The Vampire Diaries season 2 episode 1 review: The Return

The Vampire Diaries returns for its second season, and packs a heck of a lot into its first episode...

This review contains spoilers if you haven’t yet seen the episode.

2.1 The Return

You have to hand it the second season of The Vampire Diaries: it sure knows how to begin with a bang.

To briefly summarise, Katherine is back, which was one mystery quickly solved by the Salvatore brothers. Caroline was saved with Damon’s blood. As was John, only in his case it was with Stefan’s blood, accompanied with the threat of being made into a vampire if he didn’t leave town for Elena’s sake.

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Meanwhile, Jeremy’s vampire plan failed, so he’s still depressed. Katherine is all over town pretending to be Elena, and she is generating all sorts of threats and general commotion in her wake. She tells Stefan the real reason she’s back is to claim him and she breaks Damon’s heart by telling him that she only ever loved Stefan. Of course, Stefan doesn’t want to be with Katherine, and so she decides to take matters into her own hands by turning Caroline into a vampire.

How that’s for packing a lot into a season premiere?

Personally, I was pretty impressed with the amount they managed to squeeze in here. I thought that the writing was exceptional, and there were quite a few memorable scenes for us as well. The heart to heart between Damon and Stefan was my favourite. Paul Wesley (Stefan) and Ian Somerhalder (Damon) are wonderful at give and take in a scene. There’s just something in the way they play off each other’s emotions. Whether it is Stefan trying to do the right thing, or Damon being a smart alec, the actors always seem to convey that sense of brotherly love/hate.

Another stand-out scene for me was the one in Elena’s bedroom with Damon. It was sad to see the disintegration of Damon, considering how hard he worked to be the stand-up guy she was cheering for. However, I’m sure hearing “I only love Stefan” twice in one night by two different girls has got to hurt. Though I was still pretty shocked when he broke Jeremy’s neck.

I’m also curious to see how Nina Dobrev (Elena/Katherine) does now that she is pulling double duty, character-wise. I know she did it a few times last season, but that was only in the flashback scenes. Now she’s doing it full time, switching back and forth between Elena and Katherine.

So far I must say I like what I’m seeing. She plays heartless pretty well. The scene with Katherine and Damon, when they begin to get hot and heavy, and Damon pulls back to see how she really feels for him and she tells him that it has always been Stefan she loves, just about broke my heart. I hope that Dobrev can keep up the nice work she is putting in.   

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The other acting highlight for me is Somerhalder, though he never seems to disappoint. His ability to seamlessly convey Damon’s witty, sardonic behavior into heart wrenching despair is quite nice. Thanks to Somerhalder’s hard work and writers Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec’s great script, Damon’s character never seems out of place. Though I do hope he can gain some control over himself before his newfound bad behavior gets himself killed by Bonnie.

For the most part I was pleased with the premiere of the second season. Though that’s not to say it didn’t have it’s hang ups. After all, who didn’t see the Tyler as a werewolf thing coming? Sure it hasn’t been said outright yet, but it’s only a matter of time. I’m curious to see where this will all lead and what the arrival of his uncle Mason will bring.

Also, I am a little over the sad kid routine that Jeremy seems to be wallowing in. Hopefully his ‘legacy’ as a vampire hunter will cause some commotion in the episodes to come, otherwise I’m tired of his antics. As far as John is concerned, I know we haven’t seen the last of him. He doesn’t seem the type to take a threat from a vampire very well. It will be nice to see when he conveniently pops back in for a visit to Mystic Falls.

Finally, I’m interested to see what Katherine has in store for the Salvatore brothers. I’m sure her turning of Caroline into a vampire is going to cause quite a bit of trouble. I also want to know how long Elena is going to be able to handle having a doppelganger in town, causing mischief in her name, and just how far her announcement of hating Damon will go. Stefan is sure going to have his hands full keeping the peace in Mystic Falls.

One thing is for sure, the return of The Vampire Diaries was one that didn’t disappoint. Roll on next week…!