The Vampire Diaries Review: Game. On.

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Elena: What happened?
Damon: Katherine happened.

On "The Return," viewers were welcomed back to Mystic Falls with a slow three-quarters of an episode, as the show caught us up on events from the finale, moved pieces and characters around and laid the groundwork for what was to come.

And what, exactly, was to come? The same fast-paced, action-packed, oh-no-that-didn't-just-happen-did-it?!? twists and turns that made this the best new show on television last year.

Come to Me!

We must, of course, start with Katherine. Nina Dobrev seems like an entirely different person when she blows out her hair, dons this character's tight, black clothing and scowls in a manner of which Elena simply isn't capable.

But while Elena and her doppelganger vary in their fashion choices, facial expressions and overall outlook on life, they remain similar in one vital manner: both are in love with Stefan. And this revelation was enough to drive Damon over the edge.

We praised Ian Somerhalder's work every week on season one, but it must be highlighted again. I personally didn't believe Katherine's cutting words ("I never loved you. It was always Stefan."). She's clearly up to something. But Damon believed them, and that's what matters here - and, man, did Somerhalder sell his character's pain well.

I'd also be driven to drink if the woman I loved and and obsessed over for 145 years showed up, flirted with me, teased me with some (HOT!) foreplay, and then dropped that bomb on me.

But the alcohol at least helped Damon confront Elena over a truth fans have known all along: there's something between these two. She's lying to herself by denying it. Of course, that's no excuse for snapping Jeremy's neck, D. That was simply cruel.

In many ways, we're now back to where we were a year ago: Elena hates Damon and Damon is intent on not caring about anyone or anything. There's a dangerous difference this time, though: before, Damon held out hope for Katherine. He had a mission in life, it even gave him a certain wit and charm. But now? A vampire with an eternity of nothing to live for is a creature that has no reason to hold back. Look out, Mystic Falls.

Other thoughts/questions/observations:

  • Anyone else notice a glint in Stefan's eye when Katherine reminded him of how she plays her games, with "no rules?" There are still feelings there. Elena might not be the only one lying to themselves.
  • I need a reminder on how humans get turned: Caroline had Damon's blood in her when Katherine suffocated her, right? Does this mean she'll awaken as a vampire? That would be hard to imagine. She'll hate getting blood on her fashionable clothing.
  • Mason is a werewolf who has learned how to channel his primal rage and urges? Hmmm... did he and Stefan go to the same supernatural university? Wonder if they took the same courses there.
  • "She'll try to break us, and how we respond to that will define us." Great speech by Stefan to her brother. Too bad the pep talk didn't have much affect by the end of the episode.
  • So, why is Katherine actually back? It's too early to say. But I can't wait to find out.

Catch up on our favorite Vampire Diaries quotes now, return to TV Fanatic tomorrow for a Round Table discussion and sound off: WHAT DID YOU THINK?


Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (348 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.


I think, the situation of Elena now is like with Bella in Eclipse wherein Bella was Inlove also with Jacob but afraid to accept it... (Just my observatioN)!


There was no better way 2 start off season 2.SUCH AN AMAZING EPISODE.It had its lows though like Caroline is gonna become a vampire is there any human characters left on this show???the writers have to think about this.
Secondly Katherine doesn't love Stefan either she just wants the brothers to turn against themselves and i think she has come back for Elena cuz she wants the brothers all to herself
Thirdly,Damon killing Jeremy was soooo unpredictable.This is the Damon we know from the first few episodes in season 1 and Am so glad Elena is being strong and not showing her feeling for Damon for now orelse that would make her cheap like her doppleganger
Fourthly,i think Damon should learn being resistant to Bonnie's powers cuz that bitch is getting annoying


I was all for Damon and Elena last season, because they make such an interesting and complicated couple and there's so much chemistry between them(and also because I don't really care for Stefan, though he had his first sexy, manly moment when he threatened Elena's father), but after I saw him the way he acted around Katherine I just realized that what he feels for Elena is just a tiny fraction of his feelings for Katherine. He obviously would choose her over Elena if he could and he was ready to forgive a whole century of misery for just one word from Katherine. Then when he went to Elena's house his attempt to make her see she had feelings for him didn't make me happy as it would under different circumstances, because I felt like Damon was just trying to prove to himself that he could get at least one of the two girls/women. And then snapping Jeremy's neck was extremely mean. He wanted to make Elena suffer and feel the pain he was feeling. He obviously couldn't hurt Katherine, so he hurt Elena. I'm sad the relationship between Damon and Elena that took a whole season to be built was destroyed after one rash act. I think it will take another season to rebuild and I really want the two of them to have a chance. But other than that the episode was absolutely amazing!


