Tonight’s Vampire Diaries Season 4 opener had tears, truths, embraces, parallels, manipulation, and heartache. Here’s your Friday dose of an episode recap – Caroline Forbes style.

the caroline forbes focus

After an extended summer hiatus, The Vampire Diaries returned for its fourth season premiere last night. Following the Season 3 finale, I posted a piece that detailed my hopes and speculations for Season 4 with regard to Caroline Forbes’ storyline. I’m excited to see which, if any, of those are fulfilled this season and how.

Overall, “Growing Pains” set a high standard for what we might expect to see as this season progresses. By the end of last season, I felt burnt out, whereas this episode left me wanting more – as in, five hours more, preferably with zero commercials. I haven’t felt that way about the show in a long while, to be completely honest.

A big reaction for me tonight was that I really appreciated how all of the main and supporting characters were well-represented, even if certain characters’ scene counts were higher than others. The promotional material for this season has done a great job of appearing well-rounded in terms of full cast representation, so I loved seeing that play out onscreen as well. Also, how cool was that updated episode introduction?

So, Caroline Forbes. Season 4. This is mind-blowing.

Let’s talk about how we first see Caroline Forbes having a frantic, hushed conversation with Matt Donovan in his hospital room. Her first scene of the season! With Matt Donovan! I approve. (If you’re new here, know now that I am the biggest advocate for this pairing, and I do a terrible job of hiding it. I apologize in advance for my outbursts.) In this scene, Caroline and Matt seem lost and sad and desperate for someone to help them sort through their jumbled emotions. Caroline feels helpless because she still thinks that Tyler is dead and because she has no place to go, while Matt feels extremely guilty about what’s happening to Elena. They hug and everything is perfect for two seconds, until a council member makes a surprise appearance, forcing Caroline to disappear fast. In case you’ve forgotten, Caroline is on the run because the council is now aware of the town’s vampire population.

Later on, Caroline lies on the phone to a concerned Sheriff Forbes as she begins to leave her house and, I assume, find a hiding spot far away from Mystic Falls. Caroline is carrying not nearly enough bags to last her even a couple of days, but we’ll just assume she isn’t the best last-minute packer. As Caroline leaves her house, some random council members take her down, doing the whole vervain injection bit. We’re less than 10 minutes into the episode and Caroline is already the subject of violence? Naturally.

Caroline and Rebekah are being held hostage together in a cop car as they’re driven to what we can assume won’t be a good place. Suddenly, something crashes into the car, sending limbs and glass flying (all while creating a cool visual, might I add). Then, KlausTyler (aka Klaus in Tyler’s body – so clever, I know) comes to the rescue, ripping doors off and de-roping wrists. What a guy. Caroline is in shock and hysterics because she thinks that Tyler is still alive. After KlausTyler rescues Caroline, he leaves Rebekah to deal with the council members and in doing so reveals his secret to her.

As expected, the stuff with Caroline and Tyler in the woods was not my cup of tea. In the midst of Caroline throwing herself at him, KlausTyler accidentally calls her “love” and she questions it, puts two and two together, and is quickly grossed out by the situation. I’m glad the writers didn’t drag KlausTyler and Caroline out long at all because that would have been disturbing. Caroline’s expression at the end of that scene was difficult to read, but I think it was mostly confusion. I still have trouble with the Caroline and Klaus pairing, especially after the evil that we saw in him tonight.

Speaking of Klaus’ evil side… I questioned why Caroline didn’t attempt to come back to help Stefan and Elena escape their imprisonment somehow, but then we saw that she was in the middle of a messy situation with KlausTyler, Bonnie, and Jeremy. KlausTyler demands that Bonnie to do a spell that would require her to channel black magic a second time, but she refuses. Caroline comes to her defense and seems like she’s trying to deceive KlausTyler, but that just makes him angrier as he threatens to rip out Tyler’s heart. His actions work and Bonnie agrees to do what she asks of her.

Bonnie does black magic on KlausTyler and it kind of works, but with consequences. Tyler returns to his own body for a split second before passing out. Jeremy and Caroline watch in horror as Bonnie continues her chanting. The part of this scene where Bonnie sees Grams being tormented as a result of her decisions is completely heartbreaking. It shows us again how much Bonnie has sacrificed and continues to sacrifice for the sake of her friends. And that’s the last we see of Caroline in this episode. We’re left to wonder what Tyler’s state of mind will be when he wakes up, and what the result will be of Klaus’ manipulation of Caroline, Tyler, and Bonnie.

One last thing that I want to note: Caroline and Elena didn’t have any scenes together in this episode, much to my dismay, but that will hopefully change next week. Still, I couldn’t help but notice how some of Elena’s scenes compared and contrasted to some of Caroline’s in her Season 2 transition episode, such as Caroline’s naivety vs. Elena’s awareness, and Stefan’s promise to Elena that mirrored his promise to Caroline. This is just the beginning, though. My guess is that a good part of this season will center around Elena’s adjustment to her vampirism, so there are sure to be even more similarities, differences, and straight-up parallels between the two stories that will make me want to ramble on for five paragraphs at a time. Have I mentioned that I’m excited?

Now that the show is finally back, make sure to tune into The Vampire Diariesevery Thursday on The CW at 8pm EST/7pm central! Then, check back to Small Screen Scoop the next day for a weekly Caroline Forbes Focus recap.

Written by Maddie Coe. Visit her Candice Accola Fansite for the latest details about the phenomenal actress.

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