The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Episode 14 recap

This was not the easiest episode of The Vampire Diaries to watch – I mean technically. I’m on West Coast time, the streaming was difficult in the hotel, no matter which site I’m used to going to I’m geoblocked somewhere.

It was worth it.

This is the episode that, though it will never show up on a nomination reel because these kinds of shows don’t, has as much serious, genuine acting in it as any other hour on TV, even the cable ones.  And not just because there was dark subject matter. I really, really went through the stages of grief with Elena, and even though I’m thrilled every time Katherine Pierce appears on my screen, I didn’t know Nina could take me on that big a journey, that fast. I’m kind of in love.   

All my criticisms of Elena have been about how she is unfailingly nice, looks for the good, is sweet, is kind, allows others to feel the big emotions for her.

No more.

This Elena is sure of herself. Sure, she may need the balance of both brothers to come through something as horrible as the death of Jeremy (that was a nice touch, by the way) but she isn’t going back on anything. She’s decided, already, how she’s going to go on. She isn’t asking anyone what she’ll do without Jenna, without Alaric – she knows what she’ll do without Jeremy. Be hard. Be angry. See what kind of feelings she feels if she’s not worrying about his safety all the time. Burn the goddamn house down to the ground, already.

Do I feel like it was time for him to go? Sort of. To be honest, I thought that after all the buildup to Jeremy finally having some sort of a supernatural presence, maybe there’d be a reason to keep him around. But it turns out he had to die. And by the way, I’m not being cutesy when I say that I truly believe that he probably did “have” to die. Showrunners and their teams go through all kinds of acrobatics to save characters – I’m not even joking. But sometimes someone has to go to push the others further.

So farewell, Mr. McQueen, who did what he was supposed to do quite well, even if Jeremy appeared directionless, and hello, a new Elena who truly, truly has nothing left to lose. I’m a little scared of you, and I think it’s a good thing.

One note, though, about the acting in this episode. I hate to mar a rave review with a criticism, but. In the face of really lovely moments – Caroline’s “You’re scaring me” comes to mind, as does Matt’s breaking down in the car, and some lovely understated moments from both Wesley and Somerhalder -  I just can’t deal with Kat Graham’s interpretation of Bonnie. Maybe I’m wrong, and she’s supposed to be that way but she comes off petulant-pouty, shopping-mall drama-class “angry”, not even a little scary, ever, and basically unpleasant to watch. They couldn’t kill off Bonnie – at least not yet – because the group needs an antagonist and she’s rapidly becoming it but I wish like she was playing on the same level as all the others. She’s not nearly, and it takes what could be truly spectacular down to only great.