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Growing Pains is the first episode of the fourth season of The Vampire Diaries and the sixty-seventh episode of the series.
ELENA'S WORST NIGHTMARE - Elena awakens on the morning after the accident to find the thing she dreaded most has come true - she died with Damon's blood in her system and now must drink human blood to become a vampire or face death. Stefan promises Elena that he and Bonnie will exhaust every possible way out of the situation, but Damon is furious with his brother for letting Elena die in the first place. Bonnie pays a terrible price for her attempt to change Elena's fate, while Damon takes out his frustration and rage on Matt. In a rare moment of empathy, Rebekah is deeply touched by Stefan and Elena's devotion to one another. Pastor Young and the Town Council members begin rounding up the vampires and their supporters, leading to an unexpected tragedy.
Main CastNina Dobrev as Elena GilbertPaul Wesley as Stefan SalvatoreIan Somerhalder as Damon SalvatoreSteven R. McQueen as Jeremy GilbertKat Graham as Bonnie BennettZach Roerig as Matt DonovanCandice Accola as Caroline ForbesMichael Trevino as Tyler Lockwood/KlausJoseph Morgan as Niklaus Mikaelson
Guest CastClaire Holt as Rebekah MikaelsonMarguerite MacIntyre as Elizabeth ForbesTorrey DeVitto as Meredith FellSusan Walters as Carol LockwoodMichael Reilly Burke as Pastor Young
Special Guest StarJasmine Guy as Sheila Bennett
Co-StarringLex Shontz as Deputy AdamsNeko Parham as Town Council member
TriviaAntagonist: Although they treat Pastor Young and Sheriff's Deputies as the antagonists, the true antagonist is Atticus Shane, who makes his first appearance in "The Five" and is later revealed to have manipulated the Pastor to kill himself and the Council.This is the first episode of The Transition Chapter.It is revealed that Meredith Fell used Damon's blood to heal Elena.The Founder's Council is now called the Town Council after Alaric's revelation.Those blood bags Rebekah destroyed were the last of Klaus' supply for making his hybrids. The sandwich tasted awful to Elena as a side effect of her transition. Bonnie didn't lose her powers, however, every time she does dark magic, she'll see Grams in pain. 
Cultural ReferencesDeath Becomes Her is a 1992 dark comedy with Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis. It's a play in words and it can mean both "she became death" as well as "death looks good on her", (like clothing).Growing Pains is an American television sitcom about an affluent family, residing in Huntington, Long Island, New York, with a working mother and a stay-at-home psychiatrist father raising three children together, which aired on ABC from September 24, 1985 to April 25, 1992.
DeathsPastor Young and 11 other council members - explosion, suicideDeputy Adams - head trauma, killed by Stefan Salvatore
TropesThe quirky dialogue between Elena, Stefan with Damon snarky remarks was a very elegant Exposition that recapped the events that led to this all. Could it be that trough all his Bitter Sarcasm Damon is the Only Sane One?Well, this whole episode was a great Introdump, but there was lot of information to recap.Pastor Young is introduced very much like Remember this new Guy? He remembers Elena wanted to be a writer, knew her parents and was part of the Council, although we had never seen him before.Like many times before, Bonnie suffers from Psychic Nosebleed when she overexerts herself.Very creepy when Klaus threatens to rip the living heart out of Tyler.
Behind the ScenesThis is the first season premiere to feature every main character since "Pilot."Following Matt Davis' departure from the cast in Season Three, this is the first season to feature just nine series regulars.This is the first season premiere to feature Meredith Fell and Rebekah, the third to feature Carol, the second to feature Klaus and Liz and the fourth to feature Elena, Stefan, Damon,Jeremy, Bonnie, Matt, Tyler and Caroline.This is the first season premiere to not be written by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec.Before the official title was revealed (July 24) it was rumored that it was named "Phases."This is the first season premiere to not have a "Previously On..." voice over.This episode had about 3.18 million views in USA.
ContinuityMeredith, Carol, Elizabeth and Rebekah were last seen in "The Departed."Many references are made of when Elena told Stefan she did not want to be a vampire in "The Last Day."Damon saying there is no 3rd door might be a reference to the many times when faced with two terrible choices, Elena chose a third choice.Elena has a very cool Pensive Flashback to when Damon made her forget that he loves her in "Rose."All of the events from The Departed are mentioned in this episode.Vicki Donovan was mentioned by Jeremy and Elena. She was turned and destroyed as a vampire in Season One's "Lost Girls" and "Haunted," but she came back as a ghost in Season Two's "As I Lay Dying." She was last seen in "Smells Like Teen Spirit."Jeremy and Elena both mention Bonnie's part in bringing him back to life and the "consequences." It became an recurring theme from Season Three.No one ever mentioned that Bonnie already knew a spell to prevent Elena from turning into a vampire. In "The Sun Also Rises," Damon fed Elena his blood so that she would not die in Klaus' sacrifice and John Gilbert gave up his life to keep Elena human.Alaric Saltzman was mentioned by Klaus, Pastor Young, Caroline and Elizabeth. He was last seen in "The Departed."Shelia Bennett was last seen in "Ghost World." This is her second appearance as a ghost.Finn, Elijah and Kol were mentioned by Rebekah.
LocationsMystic Falls, Virginia