collapses.
Elena’s looking at pictures of her family and hears a noise. She hurries downstairs and finds Stefan surrounded by Pastor Young’s posse of well-armed thugs protectors. She halts and Stefan tells her not to move. (It’s practically a game of Red Light, Green Light…except that these peeps mean business!)
Back at his new man cave, Klaus as Tyler is brooding about in the dark. His phone starts ringing so he pulls it out to take a look at who’s calling him. Mom. “Ugh,” he grumbles, “You incessant woman.” He then answers the call and pretends to be all jolly, “Hey mom! What’s up?” (Um, has Klaus never interacted with Tyler…?) Anyway, his mom asks if he’s okay and tells him not to tell his whereabouts because the less she knows the better. She then sighs with relief that he’s not with Caroline and Klaus as Tyler suddenly perks up. “What do you mean?” he demands. She informs him that the Council took poor Care-bear and Tyler’s facial muscles tense up and spell out one thing: Watch out, bitches. Angry Klaus is on the loose!
Bex awakens to find herself in a dingy old van, bounded by vervain ropes, and riding next to Caroline. (What — no shotgun?) Caroline then catches her up to speed, “Alaric outed us all to the council.” Before Rebekah can take a moment to digest this startling tidbit of information and indulge in a little blonde chick chatter, the van turns sideways and all hell breaks loose. Glass flies all over the place and Bex and Caroline are struggling in the back gasping for air. No worries, ladies. Niklaus to the rescue. The hybrid, disguised in Tyler’s body, plucks the van door right off its hinges and frees her. (Two birds. One Klaus.) Caroline acts as though she’s seen a ghost (which is possible, to be honest, in this forsaken town) and she begins to tear up (happy tears of course) — but he brushes her natural curiosity aside by telling her he’s pretty damn hard to kill. He adds, “No time.” Rebekah looks on in shock. However, Klaus doesn’t free Bex. She exclaims, “Hey! What about me?” He pokes his head back in the van — when Caroline is well out of earshot — and simply states, “Keep them busy, little sister.” (And the Brother of the Year award goes to…)
Sheriff Forbes enters the Gilbert house and finds Damon tidying up. Dr. Fell is lingering in the back. She informs him that the other council members locked her and Carol out of their offices so access to all their computers and files was no longer possible. Damon pretty much reacts as though she’s a dim-witted broad. “So the mayor and the sheriff never contemplated a backup plan, Liz?” (You tell ‘em, brotha!) Dr. Fell cuts him off though and tells him to relax. She then begins interrogating Liz as though she’s not a doctor but rather Olivia Benson investigating a brutal atrocity in NYC. “No. Just that she was in some van in the middle of nowhere and she managed to escape,” Liz attests. (“Perfect. We narrowed it down to nowhere,” Damon retorts causing us to erupt in a fit of giggles.)
Knock knock knock. Who could it be? Well it can’t be the postman because he only rings twice…it’s Matt Donovan! “Um, hey guys. Is Elena here?” Wrong question, buddy. Damon lunges at him, grabs him by the neck, and smashes him into the world. “In what world are you the one who gets to live?” he spits out through clenched teeth. Meredith cries out, “Damon, stop! It wasn’t his fault.” And Liz, tired of his drama queen act, orders, “Let him go, Damon. Now!” He releases poor Matt who’s gasping for breath like a fish out of water.
Back at a cabin in the middle of nowhere, Pastor Young is heating up some soup for himself and Elena. He initiates small talk, “Still want to be a writer? I remember how you’d read your short stories to my daughter when you’d babysit. She still loves writings because of you.” Elena could care less about his daughter though. She looks around nervously and feels around for fangs in her mouth. “Why did you bring me here?” she asks. He reveals, “My deputies can watch out for us here. No vampires have been invited in. Look, Elena, I know it sounds crazy but years ago it was your parents who were advocating having an emergency plan like this. I never thought we’d actually have to use it. Elena? Elena, are you okay?” She demands to know where Stefan is and he merely says that he’s somewhere where he can’t hurt Elena. Elena gets fresh and immediately retorts, “He would never hurt me. You have no idea what you’re talking about.” The world’s most unfortunate pastor then asks the worst question ever, “You hungry?” He might as well just asked that with his neck held right at her mouth.
But Elena don’t have time no preacher man, y’all! She’s all like, “Imma bounce, homeslice” and hurries on outta there and into…the sunlight. Dang. A council member whacks her in the head with a shovel and knocks her unconscious. She awakens inside a dingy cage and her cell neighbors are Stefan and Rebekah. Unfortunately for Elena, she’s starving and she has yet to feed on blood. (Rebekah laughs with glee over this as though she just won first class tickets to Disney World.) There is no human in sight so, as the cookie usually crumbles, Elena’s dying…again.
And of course while on the threshold of farewell, she reduces us to tears as she tells Stefan that she was on the bridge that fateful night because she had chosen him and that she loved him. Big, strong Stefan also weeps a few manly tears and even Bex is moved by their love for another. So what do the two do? They join forces to get Elena her first taste of blood. Bex annoys the guard and while he’s fixated on harassing her. Stefan grabs him by the head and bangs his cabeza against the cage doors. The poor guard collapses in a pool of his own blood and Elena stretches, stretches, stretches…and manages to get a few drops of sweet human sap to tap into her mouth. Full-fledged vampire what what!
