The Vampire Diaries, Season 4, Episode 4: “The Five”
Written by Brett Matthews and Rebecca Sonnenshine
Directed by Joshua Butler
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on the CW
Once again, The Vampire Diaries poses questions and teases only to pay them off immediately, rather than string along the audience for weeks waiting for answers. This is one of the absolute strengths of the series and it’s one that will hopefully never change. So while the answers we get may not be as compelling or surprising as one might hope, the fact that we get them is enough, for now, to keep fans interested.
The reveal of the Five as an elite vampire hunting squad with ties, one assumes, to Bonnie’s ancestors, makes sense and sometimes the answer that makes the most sense is preferable to something more surprising or flashy. That’s one of the benefits of not stretching out reveals- there’s no need to try to outsmart the audience with a shocking twist. Rather than making the Five the surprise, that comes towards the end of the episode with news of a cure. We’ll see if this is a worldwide undoing of vampirism or, more likely, a one-use potion, but for now, the mere possibility of one of our characters getting de-vamped is enough to hold interest.
It doesn’t seem likely that any of our main trio (Stefan, Damon, and Elena) will get the cure, and easy money is on Rebekah, as it’d be a simple way to ingratiate Rebekah with the group and keep her around, but the prospect of someone dosing Klaus, turning him into a straight-up werewolf, or perhaps Tyler or Caroline, is interesting. Until now, the conversation has been solely about what happened to these people- vampirism is something that none of them chose, beyond not wanting to die. Would they rather be human now? So far, on TVD, being a vampire isn’t that bad a gig, especially if you’re besties with a witch who makes up a daylight ring for you. We know Elena’s not doing too hot right now, but would any of the others prefer to go back? Watching each character come to their own conclusion should provide plenty of fertile ground for both the writers and cast and this reviewer, for one, can’t wait.
We also get forward movement on the Bonnie front for the first time since the premiere, but unfortunately, it doesn’t appear we’re headed in a consequences-of-dark-magic direction. Tying in Bonnie’s new magic contact in with the Five makes sense, narratively, but the notion of this new character as the Bad Mambajamba that’s headed to Mystic Falls isn’t particularly thrilling at this point. Todd Williams as Connor Jordan came onto the scene swinging and quickly established himself as a force to be reckoned with. David Alpay as Professor Shane is far less appealing though that will hopefully change quickly.
Elena’s transition continues to provide the meat of each episode, but though Nina Dobrev continues to turn in solid performances each week, it’s starting to get a little old. Elena has always been a strong, self-reliant character and her transition has taken that away from her, making her dependent on Stefan and Damon. It’s time for Elena to get back to being the hard-headed forthright character we know and love, with her struggling transition as one part of her identity, rather than her most defining trait.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Which storyline are you most interested and which are you hoping is resolved quickest? Who do you think will get the cure, if anyone? Post your thoughts below!