A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 5×01 (Matt, you lucky dog!)

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Vampire season has officially returned to entice, excite, and embody our merry group as The Vampire Diaries compels us into season 05. I’m subtly reminded with how Buffy season 04 started on her first day of college and as I try to not compare, I find I can’t help it. ^_^ Elena, Damon, Stefan…nope, not Stefan, Caroline, Matt, and Jeremy have wrapped up their summer escapades and each now embarks on their next big adventure. Oh, and Katherine is a wreck after living as a human for those three months. Jeremy has taken to pretending to email(or text, I guess email is a bit 2010) Elena as Bonnie, who has remained by Jeremy’s side, randomly popping around her friends to see how well they’ve been doing.

Silas has been keeping low and feeding off of humans to regain his powers which mirror somewhat the abilities of a vampire, but on a grander scale. He’s maintained his original appearance as prime Stefan (Yes, I made that up) while the real Stefan is on a repeat loop with waking up and drowning at the bottom of a lake, stuck in a safe. I’m subtly reminded with how Angel season 03 ended with the exact same scene, but in an ocean, and as I try not to compare, I find I can’t help it. >_<

Stefan has been constantly hallucinating himself back in his mansion home with Damon by his side, steadily coaxing him to turn off his emotion switch to better deal with his situation. Stefan is struggling with this choice as his effort was quite tremendous in getting his emotions back the last time he turned his switch off. I miss Lexi. Lexi should be there helping in his mind. For no other reason other than, I miss Lexi.

Our new mystery begins with Elena and Caroline arriving at Whitmore college and finding they have a third unexpected roommate named Megan who is chipper and willing to work around Caroline’s rules. One thought: Would they randomly be placed in a room with three beds and only two occupants, or was there no third bed and Megan was going to sleep on the floor? Stranger things have happened in college. When Caroline drinks one of Megan’s protein waters, she unfortunately finds out that it was vervain in it. She thinks Megan knows what they are but Elena isn’t so sure. To better blend into the college scene they decide to go to a frat party after being invited by the charismatic Jesse who is no doubt a player in this new game.

Katherine appears at the Salvatore house and pleads for Damon to protect her from the onslaught of enemies that she believes are, or will be after her. Damon seems to reluctantly agree to this, if nothing else, because she still looks like Elena and Katherine loves playing the old spark card on him.

One scene that kind of confused me was when Jeremy shows back up at school and get bullied by two random guys. I don’t remember them from any previous season and considering how matured Jeremy is now, the scene really makes no sense. Jeremy beats the tar out of both kids and gets expelled from high school, but Damon compels the principle to only give him a short suspension.

Silas, meanwhile, has become the “forced exposition” guy and decides to tell Caroline’s mom, Liz who he is and what he’s doing, kind of, while he drains some of her blood to drink from it. When Liz compares him to being a vampire, Silas is annoyed and says he’s nothing like them. He still needs human blood and he’s able to read thoughts and compel, which he does with Liz after he’s finished bleeding her. I could be wrong, but it looked like he healed her wrist too, not sure how.

Elena and Caroline try to enter the frat party house, but they can’t because it’s owned and they weren’t invited. They leave only to get a call from Megan, who is being attacked from within the house. She gets thrown from a window and lands near Elena. They check her and find she was bitten on the neck and died. When campus security (might as well have been the FBI) question the women about Megan’s phone gone missing (which Caroline stole to keep Elena’s voicemail on it hidden) she tells them that Megan’s death was a suicide. Elena and Caroline are confused by this.

While Damon scolds Jeremy at the Mystic Grill for his actions at school, Silas appears and pretends to be Stefan having come back home. He reads Damon’s mind and known that Katherine is at the house. He passes by Jeremy and touches his shoulder before his leaves. Jeremy and Bonnie both realize that Stefan is Silas based on chill he received from Silas’s touch and how a “hunter” would react to it. Bonnie tells him that when she died Silas was freed. Damon doesn’t buy it, at least not yet.

