Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Vampire Diaries - Season 4

The Vampire Diaries - Season 4
     Finally! After what has seemed like an eternity I have gotten my hands on the 4th season of The Vampire Diaries! Now, there were three reasons why it has taken me so long to watch season 4.

One - both of our movie stores in Suffolk went out of business.

Two - I have little to no work that equals too little to no money.

Three - I had heard mixed reviews on this season and most of them seemed negative.

     So all seemed to be good reasons to content myself with just leaving Mystic Falls at season 3…but then I found out that there was a particular favorite character of mine that made several appearances…and I finally got a little money…and I JUST WANTED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENED! So, I finally bought season 4 and let’s just say it was totally worth the wait…and then money I spent.

~ ~ ~

Elena Gilbert // Katherine Pierce
Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert // Katherine Pierce in
The Vampire Diaries - Season 4
     At the end of season 3 we have come to the conclusion that life as dear Elena knew it was over. Literally. She died in a drowning accident. Except…Elena also kind of came back to life and then BOOM! Season 3 ends on a mighty cliffhanger. When Season 4 begins, we find Elena Gilbert in the beginning transition into a vampire. Frightened and repulsed at the idea of becoming the one thing she has always hated, Elena is faced with her heightened emotions and self loathing of herself. Stefan and Damon Salvatore are equally heartbroken at the fact that the girl they love dearly has now become a monster.

     Both men do everything in their power to help her achieve a happy life, but Elena’s strong blood lust and her now deepened compassion conflict terribly inside her. Everything about Elena has been heightened; all her feelings and emotions have become deeper and more passionate. These feelings include guilt, grief, fear and most of all love. Elena's growing feelings for Damon have hit an all time high, to the point where Stefan himself walks away from the relationship for Elena's own happiness. 

     Although life may seem in paradise for a small amount of time, news of an ancient cure for vampirism has come to Mystic Falls and now every vampire is an fight or flight race to discover the whereabouts of this said mystical cure. Stefan wants more than anything to find this cure for Elena, but Damon is reluctant and would rather prefer Elena as she now is. In the midst of finding The Cure, Elena experiences intense loss and pain and finally is unable to handle her life as a vampire anymore. To save her from a suicidal attempt on her life, Damon tells her to turn off her humanity, turn off her feelings and emotions and not care at all. 

     Elena does...and the greatest Hell in Mystic Falls is unleashed.

     The once sweet and sacrificial young woman becomes cruel, conniving and manipulative. She kills without regret and her humanity  is nothing but a passing memory. Similar to Stefan in season 3, the Salvatore brothers and Elena's friends commit their time and energy to saving their former friend. When nothing seems to work and Elena has resigned herself to become a modern day Katherine Pierce, an unlikely sacrifice from her childhood friend brings Elena back to the light and she once again reclaims her humanity (best scene in the season). 

     Although Elena's humanity is renewed, she fuels her emotions and feelings into one intense feeling. Revenge. Revenge against the one person who is responsible for the destruction of Mystic Falls, responsible for the loss of her dear friends and family, Katherine Pierce. Now Elena is on the hunt to find and kill Katherine and nothing and no one will stand in her way.

     Nina Dobrev is truly an underrated actress. In each season her acting becomes more and more profound and this season she may have hit the pinnacle of her acting ability. She conveyed so many intense emotions from happiness to grief to joy. She was able to make me laugh one moment and cry the next. Nina's acting as the complex Elena in season 4 coincided with her continuing characterization as the heartless Katherine Pierce was above perfection and shows the true and rare ability of an actress who can flawlessly play two polar opposite characters and make both believable and exceptional in their storylines. 

~ ~ ~

Stefan Salvatore
Paul Wesley as Stefan Salvatore in
The Vampire Diaries - Season 4
     It takes a great amount of courage to start your life over again, but to start your life over again and then lose the one person who fought heaven and hell to save you may be nothing short of destructive. That really seems to be the story of Stefan Salvatore's life. After everything that Elena did in season 3 to save him, now she herself may be beyond saving as a vampire. Now a vampire with heightened emotions of anger, joy grief, and love for both brothers have made her more confusing than ever before. Although Elena claims to still love Stefan, her heart becomes more and more deepened for Damon.

