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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?

Review

Editor Rating: 4.2 / 5.0
  • 4.2 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.9 / 5.0 (347 Votes)

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

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    @Princess Bass - good observation, i was thinking the very same thing! it was the only part of that end scene that gave me hope for damon and elena...

    Stavroula

    I feel so sorry for Damon.... I'm so in love with him and I don't want to see him hurt... I think that Elena should be with Damon not only because she has feelings for him but also because Stefan is so BORING!!!!! Even though he is less boring than last year he will never be Damon... Stefan is so predictable. On the other hand Damon is so funny and unpredictable. Also, I cannot imagine Caroline being a vampire, I liked Bonnie a lot, Matt is always very cute (His eyes are sooooo blue) and I start to really like Tyler... Ah, I forgot!!! Katherine is such a bitch and that's why I liked her... Nina Dobrev is a very good actress..... As for Ian Somerhalder's acting, no words.....

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    OK no one has said anything about Caroline ? I mean If shes a vampire Mattt needs to know and her mom. But, her mom would want to kill her right? And hopefully if matt finds out it would be like the books and he would help Elena out all the time! Hopefullly that happens.

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    Hey, where is Alaric?

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    @annika, I totally agree with you! Yea I feel bad for Damon but not just b/c he is hurting means he can do whatever he wants. And totally loved Stefan in this episode SO HOT!!! As for Caroline, as soon as Damon offered his blood for her, I knew she was gonna end up dead by the end of the episode and become a vamp.

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    Love how Jeremy got promoted to leather jackets this episode =D Love Jeremy, Love Damon, then Damon tried to kill Jeremy... fail -_-

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    Stefan: I hate you
    Katherine: That sound like the beginning of a love story, not the ending. Elena: I hate him! [Damon]
    - sounds familiar ?

    Xomoniquexo

    OMGosh that was fantastic love it i hve to say i was most impressed with the newer more aggressive Stefan when he attacked John in the hospital i was like WTF and then with the scene with Katherine he was positively radiant love his new more dangerous side . Love Damon I dont think Elena loves him like how she loves Stefan but she "cares for him" and i really through that he would finally get with Katherine when he was talking about how this was the defining point in the relationship over the past 150. love Bonnie and Damon gives me jokes cant wait for the next week
    PS TOTALLY MISSED TVD OVER THE SUMMER (love Stefan and Elena)

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    Damon 'killing' Jeremy will awake a hatred against vampires, just like uncle John predicted. I'm curious how that will play out!

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    WOW!!!! OMG!!!! What an episode!!!! Seriously!!!! My notes:
    1. Katherine is such a b*tch!! Love her!! Loved everything she did in the episode (apart from what she told Damon)!!
    2. Stefan was so HOT!! We saw a different side of him yet he's still the gentle, kind and loving Stefan we all know!!
    3. I love Damon, I really do!! But that wasn't my favorite Damon episode.. I felt so bad for him when Katherine told him she always loved Stefan (I don't believe her though) but then the whole thing with Elena.. She loves STEFAN!!! God!!! And he shouldn't have killed Jer! (I wish he saw the ring)
    4. I see Damon and Bonnie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    5. Caroline is a vamp? yeah!! finally she'll become more interesting!! and i so hope for the vamp-wolf relationship!! (Caroline and Tyler ftw!!!)