‘The Vampire Diaries’ 401: ‘Growing Pains’

Caution: Spoilers Ahead.

The Vampire Diaries kicked off Season 4 with last night’s “Growing Pains,” and it was chock full of plenty of the violence but not enough of the booze we’ve all come to expect out of the best teen paranormal drama on TV.

They left us with a total cliffhanger last season when Elena seemingly escaped death after going over Wickery Bridge with Matt in a race to return home and see Stefan, Caroline, and Tyler before they possibly met their demise after Klaus’ apparent death. Meredith Fell, our favorite meddling doctor, had slipped Elena some vampire blood the episode prior after she fell and hit her head during a struggle with Klaus and Tyler. That injury ended up causing severe brain damage and would’ve killed her if Meredith hadn’t “helped her” as she so cryptically said in the finale. Our last image was of Elena’s eyes popping open on the coroner’s slab, leaving her (and us) gasping for breath at the possibility of a vampire Elena.

With Klaus’ soul eventually transferred back to his own body after successfully striking a deal with Bonnie and Tyler to transfer it into Tyler’s body before Alaric could “kill” him, the new threat to our group in Season 4 of The Vampire Diaries is in the form of the Town Council. Before Alaric met his end (his soul was tied to Elena’s, so when she died as a human under water Alaric did as well), he outed not only the kids but their parents as well, launching a hunt for both the vampires and their sympathizers. But the council is now being led by the town priest, who apparently would rather see the entire council dead than live in a town teeming with vampires.

The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Premiere "Growing Pains" - Elena

Elena struggled with the decision to complete the transition, finally being left with no choice as she was captured by the council and imprisoned with Rebekah and Stefan. Rebekah, touched by their declarations of love, has a change of heart and helps trick one of their captors into getting too close to the cages. Stefan rips him apart and leaves his body near a dying Elena, who manages to get a few drops in her mouth and change just in time to break free and save Matt from being killed by a vengeful Damon who’s come to rescue them all.

It’s all peace and love for Stefan and Elena as they sit atop Salvatore Manor and discuss their new (and very long) lives together. Just before sunrise, Stefan surprises Elena with a daylight ring that Bonnie conveniently made before possibly being stripped of her powers as punishment for all the black magic she’s been dabbling in. It may be the last moment of peace the couple is going to see for awhile as Season 4 of The Vampire Diaries is finally here!