Elena turns her humanity back on!

The Vampire Diaries Season 4, Episode 21 (“She’s Come Undone”)
Nina Dobrev, The Vampire Diaries

“She’s Come Undone” finally brings Elena’s humanity back. Inspired by Elena’s brief moment of fearing for her life in the previous episode, the Salvatores are trying to use that to force her to turn her emotions back on. The problem is that she knows they love her and therefore won’t actually do anything that would really hurt her. There is no fear in their torture. They bring in Katherine, someone who actually would hurt Elena, but Katherine has no interest in getting Elena’s humanity back, she would rather watch her suffer. Finally they resort to Damon pretending to kill Matt. It is plausible that Damon would kill Matt. He has consistently shown little concern for the lives of the people Elena loves, her life has always been more important. Though it seems more like something Damon from the first couple of seasons would do, I feel like he has grown beyond that at this point. He was willing to be the villain to get things done back when he had no hope of being with her, but that has changed now. However, it seems to be believable enough to Elena because it works. She immediately turns it all back on and is overcome with the guilt of everything that she has done since turning her humanity off.

Whatever the device, I am glad for Elena to have her humanity back. It was a fun detour for the character but didn’t have a lot of longevity. Stefan turning his humanity off in season 3 was one of my favorite plot points in the series. When other characters do it, it is never quite as good. When Stefan had his off, the people around him were affected in ways that weren’t with Elena. Stefan was kind of evil and people felt unsafe around him. He became just as much of a villain as Klaus. Also considering Stefan’s bloodlust issues, there were greater stakes for him. Even when his humanity came back, he was going to have to learn to control himself again with human blood. Elena for the most part was just mean and wanted to party a lot. It is fun for a couple of episodes, but didn’t feel like there were any real stakes to it. She is going to feel guilty for a few episodes and then it will be on to the next storyline.

Meanwhile, Silas is still getting into everyone’s heads, especially Caroline in this episode. He is able to see into people’s minds and finds their insecurities and fears and uses that to manipulate them. He is after Bonnie and is using her friends to get to her. Interestingly he appears to Caroline both as her mom and Klaus. Her mom makes sense, they are very close and she is the only family Caroline has left. One of the only parents any of them have left. She is terrified of losing her. Klaus on the other hand, who has just moved to New Orleans to start his own show, was probably a bit of fan service but also a deeper insecurity for Caroline. The conversation they have implies that Caroline was upset that Klaus left without saying goodbye. This probably isn’t something she even realized herself, but Silas’s mind reading and controlling abilities are greater than any vampire we have seen. With Klaus gone, they are building him up to be the next great villain. So far the mysteriousness and willingness to do whatever it takes to achieve his goal is intriguing, however I am not ready to make an opinion on how good a villain he is. The show has always tried to make their villains sympathetic, but so far we don’t know enough about Silas to know if that is the case here. He did seem to convince Bonnie to do the spell to bring down the veil to the Other Side so we will have to see if she does it before the end of the season.

I was glad for this episode to get us past humanity-less Elena. At first it was a fun break from all of the darkness earlier in the season and allowed them to move past Jeremy’s death instead of lingering on it. But after a while it got stale. I was impressed that Nina Dobrev was able to make this side of Elena distinctly different from Katherine. I think a lot of actresses would have just had her humanity-less version just be Katherine (a part she is already playing anyway) but she actually puts in the effort to make the three parts distinguishable. I didn’t really buy that Elena would have thought that Damon would be willing to kill Matt to turn her emotions back on. It was a fine episode for getting past the humanity switch problem and setting up the end for the last two episodes of the season, but it wasn’t one that I particularly enjoyed.

Episode Grade: B-

Other Thoughts:

  • The Salvatores make a fun torture team, I wish we got to see more of this dynamic in the show.
  • Poor Matt is failing multiple classes because he has been too preoccupied by all his friends’ drama. Luckily both Rebekah and Caroline offer to tutor him.
  • “You dated that?” “She likes projects”
  • “Oh honey you look awful” always glad to have Katherine around.
  • “I love Elena, I despise you”
  • It was unclear if Stefan was in on the “killing Matt” plan or not, his face looked concerned but he wasn’t freaking out over what he did.
  • “She’ll be back to her dull, sympathetic self in no time”
  • Elena decides to focus all of her energy on getting revenge on Katherine by killing her. She is the cause of all of their problems.
  • Body Count: None!

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