TV Recap: 'The Vampire Diaries' Episode 401 - 'Growing Pains'



Vampire Diaries Episode 401
“Growing Pains”
Written By: Caroline Dries
Directed By: Chris Grismer
Original Airdate: 11 October 2012

In This Episode...

Elena is in limbo: not quite dead, not quite alive. Not yet vampire, but not really human. The Salvatores, naturally, are there when she wakes. Stefan has Bonnie looking in to some way to save her human soul, while Damon thinks she should suck it up, feed, and just accept her vampire life. This upsets Klaus who is sick of being stuck in Tyler’s body because Bonnie needs to save all her magic reserves to keep Elena human - which, she reminds him, will allow him to continue to make hybrids.

In Alaric’s absence, Pastor Young has assembled the council - rather, the new council. They lock up the blood supply in the hospital, arrest the sheriff and the mayor, confiscate the entire town’s supply of vervain, and begin to round up all the vampires. They get Rebekah and Caroline, but a massive crash at the hands of Klaus / Tyler frees the girls. Caroline is thrilled to see that Tyler is alive. He frees her, but leaves Rebekah trussed up - after a wink to alert her that he is Klaus. Caroline and “Tyler” run off into the woods for crazy “you’re not dead” sex, until Caroline realizes he is actually Klaus and slugs him.

Meanwhile, Young’s militia has captured Stefan and taken Elena as, I guess, a POW - they don’t know that she kinda-is, kinda-isn’t dead. Elena used to babysit for Young’s daughter - there is a long history there. But as the day grows short, and Young tries to give her some steak to eat, Elena flips out, resisting the urge for blood. One of Young’s militiamen knocks her out and puts her in the barn, which has been converted into vampire jail. Stefan is there; so is Rebekah, who guesses that Elena has about three hours to drink human blood or die. Bonnie is back at her witch house, and she thinks she has a way to rescue Elena. It seems to be working - in her meditative state, she appears in the cell with Elena and is trying to capture the human side of her and save it from... I don’t know, where ever it goes. Before the spell can be completed, Grams appears to Bonnie and warns her against using the dark spirits. Startled, Bonnie stops the spell and comes out of reverie. Klaus is there and now that she doesn’t need her power to save Elena, he wants to be put back into his own body. She refuses, so Klaus starts to tear up Tyler’s body. Bonnie submits but she again taps into dark magic. Grams appears again and the spirits take it out on her. Bonnie is traumatized.

Elena is near death. Stefan calls in a guard and when he gets close enough, Stefan slams him into the cell bars. The guard drops, blood pooling out. A very weak Elena reaches her fingers out, dips them in the blood. Welcome to vampirehood. Meanwhile, Matt and Damon are uneasy comrades as they storm the farm. Damon uses Matt as bait, and tells the pastor that he can have the boy if he can have Stefan and Elena. The guards attack Damon and bring him into the barn. Damon is just faking, and takes out the guards and frees the vampires.

So where do we end up? Elena is now officially a vampire. All of her compulsions have worn off, so she remembers that she met Damon before she met Stefan, and she remembers when he professed his love to her. Knowing all this, she still stands beside her decision of choosing Stefan. Stefan had Bonnie make her a daylight ring just in case, which Stefan places on her finger while watching the sunrise from the roof. Klaus, now in his own body, is packing up the remaining doppelganger blood when Rebekah confronts him, furious that he didn’t rescue her from the van. Klaus disowns her, she pops a few bags of blood, he snaps her neck and storms out.

Finally, Pastor Young gathers the council at his house. While speaking to them, he surreptitiously disconnects his oven from the gas line, tells them they are at the beginning, and flicks his lighter. They all go kaboom, in mass murder that I assume will be explained later in the season.

Dig It or Bury It?

Puke. Puke, puke, puke. This episode could have been so badass, but it ended up treading dangerously close to Twilight territory. Elena accepted her newfound vampirism way too easily. I understand that, as death nears, the fight to live - in any possible way - becomes so strong as to be irresistible. But then her and Stefan sitting on the roof, with him essentially marrying her with that daylight seriously left me feeling queasy. It was just so cheesy. Yeah, I understand that like any show, The Vampire Diaries has to have those moments. But normally there is just much more hardcore shit. Then it got all cutesy-wootsy with Elena remembering what Damon compelled out of her, and all these deep “truths.” I feel like smooshing that stuff in with the council rounding up all vampires was a bad call. Maybe they did that to try to temper out the gooey nonsense, but all it did was dilute the action stuff.

Quotable Quotes

Matt is furious with Stefan for saving him instead of Elena, and for “allowing” Elena to go full vamp. “I have to live with that for the rest of my life,” he complains. “No,” responds Stefan, “you get to live with that.”


Elena struggles with her newfound immortality; the Salvatores bicker over how they should raise their baby vamp; and a new vampire hunter comes to town