I don't want to say this episode was disappointing, but it was definitely a bit less than last week. However, I think there were legitimate reasons for that:
(a) Last week was the premiere and, of course, they want to start with a a big bang, right?
(b) Great or not, Tyler and Caroline were supporting players during season one and both characters were not only front and center big-time in this episode, we saw more of their story than the trio and that was unusual enough to be 'Huh? What is different about this?
(c) Not enough Damon, LOL! Seriously, we got SUCH an abundance of awesome Damon last week that having so much less of him was sad for this Damon girl.
(d) In many ways, this was a set-up episode. Really setting up the Tyler-werewolf story, and Caroline the vampire, and set-up episodes are just never as WOWZA! as build-up or pay-off episodes. :shrugs:
With that said, I think that when watched in succession after the premiere and before the next batch of episodes, it will play just fine.
Random thoughts ...
- Hmm, it's still not definitive either way whether Damon knew Jeremy had the ring last week or not (after all, obviously he'd been made aware of that fact between snapping Jeremy's neck, and wrapping his arm around Jeremy's neck in this episode). I'm still leaning towards him not having seen the ring, but it is still a possibilty.
I'll admit, I was a little disappointed in the first Damon/Jeremy scene because I've had this vision in my head all summer hiatus of the two bonding. They so were NOT bonding, LOL! Of course, by episode's end, it was all good with that final scene between the two. Woohoo! The bonding has begun. Yeah baby! On the other hand, the Stefan/Jeremy scene -- while nice -- just didn't have the same resonance and I was able to put my finger on it when discussing the episode with sarcasticcheese: Stefan was fairly cavalier about it all. He was doing this favor for his girlfriend's kid brother, end of story. There was nothing about *Jeremy* as an individual in his own right that Stefan was responding to ... unlike Damon's discussion with him at the end.
- Hee! Damon was asked to be the head of the council responsible for eradicating vampires in Mystic Falls. Heh, oh the beautiful irony, LMAO!
- If I were a Stefan/Elena fan, I'd be pretty worried right now. Last week's episode had emotionally charged scenes between almost every character onscreen (Damon/Elena, Damon/Katherine, Damon/Jeremy, Damon/Stefan, Damon/Liz, Stefan/Katherine, Stefan/Jeremy, Elena/Jeremy, Elena/Bonnie, Bonnie/Katherine ... see what I mean?) Stefan and Elena did not have even a sliver of an emotionally charged scene that was just about them. And this week, Elena seemed to be going through the motions. As she pretty much said to Bonnie. I was actually waiting for some big, romantic thing between the two and kept expecting it. At the lockers when she kept saying "I'm fine" (great job by Nina Dobrev in recalling that Elena attitude from the Pilot), I thought their moment was coming, but instead she just walked away with that false sentiment. And then when Stefan came to her room, I honestly expected a love scene. Instead we got (I'm sure) a deliberately cheesy, high-school-sweet, albeit supernatural, moment which did lead to a kiss, but the kiss was shot from far away and from the back. And despite Elena's laughter that did seem real for a moment, it didn't last long. Once the kiss was over, she was already putting an end to their "moment."
I described it above as "going through the motions." sarcasticcheese came up with a better description ... right now, the Stefan/Elena love story seems to be at the beginning of the end. So, I dunno. In the comments, I was responding about the ending of the episode and realized this -- which had been percolating in my brain last night. This episode's end seemed like a parallel to the Pilot which was the set-up for the rest of the season in many ways. Last week was "resolution" of last season. So this was essentially the "Pilot" for this season. And whereas we had the Stefan/Elena moment that was genuinely real and a romantic set-up, it was truly "the beginning" for them, this one was, well, the beginning of the end.
- On the other hand, Damon and Elena (once again!) had one of the few truly emotionally charged moments of this episode. When she turned to face his oncoming staking of Caroline, positioning her body to take the force of it, thinking correctly that Damon -- with his super-fast vampire reflexes -- would pull up in time, I was like WHOAH! So intense, the way their eyes met, the way he paused, looking at her, while she used the leverage she knows she does have with him. And despite all that happened, the fact that not only was she able to do that, but that Damon gave in ... just, yeah, whoah!
- On the other other hand, I do think there should have been more anger, coldness, something from Elena towards Damon. Like in their first scene, I think it would have played more believably had she turned away from even his second "request," and then have him pointedly say that it had to do with Caroline. That would have worked much better, because as angry at Damon as Elena could ever be, she'd put up with anything (including her anger with him) in concern for her friends/family. I mean, come on, not dead or not, Damon DID snap her brother's neck in front of her eyes. Still, that tenseness between them does completely belie Elena's contention that there's nothing there ... because there totally is.
I mean, come on, peoples, she literally -- and I do mean LITERALLY! -- jumped through fire for him. LITERALLY! Yes, she didn't want Bonnie to "be" that person, but considering all that Damon had done, she was still concerned for him and didn't want him to die. She was. And to stop Bonnie, she did jump through (over, whatever, close enough, LOL!) fire for him. WOOHOO!
- Still, I think Nina did do a great job in keeping Elena so tightly coiled and controlled as if holding it in so that the dam didn't burst.
- Aside from the Damon/Jeremy final scene, the other charged scene -- and knock me over with a feather about this one! -- was the Stefan/Caroline one. If a brand new ship did not set sail with a strong wind at its back tonight, I'll be shocked! Matt and Caroline are sweet, but damn, Stefan and Caroline were like whoah! I honestly think that Paul Wesley and Candice Accola's chemistry in that scene is the closest to the Nina/Ian chemistry I've seen on this show. I wonder if there will be any fan reaction and then fallout from it, or if I'm just seeing something that many others won't. I was all for shipping Stefan and Katherine, but I was seriously blown away by that Caroline/Stefan scene. And that final scene with Matt and Caroline just confirmed it because when in Matt's arms and she breathed out to control her veins, I immediately flashed back to her scene with Stefan and there was just no comparison.
- I do think it's interesting, again, Damon absolutely appears to be Stefan's number one priority, and Damon just does not realize it. He really doesn't. I wonder, if that bond between Damon and Jeremy does grow and make its presence known, will Stefan have an issue with Jeremy taking his place as Damon's beloved younger "brother?" Things that make you go hmmm ...
- I totally expected Damon to call Katherine a bitch in his insult of her, and was surprised by the use of the word "slut." But it does make sense that he'd go there; she made it clear she didn't give a crap about him, and yet she still wanted to fuck him. (Of course, Damon IS played by Ian Somerhalder. HELLO!) Not to mention the whole sleeping with two brothers at the same time (albeit in 1864). So, yeah, 'slut' pretty much does apply to her. It was just weird hearing it come from Damon because if there's a slut on this show (other than Katherine, okay and Kelly), it's totally Damon.
- I'm not terribly intrigued by the werewolf story at this point simply because while I like Michael Trevino, I actually don't find him terribly charismatic. I do like Taylor Kinney as Mason though, and I LOVED that cool, cat-jump move he did during the fight. That? Was awesome.
- Finally, one question ... How did Caroline enter her home if her mom wasn't even there to invite her in? Hmmm?
All in all, solid, but not one of their best. Still, it's The Vampire Diaries so lots of love for it. :)