The Vampire Diaries Season Premiere Review: “I’ll Remember” (Season 6, Episode 1)


The Vampire Diaries is back! The show returned for its sixth season tonight and the writers gave fans the emotional release they’ve been longing for. It may not have the happy-go-lucky episode that viewers were hoping for with Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Elena (Nina Dobrev) magically reunited within the first 42 minutes of the season, but it was definitely a step in that direction.

The show picks up several months after the fall of the “other side,” and the bulk of the main characters are living somewhere between denial and disillusion as they attempt to move on after losing two of their best friends (who we find out are somewhere off the grid playing a friendly version of house at the moment). Caroline (Candice Accola) seems to be the only person somewhat adjusting to her new circumstances, but instead of grieving, she has chosen a more productive method of dealing with her loss.

In true Caroline fashion, her character is going to fight tooth and nail to reverse the spell keeping them all from returning home (Mystic Falls is still a supernatural-free zone). She is so committed to this project that she has removed the distraction of school from her schedule – which is probably going to be fine in the long run since after all, she is a vampire and has “forever” to complete her degree.

“I’ll Remember” spends a good chunk of the episode catching fans up on what the characters have been up to since the other side disappeared, taking with it Bonnie and Damon, and leaving everyone else gaping as they try to process what happened.

There was something very predictable about the approach that Elena has taken to grieving, or not grieving, for Damon’s death. In a sense, this isn’t that far off from when she turned her humanity off in season four after the loss of her brother. Although that choice was coaxed by Damon, it still very much mirrors how she tends to deal with these types of situations – and she’s had a lot of experience in that department.

By virtue of the subject matter, Elena has been the center of a significant amount of the series’ death toll. Her character has literally lost her entire family (yes, Jeremy did eventually return to the land of the living though), more friends than she probably cares to count, and the occasional acquaintance. She has even been the victim of identity theft, literally, when Katherine hijacked her body to avoid her own demise.

Yet, despite knowing how Elena would handle the latest tragedy, her scenes didn’t lose any of their emotional pull. Dobrev pulled out all the stops portraying a vampire strung out on voodoo-like hallucinogenic herbs. The only thing better than watching Elena come to terms with her more rational thought process is going to be watching her struggle with the withdrawal symptoms. Even if Alaric (Matt Davis) agrees to her terms and wipes her memory, those will probably surface at some point – especially when she won’t have any reason to keep taking them, or be able to remember why she was in the first place.

Alaric erasing Elena’s memory unlocks a whole new problem for The Vampire Diaries‘ storyline. Fans got their first glance of Damon and Bonnie (Kat Graham) at the end of tonight’s episode, and even though we’re no closer to knowing exactly where they are, we know they didn’t cease existing altogether. So what happens when Damon finally returns to the same time and place as Elena, and she doesn’t remember him? The Damon-sized hole is her heart isn’t looking that bad when you think about it in the long run – since it’s almost a guarantee that there’s some loophole out there that will bring them back together.