Reviews

‘Vampire Diaries’ Season 4 Premiere Review: The Best Premiere Yet?

It’s hard to believe that in a week, we’re entering the fourth season of Vampire Diaries. Past premieres have introduced us to the characters we’ve grown to love, seen Katherine tear apart Mystic Falls, and shown Stefan spiral completely out of control. How does season four’s stack up? Believe it or not, it’s better than all the others.

It’s hard to believe that in a week, we’re entering the fourth season of Vampire Diaries. Past premieres have introduced us to the characters we’ve grown to love, seen Katherine tear apart Mystic Falls, and shown Stefan spiral completely out of control. How does season four’s stack up? Believe it or not, it’s better than all the others.

Warning: This review will contain some spoilers about the season premiere.

When we left Mystic Falls last May, the most tragic thing imaginable had happened to Elena: she died with vampire blood in her system. Meanwhile, everyone had lost Alaric to an ungodly vampire side brought on by Esther, battled Klaus to stay alive, and stumbled through an endless list of relationship problems. The season premiere thrusts us right back into all their problems.

The first and biggest problem of the premiere is Elena’s undead identity. Everyone seems to recognize this is the last thing she ever wanted – except Damon. But if he agreed with everyone else, he wouldn’t be Damon would he? This single incident, the choice Stefan made and who Elena now is, is the culmination of the last three seasons of their love triangle. The brothers have crossed lines, they never expected to, which brings this triangle to a whole new level.

Last season, things started to feel a little… overplayed. The constant back and forth of Elena being pulled between the two brothers was exhausting and annoying. Her inability to make a choice was frustrating. And the reality under which her choice was made was… amazing, yet repetitive. How many rounds did she need to go between these brothers?

Her vampirism opens up new connections to both brothers, new perspectives, and new feelings. Stefan is patient through Elena’s struggle while Damon is frustrated and pushy. This doesn’t keep Elena from softening toward Damon. Remember those compulsions? They’re coming back, in a really beautiful way that will leave you breathless. I walk firmly in the middle of the Salvatore brother line, but I was swooning like a fool and falling over when Elena gained perspective on her compulsion. Now what she chooses to do with it – or not for that matter – will undoubtedly become a driving force for the rest of the season. It doesn’t necessarily drive the premiere as much as Elena’s transition does, the struggle to feed or not feed, showing Elena’s constant compassion toward life.

Thankfully, Bonnie makes a heroic attempt to save Elena that almost works. My relationship with Bonnie has been love or hate through the series. I find her a little judgmental, frustrating, and at times annoying, but I also get why her character is this way. She was raised by a grandmother, who taught her magic and warned her off the bad things that could come with it, and she lost so much along the way. Bonnie changing though, who she is at her core and what her magic is capable of has changed so much from that girl floating feathers in Elena’s bedroom in season one. She’s gone darker, touched magic so deeply that it’s coming back at her, and she’ll get al little lost along the way. This story could be a journey of figuring out one’s identity amidst a violently and emotionally wrecked past. Who isn’t a fan of those? And I’m more than confident that Kat Graham can handle the emotional material.

TyKlaus also makes big waves in the premiere. In fact, the performance is great for anyone who had any doubts about Michael Trevino’s ability to fill Joseph Morgan’s shoes. Trevino mimics Morgan so well in his mannerisms and line delivery that it’s impossible not to be impressed. The body hopping got a little outplayed last season. It happened frequently and was an easy way to jerk the rug out from beneath the viewers, so I wasn’t exactly too fond of this idea. Not saying I wanted Tyler to die, but there’s something so amazingly tragic that I would have cried and prepared myself to see where it drove the story. That said, the premiere made me a fan of this body switch. The way the story plays out and an absolutely insane moment that comes close to topping every other premiere moment ever seen on the show. Like whoa, you guys. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa.

The major story in the premiere is how Alaric incapacitates everyone after telling the council about the vampires. This leads to wooden bullets, vervain, pigpen lock downs, and near death confessions. Rebekah shows a different side, that vulnerable girl that exists inside, the one she tries to hide. And it’s always refreshing to see a villain have those moments because they’re necessary to make a character worthy of rooting for. Rebekah proves she’s worth having on your side… Although she’ll have a long way to go considering her actions sort of put Elena’s newfound lifestyle into motion.

The premiere is everything viewers have been waiting since the show left us. It’s filled with emotional confrontations, confessions, and choices for every character. They’re beginning what may be the worst time of their lives, crazy considering they’ve had to deal with Katherine, Original Vampires, loss family members, just to name a few, but it’s definitely going to get worse before it gets better. This is what makes the show so unique. They’re capable of redirecting the entire show in a season finale and then resetting it with the premiere that follows. In short, everything that was in last year’s finale is no more. The people we knew last season are forever changed and this season will be their emotional, complicated, and sometimes heartbreaking journey to finding some sort of peace. I mean, it wouldn’t be Mystic Falls if they were able to make their lives all sunbeams and rainbows, right?

The Vampire Diaries returns October 11 at 8 PM on the CW.

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About the author

Amber Cunigan

Amber Cunigan is a sarcastic mid-twenties undergrad, extreme book hoarder, Netflix addict, and reality TV aficionado. She enjoys excessive amounts of chocolate and caffeine, tweeting, and all things Ezra Fitz and Ryan Gosling. When it comes to TV, she expects to be thoroughly entertained and when not, she will slam and mock you, but still tune in next week. She's a glutton for punishment. Basically, she's awesome.