Welcome back to Mystic Falls, y’all. After a season that was simultaneously incredibly dull and incredibly frustrating, we return to Vampire Central with the Race For The Cure completed and the Originals spun off to New Orleans.
We check in with everyone via a previously voiceover from Stefan and an email to Bonnie from Elena. Status report: Damon and Elena have been humping like bunnies all summer. Caroline has been pining for Tyler, who’s been doing some volunteer work with a werewolf pack in Appalachia. Jeremy’s back from the dead and helping cover for Bonnie, who’s dead but hanging around as a ghost. Rebekah and Matt are on their European tour, having three-ways with random girls because we haven’t had a lesbian vampire thing yet. Katherine is wandering around town, rendered human by the Cure. And Stefan is locked in the Angel season three finale safe at the bottom of the local quarry while Silas walks around wearing Stefan’s face (which is really Silas’s face, because Doppelganger).
Jeremy sends Elena an email from Bonnie’s phone in furtherance of the cover-up, closing by asking whether she’s heard from Stefan. As Damon exposits in a towel (the very best sort of exposit) that Elena is leaving for college the next day, she ponders calling Stefan. She decides against it, which is probably for the best since Stefan is busy drowning and reviving over and over again. Title card!
The next morning Jeremy practices the speech he’s going to give to be reinstated at school now that he’s back from the dead, a web of lies about how the deaths of his parents led him down the path of drugs, alcohol, recreational arson and faking his own death. He wonders, as do I, why he’s bothering to go back to school at all. Elena dithers about going off to college before Jeremy’s settled back in at school but Damon pretty much orders her out, to “drink cheap beer and protest things you don’t care about”. Yeah, that’s about right. He promises to keep an eye on Jeremy and Elena heads out.
Elena and Caroline stroll across the Whitmore College campus and Elena reveals that she’s having weird vibes about Stefan. She wonders if she should call but Caroline diagnoses it as a case of guilt for making the “terrible but completely reversible mistake” of hooking up with Damon all summer. Sheriff Liz pops into frame for a line and then pops right back out again. Caroline giggles “We’re here!” Ghost Bonnie briefly appears and echoes the sentiment, but no one can see or hear here.
The girls start unpacking their stuff in their dorm room, which is bigger than my apartment. Liz drops off the last of their boxes and has a teary goodbye with Caroline and Elena, telling Elena how proud her dad would be to see her at his alma mater. She leaves and the girls decide to drink a toast to their grand new adventure. Before they can pop open their blood bags, there’s a knock at the door and another girl enters, introducing herself as Megan, their new roommate. Apparently they didn’t notice the third bed but I kind of get that because that room is ridiculously huge.
Back at Mystic Falls High Jeremy’s hanging out in a classroom talking to Bonnie; seemingly talking to himself should allay any concerns the administration might have about welcoming back a drug and alcohol-abusing arsonist who faked his suicide. Jeremy wonders how long she plans on delaying revealing her death to her dad but Bonnie is sure Dad doesn’t care enough to wonder about it. And she assures him that Elena’s happy at college. She declares how lucky they are that even death can’t keep them from talking but he counters with the fact that they can’t touch before heading off to class.
Megan sets up her product-placed tablet as Elena explains the roommate sitch to Damon. He suggests compelling Megan to GTFO; that was also Caroline’s idea but Elena thinks having a third will help immerse them in the college experience. Elena assures him that everything will work out and he can’t really argue with that since he has to hang up to deal with the newly-arrived Katherine.
Later that same day Mayor Rudy is glad-handing citizens at some end-of-summer party on the town square, the sort of party a town would throw during school hours on the first day of the semester. Matt’s pouring beers for the Mystic Grill tent when Rebekah approaches, teasing him about going from five-star restaurants in Paris to slinging suds at the Grill. They make out against a tree as Matt explains that back in the real world he needs to make dat money. Rebekah’s all for it so he can pay to replace the earrings “that street rat Nadia” stole from her. Matt points out that she also stole his protecto-ring and he has no idea how he’ll explain that to Jeremy. Rebekah suggests telling him about the threesome. Yep, should work. Rebekah lays on a last few kisses with some final words: “Don’t call, don’t write, and whatever you do, don’t you dare miss me.” Girl, trust, not missing you? Not a problem.
