The Vampire Diaries Season Premiere Review: “I Know What You Did Last Summer” (Season 5, Episode 1)

tvd 5 The Vampire Diaries Season Premiere Review: I Know What You Did Last Summer (Season 5, Episode 1)

The Vampire Diaries is back for season number 5 with a fresh new look, new characters, and new reasons to watch. The task of bouncing back after a mediocre senior year clearly did not fall on deaf ears. The storyline has received a much needed facelift, and the excitement we came to expect in earlier seasons is coming back into style.

Looking back for a moment, season 4 quickly became stale. Vampire Elena (Nina Dobrev) desperately tried to adapt to her new supernatural lifestyle while everyone else desperately searched for the cure. Emotions ran high as different vampires vied for a shot at being human again. And, the person who ended up with it wasn’t exactly a welcoming candidate. Death became an easily traversed problem (welcome back, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen), the sire bond became an irritating problem (more will they, won’t they with Elena and Damon (Ian Somerhalder)), and Bonnie’s (Kat Graham) new form of witchcraft just became a problem (waking up in a room you set on fire with your mind, not a good thing).

Another huge blow to the narrative was that The Vampire Diaries was clinging to a villain that no one wanted to hate any longer. Klaus (Joseph Morgan) was so season 3! Both he and Rebekah (Claire Holt) were developing some serious likable qualities. Even with all the bad things they have both done, they seem inherently redeemable. Without going into a spin-off, there was no way to include them in the way fans wanted without completely refocusing the show. Thus the spin-off was born, The Vampire Diaries had a chance to regroup, and everyone rejoiced – with the minor exception of those reluctant to see Klaus and Caroline (Candice Accola) separated.

Going into season 5, The Vampire Diaries writers had their work cut out for them. They needed to come up with something that would give fans a renewed sense of enjoyment for the show after the season 4 slump, and I think they may have found it. There are some new twists that are already in motion that should be interesting to see how they play out.

Last year left off with a cliffhanger that really put the episodes leading up to it to shame. Silas (Paul Wesley) was an enigma for most of the season, but his “true” face was finally revealed. He is now wreaking havoc in his own skin. And, no offense to Klaus, but Silas makes all other villain’s look insignificant. Here’s a guy who is immortal, doesn’t share the same pesky ‘stake through the heart’ problem that most vampires have, and doesn’t have to worry about the effect vervain has on compulsion. More importantly, or concerning, is that he also either has the same ability to switch off his humanity, or worse, doesn’t have any to start with. Either way, he makes one badass super villain.

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tvd1 The Vampire Diaries Season Premiere Review: I Know What You Did Last Summer (Season 5, Episode 1)

The transition from high school to college has been known the kill even a strong show pretty quickly. If you recall, we saw former WB hit series Dawson’s Creek start to fall apart around this time in the character’s lives. The CW chose to avoid this period completely with the long-running One Tree Hill. Even though that wouldn’t have worked well with The Vampire Diaries, they seem to be going about it in an equally interesting way. Instead of completely uprooting all their characters and making them either all attend one college, or inventing an inexplicable reason for why everyone else needed to find themselves in that same alternate town, Mystic Falls is still very much a featured component of the show.

Although Elena and Caroline headed off to college a few hours outside of town, most of the characters are staying right where they were. Watching the girls have a fairly normal college move-in day was a refreshing change of pace. Last season was particularly tough on Elena emotionally, and she (probably the fans, too) needed this benchmark moment to put things in perceptive. Although it doesn’t look like the college experience will be quite what she had in mind, maybe the change of scenery was exactly what she (and the show) needed.

The girls thought they were leaving Mystic Falls and their vampire issues behind in exchange for a fresh start they both welcomed, but someone has other plans for them. Well played, The Vampire Diaries, well played. Just in case anyone was worried that the boys back in Mystic Falls would be having all the fun, what looks to be family drama is catching up with Elena at her new location. We saw this work well as a plot twist in season 1 and 2 with the discovery of her biological parents. This also might be a good segue for Jeremy to join his big sister, even though Damon as a caretaker has quite a bit of appeal.

It would have been nice if Tyler (Michael Trevino) had made an appearance after his extended absence. If this is just all part of an elaborate plan for a Caroline and Klaus reunion, you have my attention. Other than that bit of wishful thinking, this episode of The Vampire Diaries was one of the best we’ve seen in a while. I like the direction the series is going in, and look forward to being surprised in upcoming episodes.

Are you a fan of the new look of The Vampire Diaries? Does Damon have a new bromance brewing with Jeremy? What do you think of Bonnie keeping her death a secret from everyone? Let us know in the comment section below!

Until next episode.

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