‘The Vampire Diaries’ Recap 4.01 “Growing Pains”

After an agonizing five month wait after the nail baiting, cliffhanger Season 3 finale, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ is back – and not without the action, suspense, drama, and romance that it’s so famous for. And judging by this new episode, Season 4 is going to be a blast.

“And then there’s me. I’m human. At least I was.” ~ Elena

Under the watchful eye of the ever-faithful Salvatore brothers, Elena awakes in her own bed at home. She’s rattled, confused, but is quick to figure out that she died with vampire blood in her system. A moment of denial and panic. Much to Damon’s annoyance, she’s quick to agree with Stefan that they should use Bonnie to exhaust all options to prevent the transition into a vampire. After all, we all know how strongly she felt about staying human.

“We all know the drill. You feed or you die. There is no door number three.” ~ Damon

Elena starts experiencing typical transition-like symptoms – heightened emotions, sharper hearing, sensitivity to sunlight, and of course, a craving for blood. She’s also plagued by the return of all her memories involving Damon – memories where he had confessed his love for her and compelled her to forget.

We’ll exterminate the entire vampire race for good.” ~ Pastor Young

Thanks to evil Alaric who has squealed the town’s secrets to the council, Pastor Young and his army of sidekicks arrive. They’re on a mission to rid Mystic Falls of all things supernatural and they’re quick to start rallying up the vamps. Dr Fell is reprimanded, Mayor Lockwood is arrested, Sheriff Forbes is banned from her office, Caroline is vervained, and Rebekah is attacked. Their next target is Elena’s house where they arrest Stefan. Thinking she’s human, Elena is spared, but when her vamp traits start to show, she’s booted into the vamp prison alongside Stefan and Rebekah.

“Easy, love. Wrong time, wrong place, wrong equipment.” ~ Klaus

Klaus is still a resident in Tyler’s body and not happy about the fact that Bonnie is distracted trying to save Elena, thus delaying the body swap ritual. When word breaks that Pastor Young and his gang has taken Caroline, Klaus is quick to crash a few cars and perform an impressive rescue mission. He saves Caroline from the van but leaves Rebekah behind with a hint that her brother, Klaus, is still alive. Caroline is thrilled to see ‘Tyler’ and a hot and heavy kiss-scene occurs in the woods – until the penny drops. “Did you just call me love?” One word that hits home the realization that Klaus has taken over Tyler’s body. Sharp girl.

“I had to choose and I picked you because I love you. No matter what happens, it’s the best choice I’ve ever made.” ~ Elena

Without human blood and trapped in her vamp-proof prison, Elena weakens. She shares an honest, raw moment with Stefan. A heartfelt apology and admissions of love. Sad, but sweet. Elena admits to Stefan that she’d chosen him the night of the accident. Touched by the genuine display of emotions between Elena and Stefan, Rebekah assists Stefan in knocking out one of the guards, thus supplying Elena with her much-needed blood source.

“You made your choice now they’re taking it out on me.” ~ Grams

Bonnie dapples in dark magic in an attempt to save Elena. It might have worked had her grandmother “Grams” not intervened, forcing her to see some sense. Bonnie backs down but is soon forced to turn to dark magic again when Klaus threatens to rip out Tyler’s heart unless she performs the body swap. A man desperate for his own body. Wanting to save Tyler, Bonnie agrees but during the ritual, her grandmother appears sputtering words of warning. In a moment of panic and confusion, the dark magic prevails and poor Grams is riddled with darkness whilst Bonnie is left sobbing in regret. A tragic moment for a witch who meant well. The upside is that at least Klaus has returned to his own body. As for Tyler … we see a glimpse of the old Tyler before chaos reigns and the focus is shifted to Bonnie. I’m assuming he’s fine?

“Nah, we don’t need any weapons, just bait.” ~ Damon

Damon and Matt stage a rescue – or more like Damon stages the rescue and Matt is used as bait. Poor Matt is not only recovering from his car accident and filled with remorse over Elena’s death, but has also found himself the object of Damon’s fury. Thanks to some quick vamp thinking and teamwork, the vampires break free and regain control.

“One of the highlights of my transition is remembering everything you compelled me to forget.” ~ Elena

Damon and Elena share a honest moment of their own – she reveals the return of her memories and they thrash out the consequences of her determination to put Matt’s life before her own. Damon’s furious with her for dying … ever her protector.

“But I’ll get to live. I’ll be a sister and a friend. And I’ll get to be with you forever.” ~ Elena

In a quiet moment post chaos, Stefan and Elena discuss what’s to come now that she’s a vampire. Stefan warns her that the blood lust will be hard and eternal but she’ll learn to live with it. He gives her the daylight ring … a symbol of hope but also a firm reminder that there’s no turning back.

“Friends, we are the beginning.” ~ Pastor Young

And in a surprising ending, Pastor Young ensembles his gang of merry vampire-haters at his farmhouse. He purposefully leaks the gas, locks the door, ignores the questions and confusion, and strikes a flame – thus causing a huge explosion. Curious to see where this little mishap will lead.

Be sure to catch the next episode of TVD!


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