The Vampire Diaries
Credit: Alan Markfield/The CW
Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…

It looks like this show is about to get really, really good. Everything we wanted to happen is: Elena has pieced together the truth about Stefan (cue the flashback montage!), Bonnie is ready to accept who she is (enter GRANDMA JASMINE GUY, which made me feel as old as the first time I heard someone say they were born in the ’80s), and Vicki should be dead (drink, Damon, drink!). Yes!

So, we knew Damon would get out of that basement dungeon sooner rather than later. This show could not survive without his biting dark wit, even if Stefan were to stay as chatty as he was while he cooked Elena dinner to apologize for being AWOL as he began starving his brother to the point of mummification. (In addition to finding out more about Katherine — apparently the boys have differing opinions on who was with her first — we learned that Stefan is a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald, John Grisham, Seinfeld, I Love Lucy, Martin Scorsese, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Patsy Cline, and Willie Nelson, and that he digs some Kanye West and likes one Miley Cyrus song. It’s got to be “The Climb” right?) Caroline isn’t half as interesting without Damon. She’s just cruel: “If I want to talk boys, I’ll call dad. At least he’s successfully dating one,” she told her mom, who should never be spoken to that way because she was awesome as the mom on Kyle XY. I was actually glad when Damon used the last of his vampire mojo to summon her to his cell. RIP “Uncle Zach,” whose neck Damon broke when he interrupted Caroline opening its door. Zach told her to run, and she made it out of the house alive because Damon couldn’t go into the sun without his ring.

He waited to nightfall, then ended up in the cemetery, where Vicki and her stoner friends like to get high. Fortunately for us, but not for her, Jeremy had already bolted — he was angry that Vicki stole the pain pills Elena had been given after the car accident. (Finding pleasure in anything related to his parents’ death, Vicki? Not cool.) Damon drank from Vicki, and went back for seconds. If he didn’t drain her entirely after being without blood for days, I will be very disappointed — partly because it wouldn’t be believable, and partly because even though she’s now with Jeremy and we didn’t have to see Tyler (at all!), she’s still annoying. There’s no way Damon would change her into a vamp to give himself an ally, her a more exciting future, and Stefan another reason to get our Mr. Pointy, right? RIGHT?

When Stefan discovered that Damon had escaped, he paused to mourn Zach (he had to, there was a montage), then he picked up that extraordinarily thick stake and headed out to hunt his brother. Only Elena was at the door when he opened it — “What are you?” she asked. She already knows the answer. After she heard a classmate’s “Alzyheimer” grandfather say he recognized Stefan from June 1953, when Stefan’s Uncle Joseph had been attacked by an animal, she asked news reporter Logan if she could search the station’s archives. I guess Logan told her how to zoom before he got called away to cover a fire (presumably the one Bonnie had magically started at the Sexy Suds charity car wash), because she was able to get a close-up of Stefan lurking in the background. Then, diary, the non-believer replayed the times she caught Stefan healing himself and experiencing a reaction to blood that he’d quickly try to hide. She remembered Matt telling her that Vicki had said the word vampire. Judging from the preview for next week’s episode, Elena doesn’t respond well to Stefan confirming her suspicion. Though I’m guessing that will change when Damon starts calling on her and she realizes she needs him.

Now come the questions, and we begin with the important one: Why didn’t Stefan take off his shirt at the car wash? It would have been totally cheesy (and unfair, since Elena got to keep a shirt on over her bikini top), but I’d still have voted in favor of it at the meeting I’m guessing took place on set to discuss the skin situation… After seeing Bonnie light a room full of candles, wasn’t watching her splash the Mean Girl at the car wash with water utterly laughable? Thank goodness she started that fire, which made you take her seriously again as a witch… Are we ready for Kevin Williamson to up the scare factor? Caroline’s walk through the house to Damon was creepy, but I want to be peeing myself like I did during that episode of Buffy when she had to save her mother from the psychotic vamp without the use of her superstrength on her 18th birthday. Maybe during November Sweeps… What happens next with the crystal and the pocket watch (the latter of which Logan now possesses)?… And how hot would Stefan be listening to Patsy Cline and Willie Nelson? Seriously, total turn on.

As always, if you’re going to reference the books in your comment, begin with the word BOOK so others can avoid spoilers if they choose to.

Photo credit: Alan Markfield/The CW

Episode Recaps

Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…
The Vampire Diaries

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.

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