The Vampire Diaries 4.07 “My Brother’s Keeper”

A tv review article by: Shawn Hill


Ugh. Gross. Elena is bound to Damon because he was her sire? I don’t even remember the convolutions that led to it being his blood in her when she died. Something to do with Meredith and her sneaky hospital blood supply, wasn’t it? Did she get it all from Damon? So this whole dramatic sexy finally exultant lovemaking scene between Amoral Damon and formerly Moral Elena isn’t a new development in an evolving relationship? It’s just rape? Since, being “bound” to him, consent is out of the question and she’ll do whatever he suggests? Super-mega-gross. Even though he didn’t choose to infect Elena himself, he must know what’s going on by now. Or is he just thanking his dark stars?

Every time Elena shows agency this season, it’s been immediately stripped away. She likes partying and drinking frat boys; Bonnie yells at her. She kills the vengeful and deadly Connor; she starts hallucinating his bitter and vengeful ghost. She breaks up with Stefan, cleanly, and reaches out to Damon, whom she’s also always loved; only because Damon told her to. It wasn’t a choice after all.

I’m annoyed and disappointed. It doesn’t really help that it was Caroline who figured this out, because while I want to be all “Yay, you go with the Sherlocking, Vampire Barbie!” I don’t agree with any of her conclusions. Nor do I agree with her irrational hatred of Damon, or her need for the Elena/Stefan ship to keep sailing. Why not butt out of everyone’s love life, and worry about your own, which Hayley and Klaus are coming at right now from two different angles?

I’ll give the episode credit for having one of its big Southern town soirees (this time the “Miss Mystic Falls” pageant again, which is a pretty great title on a lot of levels) where nobody gets beheaded, shot or even publically humiliated. Well, April has a moment of doubt when Jeremy isn’t there to offer his arm as her dashing escort, but Matt fills in ably. And she sure does look pretty in that slutty red dress Damon told her to wear. Oh no, is she sired, too? Or just compelled?  Or only tacky?

Or maybe Damon knows what’s hot?

Jeremy’s looking mighty good himself, in a tux that stays surprisingly clean even though he’s staking vampires and developing revulsion for his own sister. A lethal revulsion, which he worries is part of the dead-ring-revival curse that affected Alaric and made him go all libertarian and final solution regarding the supernatural. Best bro’ Matt doubts it, blaming the Curse of the 5 working its tattoo magic on him instead, which makes more sense (if only because we’ve already done the ring-madness story). And how convenient that Prof. Atticus Shane reveals to Damon (who can hurt him, but doesn’t really scare him) that the only way to solve that mystery is with a bad witch, which is apparently what he’s trying to turn Bonnie into. Yay?

To top it off, Caroline and Klaus have a date that is full of chemistry and regard for each other, mostly from the smitten boy, but the girl is getting a few sparkles in her eyes, too. With any two other people, maybe, but I say again, gross.

I get the feeling this episode was trying to make me feel a lot of things, but I didn’t agree enough with any of them to comply. Except for Matt, the show likes its lone human these days, and he’s being a kinda standup guy (except for lying to April about Rebekah, I suppose).

But the question remains: why bother vamping Elena if she’s a) going to immediately search for a cure and b) become Damon’s willing sex-slave? Who’s left to root for in that situation? Stefan in the hopes he can purify her again? Simplistic and chauvinistic. Damon in the hopes that everything just keeps going his way without him doing very much? Annoyingly self-serving. Elena in the hopes she’ll come to her senses and live up to the glimpses of wisdom where she seems to accept her fate and understand that being dead is different than being alive? From the looks of things, that’s the least likely outcome of all. Boring.

Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at

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