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Review #3882: The Vampire Diaries 4.9: “O Come All Ye Faithful”

Posted on the 14 December 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Michael J. Cinquemani and Julie Plec
Directed by Pascal Verschooris

Leave it to “The Vampire Diaries” to use a Christmas hymn as the background music for a slaughter. The writers for this show don’t fool around when it comes to the mid-season cliffhanger, and that is triply so in this case. There are shows that don’t display this level of ambition and fearless change in a season finale.

Review #3882: The Vampire Diaries 4.9: “O Come All Ye Faithful”

The hybrids have turned out to be a massive red herring, at least in the sense that they had no purpose other than to die in a particular nasty way. Apparently Professor Shane’s little plan, implemented by Haley, was to use the hybrids as sacrifices. Haley ensured that Tyler survived Klaus’ bloody killing spree, but that only meant that his mother had to die in his place. It would seem that the point was to have 12 deaths, regardless of source. One could speculate that this is related to the “expression” magic that was explained in the previous episode.

Meanwhile, things are getting a bit more complicated with Jeremy. As it turns out, the compulsion to kill vampires is not something that Jeremy can easily control. Having it act as something of a subliminal directive is a nice touch, as it explains why Connor was willing to use a memorial service as a killing ground, instead of something more subtle or discrete. But it also means that Jeremy will welcome Elena with a smile on his face, right before trying to stab her in the heart.

Professor Shane has some sort of master plan in the back of his head, so it’s hard to know if his explanations about the vampire cure and Silas are entirely true. He would have a lot of reason to lie to everyone, and the hybrid gambit with Haley demonstrates how far he’s willing to go. Silas was apparently trying to give his love immortality, and his best friend objected, killing her and burying Silas for eternity out of jealousy. There is a vague suggestion that Shane is related to all of that in some way, as it sounds like the foundation for his motivations, but again, it’s hard to trust that his stories are true.

Damon was rather surprising in this episode. I was expecting him to take a cue from Elena and accept that her existing feelings for him were justification enough to ignore the sire bond issue. Again, if everyone got in a room, and Elena made her intentions and feelings known to all, it would probably avoid a lot of the angst. (Especially since Bonnie and Caroline know that it can’t be the result of the sire bond.) Instead, we have Damon waiting just long enough to cast Elena away for Stefan to hear that they were still together, thus creating more unnecessary drama. (Honestly, couldn’t they let Damon and Elena have some wicked fun for a bit longer? Perhaps long enough for Elena to get a backbone?)

What makes it a bit more tragic is that Damon is doing all of this with Elena’s best interests at heart. He wants to focus on ensuring that Jeremy works through the whole Hunter transformation without killing Elena in the process, and he’s letting her go because he doesn’t want to endanger her by taking any measure of her agency. (At least, that’s what I got out of it.) Stefan is going to have a tantrum, and he doesn’t even get to see his brother do one of the more selfless things yet. Damon can’t win!

This was just about the perfect way to take a break for the winter, leaving several situations and relationships up in the air, while strewing the neighborhood with the hearts and bodily fluids of hybrids left and right. It’s certainly one way to ring in the holidays!

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

Final Score: 8/10

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