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…

For a moment — when Vicki had her hand around Elena’s throat and threatened to rip her little head off if she tried to keep her away from Jeremy, to be precise — I thought Vicki might actually be worth keeping around on the show. Later, however, when it didn’t occur to her to have sex with Damon as she complained about being bored (I thought Stefan said all the urges meld together, so why couldn’t she think about blood and sex when Damon was giving her those eyes?), I was ready to kill her myself. I know she couldn’t bed him if we were supposed to feel sorry for her when she couldn’t control her fangs around Jeremy at the school Halloween party and got staked by Stefan after she attacked Elena. (You go for the neck, not the shoulder, Vick!) But if she wasn’t going to be Damon’s love slave, then I’m fine with her exit. She did manage to get the Salvatore brothers into the same room without them threatening to kill each other — instead, they argued over the proper way to raise young vampire Vicki, with Stefan pushing his no-humans philosophy and Damon his “Snatch, eat, erase” motto. But that was gonna get old. Having a vampire with an addict mentality and impulsive personality is interesting in theory, but not when it makes her behave as stupidly and selfishly as she did when she was human. Are you sorry Vicki is gone? Let’s take it to a vote in the poll at the end of the post, friends.

More thoughts on the episode:

• If you haven’t read Michael Ausiello’s interview with Kayla Ewell, head there when you’re done here. She tells him that they reshot her death scene. Originally, it was Jeremy who staked her to save Elena. But they decided they wanted Stefan to do it because it makes him look more like a hero. I’m confused about where Stefan and Elena stand now. Are they back together, or was she just telling him how hard it will be for her to keep being apart from him when she said she can’t lose her feelings for him? I thought the former, until the use of “vampire rebound” in the promo for next week’s episode, when Stefan gets a visit from an old female friend, made me think it has to be the latter. “Stefan smiles. Alert the media!” Consider me alerted. And psyched!

• Tyler took the shirtless bullet this hour, and yet I still agreed with Damon when he said, “Oh, come on, who’s gonna miss this idiot?” after apparently getting so upset with Ty for using the word “dude” that he wanted to kill him in the opening scene. Sadly, Damon just glamoured him into forgetting that Vicki had vamped out (though not with Logan’s blood still on her face, psych!) and talked about how hungry she was in a way that was supposed to be sexually charged but did absolutely nothing for me. The first time I watched the scene, I thought Vicki was referring to Damon when she said, “Don’t you hurt him.” But on repeat viewing, I realized I’ve just watched the Godric episodes of True Blood too many times. Did Vicki feel any kind of special loyalty to her maker? Did Damon actually feel sad when he saw Vicki’s slightly shriveled body? You want to believe Elena’s “it matters” speech got to him, and that’s why he showed up at her house and offered to do what Stefan couldn’t: Glamour away Jeremy’s memory of Vicki’s semi-sexy lipsucking and staking, so he thinks she’s just left town like poor Matt will now. But I don’t believe Damon did it just because he realized if his cold heart felt a tinge of remorse, imagine what Jeremy was experiencing after losing the only person who made his parentless life bearable. I think Damon knew it was better for him if Jeremy didn’t remember. No way you trust someone that fragile with a secret.

• Elena takes a lot for granted when it comes to Damon. Vervain just protects her from Damon’s mind games, right? Not from him biting and draining her? Yes, her slapping Damon for not caring about Vicki’s death was badass and good TV, but HE’S A VAMPIRE. YOU HAVE AN OPEN WOUND. HE’S TOLD YOU REPEATEDLY THAT HE HASN’T KILLED YOU — “YET.” Do not make the man say you should leave twice.

• Damon needs to flirt with more cougars. “Well, are you happy with your husband?” he asked Tyler’s cocktail-loving mother after she said her husband wasn’t going to he happy with her for running so late. Damon can be a good listener when he wants to be: He now knows that she has Vervain, that there is a council behind the vampire hunt, and that they have no idea that vampires with a special ring can go out in daylight. (I bet they also don’t know about vamps using coffee to send caffeine through their veins to warm their bodies to the touch.)

• Jasmine Guy as a grandmother still makes me uncomfortable. But I’m ready to see more of her. After Damon tried to take back the crystal necklace Caroline had given Bonnie to wear with her witch costume — and his hand burned — grandma informed Bonnie that it had belonged to one of her ancestors. How soon do you want to kick this witch storyline into high gear? Gram says magic’s meant to be real and serious. Pull the trigger, and let’s get Bonnie some screen time. I think the actress could handle a serious scene (read: doing magic not at a carwash) and more childish bickering with Damon.

• Was my favorite line Damon’s response to Stefan questioning why he was letting Vicki leave the house — “She’s been cooped up in your room all day. She’s not Anne Frank” — or his “Uh… my bad” after he encouraged Vicki to try out her superspeed and she bolted to her house? Did Damon and Stefan have the same level of tracking ability when it came to Vicki, even though Damon was the one who turned her? And Damon simply never cared enough to go after her, so that’s how Stefan always found her first?

Photo credit: Quantrell Colbert/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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