by Dianna Berrian
Season five of “The Vampire Diaries” premieres with a few new characters, a few new plot twists, and just the right amount of blood. This is a vampire show, after all!
The prelude of the episode gave glimpses into each character’s summer: Caroline spent the entire summer planning for college and pining over her long distance boyfriend Tyler (we miss you, Michael Trevino! Well…I do). Elena spent the summer kanoodling with Damon on probably every surface in the entire boarding house while dreaming about Stefan’s drowning misery. Is it a doppleganger thing? Speaking of dopplegangers, a now human Katherine was seen struggling through her summer and trying to survive. Girl needed a serious spa day. Just saying! Jeremy, meanwhile, channeled his inner Haley Joel Osment and stayed in touch with his ghost girlfriend. Poor Bonnie is stuck on the ‘other side’ with only Jeremy who can see her. But who would have guessed that Matt was the one who had the most adventurous summer? He spent his two months traveling the world and sharing a bed with a certain Original blonde bombshell and a super hot brunette kleptomaniac in Amsterdam. Sure, she took the Gilbert ring that keeps him from dying but hey. A threesome is a threesome. Get it, Matt!
Now that we’re up to speed, there’s only one place to go after graduating four years of barely going to school. Whitmore College, of course. But first Elena plays mom to her little brother, ensuring he goes back to school and lives his life normally after coming back from the dead. No biggie. They only had the memorial for him at school already. But if you tell the town you were doing drugs and accidentally set the house on fire they’ll totally buy it. They bought all those animal attacks already, right? Right.
After a wistful goodbye to summer love and Damon, Elena departs for college with her BFF. There’s a sad moment of nostalgia when Bonnie appears invisibly beside her and Caroline to look upon their achievement, but then it’s right back to drama as Elena finally dishes about her weird dreams of Stefan, despite her happy ever after with Damon. Caroline, forever and always a cheerleader of Team Stefan, can’t help but think it’s her guilt and the reality of her poor choice in Salvatores hitting her. And there’s no time like the present to go back to the other brother. Or…maybe that’s more Katherine’s area of expertise.
And how is bruised and battered human Katherine, you ask? Well, Damon would know. She showed up at the boarding house shortly after Elena and Jeremy left to their respective schools, seeking a little refuge. I have to say, Katherine is in all her glory, even as a human. Despite her tousled locks, chipped nail polish and blisters – have you ever had to run in heels?! – she’s holding up. But of all things, she’s forced to now ask for help from the least likely of allies, playing on Damon’s lessened but still harbored love for her. It’s a sad day when the biggest survivor of them all has to ask a Salvatore to come to her aid. But there is a certain amount of respect there that she values her life enough to not deem herself above asking for help if she needs it.
Of course, what would “Vampire Diaries” be without a little suspense thrown in to every storyline? For Katherine, it’s the mystery person on her tail. Presumably Silas. What he wants from her is left to be determined, but I’m starting to wonder if the cure is still possible to be ingested if you just eat the person who took it. Or maybe that was the only way to really take the cure and Silas knew it all along. Am I theorizing too much? Back to the recap. So Katherine is hiding from Silas who just so happens to waltz into town for a slice out of life. And Sheriff Forbes.
See, when you’re a two thousand year old – not vampire, never call Silas a vampire! – being, you have a bit more class than running around biting the necks of helpless victims. It’s much more astute to slice a wrist and pour the blood into a cup for leisurely drinking. We already knew from previous encounters with Silas that he is a psychic and he can read the thoughts of anyone he wishes. But take notice in this episode that we see the first difference in visual effect when compelling an innocent. Is that just a Silas thing or will we see this new effect with others when they compel? Stay tuned.
In another part of Town Square, Rebekah surprises Matt with one last rendezvous before she takes off for New Orleans to star in “The Originals”. Cute. Ties up a loose end for their fling. And also brings to light the fact that the Gilbert ring was stolen by Nadia, the third counterpart to their threesome. This is important, as we’ve come to expect in this show that everything mentioned is mentioned for a reason. And sure enough, when Nadia drops into Mystic Falls, she brings the ring back as a leeway to lure Matt into a dark alley (why is it always alleys, by the way? Come on!) and have a strange man grab his head and mutter some gibberish that turns both of their eyes black. Looks like the quarterback is finally getting a storyline this season. Cool.
Back at college, now that Elena and Caroline have met their new roommate Megan, it’s time to set some ground rules. Always respect each other’s privacy. Acknowledge strict diets. Don’t touch Caroline’s stuff. Ignore weird instances, like roomies disappearing for no reason or with unnatural speed. And just nod and agree with everything like you’re compelled to do so. Except this roomie is a smart cookie, packing vervain in her protein water which Caroline, non-follower to her own rules, just so happened to drink. Luckily it was played off as a mistake, but paranoia makes both vampires think Megan is suspicious.
Somewhere, beyond the sea, somewhere waiting to break free from his safe prison is a hallucinating Stefan. I’m not so sure exactly where his hallucinations are taking place but they’re always behind a large open window that looks like it’s under water. Yeah, yeah. Symbolism. I get it. So each time Stefan hallucinates, Damon is trying to convince him to turn his humanity off because he doesn’t deserve to keep caring and continuously fighting through his suffering of drowning repeatedly. But Stefan doesn’t want to be that monster Ripper again. Personally, I wouldn’t mind it. He was a lot sassier when he was a Ripper. I guess that’s what we have Silas for now, huh?