When Silas shows up at the Salvatore house, he finds Katherine in a bathtub and flirts with her…and then chokes her. Katherine escapes and Damon arrives, sending Katherine to leave with Jeremy. Silas tells Damon that if he wants to see Stefan again that he needs Katherine back. Damon calls Jeremy to return but Katherine crashes the car and leaves. Damon finds Jeremy and saves him from his fatal injuries by feeding him his blood. (One would think, this would be an opportune moment to turn Jeremy into a vampire…but then Matt would truly be the only human left on the show)

Speaking of Matt, he had quite the fun experience with Rebekah while in Prague, or Amsterdam, wherever. They have a quick fling with a woman named Nadia who stole the ring Matt had, originally from Jeremy. Nadia shows up behind the Mystic Grill while Matt is busy helping at a community end of summer party (They have SO many time honored dance/tradition/get together/formal/party/everythings) Nadia returns Matt the ring as a man appears behind Matt, holds his head, speaks an incantation, and turns Matt’s eyes black before he passes out. This feels very witchy and calculated being Nadia began this in another country.

When Elena and Caroline return to their dorm they find that Megan’s tablet is gone. Elena checks Megan’s phone, that Caroline swiped from the body, and finds a picture of Megan sitting with Elena’s father. Elena tells Damon this but Damon refrains from speaking about his run in with Silas and Katherine. Caroline also receives a voicemail from Tyler who tells her that he’s staying with a wolfpack he found in Tennessee and won’t be joining her in college. He apologizes and Caroline is very upset.

The episode wraps up with Silas appearing before the community at the park and tells them that he’s been wondering how far his power can go. He compels the entire group to hold still as he slits the mayor’s throat, who just happens to be Bonnie’s father. Bonnie, still a ghost, rushes to him but is unable to do anything as her father dies. Silas then tells the group that they need to find a woman who looks exactly like Elena, Katherine.

I wonder if the college switch is going to really work for this era of Vampire Diaries. College life has a lot of metaphors and “coming of age” scenarios which seem to all have been told within the last 4 seasons. Elena has grown up about as much as she can given the circumstances. I see this season returning to a bit of the basics. The veil, world ending plot, has come and gone, and now we need to step back and let our characters breathe shallow. Unfortunately Stefan can’t breathe at all. Just before he decides he’s going to turn his emotional switch off, Elena appears and pleads for him not to. Stefan complies because he loves that woman and, damn it, he’ll do what he has to to get back to her, somehow.

Damon’s attitude, while still snarky, has improved into a responsible character. He’s taken after Jeremy and is genuinely concerned with his life when he got flung from his car and was close to death. It’s good to see Damon own up to his role, although I anticipate his relationship with Elena won’t last through the season. Relationships on TV shows never work out. The second people get together, the writers have to immediately figure out how to break them up. I’m not excited about Caroline situation, only because I was actually rooting for her and Klaus to get together. How does the name combo thing work? Klaroline? Claus? Yeah, something like that. Since Klaus is busy busy in New Orleans and Tyler is a no show, she’ll likely meet a rebound soon. Jesse? Yeah, probably.

“I Know What You Did Last Summer” showed us that everyone moved on, except Bonnie, and new players are making a quick impact. Seeing Silas (now prime Stefan) feels similar to Stefan with no emotions, but without the true ruthlessness that the Ripper persona happily portrayed. Yes, his murder of Bonnie’s father was heartless, but it was also senseless. Are we really whittling down all the parents of Mystic Falls to just Liz? Poor Caroline. No, poor Bonnie, she lost everyone now. Except she still has a vampire mother, and that’s something. I’m interested in knowing if Silas is the end all be all power-trip villain or if there are other villains in the works that surpass even him. Will Damon find and save Stefan before he unwillingly, or willingly turns his emotions off? Will we get any flashbacks of Silas in his early days? I’d like that. Flashbacks in Vampire Diaries are always done with a sense of taste I can appreciate. Overall, not a breakthrough premiere, but a steady one that promises compelling mystery and emotional intrigue, and likely more tablets, iphones, and other new tech devices than you can shake a stick at. Now off to The Originals.

No more words

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