Elsewhere at the party “Stefan” approaches Sheriff Liz, who’s eating her feelings after dropping off the girls. He sits down, grabs a cup and then Liz’s wrist, slicing it open to bleed her into the cup. She twigs that it’s Silas and wonders why the knife since vampires usually go for the throat. He takes umbrage at being called a vampire, calling them “perversions” of him. Silas reads Liz’s mind and discovers that she doesn’t know whatever it is he’s trying to find out, so he compels her to believe that it was just Stefan stopping by to say hi. “Call your friends,” says Liz, apparently not wondering why after a hello from Stefan she’s bleeding from a sliced open wrist.
The roommates head out from the dorm and Elena and Caroline fill in Megan on their various boyfriend situations. Caroline then sets out some roommate ground rules: Do not get roommates wet; do not expose roommates to bright light; do not feed roommates after midnight. Megan’s down for the rules just in time to receive a flier inviting them to a party at “Whitmore House” that night.
Over at Mystic Falls High School. Jeremy gets a call from Elena but before he can answer it a couple of bullies slap it out of his hand. “Look who rose from the dead,” says bully one oddly. Jeremy bends to retrieve it but bully one kicks it away. “Nice phone,” snots bully two, biting the product placing hand that feeds him. He then says either “Does it ever ring” or “Does it have a ring” neither of which makes sense on an immediate level but, if the latter, could be an indication that this has something to do with the theft of the protecto-ring. Jeremy beats the hell out of both of them, retrieving his things and stalking off through the gathered students, who part before him like the Red Sea.
Katherine’s getting drunk at Casa Salvatore, noting that her tolerance for alcohol is practically non-existent as a human. I feel your pain, girl. Damon assumes she’s there to get turned back into a vampire, so he offers up his blood. Katherine refuses, believing that having taken the Cure, the next time she dies could be permanent.
Before they can get into what Katherine really wants, the phone rings. Damon has a land line? It’s the school. Jeremy’s been expelled. Damon starts to head out to look for him but Katherine stops him. She has enemies and as a human she can’t protect herself from them. “I’m weak and I’m slow. Have you ever tried to run in heels?” I’m guessing the answer is yes.
Down in the quarry Stefan revives and immediately starts drowning again. Which, makes no sense, since when do vampires on this show needs to breathe? And how is there still gas in Stefan’s lungs after three months of this? As he drowns, Stefan hallucinates a conversation with Damon. Halluci-Damon says that Stefan could end his suffering if he pulled his emotion chip. Halluci-Stefan refuses on the grounds that should he escape with emotion chip pulled he’d be a monster again. Stefan drowns.
Back at the Improbably Large Dorm Room, Caroline’s snooping through Megan’s stuff, grousing all the while about her presence. “What if I suddenly get a craving and I want to eat her?” Caroline decides to drink all of Megan’s “protein water” as the opening salvo in her passive-aggressive war to get Megan out but after the first swig she starts choking and burning. The water is laced with vervain.
Megan bursts in from the shower (giant room and a private shower?) but Elena and Caroline quickly cover her distress. Megan returns to the bathroom and Caroline goes into panic mode, suggesting locking Megan up until the vervain leaves her system and then compel her to forget them. Elena counters with the idea of acting like normal human freshmen and doing normal human freshman things.
Like going to the party at Whitmore House! They head for the party and run into flier guy, who is actually named Jesse. Elena feels Caroline was a little cold to flier guy but she says it’s because she’s with Tyler. Elena wonders how true that is since Tyler hasn’t called for a while. Caroline suggests that the Appalachians might not have the best cell coverage. They bicker another moment but stop short when they are stopped short at the threshold. Someone apparently owns Whitmore House and the vampires need an invitation. First Jesse and then Megan wonder why they aren’t going in; they lie that they’re waiting for someone and Caroline adds this to her list of “Megan knows we’re vampires” evidence pile.
Damon finds Jeremy at the Grill, because where else would anyone ever be, and scolds him for “going all Hunter” on the two bullies. Jeremy thinks Damon has little room to talk since he once killed Jeremy dead. “Yes, but in the privacy of your own home!” Damon counters. He tells Jeremy to finish eating and meet him outside but as he turns to leave he sees “Stefan”. Damon welcomes him home and their embrace is probably as awkward as it would be with the real Stefan.
Back at Party Central Elena leaves Megan a super-dumb voice mail promising to explain why they left. As opposed to just saying that one of them wasn’t feeling well. Caroline is still convinced that Megan is a danger and wants to do the kidnapping thing. As Elena tries to talk her down Megan calls. She’s panicked, sobbing that someone’s after her. The girls try to get her to come outside where they can protect her. Megan does end up outside, but it’s from being thrown after a vampire tore out her throat. She’s dead.
