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The Vampire Diaries, Ep. 4.13, “Into the Wild”: Solid ep neither restarts nor repairs series’ downward spiral

The Vampire Diaries, Ep. 4.13, “Into the Wild”: Solid ep neither restarts nor repairs series’ downward spiral

Into the Wild

The Vampire Diaries, Season 4, Episode 13: “Into the Wild”
Written by Caroline Dries
Directed by Michael Allowitz
Airs Thursdays at 8pm (ET) on the CW

This week, on The Vampire Diaries: Shane goes ghost hunting, Rebekah pitches herself as hero, and Tyler and Caroline call Klaus’s bluff

Last week’s installment, “A View to a Kill”, was a heartening episode that made strides towards putting The Vampire Diaries back on the path to being the compelling, entertaining show it is capable of being. This week’s episode may not continue that trend, but it at least doesn’t devolve the show back into the repetitive, predictable mess of earlier this season.

“Into the Wild” wisely opens with our heroes (and Shane) already solidly on their way to finding Silas. How they expect to get from Mystic Falls, Virginia to Nova Scotia and back in three days to administer the Cure to Klaus before he’s free, with the inevitable delays raising an immensely powerful, immensely pissed off immortal being will incur, is beyond this critic.

Flashbacks show Shane’s initial discovery of Silas’s tomb (or the rough area above it) but while these scenes, especially those between Shane and his dead wife, attempt to paint the nearly moustache-twirling villain as a sympathetic figure, they only highlight his flaws. Shane isn’t believable as an Indiana Jones-like adventuring professor and his turn, from someone unwilling to kill the 36 people necessary to free Silas to the man leading the charge, is laughably quick. If he can’t morally handle killing 36 people, why is he okay manipulating others to kill 36 people? Let’s blame the blood loss and try not to think about it, a coping mechanism for this season that’s become frustratingly necessary.

The Vampire Diaries S04E13 promo pic1

Lingering tensions remain between Elena, Stefan, and Rebekah but fortunately their interactions steer clear of the Stelena drama and instead focus on Rebekah. It’s great to hear Elena call out Rebekah for killing her and it’s just as great to see Rebekah defend her actions. Far too much has been made of Stefan’s role in these women’s motivations and decisions. It’s about time we saw them as defined by more than their current romantic entanglements.

The writers seem to have painted themselves into a corner with Elena’s siring. The Cure is a McGuffin, a way to move the characters into position to release Silas and present a new Big Bad that’ll allow Klaus to team up with them. It can’t actually exist in any significant way; it’d destroy the main dynamic of the series. The conversations we see this week between Elena and Damon and Stefan and Rebekah are revealing and far more interesting than the search itself, but with no other way to break Damon’s sire bond over Elena, and no real sense Elena will actually become human again, the continued agonizing over the legitimacy of her emotions is puzzling, and more than a little repetitive. Assumedly the writers have an out planned, but more and more the decision to sacrifice the main character’s free will on the altar of Delena/Stelena feels like a huge mistake.

Elsewhere on the island, Bonnie still has eyes for Jeremy, which could be an interesting pairing, should the PtB wish to do some character rehab. Bonnie remains frustratingly inept and continues to lack any agency of her own, perhaps the single biggest flaw of this season (both hers and Elena’s), but at least she’s getting more to do. Unlike Jeremy, who is practically a walking map, making very few if any decisions, saying little, and doing less. Given the treatment of this character over the series, this isn’t much of a surprise. What is a surprise is Jeremy’s Hunter’s Mark, which is severely underwhelming. The production side of The Vampire Diaries has almost always done stellar work, from costuming to makeup to lighting to sound and effects. Perhaps there’s a good behind the scenes reason, but the Mark as it appears here is disappointingly simplistic and small. Connor’s seemed far more detailed, as did the little we saw of them in flashback, and given how big the Mark was after only a couple kills, the implication seemed to be that after 12, it should be far more substantial than what he ended up with. Having most of it be a meaningless pictorial rendering of the Silas myth doesn’t help either. Fortunately, the appearance of another Hunter is a welcome development- fingers crossed we get a meeting of the Five as Silas and co. head toward the well.

Into the Wild

Back in Mystic Falls, Caroline and Tyler have returned (about damn time!), showing that someone is indeed babysitting Klaus during his time out. Joseph Morgan and Candice Accola have excellent chemistry and the writers have seemed very determined to play up Klaus’s infatuation with Caroline (really, can you blame him?), so returning to that here makes sense and works well. It’s really nice to hear a mention of Jenna and be reminded of Rose with Caroline’s near death. It’s a sign of how well done Rose’s death was that the prospect of a vampire’s death by werewolf bite is still so horrifying and potent all of these years later. Hopefully we’ll start getting scenes and episodes as good as that one sometime soon.

What did you think of this episode? Did you buy what Rebekah was selling? How long before Bonnie goes all Darth Rosenberg on Silas? When do you think we’ll get to Silas? Post your thoughts below!

Kate Kulzick