     Shortly after Elena completes her transition, people begin to notice that she responds immediately to Damon whenever he tells her to do something. Finally, everyone comes to the conclusion that Elena's feelings for Damon aren't just heightened, she has been sired to him, meaning that he has complete control of her feelings and mind. Heartbroken at this realization, Stefan walks away from Elena and allows his brother to have the love he has always dreamt of...even if the feelings themselves are not real.

     When the news of The Cure begins circulating around Mystic Falls, Stefan will stop at nothing to retrieve the antidote to allow Elena to become human again and for her to reclaim her own feelings. Nothing comes without a cost and Stefan goes through thunder and disaster (even siding with several Originals) to get access to The Cure.

     After Elena loses her humanity due to finding The Cure, Stefan and Damon team up in a form of Salvatore Rehab to get her humanity back doing whatever it takes to save her. Even after she is finally saved, Stefan must now take the devastating blow of Elena finally choosing Damon (of her own free will this time) over him. Now, Stefan really has nothing to stay in Mystic Falls. His life is his own choosing and as his best friend, Lexi reminds him, "It's time to start living." Except in Mystic Falls, no one's life is their own to live...either living or dead.

     After the tumultuous journey that Stefan went though in Season 3, it was great to see a more well-adjusted Stefan who was calm and clear minded, and willing to once again make the sacrifice of his heart. Loved, loved, loved Stefan in this season! It was good to see Old School Stefan come back again, but to also witness more and more of a growing character.

~ ~ ~

Damon Salvatore
Ian Somerhalder as Damon Salvatore in
The Vampire Diaries - Season 4
     I was very much hoping that Damon Salvatore would redeem himself from being the sexist jerk in Season 3 and thankfully in this season he did! Although less than thrilled that Elena has become a vampire (due to his blood that she had in her system when she died, which is the first stage in the vampire transition), Damon doesn't waste anytime in telling Elena that being a vampire isn't about hiding away but living life to it's fullest. Whether it's feeding in humans or doing the unexpected and to everyone's surprise, Elena actually listens to him. Overtime, everyone comes to the conclusion that Elena is sired to Damon, a rare supernatural master/servant relationship only seen in werewolves, but never before in vampires. So...technically Damon may have the girl, but he is still somewhat disheartened when he realizes her feelings for him aren't real at all. 

     When the fight for The Cure begins, Damon would rather have Elena as a vampire and sired to him than to have her as a human and risk having her go back to Stefan. Damon goes on the crazy cure hunt anyway if he thinks that it's what's best for Elena. Even if it means having take down several vampire hunters, being taken captive on a remote island and having to put with the winy seniors of Mystic Falls High School. After the death of Elena's brother, Damon is the only one able to console her by telling her to do the unthinkable and turn off her humanity.

      Although, he had her best interests in mind, Damon never thought that his dear Elena could turn into such a cruel and heartless creature. Now Damon teams up with his brother to try and save the girl they love and all of a sudden it becomes more than 'which brother is Elena going to choose' and more along the lines of 'can Elena be saved?'

     The Salvatore brothers can usually accomplish whatever they put their minds to and in this case it was minds, hearts and souls to bring back Elena's humanity. Damon tries an incredibly risky move involving Elena's oldest childhood friend and finally, her humanity is restored. Happy and contented with the fact that the old vampire Elena has returned, Damon gets the shock of a lifetime that Elena finally chooses him...this time from her own free will and no longer from a sire bond. For the first time in his life, Damon is the one whose heart is finally chosen.