Jeremy’s return to school doesn’t exactly go too well. First off, he’s become a human messenger for Bonnie to keep in contact with her friends and family so they don’t realize she’s dead yet. Always the selfless witch, she doesn’t want to compromise their happiness. Bonnie, girl, you’ve compromised your life for other people’s happiness. When is enough enough? Anyway, after he does her bidding like a good puppy dog, a bully or two who don’t take to Jeremy’s drug addiction story start rough him up and the once vampire hunter fist fights himself into getting expelled. Luckily, daddy Damon saves the day and brainwashes the principal into letting him off easy with a three day suspension. There’s a tiny heart to heart here, but mostly the gist is that what Elena doesn’t know won’t hurt her. And suddenly Silas! Or rather, Silas pretending to be Stefan. And it works for a minute until Jeremy feels “Stefan’s” touch and gets an eerie reminder of what he felt when Silas killed him. Then, through Bonnie’s confirmation, it is now known to the remaining members of the Scooby gang that Silas is roaming Mystic Falls.
But who cares about Mystic Falls anyway when you could go to a rocking college party with hot flyer guys named Jesse who are totally checking you out but you have a boyfriend so it just doesn’t matter? Okay, time out. Am I the only one who doesn’t really want to see Caroline have another love interest? Four seasons, four guys – yes, I’m counting Klaus. But, seriously, let’s break the pattern, Plec. Now, the only thing worse than not knowing anyone at a party is being a vampire and not knowing the owner of the house the party is at. No invite means no entry which makes for a bit of conspicuousness. Especially when Elena and Caroline are already suspicious of their roommate. That all comes to a quick close when Megan calls Elena up, scared for her life as she’s being chased through the house. Before long, poor Megan’s body is thrust out the window and lands oh so coincidentally in front of her roommates with a gaping, bloody bite out of her neck. Obviously there’s a vampire running amok but the police claim to have found a conveniently planted suicide note. Luckily, Caroline lifted the phone off Megan’s body – seriously, Caroline stop breaking your own rules – and later as Elena browses through her pictures, she comes across a photo of her dad with Megan. Dun, dun, dun!
This is a “Vampire Diaries” rule you know. All dangerous mysteries must revolve around Elena. Or a doppleganger, which brings us right back to Katherine who took to making herself at home in Damon’s bathtub. Silas attack! Under the guise of Stefan, he flirts a little with the Petrova and closes in just enough so he could attempt to drown her. Fortunately, Katherine is quick and slashes his cheek with a shaving razor, giving herself enough time to grab a robe and run downstairs. Interestingly, Silas isn’t racing after her with vampiric speed…because he can’t? Damon makes note of this with a witty one liner about not being the “upgraded version” after sending her off with Jeremy. But this gives Silas ample time to unveil his true identity to Damon, explaining the shadow self he created in Stefan – a version of himself that could be killed. But the thing about Silas is he’s as sassy as they come. So instead of divulging why he wants Katherine, he decides it’s better to keep it a surprise. However, he does make mention of Stefan’s suffering and bargains with Damon – Stefan’s life for Katherine’s.
In the quickest display I’ve ever seen of Damon jumping to Stefan’s defense, he immediately calls Jeremy and tells him to turn around and bring Katherine back. Of course this doesn’t sit well with Katherine because after 700 years of enduring, she’s not about to die. She grabs the wheel and crashes the car to save her butt. Is it me or are cars in this show always crashing? At least they weren’t on Wickery bridge this time. Managing to survive once more, Katherine limps away with her injuries, leaving Jeremy for dead. Again. She has a nasty habit of doing that. And by nasty, I mean she probably is trying to make the statement for several disgruntled fans that he SHOULD HAVE STAYED DEAD THE FIRST TIME. At least then we’d still have Bonnie. Or Kol!
But never fear, because daddy Damon arrives to rescue him again by feeding him his blood. Just don’t let this one die, this time, Damon. Or else you’ll have another vampire sired to you. Oh come on, you all know deep down Jeremy has some feelings for Damon. Right? No? Okay, fine.
Caroline finally hears back from Tyler, after the entire episode of waiting for him to show up for school. He leaves her a heartbreaking message that he’s going to defer school and stay in Tennessee helping a wolf pack that supposedly needs him. Sure, he’s a hybrid. Sure, he’s an alpha. But what exactly could he do for them? They’re not sired so they aren’t breaking bonds. Sounds like another lame attempt to keep Tyler away with the possibility of bringing him back later. Just. In. Case. Basically, the message was an informal breakup for the two. It’s a little heart wrenching because, once again, Caroline is ranked second in importance. And all she craves is to be somebody’s number one priority. Sure is a shame Klaus is off in New Orleans where she couldn’t possibly buy a ticket and fly out to. And she couldn’t possibly be the queen to his king. I’m just saying.
There’s one last flash of Stefan repeatedly drowning and hallucinating before the episode’s end. It’s a very similar scene as before. Damon trying to convince him to turn off his humanity and not have to feel the pain anymore. Only, this time, Stefan is ready to call it quits and give in. Just before he does, his vision of Damon turns into Elena. She reassures him that he needs to hold on, that his “humanity is the one thing that makes [him who he is].” I’m sure the question on everyone’s mind is whether or not that Elena was his hallucination or her connecting to him in one of her dreams.
The final and most pivotal moment closes out the episode with Silas taking the stage at the town block party. He makes himself known to the entire town and compels each and every one of them simultaneously to stop talking, stop moving, and look for a girl who looks exactly like Elena Gilbert. And just for fun, he slits the mayor’s throat right before their and Bonnie’s eyes. I bet resurrecting yourself and Kol isn’t looking too bad right now, is it Bon-Bon?