“The whole council knows who we are now. Things will never be the same.”
Truer words have never been spoken on The Vampire Diaries, even though a number of times per season Julie Plec manages to introduce cool new twists to shake up her supernatural story. But the season four premiere, “Growing Pains,” truly sees the whole world of Mystic Falls—not just Elena (Nina Dobrev)– transition.
Click here for Julie Plec’s season four insight.
Though “Growing Pains” starts with the audience ahead of a number of its characters, the episode wastes no time in catching them up. Elena wakes up and immediately learns she has to feed or she will die. And just as quickly, the symptoms start setting in. It’s so much more than the light sensitivity and ability to hear every little thing, though. It becomes a walk down memory lane, and by going on a partial journey with her, we realize just how far she has come in such short years—and just how much she is losing now that she will never mature farther than her teens.
As you saw from the photo preview of “Growing Pains,” transitioning won’t be made easy for Elena for reasons other than her own—and her friends’—unwillingness for her to turn into a vampire. A shift in the authority in town has the new short arm of the law rounding and locking up all of the vampires, and Elena gets tossed in a cage with them. Is there nothing scarier than small town officials abusing newfound, self-appointed power? With Stefan (Paul Wesley) by her side there is opportunity for tenderness as they assume they have to say their good-byes, but that means the pressure falls on others to get Elena the blood she needs.
There is also a stronger sense of love shared between the characters than ever before—as evidenced by just how far they’ll go for each other, regardless of how it puts themselves in harm’s way. But this kind of love is dangerous—it is blinding and distracting and easily clouds judgment. And it bleeds (no pun intended) over to the audience, too. “Growing Pains” will challenge fans’ love of both “ships” simply because it makes solid cases for both sides, showcasing two very different and distinct ways of showing love, and how can you really argue which is “better?”
Admittedly, though, Elena seems to make her own choice as to which is better, selecting one brother to be with “forever.” Or you know, for now, as she points out that she can’t be so presumptuous to take things faster than one day at a time. She certainly knows a lot about vampires, but she’s new to being one, after all!
While Bonnie (Kat Graham) might be the obvious choice to help Elena, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) is reluctant for her to take the detrimental and potentially permanent steps she would need to in order to even try. And she has her hands full with Klaus anyway, who after learning his body is not actually smoke and ash and that he can’t trick Caroline (Candice Accola) into “hot hybrid sex,” wants out of Tyler (Michael Trevino) at all costs.
Click here for some The Vampire Diaries season four spoilers from Kat Graham.
We have to point out here that Trevino stepped it up in the drama department when embodying Klaus’ spirit. We don’t know if he’ll be given many more chances to tap into such an unapologetic cockiness, but it is a color we really like on him!
There is a new darkness settling over Mystic Falls for season four, and it reaches well beyond the fact that our heroine is now a deadly creature. The lengths friends will go to help each other versus help their own selfish emotions clearly draw new lines on this inevitable battlefield. The power has shifted, and even friendships, alliances, and bloodlines that seemed so solid have a new weight hanging over them. Whether or not they can withstand the new challenges to come will be the truest test.
The Vampire Diaries returns to The CW on October 11th 2012 at 8 p.m.
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