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Cult Recap

'The Vampire Diaries': 'The Killer' recap

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Season 4, episode 5 | Aired Monday, Nov 12 2012 at 21:00 GMT on ITV2

The Vampire Diaries felt a little flat last week, since there was a lot of exposition to be done. Oh boy - did it make up for it this week! Thanks to Connor's little escape act last time around, there was so much for us to get our teeth into (sorry, but it had to be said).

Sure, not everything was great - Bonnie's still the dullest character in the show, so it was hard to get invested in her 'witch therapy' sessions with tricksy Professor Shane. That said, Shane himself is still intriguing; he asked Connor to avoid hurting Bonnie, so clearly he needs her for something (and I'm pretty sure it's not just a bit of rumpy-pumpy). But what part does Bonnie actually play in Shane's masterplan?

The Vampire Diaries S04E05: 'The Killer'

© The CW



Elsewhere, I could really have done without the 'dear diary' segments of the show; it was entertaining enough to be reminded of the reason the word "diaries" is in the title, sure, and it was an easy way to see into the inner minds of our characters (particularly important when it comes to discovering Elena's real despair at being a vamp, and Stefan's desire to track down the cure). But there's just something irredeemably cheesy about a bit of journal scribbling and pained voiceover, which didn't sit well with the rest of the episode.

But the main thrust of the instalment was thoroughly entertaining. Connor has escaped and, naturally, he's not so happy. So after a little tête-à-tête with Shane, he's back in Mystic Falls and holding Matt, Jeremy and April as hostages - bait, basically, so that he can kill a whole bunch of vampires when they come to be heroic (you'd think that Connor would realise by exploiting their heroism that they're not all bad, but apparently not).

April turns out to be the whiniest, most annoying hostage possible, but I'm willing to forgive this for two reasons. First off, Connor suggests that they have "history" together, and April has a weird sense that she's met him before, which raises all kind of intriguing questions. Has April been compelled? What was her father up to? What part is April going to play in the ensuing madness?

The Vampire Diaries S04E05: 'The Killer'

© The CW



And secondly, it's a relief to have someone actually be scared and freaked out for once. All of the regular characters have adapted to their situation by now, and it's easy to forget how messed up Mystic Falls actually is. So April can scream and cry and remind us all how horrifying this is, and it's a timely reminder that this is Not Normal. And then at the end of the episode she can be compelled, so it can all happen over again next week.

Anyway, Connor is still being badass - smashing Jeremy's phone with a knife after he's used it to text the Salvatores and Tyler - so it's easy to understand why April's scared. More importantly, this whole situation is putting Stefan in a severe quandary. Banned by Klaus from saying anything about the cure (for the very reasonable point that "nations have gone to war over less"), he's forced to keep Connor alive without revealing why.

That puts him at loggerheads with Damon, who's determined to do just the opposite - kill Connor, and kill him fast. He's got back-up from Elena, Tyler and Caroline, too, whereas Stefan has precisely no-one thinking that he's making the right calls. Still, he manages to stall everyone by reminding them that Connor could have booby traps and werewolf venom; he wants to stake out the Grill before they go in all guns blazing.

The Vampire Diaries S04E05: 'The Killer'

© The CW



Damon gives him one hour, but when Stefan goes to figure out who's actually being kept hostage, he's busy looking up maps of the underground tunnels that can help them into the Grill. What's more, Delena fans will be overjoyed by a scene of serious sexual tension; when Elena decides to go save her brother, Damon reminds her that she can't really defend herself yet. There's a little tussle but the main thing you need to know is that Elena ends up on top of Damon on his bed with a gun pointing at him. "For someone who doesn't want to be like me, you sure are good at it," Damon purrs. Coming after last week's dirty dancing, it's a lot of sexual tension to take.

When Stefan returns, he reveals that he's getting Klaus's hybrids involved, and it's clear he's not going to take no for an answer - when Damon protests, Stefan wastes no time in injecting him with vervain (much to Elena's horror). With Damon incapacitated (and he steals his ring, too, to stop him from going outside), he can get on with his plan - first, he just has to get Elena to trust him, which she agrees to do with a very slight nod (a stunning moment, actually). You know, it's kind of a thrill to see Stefan scheming like this, and it is easy to see why the others are so unsure of his motives.

The Vampire Diaries S04E05: 'The Killer'

© The CW



In fact, Stefan attempts to make a deal with Connor - to tell him about his hunter mark in exchange for the hostages - but Todd Williams brilliantly conveys Connor's frustrated but determined attempt to follow his plan through. Stefan has no choice but to travel through the tunnels to the Grill; luckily, Connor gets a little distracted by slaying hybrid Dean, who's shown up under Klaus's orders (we get more juicy gore at this point as Connor shoots right through Dean's chest).

