Vampire Diaries season 2 episode 2 review: Brave New World

Episode two of the new run of The Vampire Diaries is throwing Caroline very firmly into the spotlight. Here's our review...

3.2 Brave New World

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

The latest episode of The Vampire Diaries, Brave New World, began, for me, on a high note, and held strong the whole way through.

So what happened? Well, Caroline wakes up a confused and newly created vampire, craving some blood. Luckily for her she’s in a hospital. We’re then taken to school, where Stefan teaches Jeremy how to properly guard himself from vampires. Meanwhile, Elena is trying to focus on having a perfectly normal day away from all things paranormal. Unfortunately for her, things are about to get messy because poor Caroline is struggling with her new found vampire nature. They’re tough rules, after all: no silver, sunlight and an undying thirst for blood. The latter? She takes that out on her nurse.

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Later at the school carnival Damon shows Jeremy that his little magic ring can’t always protect him. Caroline learns that there are upsides to being a vampire, such as the power of persuasion. And there’s more, too. Damon and Stefan realise that there is something funny about Tyler and Uncle Mason. While, Damon decides to find out what is up with the, “ambiguously supernatural Uncle.”

Caroline, then, finds her way to the carnival where she delivers Katherine’s message that, “the game is on.” Damon runs off to find Elena and Stefan to tell them about this turn of events. Damon then decides, as you do, that Caroline needs to die, as she is a liability.

Stefan and Elena are dead set against this, and the conflicts within the episode continue to mount up. Caroline doesn’t help matters when she ends up killing someone. She’s found by Damon who tries to kill her, but not before Elena, Stefan and Bonnie show up to help her. Stefan teaches her how to suppress her vampire urges, while Bonnie attempts to kill Damon with a bit of fire. Which, oddly enough causes Elena to come to his rescue to stop her.

After the carnival, Jeremy and Damon end up bonding over their vampire-hating fathers. Matt admits that he’s in love with Caroline and she begins to learn to control her vampire-induced impulses. In the end, Stefan makes good on his promise to kiss Elena on the top of the ferris wheel giving us the, “aww” moment we were waiting for.

That’s a lot of story, but it seemed important to go back over. And the big thing I got from it all is it showed me why I should care about Caroline. All last season I was fairly ambiguous about her as a character, but tonight changed that.

Her breakdown in the bathroom was a strong moment. I honestly sympathized with her, which is something I have never done for her before. Candice Accola (Caroline) did a wonderful job portraying the anger, betrayal, and self-loathing that Caroline was feeling. Accola has sealed her fate for me as an actress, and I now look forward to seeing Caroline in the upcoming episodes. 

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Another character who has been growing on me in the last two episodes is Tyler. Originally I thought of him as superfluous, but I’m enjoying where the writers are taking his character. I can also see that my werewolf prediction was not off base, and I’m glad because I think it will add an interesting mix into the supernatural world of Mystic Falls.

The episode did had me cocking an eyebrow at the Damon/Jeremy dynamic. Part of me, doesn’t care for it because I don’t care for Jeremy as a character, but the other half enjoys the prospect of where writers Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson will take this storyline. Who knows? Maybe at the end of all this I will end up liking Jeremy again.

One character I felt bad for tonight was Elena. Poor girl has had it rough. All she wanted today was a nice night at the Carnival with Damon and her friends, and instead she got to deal with Vampire Caroline.

Nina Dobrev (Elena) never fails to impress me as an actress. A lot of times, the self-pity thing is not pulled off very well by actresses, but she never comes across as whiny or obnoxious. Dobrev’s motivations always seem real and tangible and I appreciate that in a melodrama. It also helps that she has a strong writing team and a formidable ensemble cast supporting her.

Speaking of, I thought that Paul Wesley (Stefan) and Ian Somerhalder (Damon) were strong players in this episode once more. I laughed quite a few times at the quick quips that the brothers shared when discussing the nature of Tyler and Uncle Mason. Though I am disappointed that nothing more was done of Damon’s crazy, neck-breaking behavior in last week’s episode. I doubt that we have yet to see the last of crazy Damon, considering that Bonnie set him on fire. I look forward to watching Somerhalder and Wesley flex their acting chops when tackling that issue in future episodes.

All in all, Brave New World really made me look forward to where the story is taking us and what the future holds for our favourite residents of Mystic Falls. In my opinion this season is off to a great start. They’re throwing new elements at us, as well as new foes.

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On a side note, I was a little displeased at the lack of Katherine in this episode. But that doesn’t detract from the fact that I liked what I saw this week and can hardly wait for my next fix of Mystic Falls vampires. Until next week…

Read our review of the season 2 opener, The Return, here.