In the wake of last week's explosion that killed most of the council, a mysterious hunter has come to Mystic Falls and is ready to get to work.
Still growing into her new life as a vampire, Stefan is coaching Elena through the difficult transition with her heightened senses and cravings for blood. To prevent Elena from killing someone Stefan is training her to hunt animals but the blood isn't staying down. Damon thinks Elena just needs to drink straight from the vein but Stefan won't have it. Elsewhere, a new hunter named Connor Jordan has come to town. After searching the disaster zone for clues, Connor finds a letter from the dead pastor to his daughter. Later on when the town is holding a memorial for everyone that died in the explosion, Conner makes his move. After stabbing April, the pastor's daughter and letting her bleed out, Connor set a fatal trap for Stefan and the others. The question is: can Elena resist?
After last's week's strong season opener Growing Pains, The Vampire Diaries hits a bit of a snag with Memorial. Although Elena couldn't stomach her food, Stefan and Damon fought over the way to help her and Connor Jordan came to town, not a lot happened. The strong parts of the story were the moments between Stefan and Damon arguing over how to help Elena. Stefan acknowledging that he didn't want Elena to turn out like him was telling but Damon suggesting that Stefan didn't want her to turn out like him was even better. It's a good point and though Elena chose Stefan, Damon letting her feed on him said more words.
The introduction of Connor Jordan, while intriguing, left a lot to be desired. Connor's back story and his place in the puzzle of Mystic Falls will eventually be revealed but his actions were too staged. Connor has seemingly been in town mere hours before trying to kill the mayor's son and alerted all of the vampires and werewolves to his intentions. Compared to Alaric, Connor is a different kind of hunter but subtlety isn't in his vocabulary. Taking such immediate action makes it hard to identify with Connor though, because opposed to a character like Frank Castle (The Punisher), Frank kills people who are even worse than he is. Even though he is a human trying to kill the monsters, Conner's impatient actions make him hard to identify with.
The last moments of Memorial could have been cheesy, forced and poorly done but instead it was memorable and gave us the chance to see an old friend. So much has happened throughout the years and each character has experienced a loss that's profoundly affected them but Damon's reaction was perfect. Too stubborn to admit it in front of others and unwilling to follow the group, Damon lost his only friend when he had to kill Alaric. Having Matthew Davis return for the brief moment as Alaric allowed us to mourn with Damon because we also grew to know him over the years and it was another chance to say goodbye. Thinking back, it makes you sad to think that Alaric is truly gone.
Memorial didn't have a great story that I was hoping for but it made up for it with a few scenes. Connor Jordan may play a larger role in upcoming episodes but The Vampire Diaries needs to bring more to the table if they want to make him truly compelling. We'll see if his words can match his actions in next week's The Rager.