Damon and Silas hoist a few at the Grill and talk relationship issues while Silas reads that Katherine is at Casa Salvatore from Damon’s mind. Silas heads out, pausing to clap Jeremy on the shoulder on his way out. Jeremy gets a tingly feeling from where Silas touched him and he tells Damon it felt like when Silas touched him. Damon scoffs that Silas is a rock now but Ghost Bonnie realizes that with her death the spell on Silas was broken. Jeremy plays the Hunter card but Damon’s still skeptical until he puts it together that “Stefan” was asking about Katherine.
Who is currently shaving her legs with a straight razor in Damon’s bath tub. Silas enters, asking “Why are you in my brother’s bath tub?” “Why aren’t you?” Katherine replies, which can be interpreted in two ways. Silas disarms her with some flirting, which turns dark when he takes her by the throat and tries to shove her under the water. She grabs the razor, slashes his face and escapes. Katherine makes her way downstairs, where she is met by Damon and Jeremy. Damon orders Jeremy to get her away and not to tell Damon where he’s going.
Back on the Murder Quad Elena and Caroline are still freaking out over Megan’s death. Elena stresses over the voice mail she left but Caroline snagged Megan’s phone. Head of Campus Security Diane Freedman approaches them and offers her condolences. She says there was a note, that Megan was struggling with depression and that she committed suicide. Woohoo, automatic 4.0s for Elena and Caroline!
The girls don’t believe suicide for a minute and Freedman asks after Megan’s cell phone. They promise to keep an eye out for it.
Silas exposits on the nature of Doppelgangers back at Casa Salvatore. He demands Katherine but Damon refuses. Silas clues Damon in to the notion that Stefan just might be in a bit of trouble; he offers to exchange Stefan’s location for Katherine. Damon calls Jeremy and tells him to bring Katherine back. Katherine is not down with that plan and forces a car crash, ejecting Jeremy from the vehicle and inflicting near-fatal injuries. Jeremy begs her to help him but Katherine limps away.
Matt slings a free beer for the Mayor (graft!) and spots the “street rat Nadia” in the crowd. He abandons his post and tracks her to an alley, where she returns the protecto-ring by slipping it onto his finger in a sexual manner. Before he can follow up on that some Eurotrash dude takes Matt from behind. He chants something foreign and Matt’s eyes go black. He chants some more and Matt’s eyes go back to normal but he collapses.
On their way back to Improbably Large Dorm Room, Caroline deletes the message from Megan’s voice mail but when they arrive they see that the door has been forced. Upon entering they quickly twig that Megan’s product-placed tablet is missing along with her supposed suicide note. Caroline continues to freak while Elena looks through Megan’s phone. Elena joins quietly in the freaking when she discovers a picture of her father Grayson with Megan.
Bonnie begs Jeremy to stay alive but, being a ghost, her entreaties are not terribly effective. Damon arrives and feeds Jeremy his blood. Jeremy wheezes that Katherine is gone but Damon, pulling him into an embrace, says he doesn’t care.
Caroline retrieves a voice mail from Tyler telling her he’s deferring college so he can continue his work with that Appalachian werewolf pack. I guess Michael Trevino got the fuzzy end of this season’s budget lollipop. Again.
Stefan revives again. Halluci-Damon begs him to pull his emotion chip, saying it’s unfair that Stefan’s reward for walking away from Elena is this constant suffering. Halluci-Stefan seems to be considering it until Halluci-Elena intervenes, imploring him to stay with her. His humanity is the only thing that makes him who he is so he can’t let go of it.
Stefan drowns again.
Damon checks in with Elena. She wants to come home but he says no. They hang up and Jeremy questions why Damon didn’t fully disclose with her. Damon insists that he’ll figure everything out.
The totally appropriate town square party is finally wrapping up and Mayor Rudy steps to the mic to say a few words. Midway through his speech, Silas is all “Imma let you finish” and takes over the stage. He starts in on some long rambling speech about how much blood he’s drunk this summer and when the townspeople grow restless he orders them to shut up. Silas explains for the folks at home that he’s been gorging on human blood to increase his powers and now he can completely control an entire town square full of citizens. He orders everyone not to speak or move a muscle. Then for no apparent reason he slits Mayor Rudy’s throat. Ghost Bonnie screams and rushes the stage, to no avail. Silas orders the crowd to track down Katherine.
All in all a very good start to season five. What did you guys think?