At first I felt that everything was going too fast, thought that everything was a bit rushed, so I wasn't as thrilled as I wanted to be. I watched it a second time and liked it way better, especially since this time I was awake and pretty much fully engaged with everything going on ^^
I like the cast of VD, amazing actors, hot and cute :) I like Stefan, thought he was a bit boring before, but it appears he's more than just a flat goody-good-good character. Still, I'm a delena shipper :)
I know emmy nominators probably won't even look at CW shows, but I especially think Ian Somerhalder's acting chops are really worth looking at, and he definitely deserves to be recognized for his talent!


This episode was a great one : after 5 minutes, it was like there had never been a hiatus ; all the drama, the romance and the suspens of the show we love returned ! And it is true that Ian is doing an amazing job playing Damon but I just wanted to point out the fact that Paul Wesley also showed us great talent in this last episode : indeed, it is well known that playing the bad guy is 'easier' than playing the good one. What I mean is that it is always hard to make a 'always-nice-and-boring' kind of character lovable because it is, by definition, harder to get attached to/not very exciting.
Don't get me wrong, Ian Somerhalder is an amazing performer but I feel like the character is very well written, which helps. On the contrary, Paul Wesley manages to keep Stefan's character interesting even if sometimes, he has to be the 'pep talk' guy. That's why I just wanted to give Paul Wesley some credit too, I think both actors are very talented and really make the show^^


is it just me or was stefan acting like a complete douche at the beginning? like - it was really not stefan!!! but I don't want elena to be with damon - I just think he needs someone stronger, and more like him than elena is. she's just too different. and trying to kill jeremy was just idiotic!!! amazing episode, but it was really odd at times!


has anyone else thought about the ramifications of katherine smothering caroline?? on the hospital security footage it is going to look like ELENA who was smothering her!!


WOW, that was one hell of a season opener. LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!! Here my thought:
I am a huge Delena fan myself, but I can't believe all those people going off on Elena for being a tease and denying her feelings etc... YES, there is something going on between those two and YES she maybe avoided admitting that, but she did tell Damon that she cared about him. And anything more wouldn't make any sense at this point in the story!
It REALLY wasn't Damon's day being rejected like that and I feel for him, but I think it was the best thing that could have happened. He was almost becoming too predictable. Like Bonnie said in the hospital: She knew he was gonna help Caroline for Elena's sake, and so did the viewer. Now I have NO idea what he will do next and I like it...;)
Speaking of Bonnie. Did anybody else pick up on the chemistry/tension between her and Damon, or was it just me?
Still team Delena, but that could be interesting..
Totally agree that Stefan still has a thing for Katherine and her "no-rules"-lifestyle. Plus it would be great to see more of his "dark" side ;)
Nina is a terrific actress. I was so fascinated with Katherine, I almost think she was better than Ian in this episode and thats saying something... Can't wait for next week :D


This was the best episode ever.I don't know what i've been doing for three months!
I just can't wait until next week.Katherine is such a bitch


@Darkdoll I've read the books too, and while Elena does come to love Damon, I think her love (so far) for Stefan is greater. It'll be interesting what happens now with the twist in the latest book, though. I do agree that Elena will come to forgive Damon. If for no other reason, there would no longer be a triangle/quadrangle storyline. I admit I've become more of a Stelena fan over the years. If Damon continues to evolve, maybe. But right now, he's the destructive selfish relentless jerk whom girls love to dream about taming. However, it's his bad boy vibe that's alluring. Dating Elena would by necessity change that, I think, as I wouldn't want her to roll over and let him get away with his typical antics, but they couldn't be in a relationship if he didn't change.

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The Vampire Diaries Season 2 Episode 1 Quotes

He kissed Katherine, not me. I wouldn't do that.

Elena [to Stefan]

Katherine wants you dead, there's zero you can do about it. You will be dead.