Disclaimer: The threats in this episode weren’t actually that vague, but the way Damon said that line was awesome so I needed to name my review after it.
Wow, just wow. Season 4 of The Vampire Diaries has been, right from the get go, everything we want in this show. It is rare to sit down and watch a series that is one hour of pure unadulterated entertainment. “The Rager” had me screaming at the television, gasping, laughing, and loving every moment of it. The superstars of the episode, Joseph Morgan (Klaus), Ian Somerhalder (Damon), and music supervisor, Chris Mollere. Morgan and Somerhalder were having so much fun in this episode it was infectious. Mollere’s music selection is always the perfect accompaniment to The Vampire Diaries, but last night’s compilation of the Lumineers, Santigold, and Ladyhawke deserves mention. You can follow Chris Mollere on twitter @cmollere for the complete list of artists from each episode.
In the first five seconds of the episode Tyler (who had his shirt on for this entire episode, so weird) has his werewolf juice jacked by the creepy hunter. Tyler’s arc in this episode was great. It brought back a little of the old jock Tyler who wasn’t constantly swooning over Caroline. (That switch from bad boy to love sick puppy always confused me.) New girl Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin), had a wild chemistry with Tyler, a result of their werewolf past, and her scene with Klaus was genius. Hayley, not subtly at all, will create a much needed riff between Tyler and Caroline. They’ve got to break up sometime, it is television after all. Now while Tyler is “otherwise occupied making big decisions about honesty and whatnot” (best Klaus line of the night) let’s catch up with the rest of Mystic Falls.
Stefan and Elena are back in high school and Rebekah is being a super crazy bitch. Even in the midst of all the hunter and transition nonsence everyone goes back to school. The pacing of The Vampire Diaries is one of its greatest assets. How can there be so much plot and still have time for a new teacher and Matt Donovan locker slamming? It’s so freakin cool. Anyway, Rebekah is throwing a party because now there is a curfew (first Buffy throwback of the night). The party goes sour since Connor has poisoned the beer with Tyler juice so that all the vampires at the party will die. For a hunter with a magic tattoo and perfect aim, Connor seems to be woefully ill informed about the originals and hybrids and whatnot. Elena is cured by Klaus by the end of the episode, but Rebekah is still in werewolf hallucinogenic crazy town. Rebekah’s a heart wrenching hallucination where she succeeds in killing Matt Donovan made me lose it. For a good three seconds there I didn’t realize Rebekah was tripping and completely freaked out. Killing Matt Donovan is just wrong.
Stefan was the buffer in “The Rager”. His and Elena’s relationship was used to slow down the action, which was an interesting choice. For all Stefan’s hope of showing Elena fun and riding around on a motorcycle, the scene fell flat and felt more like a scooter ride. (Maybe it was the helmets, why do vampires need helmets?) They brought the action to a stand still in fact when their second attempt at crazy vamp sex resulted in Elena hallucinating and seeing Damon then coming down with a case of werewolf. Better than puking blood? Worse than puking blood? It’s a tough call. Stefan and Caroline’s rekindled friendship was a nice bookend for the episode. Caroline really is surprisingly good at being a vampire and let’s hope for loads more Stefan/Caroline heart to hearts to come.
Elena is turning into a homicidal maniac because she has been feeding solely off of Matt Donovan, the walking blood bag, and it is driving her crazy. Two questions: When did Matt stop drinking vervain? Seems kind of silly to give it up when you’re the only human left (I guess Jeremy counts too). Also, if Elena is going to be feeding on Matt why doesn’t she just heel him with vampire blood after? In any case, Elena is nutso and Damon reels her in. Yay! Damon isn’t leaving after all. He is taking his grown up friend Meredith’s advise and staying to help Elena, because duh he still loves her. If she’s being honest, she still loves him too.
Now the hunter, which surprisingly feels like subplot, is apparently more than he seems. He is one of “the five”. Super obvious Buffy throwback. Yes, this show is nothing like Buffy but that really got me. Ok, they added two more to “the three”, but it still seemed a bit stale. Klaus obviously knows all about “the five” since he’s a zillion years old and in episode 4 we are promised lots of flashbacks and explanations of what “the five” means. Really, I’m just looking forward to having old school Elijah and Klaus back.
Overall, this episode rocked. It lacked the intense feels of “Memorial”, but made up for it with an onslaught of humor and angst. Another week in Mystic Falls leaves us begging for more. Let me know what you thought of “The Rager” in the comments. Also, who won the crazy awesome man off this time, Klaus or Damon?
The Vampire Diaries airs on Thursdays at 8/7c on the CW.