This week’s episode of “The Vampire Diaries” was titled “The Killer.” Before we watched the episode, we figured that referred to Connor, the hunter who took Jeremy, Matt, and April hostage at the Grill. In reality, though, it refers mostly to Elena, who killed a human for the first time as a vampire — and who is now hallucinating. She took down Connor in a hand-to-hand battle under the town, showing us a new, unexpected darkness for the first time.
“I’ve been on the show a little while, and something that I struggle with is I want Elena to do more things,” the episode’s writer, Michael Narducci, says. “I want her to not be a damsel in distress. I want her to go out and protect her brother. We thought, if Jeremy’s in jeopardy [and] we have Matt who is her high school sweetheart in jeopardy, what’s Elena going to do? Is she going to wait for all these other people to get involved and save everyone for her, or will she get involved and do something?”
Obviously, she took action, after some encouragement from Damon. “I thought there were some key moments that I really loved in this episode, like when she turns to Damon and says ‘I’m a monster too.’ And she is, now,” Narducci adds. “She’s dangerous. I don’t think she goes into these tunnels with the intention of killing Connor. I think she goes into these tunnels with the intention of saying ‘Stay the hell away from my family.’ And Connor never gives up, Connor’s ready to kill a vampire at any moment, and when he stakes her, she loses it in that moment. There’s something about vampires, they do go off, and Elena is one of them, so we have to show that dark side too.”
There was already a distance established between Stefan and Elena going into this episode. She was struggling to be honest with him about her bloodlust, and he was secretly conspiring with Klaus. That chasm was never more evident then when the two dusted off their old diaries.
“A diary is your most personal place to give your most personal messages,” says executive producer Julie Plec. “So when you’re in a functional friendship, a functional relationship, and you’ve got something to share, you can share it with a friend, a lover, whatever, and Elena’s always had that in Stefan or Damon and right now she feels more lost and alone than she ever has and it felt like the right time for her to need to have a voice for that, because she doesn’t feel like she can admit this to her friends and loved ones, that she hates where she’s become. “
Elena’s meltdown as she buried Connor wasn’t an isolated incident. She’s still pretty angry with Stefan going into next week’s episode, as she feels that his secrets led her to do the one thing she hoped she’d never do. “Well, she’s mad at him,” Plec laughs. “and she definitely starts next week really super mad at him. Forgiveness and understanding and learning the truth of what he’s up to and what he was up to, all those things are up ahead. We’ll see how she’ll handle it.”
The emotional consequences of her killing are just the tip of the iceberg. The bloody hallucination she had in the final moments of the episode is going to be a much bigger deal next week, as Elena descends into madness. “Killing a hunter comes with a price,” says Plec. “There’s a great kind of weird Dostoevsky consequence to it all that she’s really going to have to deal with, that takes her to some dark places.”
There’s also the consequence that Elena doesn’t know about yet — Connor was, at the point of his death, the key to a cure to her condition. “In shadow of giving the first glimpse of hope for Elena’s predicament and situation, she herself was the one who broke that. She literally and metaphorically killed her hope without realizing it. The consequences of that first kill are pretty profound,” says Plec.
The idea of the cure has gotten a lot of criticism from fans and reviewers, but Plec warns us not to get too ahead of ourselves. Remember a couple of years ago when we were criticizing the moonstone plot and it turned out to be just the key to a much grander scheme? “This announcement of the cure is at this point in the narrative is equal to ‘Katherine wants a moonstone.’ It’s equal to ‘Damon’s looking for a crystal.’ It’s just the beginning. It’s the beginning of a lot of roads that we can travel down,” she says.
Over the course of the next handful of episodes, expect some big moves when it comes to Elena’s stability, the love triangle, and even Elena’s relationship with Jeremy. Now that he’s tagged with the mark on his hand, he’s a hunter — no longer able to be compelled by vampires, but instead, compelled by new urges and new directives.
“Now they are supernaturally predisposed to be in conflict, so that’s going to make Sunday dinner a little awkward,” Plec says.
Narducci adds that Matt will be a stabilizing force in Jeremy’s life as he struggles with this secret. “Matt and Jeremy are going to get closer as [Matt] kind of takes on an older brother role to help his buddy, who is kind of going through these difficult problems with what happens with Jeremy’s little mark on his hand.”
The only relationship that does seem stable right now is the brotherhood between Stefan and Damon. With both of their feelings for Elena out in the open, Damon’s offer to help Stefan find the cure — for purely selfless reasons — was downright touching.
“I love when those boys are together and when they’re working on the same team,” says Plec. “We will continue to hope and pray that they’ll be able to find those moments with each other all season long, but there’s going to be a lot conspiring against them as really all of the aftershocks of the events of this episode start to do their damage.”
For more from Julie Plec, check out this article about Tyler Lockwood’s new path.
I’m still trying to get my head around this episode — so let’s talk about it together! I’m hosting a fun chat every
Friday at 3 p.m. EST (noon PST) on ConnecTV, a fantastic new app that makes TV more social. You guys can ask me any
questions you want and I’ll share my opinions, plus scoop from the cast
and crew on what’s to come.
In the meantime, let’s discuss the episode — and these revelations from Julie Plec and Michael Narducci — in the comments section below. What worked for you? What didn’t?