TVD: The College Years. Buffy took a while to get its footing; I'm expecting the same here, and am being generous re: leeway.

* I like that Elena kept the cute red stripe in her hair and quit being an emotionless, murderous bitch. Good life choices, Elena! Keep making 'em.

* I'm still not a Delena person, but I'm really looking forward to the hilarity of Damon Salvatore, Guy in a Relationship. We haven't really had that in four years! I am expecting TERRIBLE THINGS.

* I will say that in light of Certain RL Events, watching Damon/Elena is now awkward to a degree that makes me visibly wince.

* SILAS. Oh, man. I just--I can only assume they went "Stefan is Silas' doppelganger" because that's easier than casting a whole new person, but also because P. Wes really wasn't satisfied with Stefan being a dick in flashback.

* Jeremy coming back from the dead being explained by "oh, Jeremy went mad with grief after Alaric and Aunt Jenna died, so he faked his own death and burned our house down" is maybe my favorite Littlest Gilbert-related thing in five years.

* Can we talk, really briefly, about Katerina Petrova, aka Katherine Pierce, aka The Worst Human Being in Existence (And For Once I Mean "Bad At It" Instead of "A Total Monster")? Because it is FANTASTIC. As soon as she showed up in the boardinghouse with fucked-up hair and a raspy cigarette voice, I knew I'd found my new role model.

She's weak now! She has enemies everywhere! (Even better: Damon's "this is not my surprised face" face.) IT IS HARD TO RUN IN HEELS, OKAY.

* Matt Donovan and Rebekah Mikaelson having threesomes all over Europe needs to be a thing we see in flashback like Kip Purdue telling stories in The Rules of Attraction, preferably RIGHT FUCKING NOW. (Also, unless I hear otherwise, I am assuming some of those threesomes were with dudes, and Matt is now really open-minded. BECAUSE MATT DONOVAN IS THE BEST.)

* You know, assholes, it's little things like "three-month fuckfests" that leave your friends BURIED UNDERWATER LIKE ANGEL SEASON FOUR.

* AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA Damon as Jeremy's adult of record AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

* It is almost painful watching Damon be happy, mostly because it's going to be so much worse when it ends.

* "What happens when your dad finds out you've been dead all summer?" Only on this show can that be a question voiced in the same tone as "what happens when he finds out you've been dating Reggie behind his back all summer?"

* I have no opinion on Megan the roommate, except to point out that on Buffy, Kathy the roommate ended up being a demon. She has vervain-laced vitamin water! She saw them get stuck at the threshold! ...She got murdered by a vampire! Sorry, Megan. That's what you get for being a tertiary character in her first episode. Though at least your death is going to have ramifications, as you apparently knew Elena's dad!

...ten bucks says she's his secret daughter or something. BROTHERS THINK ALIKE, GRAYSON.

* So of course the chick Matt and Rebekah had a threesome with STOLE JEREMY'S GILBERT RING. I love you, Matt, but what the actual hell.

* So vampires are a watered-down version of Silas, who is also telepathic and needs human blood to survive. He just--that--YOU DON'T DO THAT TO LIZ FORBES, GODDAMMIT.

* I love Caroline's horrified "I DON'T LIKE NEW PEOPLE" face as she's explaining her rules to Megan. Not that I blame her; new people in her life augurs something awful for the last two or so years.

* "You're hallucinating conversations with me to have something to do." Which is both lovely and sad, which is literally the Salvatores' whole thing.

* "If I have to hear the word 'doppelganger' one more time, I'm going to have to learn to spell it."

* Aaaaaaaand of COURSE Matt and Rebekah's ring-stealing one-night-stand is in town for nefarious reasons. BECAUSE EVERYONE IS IN MYSTIC FALLS FOR NEFARIOUS GODDAMN REASONS. Like, say, programming him to be a Black-Eyed Kid? OR SOMETHING ELSE AWFUL. GODDAMMIT, SHOW.

* "I'm supposed to be taking care of you, you little punk." And just that fast, that--it hit me: Damon finally gets to be the big brother. And he will be fucking terrible at it, because it's Damon Salvatore, but he will try, and that's the important part. Every little step forward takes him further and further from that guy from the pilot, and I love that. I love that he's still trying, awkward and bad at it though he mostly is. (On a related sidebar, it gives me hope for Klaus on The Originals. Coming up next!)

* TYLER COME BACK YOU ARE MAKING CAROLINE FORBES SAD AND THAT CANNOT STAND.

* I would like to know who the fuck okayed all Stefan's hallucinatory lens flare, because that person needs to be slapped with a dueling glove a few times.

* I know it's the CW, and it's sexier to have to pick and blah blah non-traditional families, but I still say the only way the Elena/Damon/Stefan thing ever really works involves a quasi-incestuous polyamorous eternal threesome, AS KATHERINE VON SWARTZCHILD ORIGINALLY INTENDED.

* And then, because he is a dick with delusions of grandeur, Silas pops into the Mystic Falls End of Summer BBQ Block Party and STRAIGHT-UP MURDERS MAYOR HOPKINS. YOU KNOW, BONNIE'S DAD. So, uh...I was right about this job eventually killing him?

I mean, there are sort of compensations: he's human - completely human - so he'll just go on to whatever comes next; he won't be stuck beyond the veil. He can't be manipulated by witches, or turned into a vengeful ghost, or a vampire, or anything else. He'll just...go on, to whatever comes next. To whatever reward good men, who have only ever tried to do good, earn.

There are worse things.

-Overall, not a bad first showing. The transition to college isn't as all-encompassing as I'd feared, we're still loaded down with murders, Silas is amazingly creepy - seriously, bro, leave the mind-reading alone for ten fucking minutes, it'll work wonders - and Matt Donovan may or may not be a murderous supernatural assassin. Season five! CATCH IT.

Next week: Elena and Caroline play Nancy Drew, and Matt and Jeremy baby-sit an increasingly desperate Katherine. "True Lies", next Thursday, 8 PM EST.
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