OH. MY. FREAKING. GOD! SERIOUSLY! I did not think it was even remotely possible for this show to exceed my expectations, but it did. It so, so, so did.
- DAMON KILLED JEREMY!!!!!!! HE SNAPPED HIS NECK. DAMON SNAPPED JEREMY'S NECK!
- DAMON KISSED ELENA!!!!!!!! In the first freaking episode of the season. DAMON FREAKING KISSED ELENA!!!!
- KATHERINE KILLED CAROLINE!!!! Katherine killed Caroline!!! Who has Damon's blood in her body. Caroline will now be a FREAKING VAMPIRE!!!!
OH. MY. GOD!
Did I mention that Damon killed Jeremy?!?!?!? Okay, he had his dad's magical ring -- nice telegraphing there, by the way, show (I thought John was going to give him the ring in their scene, when he didn't, I thought: Oh, typical John. He's a dick. -- so he's not dead, but DAMON SNAPPED JEREMY'S NECK! And yet I still felt horribly sorry for Damon. The writers did a PHENOMENAL job in building up to that point. So many key moments happened that led Damon there ....
1. Elena told Damon that she was surprised he thought she would kiss him. (More on that later.)
2. Stefan obviously told Damon and Elena that Katherine told him she was back for him.
3. Stefan wouldn't fight him, thus letting Damon get some of that pent-up emotion/anguish out.
4. Katherine told Damon she never loved him ... right after he basically poured all of his hopes and dreams for the two of them spending eternity together.
5. Katherine flat-out not only told him she never loved him; she told him it was only Stefan.
6. Elena didn't return his kiss at all.
7. Elena continued to deny anything between them. (More on that later.)
8. Elena then essentially said the exact same thing that Katherine did. It was Stefan, always Stefan.
Stefan was the trigger. If Katherine hadn't said it was only Stefan and the Elena conversation had happened as we saw it, I don't think Damon would have gone that far. Had Elena just kept it about her lack of feeling that way about Damon, instead of bringing her feelings for Stefan into it, I don't think Damon would have gone that far. But the earlier rejection from Elena at the mansion, coupled with Katherine's preference for Stefan and then Elena stating the same preference was just too much. It pushed him over the edge. Oh, how masterfully this was all written, and so layered. Just brilliant. And Ian Somerhalder? My goodness. He gave a tour-de-force performance from beginning to end. Just WOW! Every aspect of Damon, the confused, the snarky, the bitter, the anguished, the in love, the desperate, the devastated, the Damon with his humanity switch off and on ... we got it all and he delivered it beyond top-notch. And I do think that the Jeremy kill was due to the humanity switch being off.
The second that Elena said it was always Stefan, the look on Damon's face? I think that was when the switch flipped off enough for him to rush to Jeremy and kill him.* I then think that the second he turned after snapping Jeremy's neck and saw Elena's horror and grief, the switch flipped back on, thus the devastation on his face, followed by his uber-devastation back at the house. Cuz that look on his face, and that reaction at the boarding house were not those of someone who wasn't feeling, wasn't caring. If I'm right, it looks to me like Damon will be unable to not care anymore as long as he's around Elena. She's his Achilles heel.
*Well, not kill *kill* him. At least I'll give Damon that. He didn't intend to deprive Elena of her brother in her life, just make him undead as opposed to alive.
As for that later ... I do agree with Damon. Elena is lying to herself, and Stefan and Damon about how she feels about him. I don't think that she doesn't love Stefan. I do absolutely believe that she does. I also absolutely believe that Elena doesn't believe she has feelings for Damon consciously, but she does. She's definitely attracted to him. We had way too many scenes between the two throughout the second half of the season (notably in "A Few Good Men" button-up, the dance in "Miss Mystic Falls" and the eye-thing conversation in "Founder's Day") where her eyes would drop to his lips, where she'd catch her breath, where she'd stare a little too long. There's no way that a show this smart, layered and deliberate did not have those moments on purpose. However, there's also no way that an Elena who *does* love Stefan and *is* in denial would ever kiss Damon back. Not at this stage, no way, no how. Certainly not in the freshness of all of these crazy happenings. That's just not Elena.
