Our babies are all grown up and off to College as The Vampire Diaries kicks off season five. But with the evil Silas posing as Stefan (Paul Wesley), is anyone safe?
Let’s bitch it out…
Hey folks: I’m filling in for thedude this week as she’s busy with the premiere of The Originals. She’ll be back for next week’s brand new episode. In the meantime, you’re stuck with me -cinephilactic
I’ll admit that I’ve had a wee bit of a love/hate relationship with The Vampire Diaries in the last few years (mostly concerning the show’s propensity for introducing increasingly difficult-to-kill villains, which I find inherently uninteresting). With Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and his Original siblings getting spun-off on their own separate New Orleans adventure, I am hopeful that this will provide TVD an opportunity to dial back on un-killable villains and get back to basics.
To a certain extent, ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer’ adheres to this philosophy. We spend a good amount of time with Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Caroline (Candice Accola) acclimatizing to their new lives at Whitmore College (and the biggest dorm room I have ever seen). There’s also a healthy dose of Damon (Ian Somerhalder) / Jeremy (Steve McQueen) bonding, which is always enjoyable (and only vaguely homoerotic). And naturally our other favourites (and no so favourites) pop up with updates and a variety of conflicts ranging from snoozeworthy to holy eff balls. Essentially everyone gets something to do in the premiere, which is great for catching us up on how everyone is doing.
It unfortunately also means that things feel excessively crammed in. There’s a new vampire prowling Whitmore campus, Katherine (also Nina Dobrev) is a desperate human, Bonnie (Kat Graham) is still playing the martyr card and refusing to tell anyone she’s deadville. Throw in the usual Silas (also Paul Wesley) crap, a dumb Matt (Zach Roerig) subplot and even few minutes dedicated to absent Tyler (Michael Trevino) and there’s a ton of stuff going down.
This isn’t unusual for The Vampire Diaries, which has always burned through a season’s worth of plot in just a few episodes. I guess that I had hoped that because several regular/recurring characters had ventured to the Big Easy, we would have more time to settle in and reunite with the original cast of characters. Instead ‘I Know What You Did Last Season’ offers us “everything but the kitchen sink” tossed into a blender with the setting locked on “hysteria”
- Who’s this new roomie, Meghan, you ask? Who cares – she’s dead!
- How’s Matt settling back into Mystic Falls after a summer of summery threesomes in Europe with Rebekah (Claire Holt)? Who cares – he’s being mystically assaulted and passing out!
- How will Bonnie explain to her best friends that she’s an idiot who committed witchy suicide? Who cares – her dad’s been glamoured and murdered in front of a town square of sheep!
While there are clearly lots of questions and storylines being set up to explore, it’s more than a little bit exhausting covering a good half dozen plots. Perhaps more problematically than in season past, these plots of varying interest are now more spread more thinly across more locations than ever before. Heaven help us…
- He’s listed in the credits, but let’s be honest: Tyler hasn’t shown his face on this series enough to still be considered a regular cast member. I mean, he literally phones in his performance! WHY IS THIS CHARACTER STILL ON THIS SHOW?!
- I quite like the scenes set in Stefan’s hallucinating mind as first Damon and then Elena plead with him to let go and hold on, alternatively. I could have done without the JJ Abrams (circa Star Trek) lens flares, but it’s an interesting idea to explore how Stefan processes dying repeatedly for months on end
- Anyone else love that being human is equivalent to living in the woods for Katherine? Her hair looks like birds or squirrels have been nesting in it (though Elena’s hair isn’t anything write home about either. What did she do to piss off the show’s stylist?)
- Admittedly Katherine’s fear that she may simply remain dead if she dies is a believable enough reason to prevent her from simply becoming a vampire again. It’s clearly little more than an excuse the writers have devised to keep her human, but it’s better than anything I would have thought up
- Hey kids, just in case you can’t remember any of Silas’ details, here’s an exposition-laden scene in which he explains all of his powers/backstory to Sheriff Liz (Marguerite MacIntyre). How convenient!
- Can anyone really say that they care about what’s going on with Matt, Nadia (Olga Fonda) the random European hooker he shagged and the anti-death ring? Why does he need his own storyline? Why can’t he just be involved in someone else’s? Wahhh
- Finally, kudos to the music supervisor for showcasing rising singer-songwriter Lorde in the post-credit sequence as Elena and Caroline wander campus. If you like the song (“Royals”), be sure to check out the rest of her album, Pure Heroine, which came out last week. Yes, that’s a shameless plug, but I’m a huge fan, so deal with it
- Elena (when Damon tells her to compel the new roomie): “What’s the point of going to College if we’re just going to recreate what happens in Mystic Falls?”
- Katherine (emphasizing the important, as always): “Do you have any idea what it’s like to run in heels? I have blisters”
What did you think of the premiere: too busy or exactly what you expect from TVD? Which of the many storylines are you excited to find out more about? Were you amused by Katherine’s wrecked human hair? Do you care about Matt? Do you wish Bonnie would just stay dead and silent? (please note: rhetorical question) And does the show feel different without the Originals crew? Share your impressions in the comments below
The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8pm EST on The CW. Be sure to sign up on the right hand side to receive updates via email or on Facebook whenever we post new reviews