The Vampire Diaries is back, guys! Even though there's not much Stefan this week, there is plenty of Damon, and he's feeling. It seems so long since the last episode was on, but we're picking up after Rose has been bitten by a werewolf, and Elena is still number one on Klaus's most wanted list.
Also, my favorite new couple, Caroline and Tyler, are heating up, though there are complications in the form of Matt and ancient curses (of course). Enough of the background — let's talk about the episode and the good, the bad, and the bloody! Get to it when you read more.
- I rarely start off this section of the recap with what's going on with secondary characters, but Caroline and Tyler's storyline is my current favorite. Amidst eye flirting at school, Caroline has to break it to Tyler that maybe being buds isn't so great for her, since werewolf bites can kill vampires and all. That dating downer aside, Tyler is still interested, but when it rains it pours: Matt wants her too, and he lays an unwanted smooch on her. Later, Tyler confronts Caroline at her house, wanting to know why she'd risk death to help him. When she tries to say she simply cares, Tyler doesn't buy it, and we all know what he's getting at — and then he gets at it, kissing Caroline for the first time.
- With Katherine (sort of) safely locked in the tomb, Elena and Stefan take some time together again. However, Stefan is mostly MIA this week, on the trail of Isobel, who can help with info on Klaus. It leaves Elena to take care of the werewolf-bitten Rose in Damon's elegantly appointed bedroom (he's a fan of Gone With the Wind). Unfortunately, Rose's gnarly infected wound on her shoulder causes her hallucinations like confusing Elena with Katherine. After terrorizing Elena in the house, the rabid vampire escapes and goes on a bloody rampage at the school until Damon finds her.
- Even though Damon claims "humanity's not all it's cracked up to be," he's never shown more than he does this week. Soothing Rose while she hovers near death, Damon is oddly sweet, trying to console her even as she accepts that she's headed toward expiration. He's still himself though, telling Elena "Death happens. We come, we go, the sooner she dies, the better. It's gloomy as hell in here."
- Normally I'd think that Damon and Rose's shared pastoral fantasy is cheesy, but there's something very tragic and bittersweet about it. Realizing that the only way out is a mercy killing, he stakes Rose and puts her out of her misery. When he cries at the end — real Damon tears — my heart broke for him.
- Encountering Elena right afterward, she ends up needling him to make him say how he's really feeling (geez, girl, he just killed a friend. Let him have a minute to grieve in his way). Admitting, "I feel and it sucks," they hug, but it doesn't solve Damon's problem. Lost, he runs off and tricks a pretty young thing into stopping her car, but he doesn't kill her right away. That's what the old Damon would have done; this Damon pours his heart out to her. The unconventional therapy session yields Damon's big secret: that he misses being human. "I miss it more than anything in the world!" he cries. Don't think he's totally changed, though; he sinks his teeth into the girl's neck flesh before letting her go.
- Uncle John is back! Stefan didn't necessarily have luck producing Isobel, but he did manage to dig up John Gilbert. Wonder what he'll be stirring up next week?
- I've had enough of the Jules character. Aside from offending me with her terrible eating habits (see The Bloody section below), she's trying to turn Tyler against Caroline. Sure, Caroline lied to Tyler that there were no other vampires in Mystic Falls, but she was trying to protect him (also: that's a dumb thing to believe, Tyler). If Jules throws a wrench in the Caroline/Tyler coupling, I'll root that much harder for Damon to pick her off.
- In what I believe to be one the grossest scenes in The Vampire Diaries history, Jules wakes up after her night as a werewolf to find that she'd gone on a human buffet bender. Ugh: there are bitten-off limbs strewn about the campsite willy-nilly. I should not have been eating dinner during that scene.
- Elena gets in on the violence this week when rabid Rose comes after her. Yes, the woman does look like a zombie, but I don't know if digging my fingers into Rose's wound would have been my first instinct. Gooey flesh . . . fingers . . . blech.
What did you think of the first episode back since the break? Was it enough for you? Let's talk about it in the comments, and if you're a big fan, make sure you also join the Hooked on Vampire Diaries group in the Buzz community.
Photos courtesy of The CW