Elena’s anger almost gets the best of her

The vampire diaries Season 4, Episode 3 (“The Rager”)
Nina Dobrev (Image: The CW)

After the darkness and mourning of the first two episodes of this season, episode 3 begins to move the plot, and characters, forward. There is a return (somewhat) to normalcy as the teens return to school (when is the last time we actually saw them in a class?) and Damon leads the charge on taking down the new vampire hunter. Though the emotions of everything that has happened are still at the surface, they are trying to move on and find a new normal.

Last episode Elena was overcome with her feelings of grief, in this episode she has moved to anger. This is primarily fueled by, and aimed at, Rebekah for killing her and Alaric. Her anger is making it harder for her to have control, and she almost loses it while feeding on Matt. The issue with Stefan’s approach becomes evident in this episode, Elena doesn’t know how to stop herself when she starts to lose control. Stefan struggles with the same thing himself, so he doesn’t really know how to help her. He confides in Caroline that as much as he wants Elena to enjoy the good parts of being a vampire, he can’t enjoy them along with her because he risks losing control himself. He has so much guilt for the people he has hurt that it has driven him to only know how to survive on the animal diet. Knowing that Elena is also likely to feel guilt over hurting people, he pushes the same on her which is only reinforcing that she should feel guilt.

Damon’s approach is actually better for Elena in the sense that he is going to be more forgiving if she messes up, which she is bound to. When Elena goes too far with Matt, Damon tells her that she doesn’t have to feel ashamed for being what she is. He decides to stay in town and help her, after spending the episode saying he is going to leave once he kills Connor. He tells Stefan that he is leaving because that was their agreement, but Stefan doesn’t really want him to. He also probably isn’t really leaving just because of their agreement. He is hurt over Elena’s rejection of him and without Alaric he feels like he doesn’t have anyone. Obviously he was never going to leave, which Meredith calls him out on. It is good to see him put aside his own pain and be there for the people he cares about. It is a real moment of growth for the character, and probably one that is too overlooked by the other characters. He sticks around even when there is nothing in it for him.

Connor is still tracking the vampires and using much more advanced techniques than Alaric ever did. He spikes the beer at Rebekah’s party with werewolf venom so that any vampire who drinks it will die. Which is a pretty smart move. He is certainly a different kind of hunter, though he doesn’t seem to know it. Klaus calls him one of “The Five” which isn’t yet explained in this episode, and Connor himself doesn’t know what it means. His invisible tattoos are an indicator and are only visible to other hunters, or potential hunters. The fact that Jeremy can see them implies that he may be one as well.

Elena and Rebekah are both hallucinating from the werewolf venom. Elena is seeing Damon, even though she is with Stefan, and Rebekah is seeing Matt. Rebekah has moved out from her house with Klaus since she realized that her loyalty to him was never going to be returned. She and Klaus both fear being alone but approach it in different ways. Klaus wants to insure that there will always be people around him that he can control. For this reason, he protects Tyler even after he has broken his sire bond. Rebekah ruined his ability to make more hybrids so he wants to protect the ones he has. Rebekah on the other hand just wants to feel like someone cares about her. She has spent the last 1000 years hoping that her familial connection to Klaus would be enough to insure that he would always be there for her, but it hasn’t worked out that way. He would rather protect his un-sired hybrid, than his sister. This is why Rebekah is so quick to fall for people who show her kindness. The other characters often call her desperate for attention, which is true, but it is not out of self-centeredness. In her hallucination she sees Matt telling her that non one likes her and she will be forever alone. This leads her to telling April Young that she will help her figure out what happened to her dad and the Council – probably just so she can feel like she has a friend.

This was another decent episode, it does a lot of set up for the season while still allowing for good character exploration. I like that Rebekah’s character is starting to get more depth beyond just being bratty. This season really starts to make you feel for her and everything she has been through for the past 1000 years. When she is explaining to Matt why she made them crash, you can understand why they would all hate her, but as a viewer you have to recognize that she didn’t do anything they wouldn’t have done if the roles were reversed.

Episode Grade: B+

Other Thoughts:

  • Connor looks like he has a meth lab going on in that RV.
  • Stefan: “Why don’t you stop being dramatic?”
  • Tyler has a new werewolf friend show up in town, Hayley. Klaus is hoping that there is something going on between them so that Caroline will break up with him. He is very judgey about Tyler’s potential infidelities, like he has any moral high ground to stand on.
  • Damon: “Are you staying for the show?”
  • Damon and Klaus teaming up to interrogate Connor was great. I would love to see more of that dynamic.
  • Klaus: “For future reference, one voice-mail is just as effective as nine”
  • Remember when getting a werewolf bite was a real threat?
  • Jeremy/Damon: “See I told you I could be a badass” “Badasses don’t say that”
  • Caroline is going to be Stefan’s new sober sponsor.
  • Body Count: None!

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