Still, earlier, she was deliberately cruel to Damon at the Lockwood mansion. She could have left it without pushing the "I can't believe you'd think that I'd kiss you," but she didn't. Now when I say deliberately cruel, I don't mean that she was trying to hurt him to destroy/devastate, etc. him (as Katherine would), but rather playing the cruel to be kind card, get him to back off once and for all. Which I think she did because she does have non-platonic feelings for him that she simply has not/will not acknowledge and if he backs off, then they don't have to deal with it ... she doesn't have to deal with it. But again, she's lying to herself and is convinced that such feelings don't exist, but somewhere inside, she does know, thus the cruelty there. Also, why I believe that Elena is lying is because of Damon's line: "There is something going on between the two of us." That's almost verbatim what Elena said to Damon about the two of them in "Children of the Damned" ("There is something between us"). That had to have been deliberate.
And with that scene, I became convinced that as of now, Damon and Elena are endgame. They have the tortured love story now; they have the will they/won't they, they have the journey to make, they have the story that is designed to have people keep coming back for more. She and Stefan are sweet, but just can't compare to the depth of passion and possibility that Damon and Elena have. Two specific moments in that final scene is what convinced me. The first was when Elena said, "it will always be Stefan." In film, books, television, unless that's the last scene of said film, book, tv show it always means just the opposite. That's just writing 101. As is her hating someone that she does care about. Also, think of the way she said that she hated him. It wasn't said with coldness or bitterness, but with heat and passionate anger. That's key right there. Plus, that whole moment with her talking about him was paired with Damon's anguish at the boarding house. It will be a bumpy road, but they are so clearly IT.
Still, in this moment, I'm so on her side. As much as I love Damon, if she hadn't hated him, I'd be crying foul. I just can't imagine what can possibly happen that will get them back to some level of co-existence, cuz how can she not want to stake his ass from here on out now, LOL!? But I have complete faith that this show will pull it off.
ETA: My sister pointed something that I missed because I just so associate that line with Katherine and Stefan, but can we say ... FORESHADOWING?! "You hate me, huh? That sounds like the beginning of a love story ... not the end." HELLO!!!! Ooh, baby!
Phew! Onto the other stuff ...
- CAROLINE IS GOING TO BE A FREAKING VAMPIRE!!! OH. MY. GOD. I didn't remember until Katherine was suffocating her (!!) that she had Damon's blood in her, but once I did, I about flipped out. And I was still recovering from the flip-out of Damon kissing Elena, of Damon snapping Jeremy's neck and then that happened. I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH! When Jeremy wasn't turned, I did have a moment of, Well, yeah, they're not actually going to make another main character a vampire, and then they completely twisted around and instead made a DIFFERENT main character a soon-to-be vampire. I mean, seriously, show, how can you be so damn awesome?!?!? And I can NOT wait to see vamp-Caroline. I just can NOT wait.
- My only complaint about the entire episode was that the music was so loud in two of the main Tyler scenes. But a small quibble. Speaking of Tyler, yes, Taylor Kinney as Mason Lockwood is hot. Thank you, show, for more pretty!
- SQUEE! I got a Damon/Liz hug. And Damon didn't even roll his eyes over her shoulder! LOVED THAT. I love Damon/Liz. LOVE THEM. On that note I was laughing my ass off during the "Carol" (ignored) "Liz" (ignored) scene and thinking that Damon probably just wanted to rip both of their heads off, LOL! Hysterical. As were many of Damon's earlier lines. Again, with the Ian Somerhalder praise, but he REALLY brought it. In this one episode, he covered just about every emotion we saw Damon go through during the entire season one. DAYUM!
