The season premiere of “The Vampire Diaries” last night (Oct. 3) on the CW was all about change.
Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Caroline (Candice Accola) transitioned from high school to college.
Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) readjusted to life among the living while Bonnie (Kat Graham) found a way to keep herself alive even though she’s not on the other side.
Katherine discovered that being a human is every bit as horrible as she imagined.
Stefan (Paul Wesley) went from freedom to the worst kind of captivity.
Then there was the structural change in the show. The Originals have moved onto their own spin-off, which means introducing new characters and arcs on “Vampire Diaries” this season. It could have all gone horribly wrong. College has wrecked a lot of teen shows. But the decision to take the show in a darker, more sophisticated direction paid off in Thursday’s season premiere with an awesomely horrifying ending that showed that the new big bad Silas truly lived up to his title.
Summer Loving, Had Us a Blast
Our heroes, heroines, and snarky anti-heroes have spent the summer after high school graduation having a lot of sex. First we saw Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Elena in action. They were nearly naked and happy and hilarious. These were the scenes that Delena fans have craved since the start of the series.
But the person who got the most action was, believe it or not, Matt (Zach Roerig). It turned out that when Rebekah promised to introduce him to European culture she meant having a threesome with a street waif named Nadia. Matt really, really enjoyed studying abroad.
It said a lot about this show’s universe that my thoughts on seeing a barely legal character in bed with two older women were, “Good for Matt. After the rough four years he’s had, he deserves a little happiness.”
Caroline was not having sex because Tyler (Matt Trevino) was out of town, with a wolf pack. But she ensured their happy future by enrolling him in college, and refused to consider the possibility that it won’t work out.
Jeremy was also celibate because, though his powers allowed him to see and communicate with Bonnie, they can’t touch. Bonnie convinced him to keep up the ruse that she was still alive. She dictated emails and texts about her travels which he sent from her phone. She didn’t want to depress her friends by making them deal with yet another death.
Stefan In A Box
Speaking of death, Stefan spent his summer trapped in a box, repeatedly drowning then reviving. He hallucinated conversations with Damon, who advised him to cope by turning off his humanity. He nearly did, but then he had a vision of Elena who told him not to give up.
Back to School
Though Damon didn’t understand why Elena wanted to give up the luxury of the Salvatore manse and constant sex for a shared dorm room, she was determined to experience campus life. While she and Caroline moved into their room, Elena confided that she had a bad vibe about Stefan. In other words, the triangle lived even if Stefan did not. Bonnie was by their sides, though they couldn’t see her.
Jeremy was older and headed back to school. Damon, who has ended up as his guardian by default, concocted a story about how Jeremy went nuts, faked his death and burned down his own house so he could return to Mystic Falls High. It seemed like private school or getting a GED might have been a better option, but Jeremy was on board.
Matt could have easily gotten Rebekah to pay his tuition, but he was still working at the Mystic Falls Grill and seemed to think it was his destiny to be a townie. He and Rebekah agreed to keep things No Strings Attached so she could have her own spin-off and he could lament that Nadia stole the Gilbert ring off his finger while they were in bed.
Caroline and Elena were happily toasting the start of college with bags of blood when a third roommate, Megan, arrived. At first, she just seemed like a hipster who would cramp their vampire living style. But Caroline discovered that the girl’s water bottles were filled with vervaine and realized she knows about vampires.
The three of them went to a house party, where Caroline and Elena found themselves stuck outside because they weren’t invited inside. Megan phoned them, screaming that she needed help. She fell out a window, with blood pouring from her neck. They knew a vampire was responsible, but the campus was confident that her death was a suicide because there was a convenient suicide note.
Were they aware of the campus urban legend that if your roommate dies you get automatic straight A’s? The girls swiped Megan’s cell phone from the crime scene. To her shock, Megan had a photo of herself with Elena’s father on her phone!
Oh, the Humanity
Katherine hated being human. Unable to figure out how to live without her vampire powers, she wandered the streets wearing a baseball cap. In desperation, she showed up at Casa Salvatore to drink Damon’s liquor and beg for his help. He offered to turn her, which would be the obvious solution.
But Katherine was scared that a side effect of the Cure would be that she would actually die if he attempted it. That was kind of weak, but it was one of those logic breaks that you had to accept.
Silas Is On the Loose
With Stefan in a lock box, Silas, who we learned in the season finale was his doppelganger, was free to roam Mystic Falls. This looked like the set-up for him to steal Stefan’s identity with people who know better excusing his out-of-character behavior. Fortunately, the show is smarter than that. Silas’s first act was to compel Liz to let him slash and drink from her wrist.
Apparently the way to recover from being petrified for over 1,000 years was to drink a whole lot of blood. But he insisted that he is not a vampire, claiming that vampires were created because of all the disturbances in nature that resulted from the spell that made him immortal. He told her to remember only that Stefan has returned.
Jeremy’s fellow students decided that the proper way to treat the kid who returned from the dead is to bully him. You’d think they’d give him a wide berth. Jeremy responded by going into hunter mode and beating the hell out of his tormentors.
This got him expelled. Damon’s clever solution was simply to compel the principal to turn the expulsion into a suspension. Unfortunately, this happened off-camera so we were denied what would have been a very funny scene. Silas, impersonating Stefan, gave Jeremy a supportive hug. But Jeremy felt the same chill that he did when he touched Silas in the cave.
Damon didn’t believe him, because he still kind of hates Jeremy. Silas found Katherine in the bathtub and attempted to drown her as retaliation for stealing the cure. She slashed his face with a straight razor and flees.
Busted, Silas admitted his true identity, then told Damon that Stefan was suffering like he suffered when he was in the cave. Damon sent Jeremy to retrieve Katherine. When he tried to drive her back to Damon, she grabbed the steering wheel and slammed the car into a pole so she could escape.
Unfortunately, now that she’s not a vampire, she got injured. Jeremy, whose wounds were severe, begged her for help, but managed to run away. Without his ring (thanks Matt!) he was at death’s door. Fortunately, Damon arrived and gave him some of his blood to revive him.
Phones Are Evil
First Megan’s phone revealed a mysterious connection between Megan and Elena’s Dad. Then Tyler called Caroline to tell her he’s decided to skip college and stay with the pack. Then, when Elena phoned Damon to tell him everything strange that has happened on campus, he decided not to tell her about Silas or Jeremy or Katherine rationalizing that it will ruin her college experience. Thus, their relationship was already in jeopardy because if there’s one thing Elena hates it’s men attempting to protect her. Everyone needs to avoid the phone.
Matt Gets an Actual Storyline
Nadia, the threesome wench, popped up in Mystic Falls to return the Gilbert ring to Matt. He didn’t understand how she found him. She was very flirty. Then someone else grabbed him from behind. His eyes turned black and he fell to the ground.
Silas Does Something Truly Terrifying
Bonnie’s Dad, AKA the Mystic Falls mayor, made a speech at a barbecue in the town. Silas grabbed the mic and announced that he has consumed an immeasurable amount of blood.
He wanted to see if he had the power to mind-control the entire town square – he told everyone to stop talking. Then he slit the mayor’s throat in front of them. Yes, another parent was dead. That made Liz the last adult standing. Bonnie rushed to him, unable to help him because she was a ghost. Then Silas ordered the entire town to find Katherine. It was like “Taken” with the bad guy in charge and was truly frightening.