Although last season left me rather underwhelmed, it ended on a strong note. With Klaus in NOLA for a spin-off and the Elena/Stefan/Damon triangle resolved (at least for now), TVD was primed for a reset. Not, of course, a reset from the general tone of fast-paced insanity and life-or-death stakes. Because that’s why we watch, right?
Elena’s and Caroline’s college journey looks interesting. Elena has embraced the idea of being normal, “functional” college students (whatever that means) and Caroline is back in control-freak mode, which is both adorable and worrisome. Hopefully, she’ll relax a bit now that the pesky roommate is dead and the small-appliance shelf has more space.
Which, by the way: wow! Clearly, Roommate (Did she have a name? Was it Megan? Do we care?) was going to die. After all, she wore glasses. But I didn’t expect her to die so quickly, and I wondered if she would be this season’s April, destined to pop up at inconvenient moments. Instead, she is the impetus for what seems to be an odd mystery plot: who’s the deadly vampire stalking the Whitmore keggers and library stacks, and how can Caroline and Elena figure that out while avoiding detection? Why did Roommate have vervain in her protein water? And what the heck is protein water, anyway?
Those mysteries—especially that last one—pale in comparison to the biggest question of this episode: what does it mean that Silas now has the power to compel an entire town square? His conversation with Sheriff Forbes reminded us of the rules of this game: Stefan is Silas’s doppelganger, created by nature/witches to maintain balance. With Stefan on a drowning loop, Silas gets to wander around wearing Paul Wesley’s face, compelling at will and mind-reading whomever he wants to.
That could make Silas so powerful that we started to wonder why he didn’t just destroy the world to get what he wants (which seems to be Katherine). But apparently switching to his “true face” has slowed him down: even human Katherine was able to outrun him, and he can’t mind-read at a distance. Not yet, anyway.
That’s good, since there aren’t many good-guy supernaturals in Mystic Falls anymore. Bonnie is still ghostly and appearing only to Jeremy, Tyler is blessedly MIA in Appalachia, Elena and Caroline are stuck—and in the dark—at college, and Jeremy has a hunter’s strength but not all of a hunter’s mojo. I think. That leaves just Damon.
Damon minding the store is my favorite part of this episode. He’s always had a great older-brother vibe with Jeremy, even on those occasions when he had to kill him, and it’s sweet to watch him try to parent a surly teenager with rage issues and superstrength. (Good luck!) I wonder how long he can keep Elena out of the loop about Jeremy’s struggles, Katherine’s return, and Silas’s cultic powers over most of the town?
What those questions come down to is simple: how long can everyone keep everything secret? Jeremy is hiding Bonnie’s death, Damon is hiding everything, Caroline and Elena are hiding their vampirism from everyone on campus, and Silas is hiding in plain sight amid a bunch of pod people. Team VD is scattered, which could get annoying if it goes on for too long, but right now seems like a great disordered way to start the season.
• Damon: “You’re going to college. You’re going to drink beer and protest things you don’t care about.”
• Elena: “What’s the point in going to college if we’re just going to recreate what happened in Mystic Falls?”
• Katherine: “Do you know how hard it is to run in heels? I have blisters, Damon!”
• Some fun Buffy/Angel parallels, with the college and the spin-off and the other stuff I don’t want to spoil for people who are watching those shows for the first time.
• Sheriff Forbes did a great job being mom to both Elena and Caroline on move-in day.
• I liked the trouble Elena and Caroline had getting into the party. It was a nice moment of funny vamp realism.
• RIP, Bonnie’s dad.
• Another question: what’s going on with Matt, the black eyes, and the sexy threesomes?
Three out of four college tries.
- Next episode
- Vampire Diaries season 5
- Vampire Diaries home
- Watch this episode or the entire season now