The Vampire Diaries 4.07 “My Brother’s Keeper” Review

The Vampire DairiesThis was an episode of The Vampire Diaries that had people talking about it, before it had even aired as there has been speculation about a major plot point. This was a big moment for the central love triangle, especially after the breakup that occurred in the previous episode. This show never does things the easy way and there is always a twist.

This twist of course is problematic no matter where you stand on the love triangle issue; even more so as Caroline’s (Candice Accola) light bulb moment is intercut with Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Elena (Nina Dobrev) sleeping together for the first time. The question of Elena’s free will has to be looked at and the reason that she has been relying on Damon so much isn’t because he understands her more, but is thanks to a rare sire bond that can occur between vampires. This makes me want to re-watch the previous six episodes of this season to see all the times that Elena has done what Damon says. Elena’s decisions have not been of her own making (well the Damon involved ones anyway) and this takes away any responsibility for moments such as Connor’s (Todd Williams) death. Elena has previously been strong in standing by her choices, even when they put her on a road to martyrdom and this sire bond now takes away an important part of her character. While I don’t like the idea of ‘fixing’ Elena, I also don’t like an Elena whose decision making abilities can be influenced in this way.

The Vampire DiariesThere is also a question of whether Elena’s romantic feelings are part of the sire bond, it doesn’t appear that they are — none of the hybrids who are sired to Klaus (Joseph Morgan) are beating down his bedroom door —  and we’ve seen that Elena has feelings for Damon prior to her vampire transition. It doesn’t feel like Damon is manipulating Elena and this sire bond will most likely be news to him too. Elena’s decision to move into the Salvatore mansion is rather insensitive and this house switch feels like a manipulative way to get the characters to where they need to be by the end of the episode in a dramatic fashion. An alternate solution; Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) stays at Matt’s (Zach Roerig) house, Elena stays at hers and Damon comes over, Caroline and Stefan can still have their heart to heart at her house, or even at the Salvatore’s. It felt unnecessary to have Stefan leave his own house and Elena isn’t the kind of character to be this insensitive, even if she’s now ‘changed.’

The Vampire DairiesThe reason the house switch needs to occur is partly down to Stefan as he further triggers Jeremy’s hunter mark. The problem here is the more vampires that Jeremy kills, the more he wants to kill vampires and this puts Elena in danger at home. Stefan has a Ripper coach in Caroline and Matt is now Jeremy’s ‘sober sponsor.’ This makes sense as Matt is the only human character left out of the core group and their friendship has been developing for some time now. Matt’s human status when he was unaware of the supernatural elements made his inclusion problematic, but now that he is part of the world, his human status makes him unique in this group and gives him an important role to play. Jeremy is the only hunter that they know of and it will be a fine line that they will have him walking between wanting to kill most of the people he normally hangs out with and being the key to finding the cure.

Another friendship that got extended screen time this week is Caroline and Stefan’s. Caroline makes it clear to Elena that she thinks that Elena is making a huge mistake with her desire to explore her feelings for Damon. Caroline has a difficult history with Damon; in the timeline of the show it probably is only just over a year since Caroline was human and Damon used her as a blood bag and constantly compelled her. As I have previously stated the Caroline and Stefan friendship is one of my favorites on the show and it works because it is purely platonic; there are hints of Lexi (Arielle Kebbel) in Caroline.

The Vampire DairiesCaroline has been on the edge of most of the major plot points this season, but this episode brings her very much into the fold. Not only is Caroline the one who cracks the sire bond code and is there as a Stefan support, but she also has her own relationship drama to contend with. Klaus still believes that Tyler (Michael Trevino) and Caroline are on the outs and even though this is all a facade, real cracks are beginning to form. It doesn’t help that Caroline and Klaus have a couple of genuine moments that Tyler uses his super hearing to listen in on. Klaus teasing Caroline about her Miss Mystic Falls application is a really sweet moment that shows they have strong chemistry. The hummingbird story borders on pony drawing levels but both demonstrate that Klaus does indeed have a romantic and playful side.

There is a hybrid side project going on as Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) continues her de-siring programme. Hayley insists on going to the Miss Mystic Falls Pageant as a cover to hide what they are doing, but it appears that she has other motives. The shady Professor Shane (David Alpay) is there and while Hayley claims she doesn’t know who he is, it is revealed at the end that the good Professor is behind the de-siring plot. In fact Professor Shane is involved in a whole lot of aspects and he informs Damon that the cure can only be obtained with the help of a witch; a Bennett witch (of course). What is Professor Shane’s interest in all of this?

Other thoughts

– Jeremy stabbing Elena in the neck mirrors Elena’s own waking nightmare, when she stabbed Jeremy in the neck in the last episode.

– Matt stepping in for Jeremy was really sweet and April (Grace Phipps) did look very good in the red dress.

– The call back to the ‘no touching’ dance with Damon and Elena was nicely played. It’s also hard to believe that only a year has passed in the world of the show since this season 1 episode.

-Elena and Damon have a new thing in common; both their brothers want to kill them.

– Thanks to his new hunter skills Jeremy can no longer be compelled and is also super strong. He also doesn’t like to show his growing tattoo with vampires. This is going to get complicated.

One thing that can be definitely said about “My Brother’s Keeper” is that there is a lot to be discussed, both in the positive and negative column. It’s still relatively early in the season and while these big developments matter to the story, there is also a lot more to come. How the quest for the cure will progress, particularly with the issue of Jeremy’s changing self and Professor Shane’s motives is unclear. What we do know is that relationship dynamics have now shifted and Elena’s character has in part changed with her transition; how will Elena react when she finds out about the sire bond?

What are your thoughts on the episode? Let us know in the comments below.

