Oh, Damon. Its a good thing I like my fictional characters really freaking broken. Otherwise, I'd hate your guts right now. Instead, I'll hate Katherine (and maybe Stefan?) for making you into the person we saw in last night's season premiere of The Vampire Diaries.
We left off last season with Katherine cutting off Uncle John's fingers while pretending to be Elena, Jeremy lying motionless after ingesting Anna's blood and a bunch of pills, and Caroline critically injured in the hospital. This episode picked up right where that left off and, as Damon put it, "doppelganger hijinks ensued." Elena finds John, but not Katherine, and gets him an ambulance, then she and Stefan discover that Jeremy is not a vampire, just an idiot. I'm hoping that Jeremy isn't whining about becoming a vampire all season.
Damon was the first to put the pieces together and realize that Katherine was back in town. The look on his face when he realized it was Kat he kissed and not Elena was typical Somerhalder awesomeness. Stefan, on the other hand, recognized Katherine right off the bat. He was such a badass in this episode, in his interactions with Katherine and when he threatened John Gilbert. I like Forceful!Stefan. I was a little frustrated when he was focusing so much on Damon trying to kiss "Elena" since I thought he was missing the forest for the trees, but Stefan had come to the same conclusion by episode's end. That's the beauty of this show: no waiting!
With the CW promoting this season as "The Year of the Kat," you have to think that Katherine will be sticking around all season. Props to Nina Dobrev for making Elena and Katherine so distinct from one another. And really, she's playing 3 characters right now: Elena, Katherine, and Katherine-pretending-to-be-Elena. I'd hazard a guess that eventually we may add Elena-pretending-to-be-Katherine to the list.
Then there were the two screaming-at-the-tv moments. First, Damon, heartbroken after both Katherine and Elena tell him that they don't love him, that its always going to be Stefan, snaps Jeremy's neck. I was horrified for Elena, wondering if Jeremy was really dead or going to become a vampire. Turned out, it was not really either: John Gilbert had given Jeremy his Ring of Imperviousness. Elena now claims to hate Damon, since he just killed Jeremy, but Stefan insists that Damon must have noticed the ring. I'm not real clear on how the ring works, since John told Jeremy that it only protects from "supernatural" death and not accidental. I'm going to assume he wasn't referring to being killed by Dean Winchester. I'm actually wondering how if John was telling Jeremy the truth about why the ring didn't protect his dad, or if there's more to that story.
Meanwhile, over at the Mystic Falls hospital, Katherine tells Caroline, who is magically healed thanks to Damon's blood, to give the Brothers Salvatore a message: Game. On. Then she smothers her with a pillow. Presumably, next week, Caroline will feed and turn, unless she dies. I think the preview for next week gave the answer to that one away.
I don't even think turning Caroline was Katherine's opening gambit. I think that came when she told Damon that she'd never loved him. I'm not saying she actually does, but I'm certain that her telling him was a purposeful act to drive a wedge between him and Stefan. Whether Katherine still cares or ever cared about either brother remains to be seen. Damon's heartbreak at the end when he was alone in mansion was palpable, and I'm certain that we'll be seeing the effects of the premiere on his behavior all season.
The most powerful scene in the whole episode, in my opinion, was when Damon confronted Elena about her feelings for him. I actually wondered for a minute if Damon was going to rape her, and kudos to Somerhalder for displaying that kind of desperation, though I'm not sure how I reconcile my love of Damon as a character with my willingness to believe he could actually do that. In the end, I don't think that Elena loves Damon. I think they definitely have a connection that she won't admit to, but its not love, at least not the romantic kind for now. Poor Damon, he's just so desperate to be someone's first choice.
Looks like Williamson and Plec are going to keep the hits coming this season. Overall grade: A- (The minus is due to lack of Alaric. More Matt Davis, stat.)