Vampire Diaries: I Know What You Did Last Summer

“I got this weird feeling like something bad is going to happen.”

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.

Bites:

• 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!”

And Pieces:

• 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.

7 comments:

topher darling said...

It seems that the VD writers are just playing with Jeremy/Damon shippers now, not to the extent of the Merthur shippers but it has that potential.

I was ready to let the show sit on my backburner after last season's finale but I like how they tamed down Silas's powers and I love Katherine being human (please bring her back soon) so they have me hooked again.

Also, as always with VD, I appreciate how they don't draw things out for two long. I was unjustifiably worried that they would draw out the Stefilas switcharoo too long but they let the characters figure it out in less than an episode. I've always loved the VD pacing!

Anonymous said...

Elena's little shoulder dance to Caroline in anticipation of the party is both funny, cute, and weirdly exhilarating: when's the last time she's been this carefree and teenage-y? Hope she will be in this spirit for at least a few more episodes.

Billie Doux said...

I really enjoyed it. All of the sturm and drang of last season seemed to be gone. I was also, of course, getting Buffy/Angel vibes, and Damon was practically channeling Spike with Dawn.

Even the college stuff worked for me, and I didn't expect that. Their dorm room is sooooo dark. I expected April to show up as their roommate. :) And I have no idea where they're going with that plot.

Please tell me Tyler is gone forever. Have they finally written him out? I hope he doesn't show up in New Orleans. What they did with Matt was a shock, too. Our sweet down home boy in Europe having threesomes? Really?

Great review, Josie. I'm so glad TVD is back.

Samantha Gomes said...

Despite the fact Elena does not want to repeat Mystic Falls at college it seems it's already going that direction, after all, covering-up vampire kills is a major everyone back home seems to have got. That's really intriguing.
And am I wrong to assume Nadia and Matt getting all black-eyes has something to do with gypsies now? Uh, that makes me shiver.
I found it a great, solid return, and yes, I had missed it.
Poor Kath, blisters suck!

ChrisB said...

I have been putting off watching this as I was so underwhelmed by last year's season. Like Josie, however, I thought the show picked up at the end of the season which is why I decided to give this episode a chance.

I'm glad I did. This was a solid start and I do like all the secrets and mysteries that are flying around. I would be thrilled if the writers could keep this level of storytelling going for a while.

CrazyCris said...

Poor, poor Bonnie! I was reeling in that scene! To witness that and be unable to do anything? Even say farewell?! *sob*

So Silas is taking over Mystic Falls? Damn! So much for college girls!

Definitely Buffy s4 vibes!!!!

A good start, but I'm much more interested in what's going on in New Orleans at the moment... ;o)

Mark Greig said...

After the mess that was season 4, I was all ready to give season 5 a miss. But then I found myself off work with nothing else to watch so I decided to give Vampire Diaries just one more chance. So far I'm not regretting that decision, but I am so done with all this Silas malarkey. Can they just hurry up and kill him?