Next week: uniforms, flashbacks and a familiar face. To watch a promo for “We’ll Always Have Bourbon Street” head here and for photos from this episode head here.

  • PixieLavender

    Some things just don’t make sense to me. If anything, I’d say Caroline and Stefan seem to come across selfish and this is the reason to as why.

    Caroline and Stefan both want Elena to be the ‘old’ Elena (Although the irony being that Stefan let’s Elena make her own decisions and even though Elena told Stefan to let her human self go and this is who she is now, the vampire, he doesn’t agree to that and thinks it’s the wrong decision!) which means turning her human again from this so called cure.

    However Stefan told Caroline that Klaus wants to make more Hybrids from Elena’s blood. Caroline didn’t object to that. Which means she would let her friend be drained and go through all that pain and suffering so that Klaus can have want he wants and she could/may be falling in love with him. So Caroline would let her friend go through all that so she can have her ‘old’ friend back? It’s the same with Stefan. Does he really think things will go back to how they used to be with ‘old’ Elena if Klaus is going to be using her blood for his hybrids?

    Also what would be the point in turning Elena back to human? Because Klaus needs Elena’s blood to make Hybrids. But those Hybrids are being un-sired and therefore serve no purpose to Klaus and going around in this cycle. Therefore Elena’s blood would pretty much be pointless. But Caroline knows what Tyler and Hayley are up to and so does Stefan now. But they haven’t told Klaus. But Caroline and Stefan want human Elena, So turning her back into Human (Elena doesn’t want that either so they are going against her will) will only make Caroline and Stefan (and probs others) happy but Elena will not be. Also If Elena turns Human, doesn’t that mean so won’t be in danger by Jeremy. I guess that’s a good thing!

    Stefan and Caroline are being manipulating (and they both say Damon is PAH!). Making Elena realise she is wrong. They are trying to brainwash her or something!They talk about her as if she’s confused and doesn’t know what to do. Its because they don’t want her to be who she is, doesn’t mean she has to change for everyone else to please them and herself not be happy with who she is to please everyone else. She is her own person and she’s always been adventurous she has said that before but after her parents died she either hid or lost that part of her, how to be adventurous and now her becoming a vampire is allowing her to be that girl again, who she REALLY is.

    It’s just that Stefan didn’t meet that adventurous Elena (he met her after her parents had died) and Caroline either got she used to her being how she used to be after her parents died and forgot about the adventurous Elena.

    It just seems to me that Stefan is in denial and is going to be turning into this crazy person. Maybe it’s history repeating it’s self. In the sense that he loved Katherine and when she turned she just didn’t love her anymore. This is the same thing happening to Elena. He can’t love her as much as she was when she is human. Maybe it’s because human Elena reminded Stefan that he has humanity and so on. That in its self is selfish only being with someone for your own needs. It’s like he can only be at peace with himself when he was with human Elena and now that he is now, he’s turning into this psycho path! Reguradless of what Elena wants, he wants what he wants first. (So he’s willing foe Elena to go through the human bloodbag and not be happy and so on so just that he can have his human Elena back? PSHHT!)

    Lastly Klaus proved to Caroline how when you do become a Vampire you do change. He read out details to how Caroline used to be and seeing her now as a Vampire, she herself has changed ALOT. She’s not how she used to be. She’s CHANGED. But for some reason, Elena is apparently this puppet who has to be fixed on how she should be and how to live her life. They are controlling her like a puppet master. Knowing whats good for her without actually asking Elena herself what she wants or who she wants to be.

    • PhabK

      Wow… totally agree. Amazing analysis. I don’t like the fact that people only see “poor Stefan” but if they took the time and re-watched the entire series, everyone will see, the hidden details of the Salvatore Bros. Like Katherine once said in season 1; “The smart and the kind Salvatore” Stefan being the smart and Damon the Kind… and let us not forget about how Stefan killed his family and friends. Damon is a product of the life he’s had, still looking for love and devotion from the people he loves.

      It is very selfish of Stefan going all psycho over the Delena thing, when he never took under consideration his brother’s feelings… all those times when he was with Elena and Damon was with them. I feel sad for Damon, he deserves to be happy, after all he has done for them and for many others in that town. Do not forget, Damon is still a Vampire, so you can’t expect him to have tea with the Pope. He does the best he can considering his “condition”.

  • Andrea

    I read this from another VD fan and I have to agree 100%

    ***people seem to forget that sire bonds don’t make people fall in love it only gives the sire undying loyalty. Klas’ female sires aren’t trying to hop into bed with him, no they try to protect him and do what he says that’s about it. Besides Lets not forget Elena’s very rea feelings for Damon in season three, so these feelings didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. on top of that Personal Delena feelings aside and speaking strictly as a objective viewer, I do think this whole Damon and Elena Sire thing is kinda bull. YOu build for three seasons, make them closer have stefan screw up granted he had good intentions for screwing up, but nonetheless having all that turning damon into a decent individual who can actually change. Then give it to the delena fans then rip it away on some tainted realization I think is kinda cheap. Now I reser
    ve all judgement until the season finale but still I think that this acting like Elena and damon are only together because of the Sire bond thing is crap, when she clearly realized she was in love with both brothers in season three. Not to mention the fact that people do change in life granted Elena’s human to vampire change is a little more drastic than real life changes, but they do people change and become different. And true love accepts all aspects of your lover. You don’t say oh your not who you used to be or who I think you should be so I can’t really love you like I should. That isn’t true or pure love. So if you really think about it Stefan suddenly wants to change Elena because she doesn’t want him the way she did, and she isn’t that same girl she always was. Pr maybe she was and people just don’t see that. But Damon seems to love her unconditionally no matter what, which makes me wonder who is really best for Elena. Okay Monolougue done.

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