     Like I said, Damon definitely redeemed himself in this one. This season was less about him trying to get the girl and more about saving the girl. Damon also had to deal the devastating loss of his only friend, Alaric Saltzman (RIP Alaric! I love you!) in Season 3 and so his loneliness is heightened by not having someone on his side. The same funny and sarcastic Damon was still intact with his pithy remarks and down-putting attitude towards the people he didn't like. Now that he has Elena, I think we'll finally get to see more of a stronger change in Damon in Season 5. 

~ ~ ~

Secret Weapons of Mystic Falls
Elena's brother and her closest friends
     The three leads would have never gotten to where they are without the help of Elena's brother, Jeremy Gilbert, and her childhood friends, Bonnie Bennet (a witch), Caroline Forbes (vampire), Tyler Lockwood (vampire hybrid) and Matt Donovan (the only human). All of them have contributed a good portion of their love and lives to helping protect Elena and the residents of Mystic Falls. Several have gone through immense character changes since Season 1 and some have remained just as strong and loyal than ever before.

     Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen) - The Little Gilbert (as he's affectionately known) has come a long way from the crybaby druggie character that he was in Season 1. Now a strong and independent young man who finds himself in the supernatural realm as a legendary Vampire Hunter whose body will bare strange tattoos after he's killed a vampire. A hard thing to be when his beloved older sister is now a vampire. Suddenly Jeremy, who has always been a normal human until now, must deal with a deadly desire to kill every vampire in sight. In spite of that, Jeremy's tattoos become a mystical map that leads to The Cure. Jeremy wants nothing more than to hep his sister and see her restored as a human and he will do whatever it takes to have her be his normal loving older sister again. Only The Cure came at the cost of his life and which ended up costing Elena her humanity when Jeremy was ruthlessly killed by Katherine Pierce to retrieve it. Lust for power may be strong, but sacrificial love is stronger and Jeremy's case, there is one person who is strong enough to bring him back 

     Bonnie Bennet  (Kat Graham) - Elena's best friend and a powerful witch who take whatever risk and measure in the supernatural realm to protect her friends. For the first three seasons Bonnie was bullied around by people only to use her powers to get them what they wanted and not caring about the losses she received in the process. After trying to bring Elena back from becoming a vampire, Bonnie is punished by the spirits (former dead witches) and loses her powers. She then learns a new kind of power called Expression which is an ancient form of dark magic which is dangerous and even deadly. Tired of being pushed around, Bonnie channels her abilities though the new powers of Expression and marks herself as an extraordinary witch, but the balance of nature is still the center of all magic and Bonnie knows that the price of bringing life back from the dead is to sacrifice another life, even if it's her own. 

     Caroline Forbes (Candice Accola) -  Once a spoiled and arrogant brat who craved attention, Caroline Forbes has made an incredible transition into a strong and wise vampire. The heart of her small group of supernatural friends and beloved girlfriend to the Mystic Falls vampire hybrid Tyler Lockwood, Caroline only wants to get through her Senior year with little to no drama at all. Of course, normal never comes easy and Caroline must not only put up with her best friend becoming a vampire as well as being pursued by the handsome Original, Klaus Mikaelson. Caroline is always dependable and a constant port in the stormy waters of Mystic Falls drama. Whether it's planning the Miss Mystic Falls Pageant, deciphering ancient Aramaic, prom dress shopping or putting up with Klaus when everyone else wants to kill him, Caroline is a friend that anyone would be willing to die for, because she would do the same for them.

     Tyler Lockwood (Michael Trevino) - The school bully who spent all his time pushing people around in Season 1 ended up hitting a couple of full moons and now spends his time pushing his enemies across town. Tyler has grown from an obnoxious and insecure boy and has become the epitome of a noble and honorable leader who is willing to lay his life on the line for his friends. Tyler's major adversary is Klaus Mikaelson who in Season 3 turned him into a vampire/werewolf hybrid and which also ended up siring him to Klaus. Unable to put up with being Klaus' slave, Tyler left Mystic Falls and broke the sire bond by turning into a werewolf at least 100 times and reclaiming him mind from Klaus. Now Tyler is a main target of revenge for Klaus and when he challenges one too many times in Season 4, Klaus is out to hunt him down and kill him. Now Tyler must depend on his iron will and intelligence to survive Klaus and hopefully return home. 