- Speaking of Damon, the Damon/Stefan scenes nearly did me in. That scene outside with them when Stefan said that Damon cared about Elena and he didn't want Katherine to destroy that part of Damon that can still care, then got all close and was all being an awesome brother, I nearly cried. It was -- and I am so not being sarcastic -- beautiful. I just, man, I loved it so much. And, and, and in the final scene when he was trying to excuse Damon ("he saw the ring"), I was, Oh, Stefan, you love him so much, despite everything, you do. And then trying to blame it on Katherine, which was partly true, but Elena, proving how well she does know Damon, nailed it. He decided it was easier to not care, easier to be hated and so he wants to be hated. Just gah!
- And now speaking of Stefan, while I continued to be a tad bored by Stefan/Elena, the couple (so very boring, they are), Stefan was freaking awesome! Going after Katherine, threatening John in a more Damonesque style, (sorta) telling Elena the truth about the threatening (I don't think she would have been that blase had she seen exactly how he threatened him), playing along with Katherine, being all sibling-awesome with Damon ... Stefan was fantastic.
- Another interesting thing about Stefan ... he already seems to be disassociating a bit. In that final scene, he wasn't about Elena's grief, Jeremy's situation at all. he was all about Damon, and Katherine. He said that Katherine is getting to Damon, but she's also already getting to Stefan if his thoughts and concerns are on Damon and Katherine, as opposed to Elena's very current situation. Pair that with how he treated Jeremy in that early scene. The way he was with Jeremy actually elicited a somewhat pissed response from Elena. Interesting, interesting indeed.
- Another awesome character being awesome? Bonnie. I loved when Damon asked if this would create a truce, and she said no, but he'd do it for Elena with a smirk. (And Elena looked momentarily disconcerted and I had to laugh, because, seriously, Elena, everyone knows that Damon has a thing for you, LOL!) And when she did the head-whammy on Damon and then "you were saying ..." Hah! Also, I loved seeing happy and smiley (if teary-eyed) Bonnie over Caroline's recovery. I love their friendship. Finally, her door-opening trick on Katherine was quick-thinking.
- Oh, Katherine. Elena. Nina Dobrev. She really did a fabulous job differentiating between the two characters; it honestly felt like two different actresses playing the roles. Excellent job. And my favorite Katherine moment was the reaction to the afore-mentioned door-opening trick. Closing her mouth over her fangs and acknowledging Bonnie's good play, heh.
- Lastly, finally, the uber-hot Damon/Katherine make-out. WOWZA!!! I don't think any of the previous sex scenes/make-outs/whatever on the show compared to this one. Just WHOAH! That was so fricking hot. So, so, so hot. When she had him against the wall, ripped his shirt open, running her hands hungrily over his chest (by the way, I really was kinda hating on Nina Dobrev in that moment, ahem) and then lunged at him with her kiss was just ... jaw-droppingly, scorchingly hot. Then came the devastation. Of course. My poor Damon. Damn, was he flayed alive. Briefly by Elena at the Lockwood mansion, horribly by Katherine here and then just ripped open and stomped upon by Elena at the end there (not that she had any clue as to just how devastating her words were). Not to justify what he did, because nothing can, but again -- as I detailed above -- I totally got why he did what he did.
A note about the hot Damon/Katherine make-out, it was interesting because as insanely hot as that was, I actually found the (unreciprocated) Damon/Elena kiss hotter. Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder clearly have chemistry no matter what, but when it's the characters of Damon and *Elena* getting close because of their story, that slow build, the everything that makes their story so compelling, it's just that much hotter. And, yeah, it's kinda insane that I'm actually even more optimistic about Damon/Elena after this episode, but I totally, totally am. :D
So, yeah, the season premiere of The Vampire Diaries -- everything and nothing I could have dreamed of ... and more. Outstanding, amazing, fantastic. I LOVE THIS SHOW!