However, Elena doesn’t sit back and relax like she rightly deserves. She somehow busts loose from her trap-hole and her first order of business is to save Matt from Damon, who is on the brink of stomping Matt’s head in American History X style. (Somewhere in between trying to lure the gung-ho pastor out, Damon went from pretending to want to kill Matt to actually wanting to.) Anyhow, Elena and Damon argue and she decides to stir the fire by telling Damon that all her memories have come back and she remembers the night they first met and how he confessed that he loved her. Damon’s slightly touched but he’s also majorly perturbed because her admittance means nothing since she chose his brother over him. He then informs her that no matter what he would have saved her and not Matt during the accident. (Elena huffs and puffs but we swear we spot some sparkle and excitement in her scary veiny eyes.)
Elena: If it had been you at the bridge last night and not Stefan, and I begged you to save Matt…
Damon: I would have saved you. In a heartbeat, no question.
Elena: That’s what I thought. Then Matt would be dead. because you couldn’t let go. Matt would be dead!
Damon: But you wouldn’t be. And you would have gotten to grow up. And had the life that you wanted; The life that you deserve. And I know that I didn’t used to get that, but I do now.And I wanted that for you, Elena. And I would have gladly have given it to you and let Matt die because I am that selfish.
While all this is going, Stefan decides to help Matt snap out of super emo mode by telling him that he better wake up everyday thanking his lucky stars he’s alive and that he has a friend as wonderful as Elena. Matt seems taken aback. Not even his own mother ever yelled at him this way!
While everyone is having a terrible day, Caroline’s gets better! She and Tyler hurry into the woodlands to make out and get fah-reaky deaky with one another. However, Klaus ruins it for himself when he accidentally calls Caroline, “Love.” The jig is up, pal! Caroline spits out in disgust and asserts that she’s going to wash her mouth over and over. Klaus (as Tyler) smirks and simply says, “Easy, love. Wrong time. Wrong place. Wrong equipment.” So much for “all signs point to hot vampire/hybrid sex“… “While we viewers are bummed about witnessing a sexy Mystic Falls hookup, we’re also glad the situation did not get hot and heavy since it’d basically be assault. And doesn’t poor Caroline have enough woes in her life?)
People are turning into vampires. People are crying how they don’t deserve to be live. Others are hunting down fanged creatures. And what is Bonnie doing? Well, aside from suffering from magical nosebleeds, she tries to tap through to the witch spirits to ask them to help her restore Elena back to human mode. They ignore her. (What a letdown) But hold up — there’s another way…and it involves Bonnie stopping her heart (aka dying). Determined to succeed, Bonnie temporarily kills herself so that she can float on over to Elena’s cage over at Pastor Young’s vamp farm and then help her out by crossing Elena’s soul over to the mortal world from the spiritual one. However, Grams (SURPRISE!) appears before Bon-Bon’s very eyes and warns her to stay out of the vampires affairs and away from dark magic– that it’s too dangerous and that there would be terrifying consequences. Thus, Bonnie is unable to save her best friend. (At least she had Jeremy by her side though to serve as some compassionate eye candy.)
Caroline wants Tyler back in his own body. Klaus wants to be restored to his own as well. Poor Bonnie can only do so much magic without exhausting her power. However, when Klaus threatens to rip out Tyler’s heart and jump into the closest body to use as his surrogate, Bonnie gets her dark witch on and manages to do the body switch. Sadly though, because of Bonnie tapping into such crazy magic, the witches decide to enact revenge on her by killing off Gram’s spirit. (NOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Blame Klaus, ye witches. Blame the hybrid!)
If you thought that Klaus was having a merry ol’ day think again. Sure he got her his body back and sure he enjoyed some smoochies with Care-bear. However, he pissed off his sister by leaving her trapped in the Founder’s Council vamp van and that is NEVER a good thing. So what does she do to teach her big bro a lesson in respect and loyalty? She destroys his entire stash of doppelganger blood. (Klaus is actually hilarious through the whole ordeal and coos to Rebekah as though she’s a toddler in her terrible twos: “Put the blood down, Rebekah. There’s a good girl.”) And Klaus goes from being a smart aleck to being a vicious madman. He chokes his own sister and then disowns her. “You know something, Rebekah? You’re right. From this moment on, you’re not my family, you’re not my sister, you’re nothing!” (The scene is seriously something that would take play at the Graysons’ dinner table in the Hamptons.)
Nevertheless, all’s well that ends well. Stefan and Elena are enjoying a romantic cuddle session on a rooftop and are having a heart to heart. Elena senses the sun rises and says she better run inside but Stefan tells her not to worry and than pulls out a daylight ring that Bonnie made special for her. (Bling bling, girl!) They then cozy up and enjoy a brand new day and rare quaint moment with one another.
OH NO! We spoke to soon. Nothing’s well that doesn’t end well and the Vampire Diaries Season 4 premiere definitely doesn’t. Why? Because Pastor Young assembles all the Founders Council members into one room, cuts the gas pipe, and right after stating, “We are the beginning,” he lights a match. Cue massive explosion. Ba da boom everyone’s gone finito. What’s his game plan? We’ll find out soon enough!
So tell us gentle viewers: What was your favorite moment from “Growing Pains”?