     Matt Donovan (Zach Roerig) - Elena's oldest friend and former boyfriend who has dealt with intense loss his entire life. Not wanting to put up with the Supernatural drama, but always finding himself right in the middle of it, Matt was the reason that Elena herself became a vampire when she insisted that his life be saved from drowning instead of hers. Now left with guilt of what has happened to her, Matt will help with Elena's transition the best that he can. A kind and generous person who works hard and isn't afraid to give his opinion on anything, Matt has caught the attention of the beautiful Original sister, Rebekah Mikaelson, but Matt is anything but thrilled at Rebekah's catty and vengeful nature toward those she thinks to be lower than her. Change of heart can come slowly and Matt begins to see that there may be hope in Rebekah and in the ends takes a leap of faith to help this 1000 year vampire lean to love again.

~ ~ ~

The Originals
"Family above all else; always and forever."
     After the introduction of Elijah and Klaus Mikaelson in Season 2 and Rebekah and the rest of the family in Season 3, the Originals took TVD fans by storm. People fell in love with this wild and dysfunctional family that makes the Tudor family look pretty much average. Now is Season 4, the three main Mikaelson siblings all have their own separate stories in and out of Mystic Falls, but eventually someone or something will always bring these three back together.

     Niklaus "Klaus" Mikaelson (Joseph Morgan) - The wild and rebellious vampire hybrid has returned to Mystic Falls to continue his pursuit on creating a hybrid army for his own use. Things get temporarily put on hold when he hears about The Cure and fears that it will be  his undoing if someone tries to use it for revenge against him. Klaus also has to deal with his former vampire hybrid sire Tyler, who defies him more than once for the sake saving Mystic Falls and his growing affections for Tyler beautiful girlfriend, Caroline Forbes. Surprisingly enough in this season, Klaus ends up doing more good than people expect and was actually quite funny in the beginning of the season, but before he gets a reputation of being a do-gooder, Klaus has to hop on over to New Orleans, Louisiana to take care of unexpected family business which eventually opens up for the spinoff series The Originals.

     Elijah Mikaelson (Daniel Gillies) - Elijah was only in a few episodes (sadly), but at least my favorite character was still in the show! The oldest Mikaleson brother is still as noble and moral as ever, even when he is grossly used by Katherine Pierce in her claim for The Cure. Elijah eventually comes into possession of The Cure that was given to him by Katherine in an unlikely show of regret for how she used him. Now, only he can decide what the fate of The Cure should be. To be destroyed or maybe given to his younger sister, Rebekah who craves a regular life as a human. As much as Elijah wants his sister to be happy, he also wants to see some sense of redemption for his wayward younger brother and follows him to New Orleans to clean up whatever mess Klaus may have gotten himself in. 

     Rebekah Mikaelson (Claire Holt) - Rebekah is a character you learn to love and hate at the same time. In one case she has been neglected and used her entire life and in another case, she be just as manipulative and neglectful of others herself. Although, she has the potential to be a good person, revenge runs through Rebekah's veins more than blood. She craves The Cure only because she craves a normal life as a human, to have a regular life with children and a family. Rebekah cares little for the people of Mystic Falls, but she is attracted to handsome Matt Donovan, except her arrogance has turned Matt from her completely. Now not only does Rebekah have claim for The Cure, but a possible claim for Matt's affection if it means living a happy normal life.

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The Vampire Diaries - Season 4
     What I loved about this season was the the one continuing theme the carried on through the story which is Elena's humanity, from being a vampire, to The Cure, to losing her humanity and eventually reclaiming it. The sub storyline of finding The Cure also made this season more concrete and solid than others. Like always, this one had my hands over my mouth in shock from constant surprise, but I also cried more through this one than I did through any of the other seasons. I am so glad I was finally able to see Season 4 and of course...nothing in Mystic Falls ends without a cliffhanger. 

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