TVD Episode 4.01: Growing Pains Recap:
If there is any show that knows how to make a comeback, it’s The Vampire Diaries. Maybe it’s the post-new-episode [finally!] glow I’m basking in right now, but I think the premiere was phenomenal. If you need a refresher from the end of last season, check out the recap here. If not, read on – but be forewarned: massive episode spoilers ahead!
The Condensed Version:
A posse of vampire hunters roll into Mystic Falls, fire Dr. Fell, Mayor Lockwood, and Sheriff Forbes. They round up several vampires, including Elena – who doesn’t get a chance to feed first. Stefan killed one of the vampire hunters so that Elena could drink his blood and complete the transition. Klaus forces Bonnie to use dark magic so he can get his body back. The spirits retaliate by attacking Grams while Bonnie watches. Rebekah and Klaus fight, ending in Bex destroying his stored-up doppelganger blood and Klaus snapping her neck in retaliation. The vampire hunters all die in an explosion when the pastor decides to murder them all.
The Extended Version:
As we’ve seen in the promos, Elena wakes up without a clue that she died – thinking that Stefan somehow managed to save her as well as Matt. Unfortunately [from their perspective, anyway], that’s not the case. Stefan and Damon break the news to Elena, and talk about the possibility of Bonnie finding a way out. Damon is adamant that it won’t work – but Stefan and Elena both have hope that it might.
Down in the Gilbert kitchen, Stefan and Damon have an argument – as Damon is upset with Stefan for saving Matt. Stefan emphasizes her making a choice to save Matt over herself, but also confesses to Damon that he will regret it forever. Upstairs, Jeremy tries to help Elena understand what is going to come – having experienced the same with Vicki [though how he remembers what that was like since Damon compelled him to forget, I'm not really sure] – but Elena tells him she’s fine. He walks off, and Elena crushes a lightbulb [guess that's one way to turn off a light] because she can’t handle the noise it makes.
Klaus found his body still intact, brings it to the underground cell on the Lockwood property [where he's hiding out, I guess], and demands that Bonnie put him back in his own body. Bonnie tells him that he wants to save Elena first, but Klaus isn’t concerned with Elena since she is now dead. However, Bonnie convinces him to let her try when she mentions that she may have a way to bring her back as a human – and thus give Klaus his doppelganger blood source back.
Remember that time Mystic Falls had a “vampire hunter”? [Yeah, I'm still missing Ric, too.] Well, it turns out that he was about as amateur as they come – and the new crew [yes, there is a group of them - led by some pastor from their past] means business. They fly into town and immediately kick Meredith Fell out of the hospital, arrest Mayor Lockwood, and take Sheriff Forbes’ badge away.
As usual, Caroline is attacked – the vampire hunters find her at the Forbes’ house collecting some stuff to go on the run. They vervain her and throw her in the back of their van. The hunters then head over to Klaus’ mansion, where Rebekah is having a little grief party. Damon interrupts her, tries to kill her, but then takes off when the hunters show up and stake Bex [but, of course, she's an Original so it doesn't kill her] – and toss her in with Caroline.
Meanwhile, back at the Gilbert house, Elena fluctuates from laughing hysterically to sobbing uncontrollably [you know, typical vampire-in-transition stuff]. Stefan tries to comfort her, and tells her that he regrets saving Matt. Of course, Elena is still glad that he listened to her and saved Matt.
Klaus-Tyler is still walking around tricking people into thinking he’s Tyler – and by people we mean Mayor Lockwood. She’s fresh out of lock-up and calls Tyler to warn him – also letting it slip that the hunters got Caroline. Klaus-Tyler decides to go after the hunters to get Caroline back. He rips the van to shreds, saves Caroline, but leaves Rebekah tied down – though he does reveal to Bex that he’s actually Klaus. [Does that make Klaus-Tyler a hybrid-hybrid?]
Caroline and Klaus-Tyler run off into the woods, and immediately start making out. Klaus-Tyler tries to tell Caroline that the reason Tyler isn’t dead is because Klaus is in Tyler’s body, but Caroline doesn’t really listen. That is, she doesn’t listen until Klaus-Tyler calls her “love”. Once she realizes that Klaus is in Tyler’s body, she slaps him and he leaves to get Bonnie. [Also: it has to be said that Trevino did a fantastically convincing Klaus.]
When the hunters show up at the Gilbert house, they take Stefan and Elena, throwing Stefan in the cell with Bex. Elena gets a free pass until they realize something’s off about her and assume she’s a vampire, too. So, they add her to the vampire jail [though don't expect me to understand how a barn with nothing but a chain-link fence around it and some vervain fog can hold a thousand-year-old vampire] at the pastor’s farm.
She is almost successful, but her Grams shows up and basically tells her to get back to the real world and never try dark magic again. Grams informs her that there will be consequences if she ever does dark magic. She pops back into her body, only to be forced back into dark magic by Klaus-Tyler, who demands she find any way to put him back in his body – before he rips Tyler’s heart out and jumps into another body [or so he claims, anyway].
Bonnie does as he says – only to then be forced to watch as the consequences unfold, destroying Grams before her very eyes [I'm not sure what they did to her, as she was already dead - possibly destroyed her spirit or something?]. Afterwards, Klaus takes off to his mansion [and it was kind of unclear as to whether or not Tyler was okay], where Rebekah shows up, angry that he left her and saved Caroline. He argues that he could only save one of them [where have we heard that before?], and he knew Rebekah couldn’t be killed by them.
He gathers Elena’s blood [from when he drained her in 3.21: Before Sunset], preparing to leave town. Rebekah accuses him of not knowing the real meaning of family, and destroys the bloodbags – and thus Klaus’ last chance at creating hybrids. Angry, Klaus snaps her neck – but not before basically telling her that he is dead to her. Afterwards, he takes off, leaving her for dead [temporarily, anyway] on the floor of their home.
While still at the farm, Stefan saves Matt’s life again [after Vampire Elena stops Damon from killing him]. Matt tells Stefan that he wishes Stefan had just let him drown so he wouldn’t have to deal with the guilt of knowing he caused Elena’s death. Stefan takes that opportunity to drop a guilt-bomb of his own, essentially telling Matt that he will learn to enjoy every second of his life and be grateful to Elena for sacrificing her life for his.
During that, Elena and Damon get into an argument. She tells him she remembers everything – including the fact that they met first. He tells her it doesn’t matter because knowing that wouldn’t have changed her mind. He admits that if his and Stefan’s roles had been reversed, he would have let Matt drown because he’s selfish enough to want to give her the life she wanted – regardless of the consequences.
Later, on the Salvatore boarding house roof [yeah, I don't really know about that one either - just because she can do that now, I guess], Stefan gives her a daylight ring that Bonnie had made for her the day before. They talk, and he tries to prepare her for the blood cravings she’s going to have to deal with, but she says that she’s going to do her best to live for her family and friends.
Meanwhile, over at the crazy pastor’s farm, the vampire-hunting posse are gathered for a meeting. The pastor gives them a bit of a pep talk, then breaks the stove’s gas line so that the house fills up with gas. He gives some speech about them meeting together in the afterlife, pulls out a lighter, and blows them up – himself included. Though it’s unclear exactly why he felt the need to do that, but there you have it. With that, the episode ends, and that’s all until next week!