Still, Stefan can't hide forever, and we're treated to a super-fun action sequence as everything comes together. Elena's given up on trusting Stefan, apparently - it's a joy to have bad-ass Elena back, since she's been so whiny lately. With Damon urging her to kill Connor if she can, she heads over to the Grill and runs in to urge Connor to save Stefan. But that's not likely, is it?

Connor shoots, but Elena rushes forward just in time, pushing the gun away so he shoots Jeremy instead (it's okay, she can feed him up later to save him). Stefan pushes Jeremy out of the way of another explosion, before pushing Connor away from Elena as he tries to stake her. But when Elena looks up, Stefan and Connor have both vanished. So she saves her brother, who reveals that he thinks he's been compelled to forget a conversation with Connor. Oh my God, the rage on Elena's face as she suspects Stefan is just superb. She's full of pure fury - great news for a vamp, right?

The Vampire Diaries S04E05: 'The Killer'

© The CW



Despite that, you might think that Stefan had succeeded, but Damon's just as determined as he is - he's punched through a basement and a septic tank to get to the tunnels, and he's angry. Stefan's kind of got to know the signs by now so he tells Connor to run and faces up to his brother, who shows his displeasure by grabbing Stefan's heart and squeezing (I actually gasped, at this point). Stefan has no real choice but to tell Damon about the cure and about how if they lose Connor, they lose their hope.

But it's too late. Elena's mad, and she finds the perfect outlet for her ire when Connor blindly runs into her path. She feeds from him, and at first it seems like she'll let him go; she growls at him to stay away from her brother and pushes him away with a wonderfully dismissive slam (again, badass Elena is truly wonderful). But Connor takes it too far by calling her a "monster" and trying to stake her. "You missed," Elena snarks, snapping his neck and dropping him on the ground. On the one hand, this is bloody thrilling - I mean, oh my God. On the other hand, Elena has successfully just ruined her chance at a cure.

'The Vampire Diaries' Season 4 character portraits: Nina Dobrev as Elena.

© The CW



This was bad enough, but we're almost straight into a horrifying scene as a sobbing, blood stained Elena digs a grave for her first victim. It's genuinely devastating, and even worse when Damon and Stefan turn up, unable to explain Stefan's behaviour (it's an interesting dilemma; what would make Elena feel worse? Feeling that Stefan had betrayed her, or knowing that she had destroyed her chance at humanity?). "It's complicated," Damon says softly, but Elena is too furious or distraught for platitudes. She blames Damon for telling her to kill Connor, she's angry that she couldn't trust Stefan, and she's devastated that she killed someone.

I'll be intrigued to see whether Elena remains at odds with the Salvatores, or whether they'll manage to reconcile shortly. It certainly seems as if she'll need to; in a lovely fraternal moment, both Damon and Stefan agree to stick together against Klaus and to find the cure... if it exists. But the tension is still there; while Stefan explains that he wants the cure for Elena because this is not who she's meant to be - though he still loves her - Damon warns: "I'm fine with her either way." He's going to help Stefan for Stefan, but it's clear that his feelings for Elena ain't going anywhere.

'The Vampire Diaries' Season 4 character portraits: Paul Wesley as Stefan, Nina Dobrev as Elena, and Ian Somerhalder as Damon.

© The CW



One thing's for sure, though - we're not done with the cure just yet. It might have seemed that Connor's death would put a rather drastic stop to proceedings, but what's this - a tattoo is suddenly drawing itself on a certain Jeremy Gilbert! This seems like an excellent way to bring Jeremy closer into the action, and also throws up all kinds of intriguing possibilities, not least that he will have to kill vampires in order to expand his map. It also seemed as if Connor was unable to rationalise his hunting; he had a mentality of 'kill, kill, kill' that he seemed unable to shift. Will Jeremy's newfound hunter nature threaten everyone we (and he) love?

All this, and we haven't even mentioned Caroline's amazing bitch-stares at Hayley (the marvellous Phoebe Tonkin). Tyler claims that he and Hayley are planning to help other hybrids free themselves from Klaus's sire bond; whether or not this is true - or whether or not it will work - remains to be seen.

But The Vampire Diaries got all its various plot twists out of the way for a supremely sinister ending. Elena's back to writing in her journal about her devastation and guilt about becoming a murderer, but in a nice little Lady Macbeth style moment, she's suddenly noticing dripping blood and blood puddles and "KILLER" written in blood on her mirror... except none of it is there. Elena might just be tipping into insanity - now, if that's not going to keep you watching, I don't know what will...

What did you think of 'The Killer'? Leave your comments below!

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