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Review #3859: The Vampire Diaries 4.7: “My Brother’s Keeper”

Posted on the 30 November 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Caroline Dries and Elisabeth R. Finch
Directed by Jeffrey Hunt

I have to give the writers of “The Vampire Diaries” credit (as if I don’t anyway). They know that a lot of fans, myself included, have always felt that Elena and Damon would make a much better pairing, given the chemistry between Nina and Ian. And now, in the fourth season, they finally deliver, in a long episode-ending montage that will surely be wearing out the DVRs of a whole lot of fans. And yet, underneath it all, the basis of the relationship is as toxic as it gets.

Review #3859: The Vampire Diaries 4.7: “My Brother’s Keeper”

Leaving aside the question of how much personal enjoyment they might have been getting out of filming that scene (they really seemed to be enjoying it), it’s undercut brilliantly by the revelation that Damon has sired Elena. In other words, her decision to leave Stefan and go to Damon, and most of her decisions to follow Damon’s advice since her turning, has been Damon’s doing. And that opens up a massive can of worms.

Fans wanted the pairing, but most of them wanted it to be a decision that Elena made with full agency. This muddies the waters in a major way. It’s entirely possible that Elena would have made many of the same choices, and might actually have the depth of feeling for Damon that she appears to have, but now it’s overshadowed by Damon’s control over her. Everything that has happened with Klaus and the hybrids has demonstrated just how powerful the sire-bond is, and Elena is fully under its sway.

A lot of fans are angry that this is how things went down between Damon and Elena, but I have to point out: this is absolutely the sort of thing that Damon would do. He was struggling with the notion that he was going soft in the third season, and if he gained knowledge of Elena’s terminal condition, why wouldn’t he decide that this was the best plan of action? Damon has his moments of semi-altruism, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that his bitterness over his past history has made him a rather amoral individual. Just because he was in love with Elena doesn’t mean it was a psychologically healthy kind of love.

It also sets up a serious point of contention for the Salvatore brothers. Stefan wants to find a cure and restore Elena’s humanity (and perhaps do the same for plenty of others). This has led to some truly questionable decisions, and that served as a logical basis for Elena’s decision to leave him. But it’s very clear now that Damon is going to do everything possible to derail the search for a cure, especially if he is confronted, and he doesn’t have to hide his motivations anymore.

Never mind how Elena is going to react, when she learns the truth. Isn’t it nice and convenient that there is a subplot about breaking the sire-bond right there in the mix, one that was established last season? I can see that coming into play, and since that is connected to Professor Shane’s gambit, it seems logical that he would want to offer her help (and an independent means to that cure) if it would destabilize the vampire population in Mystic Falls.

Adding to the drama is Jeremy’s rather swift personality shift, thanks to the Hunter’s Mark. Getting the cure means getting the full Hunter’s Mark, which means killing more and more vampires, and each step makes Jeremy more fixated on killing every vampire, regardless of collateral damage. This raises a couple questions: will they be able to control Jeremy enough to keep moving forward with the process, and even if they don’t, can the effects be reversed?

As usual, it probably won’t be long before we have answers to many of these questions, because that’s the velocity at which the writers approach the series. What I hope is that the various complications regarding Elena and this potential vampirism cure amount to more than delaying tactics. It would be a lot more interesting if the cost for the cure was deemed too great, putting various characters at odds as a result, than marking time until Elena is cured in the season finale.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 2/4

Final Score: 8/10

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