THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (CW) “The Return” Review

The Vampire Diaries (CW) Cast

Season 1 of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES (which felt like two seasons, it was so packed full of plot) ended full of questions. Why was Katherine back? Would John survive her attack? What would she do to Elena? What would the boys think when they found out? Was Caroline going to live? What was with Tyler’s eyes? What would be the aftermath of the fire (which killed both the tomb vampires and the town’s non-vampire mayor)?

The third season premiere ‘The Return’ answers most, but not all, of these questions. We find out Katherine’s back for Stefan (who never loved her) and she breaks Damon’s heart (she never loved him). She seemed content to play with Elena, being her doppleganger but never quite taking it far enough to cause any upset for Elena – until the end of the episode, where she kills Caroline. Tyler’s hot Uncle Mason turns up, presumably to let him in on the secret behind his crazy eyes in the season 2 finale. And Stefan heals John Gilbert and runs him out of town, under threat of turning him into a vampire.

Before I go into the episode, I have to just draw attention to the pacing on The Vampire Diaries. The episodes never seem to move too fast, yet they pack as much into just one episode as many series do into two or even three. I’m not sure how they do it, but kudos to them for that. There were some weak spots, for me, in season 1, but they passed by so quickly that I decided to stick the series out. I’m glad I did because the series shaped up to be something awesome – and the second season premiere definitely follows in the same vein. (‘Vein’, geddit? Oh, sigh.)

Katherine. The episode was mainly about her being in town and how it would affect our trio. Elena is, of course, spooked by having her identical vampire (great-) grandmother around, masquerading as her. Stefan just seems aggravated by her presence. I’m not entirely convinced he’s as stone hearted toward Katherine as he makes out. And Damon, poor Damon, he held out hope that she secretly loved him for as long as he could.

I’ve never really liked Elena but I found Nina Dobrev’s portrayal of Katherine mesmerising. She has a swagger and edge that was a great addition to the show, something missing since Damon toned down his dark side. With her presumable departure from the show for now (until she next decides to cause trouble, at least), Damon may once again take the ‘troublemaker’ mantle. (I think I shall name him ‘Damonus’. It worked for Angel.) Elena thought it would be wanting Katherine that drove him off the deep end yet again. Alas, it was being rejected by both Katherine and Elena. For a hot immortal guy, he sure can’t catch a break in the love stakes. (‘Stakes’? I just can’t help myself.)

As for Stefan, well, I didn’t really like him in the first season, but now? I loved the way he threatened John and the cool, collected way he dealt with Katherine. Yeah, I think he has feelings for her and yeah, they’d probably be a better couple than he and Elena. But at this point, I’m happy to sit back and see where this new and improved Stefan goes.

Also: holy death, Batman! First Jeremy (who should have hit up Carol Lockwood for his suicide attempt, apparently, judging by Hot Uncle’s pharmaceutical comment) gets his neck broken by a depressed Damonus, and then Caroline gets smothered by Katherine. The drama! Thankfully, Jeremy had his Dad’s special ring on, which resurrected him quickly. (But as Elena points out, Damonus didn’t see the ring. He just wanted Jeremy dead to upset Elena. Me and Damon now have issues.) Earlier in the episode, Damon healed Caroline with his blood, so presumably she’ll now come back as a vampire. I say presumably because we’re told more than once that vampire blood only stays in the system for a day or so. Caroline was given vampire blood in the morning and killed in the middle of the night, so was there enough vampire blood left in her system to turn her?

The supporting characters held their own this episode. Bonnie’s bringing the badass in spades, though she’s still not strong enough to go up against Katherine. And considering she can still get manhandled, it stands to reason that a strong vampire could take her out any time. Hell, maybe even Damonus could. If he caught her unawares, before she could give him a migraine. Watch out there, Bonnie.

Matt and Caroline were adorable, which made her death even sadder. Matt – another guy who can’t catch a break. Elena breaks up with him, his sister dies, his mother is an idiot, and just when he thinks he’s found happiness? His girlfriend goes and dies on him. We’ll fully understand if you go postal, Matt.

What’s up with the Lockwoods? I mean, we can probably guess what Tyler – and his Hot Uncle – are, but will it be a problem for the townsfolk? Will Tyler be able to get rid of his rage and become as mellow as his Hot Uncle? (Yes, I will be calling Mason ‘Hot Uncle’ from now on, because that seems to be the basis of his character.) I kind of hope Tyler doesn’t mellow out too much. Firstly, because he would be a great antagonist. Secondly, if the sole facial expression of his Hot Uncle is related to his mellowness – and not just bad acting – it would be a dull road to go down. Seriously, Taylor Kinney? Get a new facial expression for next week. Maybe try ‘pensive’ or ‘brooding’, you have great eyebrows for those.

So what will next week bring for the people of Mystic Falls? Is Caroline a vampire? Has Katherine really left town? Will Jeremy decide to follow in his father and uncle’s footsteps and turn against vampires? What will Damonus get up to next? So many questions!

What did you think of The Vampire Diaries? Did you like Katherine? How dark do you think Damon will become this time? Leave a comment below!