The Vampire Diaries 4.05 "The Killer" REVIEW

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The Vampire Diaries 4.05 “The Killer” TV REVIEW

Episode 4.05
Writer: Michael Narducci
Director: Chris Grismer

THE ONE WHERE Elena kills Connor after he does what no bad guy on this show should ever do… threaten Jeremy.

VERDICT Thank God this episode has the guts to end with Elena killing Connor, because up until that point, it’s been pretty humdrum stuff, to be honest.

Jeremy under threat and being used as bait again? Meh. Bonnie undergoing hypno-therapy to regain her magic mojo? Meh. Caroline having a girly strop ’cos she thinks Tyler is knocking off Hayley? Meh. (And whether or not his excuse was for real – “It’s just what I want Klaus to think” – would any jealous girlfriend actually believe that?)

It’s also an episode badly struck down with that old Vampire Diaries malady: spurious motivation, invented after the plot has been determined to excuse the way people are acting. Stefan keeps the cure secret from Damon even though early in the episode he tells Klaus that he trusts Damon more than he trusts the Original. In which case, why not tell Damon, then? Why wait until he threatens to rip your heart out? Oh yeah, because it’s more dramatic. And would Tyler really risk Jeremy’s life just to keep Klaus thinking that Hayley is his BIG SECRET? And if she isn’t a BIG SECRET – as he claims to Caroline – why did he not mention to Caroline that Hayley was staying at his place? Oh yeah, because it’s more dramatic.

Sometimes you just wish these people would talk to each other. It’d solve a lot of problems. In the meantime, best to keep a flowchart of who’s telling what porkies to whom.

So when the episode reaches ten minutes from the end and nothing much of interest has actually happened (even Klaus’s discovery of the magical sword is like a particularly dull episode of Timewatch ) it looks like “The Killer” is going to be just another filler episode with a teasing title that it’s not going deliver on. Although Elena and Damon’s tussle on the bed (“For someone who doesn’t want to be like me, you sure are good as it”) and the spectacular way Conner kills the hybrid are memorable moments, overall it’s pretty much Vampire Diaries by numbers.

But then, it happens. Elena turns killer. And it’s not just the fact that she kills Connor that makes the scene so brilliantly shocking, it’s the way it’s juxtaposed with the scene in which Stefan finally admits the truth to Damon: Connor is the key to curing Elena. It’s a wonderful case of the show wrong-footing the audience, because the Stefan and Damon scene feels so much like your typical emotional climax to a Vampire Diaries plot-of-the-week. “Here we go again,” you’re thinking. “The show hasn’t got the courage of its convictions. Cue 17 more weeks of Connor nearly dying but escaping.” Cut. Ker-unch. One dead Connor. Bye bye cure.

Excellent stuff. The show at its best.

And then, of course, the Hunter tattoo transfers itself to Jeremy which opens up a whole new can of worms… (see below)

Not sure about the Lady Macbeth moment at the end, though. Weeks of incessant guilt-tripping to come, presumably.

IN-JOKE At least we presume it was an in-joke when Hayley said, “I don’t do teen drama!” considering that actress Phoebe Tonkin has previously appeared in The Secret Circle and Home And Away .

TAKE TAT! So Jeremy’s a Slayer … Hunter now. Guess who’s suddenly going to take a close interest in him? It would be some kind of irony if Klaus has to encourage Jeremy to become a serial vampire killer just so he can reveal the full map and the cure. That could take the show in some very dark directions indeed.

BEHIND THE SCENES The guy who played Nate in the previous episode – Michael Lee Kimel – gets a credit on this episode as well, even though only his severed head makes an appearance.

DIY Very sensible of Matt to place a cloth over the hammer in an attempt to muffle to noise of his attempted escape. Shame nobody told the Foley artist who merrily whacked some hammering sound effects over the top. How could Connor not hear that?

BLACK MAGIC The image of Bonnie trying to light one candle, failing, but lighting every other candle in the room instead nicely mirrors season one, episode four (“Family Ties”) when she first came into her powers and performed the very same feat.

THAT’S GOTTA HURT A great death here for hybrid Dean, though if you are going to do the “gaping wound that goes all the way through” shtick it’s better if there’s an interesting background. And Dean is one the show’s new clichés; if a hybrid you don’t recognise suddenly gets a line or two, he’ll be dead before episode’s end.

Damon: “You want to cure her because she’s a vampire and she’s not cut out to be? Or you can’t love her if she is one?”

Dave Golder

New episodes of The Vampires Diaries season four debut in the UK on ITV2, Mondays at 9pm

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Dave Golder
Freelance Writer

Dave is a TV and film journalist who specializes in the science fiction and fantasy genres. He's written books about film posters and post-apocalypses, alongside writing for SFX Magazine for many years.