The Vampire Diaries 4.03 “The Rager” Review

The Vampire DiariesIf last week’s episode of The Vampire Diaries was about Elena (Nina Dobrev) controlling her grief, this week focused on another powerful emotion: rage. Elena’s transition from human to vampire has already been difficult and this episode adds another layer to her struggle with Rebekah (Claire Holt) acting as prime antagonist. Damon (Ian Somerholder) is off on a vampire hunter mission and gets help from an unlikely source that hints at a fun pairing.

So Elena thinks that it is a good idea to go back to school and while I can see her logic, it might not be the best environment for her; first there are memories of Alaric (Matt Davis) everywhere, second of all Rebekah is there and knows how to push all of Elena’s buttons. Stefan (Paul Wesley) observes that all Rebekah is trying to do is “hate harder” and it’s working as all Elena can think about is killing Rebekah. There is a useful season 3 mythology reminder from Stefan that if Rebekah dies then so do a lot of vampires that exist from her bloodline.

While Elena is struggling with controlling her rage, Stefan is attempting all that he can to make things better for his girlfriend and as Caroline (Candice Accola) points out he is very good at helping new vampires. This is a very different situation to when Caroline became a vampire and it’s Stefan’s closeness to Elena might be an obstacle. In my favorite scene of the episode Stefan talks to Caroline about his own control issues and the moment where Elena let go (on the fun but super cheesy motorbike scene) was something that he can’t let himself do thanks to his inner Ripper. Caroline offers her full support and tells him to call whenever he feels the urge. Last season there was very little interaction between Stefan and Caroline thanks to their respective storylines, but I really hope we get more of this friendship this year as it was a highlight of season 2.

The Vampire Diaries

It looks like Stefan might need a good friend if Elena’s hallucination of Damon is anything to go by, yes she has werewolf poison in her system but the thought is still there. Damon can offer the vampire experience that Stefan can’t, Damon is not restricted in what he does and so his offer to teach Elena how to be a vampire makes sense. This gives the love triangle another jolt and I’m pretty sure that both sides would have been equally happy and disappointed with certain scenes tonight. Is this an attempt to please both sets of fans?

This isn’t the only love triangle that this show has and one triangle might have grown another side with the arrival of Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) who helped Tyler (Michael Trevino) shed his sire bond to Klaus (Joseph Morgan). Caroline is completely unaware of Hayley’s existence and from Tyler’s lack of protests I’m pretty sure that picture that Klaus’ painted (not a literal painting, no horses this week) is pretty accurate. This amuses Klaus no end thanks to his feelings for Caroline and I can see Klaus using this against Tyler as much as possible. Tonkin’s appearance was brief, but from these few scenes and the way she stood up to Klaus I can already tell that I like her and that along with Grace Phipps and Todd Williams the Vampire Diaries cast has got even stronger.

What’s really exciting about this episode is that the season 4 mystery just became even more mysterious as we learn that Connor (Todd Williams) is ‘one of the five.’ One of what five is unclear, but as Klaus knows about it and spares Connor his life it has to be something big in the overall mythology of the show. It’s a good move having Connor in the dark about this as it takes away some of the power that he has. Who do you think Connor really is?

Connor believes that his tattoos are a mark that only vampire hunters or potential vampire can see, but is this a lie that he has been told? Jeremy can see these marks and it is clear from the start that Jeremy was never going to lead Connor to his friends and family and the whole hospital plot was one big set-up. It was good having Meredith (Torrey DeVitto) play a part tonight as she acts as the voice of reason and can read Damon rather well. More scenes between this pairing would be welcome, even if Meredith doesn’t want to be his “new partner in vampire crime.”

The Vampire DiariesSpeaking of friends Rebekah finally might have made one! Her attempt to patch things up with Matt (Zach Roerig) unsurprisingly fails and even though she has a house full of people at her party they’re pretty much there for the free beer. When everyone leaves the party April (Grace Phipps) stays behind to help tidy, because she is also alone and a genuine bond looks like it is forming here. Rebekah takes this opportunity and offers to help solve the mystery of Pastor Young’s (Michael Reilly Burke) death. Not sure what Elena will have to say about this but you can bet she won’t be too happy.

Other Observations

– Rebekah is rather sadistic in her torment of Elena; smearing blood over Elena’s face and putting her ring down the drain during the daytime are both particularly awful.

– All of Stefan and Elena’s intimate moments have been rudely interrupted this season by hallucinations, throwing up and phone calls.

– Matt’s blood is the only kind that Elena can keep down, but surely they’re going to have to find an alternative after Elena almost went too far.

– The hallucination that Rebekah had with Matt reveals what she truly fears- the reason she can’t find love is because she doesn’t deserve it. For a split second this moment seemed real and so I gasped when she ripped Matt’s heart out.

– Klaus tells Elena that he would have been happy to let her die, but the hunter revelation appears to have changed his mind. Why is Elena useful to Klaus now?

– Damon correctly informs Jeremy that saying you’re a badass, doesn’t make you a badass.

– Stefan really should write a vampire self-help book that they can sell in an underground book store (these exist, right?), not sure an appearance on The View would be the best way to keep their secret.

– Where is Bonnie (Kat Graham)?

This is another strong episode from The Vampire Diaries that propels the story forward in several ways; we have a new mythology story to look forward to, Elena’s transition continues to be compelling (no pun intended) and the new characters are all bringing something interesting to the early stages of this fourth season.

What did you think?

Next week; a trip to college and into the past. Watch a promo here and visit our Vampire Diaries page for more photos and spoilers for the show.



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