New episodes of “The Vampire Diaries” won’t be returning to The CW until October, but while we soothe our withdrawal symptoms with reruns, we’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what we hope for in Season 4. The finale opened up a whole lot of doors, and we’re looking forward to the writers taking advantage of every opportunity — and creating some new ones. Here are ten (okay, eleven) things we want to see next fall when Elena faces a whole new challenge.
1. Elena’s dark side. When a person turns into a vampire, their strongest personality traits are heightened. Elena’s strongest personality traits are compassion and selflessness — but seeing vampire Elena wander around Mystic Falls helping old ladies with their groceries and nursing injured animals back to health would get old really quickly. We’ve seen a few flashes of just how tough and fierce Elena can be when someone messes with the people she loves. We’re hoping that is the side of her that emerges when she finally vamps out. Does Elena have a little Ripper in her?
2. A little happiness for Damon. We don’t care if it comes from Elena, Katherine, Stefan, or an elaborate cocktail of prescription medications. It takes the fun out of Damon’s wise cracks and eyebrow acrobatics when we know that inside, he’s curled up in the fetal position crying about his man-pain.
3. Some new love interests. If Elena and Stefan don’t last — and let’s face it, since this is television, things are bound to unravel sooner or later — we’d really love to see what Stefan is like with someone else, if only for the sake of curiosity. He had great chemistry with Caroline in Season 2 — of course, she’s quite taken now, but at least we know he’s capable of some connection with a woman who doesn’t look like Nina Dobrev.
3. More Rebekah, all the time! We’re not exactly singing Rebekah’s praises after the stunt she pulled in the season finale, nearly killing Matt and actually-kinda-sorta killing Elena, but we’re willing to chalk it up to grief-induced madness if she’s really, really sorry (and if she buys Matt a new truck). Rebekah was an excellent addition to the show last season, and we’re still intrigued by how she’ll fit into Mystic Falls and whether her history with Stefan will be explored further. While we’re on the subject of new characters, we’re also hoping to keep Meredith Fell around a while.
4. Matt needs to get laid. The kid can only spend so much time pining for his undead exes before it crosses from chivalrous to pathetic. He and Rebekah shared some sweet moments in Season 3 — let’s go there.
5. Some follow-through for Tyler. In Season 3, Tyler was a study in loose ends. He became a hybrid and was tempted by Rebekah to drink blood from live humans — but we never saw the way that played out or exactly what kind of vampire he’s become. Now, he’s got the town council (whoever they are) after him, and he’s currently possessed by Klaus, thanks to some blood magic from Bonnie. We want to see all of these arcs followed to their natural conclusions — emotional repercussions and all.
6. Gay characters. Last year, The CW lost a lot of LGBT characters — On “90210,” Teddy left and Adrianna’s bisexuality was barely addressed, and Eric left “Gossip Girl.” This year, pilots like “The Carrie Diaries” and “Emily Owens, M.D.” will help diversify the network when it comes to sexual orientation, and we think it’s time for “The Vampire Diaries” to get on board. The only gay character we’ve seen so far has been Bill Forbes, and his partner never appeared on screen. With such a large cast of teen characters nearing the end of their senior year (and quite actively exploring their sexuality) “The Vampire Diaries” should be much more inclusive than it is.
7. Bring on bad Bonnie. One of the most frequent complaints we see about “The Vampire Diaries” on Twitter and in our comments section is that witchcraft tends to offer easy outs to many of the more complicated supernatural problems on the show. At the end of Season 3, Bonnie tapped into some very dark magic in order to help conquer Alaric, and there’s evidence that some of that darkness may have rooted itself in her powers. She’s also sick and tired of being used as a plot device. We’d love to see some real, personal impact for Bonnie — especially if that means Bonnie gets a new, bad attitude and channels her anger into some good old wicked witchery. Will she finally decide to put her own life before Elena’s?
8. More humans, please. With Matt and Jeremy the only humans in the gang, we think it’s time to open up the world of Mystic Falls to some new characters that don’t have such strong ties to the supernatural community. There is, we presume, an entire school full of people who have known Elena and her friends for years, as well as a Founder’s Council full of people so threatening, Carol and Liz tried to send their own kids running out of town. Let’s meet some of these people and find out how the events of the last couple of years have impacted the regular townsfolk.
9. Katherine vs. Elena: The Showdown. It’s been a long time coming, and now that Elena is a vampire, and back together with Stefan, it’s time to see her and Katherine really face off. These women are two sides of the same coin, and only one can be on top. Season 3 was pretty light on the doppelganger scenes, and though we know they’re complicated to film for Miss Dobrev, they’re a delight to watch.
10. More Klaus-and-Stefan time. Klaus’s obsession with Stefan made for one of the most intriguing relationships we’ve seen on the show, thanks to great writing and particularly nuanced performances. His stubborn, dogged insistence that they could and should be friends makes for a fun dynamic as he pushes Stefan’s buttons, patiently waiting to find out which one of them will work. Now that the Salvatores know they can’t kill Klaus, will Stefan keep his enemy close in Season 4?
Bonus No. 11: Hire Phoebe Tonkin! With “The Secret Circle” officially canceled, it would appear that the sassy, sexy, and hilarious Tonkin is available. The CW can’t afford to let her out of their sights, and we’re sure they could make room for her in Mystic Falls. Our Thursday nights wouldn’t be the same without her, so hopefully, there will be a role worthy of her talents.
Anything we missed? Anything you disagree on? Drop a line in the comments section below!