It seems like only yesterday that The Vampire Diaries season 4 exploded on to our screens, with everyone’s favourite brother duo fighting for and arguing over the newly vamptastic Elena. Six months have passed and the season has come to a thrilling end with tears, joy and, for the fans, a distraught, slow motion wail comparable to that of an injured animal as the final credits rolled. Thrilling, devastating and positively panic attack inducing, season 4 was a rollercoaster ride that surpassed the previous three seasons with style. Never content to let viewers get complacent with the storyline, or indeed ANY of the main characters, the TVD writers have proved that they can go beyond the angsty teen-fest narrative and serve up some delicious vamp TV that might not be as raunchy as True Blood but packs a serious punch.
The first half of the season saw Elena struggle to adjust to her newfound vampirism, going through the motions of first craving blood, then rejecting it, before learning to control it with the help of the Salvatores. Jeremy became a full-fledged vampire hunter (Abe Lincoln eat your heart out), as Bonnie dabbled in dark magic a la Willow Rosenberg and the original vampires continued to leave a path of amusing mayhem, not to mention a string of dead bodies, in their wake. Prompted by the loss of yet another loved one, Elena threw blood to the wind in the second half of the season and went on a Thelma and Louise-esque bender with Rebekah. By turning off her humanity, Elena morphed into the female version of Stefan the Ripper circa 1800. Turning into a bigger bitch than even her doppelganger counterpart, Elena was completely intolerable with her nasty comments and no holds barred attitude to everything and everyone. This caused audience allegiances to shift if not swap entirely, with many starting to believe that the character had crossed the point of no return. Leave it to sweet Matt Donovan to open the floodgates to Elena’s grief, guilt and shame, ultimately bringing the girl we know and adore back to us.
As usual, there were some genuinely gut-wrenching scenes with loves and lives lost, which will inevitably shape the future of the series. Amidst the drama and heartache though was the usual witty banter between characters, with the original vampires (complete with the joyful return of Elijah) becoming the real stars of TVD. It’s nice to step outside the claustrophobic love-triangle of Damon, Stefan and Elena and indulge in the killer lines and instincts of siblings Klaus, Rebekah and Kol. The best scene of the season came in the final episode when Klaus decapitated a witch in the blink of an eye, thus saving the day in spectacular fashion and proving what fans have long suspected – that Klaus is a goodie after all.
The writers of TVD have a knack for giving fans tiny little pieces of what they’ve been craving and when they do, it feels like Christmas morning. Bringing father figure Alaric back for a couple of episodes was a clear crowd pleaser, allowing us the chance to enjoy his unlikely bromance with Damon before he disappeared as an unseen ghost again. These are the things that keep people watching, the fact that no character is ever a hundred percent gone; if there’s a way to bring someone back – even just for a single episode – the writers will do it.
The performances in The Vampire Diaries have continued to get stronger as the series has progressed and season 4 has seen each and every main cast member exceed what’s expected of them. Nina Dobrev was the most impressive as she danced between her nice and nasty egos, in addition to playing her eternally selfish and unredeemable doppelganger, Katherine.
With the apparent exit of one of the main characters (whether they stay dead or not remains to be seen) and Stefan making his way to the bottom of a lake in a concrete casket, fans will be waiting for season 5 with bated breath. Will we ever see Silas’s real face? Will Elena realize before it’s too late that it’s Stefan she’s meant to be with and not Damon? Controversial I know. And will the dead ever really stay dead? I sure hope not. We’ll just have to wait and see.