The Vampire Diaries 4.04 "The Five"A tv review article by: Shawn Hill
Finally, this season figures out what it's about and delivers a truly fresh episode. I guess fourth time's the charm. This episode not only puts the pieces into place, it moves them along quite nicely, hitting some unexpected turns full speed ahead. That it involves heaping helpings of Klaus and Rebekah doesn't even slow it down.
Maybe that's because it also involves flashbacks, and that means we get more Elijah. Elijah elevates every scene he's in, always has, and even the Fabio wig doesn't distract from his general awesomeness way back in 1105 or whenever it was. Late enough for a Crusades reference, however subtly delivered, not to be entirely out of place.
The flashback is all about "The Five," who seem to be some kind of set of Highlanders empowered by a dying witch to live forever (she keeps saying "imortalis" a lot anyway) as long as they keep killing vampires. It's some sort of quasi-Celtic mumbo jumbo, but the funniest part is the way her big vessel of a designer cauldron spews out energy that runs right up all their swords. Symbolism, hardly ever subtle on this show.
Rebekah and Klaus use Stefan as their go-between in order to stitch back together a relationship, but as it involves Klaus gleefully unearthing some sordid moments of family history, it's not as much fun as it could be. God I fucking hate Klaus. When is he ever going to just ask someone for what he wants? Why does it always have to be a manipulation, a threat, an aspect of leverage he has in order to guarantee his demands will be met? As if he knows he'll never otherwise get his way?
Has he not noticed that he doesn't get his way anyway? No more than Rebekah has noticed that whenever someone says they love her, it's because they want something (often, to kill her outright). Life's pretty grim for the Originals, and only Elijah has the poise to handle it. Instead, we get Klaus, who's strung Connor up on an Inquisition torture device (okay, he can be slightly funny), and is all about sussing out the map that his invisible tattoo provides … to where? To what? What is so bleeding important that forces Klaus to collaborate with his hated sister, and kidnap the beloved Jeremy (who can see the tattoo, and is conveniently an artist, so he can also draw it)? I'll tell you at the end.
Because all of that is as nothing to the real point of the episode, which is that Elena needs to feed, and Damon is the only one to show her how. They tag along on Bonnie's college trip to meet her Gran's professorial replacement (he has a thing for witches), because Damon suspects some frat parties will be the perfect hunting grounds for fledgling vamp Elena.
And when she spies a rufie-prone jock, it turns out they are. Damon helps her compel and drink quite openly (the fact that the theme party is called "Murder House" makes all the real blood staining her face blend right in with the serial killer costumes, unlike last week at church), and they end up having a moment of vamp party bliss that equals her bike-riding gymnastics with Stefan from the week before, with a way better soundtrack. Until Bonnie catches her enjoying herself, which triggers a guilt trip. As if she currently has a choice, as human blood is all she can drink to live. Elena has to be perfect even as a vamp, but at least Damon knows that can't mean she gets to keep her humanity too. It's a step back in an episode that otherwise finally begins to revel in Elena's newfound undead status.
But, then, that's the other mystery. The five may have formed in the Middle Ages, and Connor may represent some sort of descendant of their line (immortality wasn't in the cards for them, as Klaus killed them all), but they also know about something as yet unheard of: a cure for vampirism. And everybody wants that, not least of all Stefan for Elena and himself. And really, who's more ruthless than the original Ripper himself? And, oh yeah, Bonnie's teacher-friend is the witch-lover who sent Connor to Mystic Falls. So, shit just got real.
Quit chickening out about Elena being bloodthirsty, show. Even if Stefan finds the cure, doing it too soon would be a missed opportunity. She's at least got to really hit bottom as vamp first. Or top, from another angle, as she's finally showing signs of being good at it.
Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at http://cornekopia.net.