The Vampire Diaries Season 4, Episode 7 (“My Brother’s Keeper”)
“My Brother’s Keeper” has all of the makings of a great Vampire Diaries episode. There is a fancy town event (the return of the Miss Mystic Falls pageant), there is a lot of people being shady during the pageant, there is a murder, and despite all of that it has a pretty light tone with a lot of funny lines. If it were not for the last couple of minutes of the episode, it would probably be my favorite of the entire series. However, the ending ruins a lot of the fun of the episode. It also puts a new light the events of the previous episodes this season. Instead of being one of the best episodes of the series, it begins one of the worst plot points of the show.
I am of course referring to the “sire bond” that apparently exists between Damon and Elena. The only reason I can think for the writers doing this is because they wanted to keep the love triangle drama alive, even after Elena chooses Damon. Instead of just letting her choice be the death of the triangle, they make it questionable as to whether she truly made the choice herself, or if it was because of a supernatural bond between them. It takes away her agency and makes the sex scene at the end feel gross. They even move from a romantic song playing over the scene, to dark sinister music. The overlaying of their sex scene with Caroline and Stefan’s conversation where they deduce that Elena is sired to Damon, is not a choice I am happy with. Needless to say I hate this storyline and the only way I will be able to move forward in talking about it is to try not to focus on the ridiculousness of its existence, and instead focus on the effect that it’s existence has on each character – that part does at least provide some interesting character points.
Now that I have the ranting about the sire bond out of the way, I can talk about the parts of the episode that I loved. It has been far too long since there was a town event to center an episode around and the Miss Mystic Falls pageant is a great one. It is an appropriate choice as Elena starts to explore her feelings for Damon. It calls back to the first MMF pageant when they danced together while Stefan was off trying to decide if he was going to kill one of the contestants. There are many parallels to that episode and this one, including April getting stood up by Jeremy and Matt having to swoop in at the last second.
Jeremy is missing because of Stefan, who is making him kill vampires in order to grow his mark so they can find the cure. This is not a great episode for Stefan as his judgement is clearly being hindered by his pain over losing Elena. He is being driven by the idea that if she becomes human again she will be back to the girl he loved and will want to be with him. As Elena’s says, he is trying to “fix” her, further proving that they do not work as a couple at this point. And forcing Jeremy to give into this desire to kill vampires now that he is a Hunter is only going to make things worse. Being a Hunter means that he has a supernatural urge to kill vampires, despite whether he thinks they are good or not. Making it dangerous for Elena to be living with him.
In order to keep Klaus from realizing that Tyler and Hayley are working to un-sire all of his hybrids, Caroline reluctantly agrees to go on a “date” with him. She agrees to him being her date to the MMF pageant and honestly all of their scenes are delightful. I would not put myself in the camp that thinks they should end up together, Klaus is far too evil to ever be a real contender for Caroline, but I do think they have a fun chemistry. Klaus knows that this is his one chance to impress Caroline and he tries to be as charming as possible. She is a little taken in by it, but far too concerned with what is going on with Elena and Damon to focus on it.
I have such mixed emotions about this episode because I really love it up until the sire bond is revealed at the very end. It is a fun episode and after the darker tone of most of this season so far, it feels like necessary relief. However it is hard to ignore the sire bond aspect. It is similar to the end of season 3, when Elena chooses Stefan but then we get the flashbacks of her first time meeting Damon (which had been erased from her memory). In both episodes, she chooses a Salvatore and then that decision is immediately questioned by new information. The next episode will get more into what exactly it means for Elena to be sired to Damon, but for now we know that it means she potentially didn’t choose him based on just her feelings for him.
Episode Grade: A-
- Caroline: “You’re Miss Mystic attendance record totally sucks”
- It is supposed to have only been a year since the last MMF pageant, which was in season 1. The timeline in this show is very unclear and I don’t think we are supposed to think about it too hard. But if only a year has passed then they have had a very busy year.
- Damon: “I see shady Stefan’s back”
- Stefan: “Let’s not pretend like this isn’t the best day of your life”
- Professor Shane continues to be the shadiest of them all – he is randomly a judge at MMF, he is connected to Pastor Young, and he has made a deal with Hayley regarding un-siring the hybrids.
- Caroline being in charge of the pageant and yelling at everyone working it is great.
- Where did Matt find the literature on Hunters? It looks like he printed it from the internet. Where does one find scholarly articles on the subject?
- Shane: “Did you just accuse me of mass murder, in the middle of a high school pageant?”
- Caroline: “Damon’s sneaky, and manipulative, and rude. But he’s never right”
- Tyler is very jealous of Klaus and Caroline’s fake date. Especially when he listens to Klaus talk about how seeing a hummingbird while hiking in the Andes was the one time he wanted to be human because life has more meaning when it is limited. He probably realizes he could never say anything that profound.
- When Elena has to move out of her house because of Jeremy, she chooses to go stay with the Salvatores which is a bold choice considering she just broke up with one of them because she had feelings for the other one.
- Body Count: 1, Jeremy kills the murderer that Stefan turned.