My list of wants for the third season of The Vampire Diaries included a need for a switch-up in the Stefan/Elena/Damon triangle, an evolving and malicious Klaus, Tyler and Caroline chemistry, and to see Stefan go full-on bloodthirsty.
Be warned, there are spoilers—this is a recap, after all, not a vague summary!
Oh, the season premiere hit every mark on my list, and gave the usual TVD highpoints: drama, blood, sex, teen drinking.
Klaus is out to make his own master race. I knew the guy was messed up, but his plan really is to create an army of vampire-werewolf hybrids. As such, we start the episode at a (really nice) rural house. Klaus glamours his way inside, angling for information on a certain Ray Sutton, a werewolf. The two girls in the house know the werewolf and with painful encouragement point Klaus in Ray’s direction. As a thank you, Klaus orders Stefan to kill them. One slowly, one quickly.
I was so sure I would find bloodthirsty and feral Stefan hot. It was hot when Damon did it, after all. The difference here is Stefan is a puppet. Violent puppet is not hot. That isn’t to say Stefan isn’t relishing in it. More on that later.
Back in Mystic Falls, the search for Stefan has been going on all summer. Caroline’s mom feeds them tips of murders to investigate as possibly Klaus, and the Tennessee house, hits the radar.
Elena wakes in her own bed, solo. This may be a first since getting frisky with a vampire. She wakes Jeremy and urges him into work. With Jenna dead, Elena is taking on the leadership role in the house. Alaric may still be crashing on the couch (he moves out at the end of the episode), but Elena is now running the show.
The folks behind TVD know us because Damon’s first on-screen moment is in a bubble bath polishing off a bottle of champagne. Does he hop out and walk about all soapy while strategically placed tables make sure we see all of his torso and legs, but keep it PG-13? Oh yes. (Maybe we should write Producer Julie Plec a thank you?) Elena has let herself into the Salvatore house intending to pass the Tennessee lead on Stefan. And she turns around to see a fully nude Damon. Did I mention he was soapy?
In traditional Damon fashion, he offers her a wry smile and says, “You should really learn to knock. What if I was indecent?” There is nothing indecent about naked Ian Somerhalder (Damon). Nothing.
Elena does what none of us would: tosses him a towel and covers her eyes. Maybe she’s classier than you or I, or maybe she’s in denial about how she feels about a certain anti-hero. A little of both?
Either way, Damon agrees to look into the lead on Stefan. Upon arrival at the rural house we see the Damon and Alaric Super Action Duo is back in action, as these two partner up again to investigate vampire nastiness. In this case, they find the two dead girls, and we learn exactly why Stefan’s alter ego is called The Ripper. He gets so lost in the feeding he literally rips apart his victims. Afterward his remorse pushes him to reassemble the bodies. As is illustrated by Damon nudging one of the posed upright corpses with his toe, causing her head to topple to the floor with a resounding thud.
Jeremy is now working at the Mystic Grill. Really? Dude died there. Now he sees ghosts. I like to think if I were tied to the spirit world, I would avoid the place where that connection to the dead occurred. Not Jeremy. He just pretends he doesn’t see the lights flickering, or, you know, his dead ex-girlfriends Vicki and Anna. He does talk to his current girlfriend Bonnie briefly via video chat (yay product placement). Why do they always just ship Bonnie off to a family member’s house when they don’t know what to do with her? Can’t we just ignore her for an episode?
It wouldn’t be Mystic Falls if there wasn’t a party to be planned. This time it’s Elena’s 18th birthday. While Caroline, Elena and Tyler are prepping for the bash, Elena tries to fill them in on the search for Stefan. Tyler, who is quickly becoming a favorite of mine, says what we’re all thinking: Stefan doesn’t want to be found, Elena kissed Damon, and does she really think Damon wants Stefan back in the picture? Elena gives the weak response that the kiss was one saying goodbye. No one buys it.
Tyler and Caroline are trying to be just friends. Everyone—especially Matt—thinks they’re dating. They aren’t, but damn if they don’t want to. They’ve become so close (he wasn’t supposed to tell Elena he knew about the Damon kiss), but keep pretending they don’t want it to be more. Caroline teases him over his plans to bring “slutty Sophie” as his date to the party.
This somehow leads to a talk on shared supernatural need to get their swerve on. Or in Tyler’s ineloquent phrasing: “I’m horny all the time.” Subtle. The two edge closer, but Caroline pulls back at the last minute. No kiss...yet.
While the first killings of the episode were done off-screen, Stefan does a bit of werewolf torture front-and-center. Klaus wants to know the location of Ray’s pack. Stefan decides to use the werewolf as a target, chucking wolfsbane-dipped darts at him until he relents. All the while Klaus just sits around looking like a smug bastard. I already love to hate him.
Stefan and Klaus know Damon has been on their trail. Upon alert of the latest sighting, Klaus permits Stefan to go back to Mystic Falls to stop Damon. He promises to return.
