TV Review: THE VAMPIRE DIARIES Season 4, Episode 15 'Stand by Me'

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After last week’s shocking episode, Elena is forced to make a heartbreaking decision. But her choice may shock Stefan and her friends, and put her bond with Damon to the test. Spoilers ahead!

Fans hoping Jeremy might bounce back aren’t kept waiting long as most of the episode focuses on Elena coming to grips with his death. The Gilbert family ring that has kept Jeremy alive up until this point no longer works due to Jeremy being one of the Five. His new supernatural status negates the ring’s powers and it’s unclear if he knew this when he chose to break his own neck instead of becoming Silas-food.

While Stefan takes Elena and Jeremy back to Mystic Falls to break the news, Damon stays behind in Nova Scotia to search for Bonnie. Somehow in all the commotion from last week, Bonnie is just wandering around, crawling on her hands and knees in the woods. “Shane,” who you may recall was trapped under a rock when we last saw him, finds her and fills her in: Jeremy was used to feed Silas, and now Jeremy’s dead. Silas is running amok all half-resurrected, and the only person who can swoop in and save the day is Bonnie with her Expression witchery.

The episode follows these two storylines until they converge in the last twenty minutes. Nina Dobrev shows off her acting range, as Elena struggles all night with accepting a definitely-dead Jeremy who is starting to stink up the house. Meanwhile, a maybe-crazy Bonnie continues to grope around the woods with an incredibly creepy and very shady Shane. He picks at her psyche the entire day until she’s convinced she has to bring Jeremy back from the dead.

Unfortunately the only way to do that is by completing the spell Shane started when he convinced Pastor Young to blow himself up with the Town Council, and then manipulated Klaus’ hybrids into inciting his wrath. Silas needs one more round of sacrifices to declare himself good-to-go, and when he does – crazy things are going to happen in the supernatural world. The entire veil will be stripped away, leaving humans ripe for the picking.

In his search for Bonnie, Damon has to contend with an incredibly annoying Rebekah (more annoying than usual, anyway) and Vampire Hunter Vaughn. Vaughn reveals he came with Katherine, who’s been planning to steal the cure since running into Hayley in New Orleans. (Let’s note the obvious reference to CW’s new spin-off The Originals, which is set in the city and rumoured to star Phoebe Tonkin.) Just when Damon’s about to call it quits and return to Mystic Falls to be there for Elena, he conveniently runs into Bonnie — who everyone quickly realizes is completely nuts.

Faced with the decision of either letting Jeremy die or letting Bonnie kill 12 people to bring him back, Elena smartly chooses option one. She then proceeds to completely freak out, as that means she has to accept that Jeremy is in fact dead.

Damon swoops in to comfort her, and Stefan encourages him to use the Sire Bond to ease Elena’s suffering. Here’s where Damon makes either a huge mistake or a brilliant move – depending on how it plays out. He pulls Elena close and as a stunned Stefan looks on, he commands that she “Turn it off.” He orders Elena to turn off her humanity.

This is a big thing to a new vampire, as their last shreds of humanity are the only thing keeping them from becoming cold, killing predators. If this goes in Damon’s favor, Elena could abandon any interest in finding a cure and continue to love him. But if it goes too far, she may turn away from him completely – staying around only because the Sire Bond compels her to.

The new and possibly-improved Elena decides it’s time to let go and move on. In an act of finality, she burns down the Gilbert house with Jeremy’s body inside it. Insisting it’s the only way to explain his death, she walks away with the Salvatore brothers – who are now incredibly worried about what Damon’s done.

This episode was a tough one to watch as our friends in Mystic Falls reconcile themselves with Jeremy’s death. Fans around the web have been complaining about this season’s “Emo-Elena” – and after an hour of watching her freaking out in a teary mess it was a bit of a relief when Damon flipped her switch. I’m incredibly psyched to see what this “New Elena” is going to do, let’s just hope she doesn’t become Katherine the Sequel.

To read our review of the previous episode, go here. THE VAMPIRE DIARIES airs in the UK on itv2 Tuesdays from 9pm.

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