[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="360" caption="Nina Dobrev as Katherine in The Vampire Diaries"][/caption]
The Vampire Diaries is a wild hour of television each week. Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec and the writing staff won't drag out storylines for the sake of wasting time during a season. Every minute counts and every word of dialogue means something. It's a rare thing on television, it's awesome, and the writers usually tell a good story each week.
With that said, the season two premiere of the show, entitled "The Return," doesn't miss a beat from last season's finale. Before I completely dive into the episode, this is tell the readers that my reviews will resemble my LOST reviews. I assume anyone reading has seen the episode and possesses a good amount of knowledge about the show as a whole. Actually, all of my reviews except for pilot reviews will be written this way. If you haven't seen the episode, a great big SPOILER ALERT is a given.
Kevin Williamson wrote the 1996 slasher hit, Scream. One of the most famous scenes in the movie, and in all of HORROR, is the opening scene with Drew Barrymore. The teaser of "The Return" gave me flashbacks to that iconic scene. I assume he penned it rather than Julie Plec, his writing partner in the series. Elena searches around the house for her doppelganger, Katherine, who returned to Mystic Falls to cause some chaos and kill John Gilbert for failing to get rid of every single tomb vampires. Katherine leaves without harming Elena. Stefan arrives at some point. Once Katherine's gone, Elena and Stefan rush upstairs to check on Jeremy who awakes but he isn't a vampire though he wanted to be.
The premiere has plenty of story to cover. The episode quickly deals with Caroline's condition from the accident as well as Jeremy's desire to become a vampire. Williamson and Plec want to give every character a meaningful arc this season, so there are scenes to plant the seeds for individual arcs. Every character, besides Alaric, is given a scene.
The A story of the episode is the return of Katherine. Her presence is established as well as her dynamic. Besides a flashback episode in season one and many stories about Katherine, she's an enigma. She drives Damon bonkers while hoping Stefan will love her. She's a sexy, evil vampire with a mean streak as long as the losing seasons of the Pittsburh Pirates. She has a plan but she won't reveal it. On the surface, it's about her desire to get Stefan back because she loves him. Stefan feels nothing for her though he hates Elena, a dead ringer for Katherine. But there's a plan that will be involved as the season progresses; a plan that will tie into the events of season one with Isobel and the tomb vamps.
Elena, meanwhile, has to deal with her doppelganger's arrival in addition to her murderous, vampire-hating father and Damon's increasingly passionate feelings for her. She handles everything extremely well. Elena's a great female character and a great role model for young girls. She's a caring individual and loyal. Elena's surprised Damon thinks of her as a girl who cheat on Stefan with his brother. After lying to her brother last season for his own good, she promises to never do that again. By episode's end, the rift between she and Jeremy has mended.
Damon regresses into the vampire he was early in the series by episode's end. Katherine's influence over him causes bad behavior. The combination of rejection by both Katherine and Elena send Damon off the deep end. He snaps Jeremy's neck and walks out, thinking he's killed him which sends Elena into tears. Luckily, Jeremy wears the ring that protects humans from death. But Damon clearly crossed the line. Stefan tries to defend his brother, explaining that Damon probably saw the ring and did it to hurt Elena. She holds her brother in his arms and cries. Elena knows Damon wanted to kill her brother. She hates him. Jeremy awakens yet again, panicked but alive.
Katherine, as mentioned above, is focused on more than involving herself in a triangle. She has a plan. She visits Caroline in the hospital, introduces herself and wants Caroline to deliver a message. Her message is game on then she suffocates Caroline to death; however, Damon gave Caroline his blood early in the episode so she could heal. If someone dies with vampire blood in his or her system, he or she comes back as a vampire.
But Kevin Williamson promised a major death in the premiere. Caroline's the only character who died. Was he bluffing? We shall see.
Some other thoughts:
-Nina Dobrev is awesome. She's so wholesome and classy as Elena then sexy, evil and awesome as Katherine. Dobrev has chemistry with every single cast member.
-The new character, Mason Lockwood, is a surfer. Someone said he's in search of the perfect wave. Bohdi from the great Point Break wanted the perfect wave. Yes.
-Huge fan of the character Bonnie and the actress. She's gorgeous. I like this dark-witch layer that's been added to the character. I'll bet she learns enough witchcraft and has enough power to play a major part in taking down Katherine at season's end.
-If Caroline is really dead, will Matt become some sort of vampire hunter like Alaric? His sister was killed by Damon and now another vampire murdered his sister. He's done nothing interesting in the entire series.
-Ian Somerhalder is awesome as Damon. The writers give him the best lines. The role he'll be remembered for won't Boone, folks, because it will be Damon. Damon had a great line about his brother's furrowed brow. It's damn near Spike and Angel.
-Listen, I'm not trying to fool anyone or argue that TVD is on the level of genre shows like Buffy or ANGEL. It's not. The Vampire Diaries is a CW show. I know Buffy and ANGEL were on The WB but Joss Whedon wasn't interested in love triangles and the usual tropes of a teenage show so I'm stating right now that TVD is no Joss Whedon show. As much as I respect Kevin Williamson, he is a much different storyteller than Joss and this show is less interested in the adult themes Joss Whedon integrated into his shows. But it's a fun show and it's always entertaining. The characters are likable and it's the best genre show on television. Yes, it beats out HBO's True Blood. It's an underrated show that is tightly plotted and well-executed. As the series grows older, adult themes might find their way into the show but this is a well-written show that captures teenagers better than many, many shows. Williamson is the same guy who once had his Dawson Creek character speaks like they had their MAs in English, so I think the man learned his lesson.
-Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec wrote the episode and J. Miller Tobin directed it.