Elena has really been moping following Stefan’s disappearance. I can’t blame her. Her one birthday wish is just to know he’s alive. That’s all. But at the behest of her friends, she puts on her big girl panties and agrees to attend her own birthday party. Oddly, she’s getting ready for the party while inside Stefan’s room. Damon arrives and presents her with one gift she’d actually like: the necklace Stefan gave her. Damon really does come across as supportive while nursing a serious longing. When he gives her that necklace and she lights up, I think he hopes he’ll get a kiss. For a moment I thought he would. Instead she asks him to put the necklace on her.
There’s so much pain, regret and sexual tension whirling around these two, it’s electrifying and frustrating. Will Elena ever be able to give in to her feelings for Damon? I really hope so. He deserves some happiness at this point.
Caroline may have promised to keep the birthday party small, but we all knew that was a lie. It’s more like every person from Mystic Falls High School was invited. Keg stands are involved (thus making me feel old). Damon even has to divert the youngin’s to the cheap liquor.
While the others are boozing it up, Matt and Jeremy share a joint and lament their causes for “downward spirals.” Shouldn’t Matt know better than to ask for details when someone tells him he doesn’t want to know? Jeremy is trying to stop seeing ghosts. Matt just can’t get over Caroline. Luckily for Matt, Jeremy just says he’s seeing “things” and doesn’t mention the whole “I’m seeing your dead sister” thing.
Caroline had nursed a bottle of wine as she watched Tyler get all handsy with “slutty Sophie” at the party. Snapping, she uses a bit of mind control and tells Sophie to leave the party. And she does this in front of Tyler. He wants to know why she’d behave that way. He reminds her he tried to make a move on her before. She said no back then. Instead of saying anything this time, she kisses him. And I cheered.
As we learned earlier in the episode, both have some sort of paranormal heightened horniness. Thus, they’re quickly upstairs tugging off one another’s clothes. Caroline literally throws Tyler across the room and onto the bed. A badass and sexy move. They’ve waited so long that neither vampire nor werewolf is holding back. On a side note: Damn, Tyler, I may need to solicit more shirtless scenes for you, especially with Stefan on the lam.
This is one of the great things about The Vampire Diaries: instant gratification. Storylines aren’t drawn out needlessly. We get the moments we want quickly, and shocks keep coming. One OMG moment is never enough for an episode of TVD.
Damon’s often-glamoured girlfriend Andie calls him down to her TV station. She’s the last one there. (Andie was at the beginning of the episode, too. I just tried to pretend she wasn’t there, because she feels like such a placeholder.) Damon arrives to find Stefan waiting on him.
Stefan says he doesn’t need any saving and tells Damon to stop following him. When Damon tries to argue, Stefan forces Andie to jump from the studio’s scaffolding, killing herself while Damon watches. This is the evil Stefan I expected.
Damon is legitimately upset over Andie’s death, and his hurt reaction made me care a bit more about her death. Stefan’s actions echoed some of Damon’s cruel actions from Season 1, particularly his abuse of human Caroline.
Back at Salvatore Manor, Elena discovers that Damon has turned his closet into the Klaus and Stefan info-center. He has maps and news clippings tracking Stefan around the country. Elena is upset because Damon has been investigating without her. She doesn’t understand. I do, and ten minutes later Damon tells her. He’s not tracking Klaus’ kills, but Stefan’s. Our broody good boyfriend is now The Ripper and has left broken bodies up and down the eastern seaboard.
Damon tells her to give up on Stefan; he doesn’t want to be found. He doesn’t tell her he just saw Stefan or that his dearest brother just murdered his girlfriend. Is he protecting Elena or avoiding processing it all? With losing Andie, losing his brother and the possibility of crushing Elena’s hope of finding Stefan, Damon may not be able to handle this.
There were three big jumping off points at the end of the show. First, Klaus forces Ray to drink his blood, then kills him. Expect new vampire-werewolf hybrids next week.
Stefan returns to Klaus, who advises him that drinking more blood will help him forget about family. Not so much. We catch Stefan calling Elena just to hear her voice. He doesn’t say anything. Hopeful it’s Stefan calling, Elena reminds him: “I love you, Stefan. Hold on to that.” (That almost made me feel guilty for wanting a Damon/Elena kiss earlier. Almost.)
Finally, the big shocker of the night came and it was a jaw-dropper. Caroline decides to do the sneak-out-while-the-hot-guy-is-still-sleeping thing. On her way out, Mrs. Lockwood stops her. Looks like Tyler’s mom really doesn’t like Caroline and knows she’s a vampire because she shoots our favorite blonde vampire with three darts of what I assume is vervain. The episode ends with Caroline facedown on the floor.
What did you think of the Season 3 premiere? Will Elena give Damon a chance at some point? Are you ready for a vampire-werewolf army? Do you want to see more of Matt or Jeremy? And, finally, how much did you love seeing Tyler and Caroline finally get it on?
Join me and the other H&H writers in the comments to gush about the show.
While Chelsea Mueller runs Vampire Book Club, she won’t turn down a sexy werewolf, demon or faerie. She may also have a crush on Ian Somerhalder. He’s her off-season Alexander Skarsgard.