The Vampire Diaries Season 1 Rewind, Part 3: Full-Speed Undead!

We're passing the time until The Vampire Diaries returns by re-watching Season 1 from the beginning. This edition of "Rewind" covers Episodes 9-12; click here to read Part 1 (Episodes 1-4) and here to read Part 2 (Episodes 5-8).

Well, it's official: My brain is melting. Don't get me wrong, I'm really starting to enjoy the first season of Vampire Diaries. It's just that the more information I gather about this show, the worse my brain is at processing it. Half the time when I was watching these episodes I'd realize things like, "Oh, Bonnie doesn't know about vampires yet?" or "Oh, Tyler's werewolf heritage is a secret still." Watching Vampire Diaries out of order is very confusing! But, you know, so is life. Like, why has the sun been going down in the middle of the day lately? It's all a mystery to me.

Anyway, if the first eight episodes saw Vampire Diaries become an interesting piece of entertainment, then Episodes 9-12 saw this show really come into its own. These four episodes established a lot of long-running themes and there were tons of firsts. Let's take a look, shall we? (Please say yes.)

Season 1, Episode 9

Hey check it out! Our first ghost character! That's Bonnie's long-dead ancestor, Emily, just chillin' by the lockers. I was pretty excited that a show about vampires, witches, and werewolves would also include a ghost. The NAAGP has been working so hard for so long to achieve this kind of equality.

We also got to meet Alaric Saltzman, mysterious ring-wearing history teacher. This is not significant so much because he eventually become a good character (he never became a good character), but because this marked the beginning of one of Vampire Diaries' favorite hobbies: introducing a new character every episode. Basically, it only took eight episodes for this show to become tired of its own characters, and quite frankly I don't blame it.

Another big first? This was the episode in which Vampire Diaries really started to own its beefcake tendencies. From here on out, tons of scenes either began with a character putting on a shirt, or just taking it off for no reason. Again, can't really fault the show here.

Unfortunately, there were also some terrible trends that began here. First, Stefan decided to leave town in order to keep Elena safe, New Moon style. She later attempted the same thing in Season 2. Question: Isn't this type of plot THE WORST? Listen up, fictional romantic leads in supernatural dramas: When your loved one is constantly in peril because of outside forces, deserting them is probably the WORST thing you can do.

And not to bring up the moonstone again (vomit), but Season 1 had an irrelevant MacGuffin of its own: Bonnie's amulet. And sure enough, at one point she randomly tried to get rid of it in order to solve things. That she's been through this before makes the Season 2 moonstone business even stupider. I can't wait to see what the Season 3 MacGuffin is! I'm guessing it'll be a monkey's paw that Bonnie tries to throw down a fault line.

So the coolest part of this episode was how Emily forcibly possessed Bonnie during a séance gone awry. Not only was the sequence seriously terrifying, but it led to Bonnie/Emily standing inside an ENORMOUS flaming pentagram in front of Katherine's tomb. It turned out that Emily had been Katherine's personal handmaid/witch, and her spirit sought to keep Katherine entombed. Unfortunately, this really ticked off Damon.

So yeah, after Emily exited her body, Bonnie finally discovered that vampires exist. THE HARD WAY.

Meanwhile, Caroline's burgeoning romance with a pile of mashed potatoes was mysteriously relegated to a confusing "just friends?" status. Oh well. Better luck next time, Beige Pals.

SHOCKING CLIFFHANGER: Ding-dong! Logan, Jenna's news-anchor ex-boyfriend who was on the Anti-Vampire Council and was last seen in the woods getting eaten by vampires was not dead after all and wanted to be invited inside! Or maybe he was still dead. Are vampires technically dead or not? Who knows?! Nobody yet, that's why it's a cliffhanger!

Season 1, Episode 10

So Logan was definitely a vampire, or else just a guy in pancake makeup who liked to bite joggers. Either way, Jenna was wise not to invite him in.

Oh, another first! This episode had tons of backstory. Just kidding, that's not a first at all. Under the auspices of doing an "extra credit report," newly un-annoying Jeremy started leafing through the old journals and diaries of his ancestors. The illustrations were pretty hilarious, especially the above picture. What is that, a were-monkey?!? I really hope there will be a were-monkey on this show in the future.

Also, I loved this antique vampire detector. It was especially useful now that there were tons of new potential vampires arriving in town every week. In this case, Damon and Caroline teamed up to use it to find Logan, but the big mystery was who turned Logan into a vampire? No really, WHO could it have been???

Haha, this show. Was this the first hint we got that Tyler may become a werewolf later, or was this simply the first RIDICULOUS hint that he may become a werewolf later?

But, to be fair, this was also the first episode in which Tyler was interesting. After an awkward tussle with Jeremy during the Career Fair, Tyler's father THE MAYOR took them both outside and tried to make them fist fight, and Tyler and Jeremy were like, "Are you kidding?" It was a great scene, for real.

Later on, Logan kidnapped Caroline, but then Stefan pretty much immediately rescued Caroline and Damon decided not to kill Logan—in exchange for information. Or something? Look, all I know is Alaric swooped in and killed Logan instead. It's official: Alaric hates vampires.

Elena and Stefan reunited and had A LOT of shirtless hugs. By the way, I bet Stefan was so stoked that he became immortal while having no body fat. Probably the worst thing that can happen to a person would be to turn into a vampire right after the holidays. Maybe that's why all the best-looking vampires are from ancient times when people were starving? There will be so many chubby vampires created in 2011, I bet.

CLIFFHANGER! Elena finally found out about Katherine! But then DOUBLE CLIFFHANGER! She fled Stefan's mansion in her car, hit some guy in the road, flipped upside down, and watched as the guy's corpse reanimated and came after her. WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT??

Season 1, Episode 11

Not much happened next. Damon came and got her, then brought her on some random road trip to Georgia. Ugh, I hate when people force me across state lines to go to some southern dive bar right after I've been in a catastrophic accident.

Oh look, I wonder if this lady will turn out to be a witch? Duh. Of course she will. It turns out that in addition to being a daytime bartender, Bree is some old friend of Damon's—but more importantly, an old friend of Lexi's. Which, that reminds me! Stefan was not really that upset about his brother having murdered his best friend in the world, was he? Oh well, if the show doesn't care, then maybe I shouldn't either.

Also, in a flashback, we learned one more thing about Alaric: His dead wife was killed by Damon. Oh, Damon! What a rascal!

Plus, another new character: Anna, Jeremy's library buddy. She seemed nice enough for a home-schooled girl. But very bossy when it comes to vampires!

Bonnie was whining about something and Jasmine Guy was NOT having it. This was the first episode where Gran was treated like a real character, and there were a couple of pretty touching scenes between her and Stefan. Gran and Stefan had an understanding, stemming from an old friendship as anti-war protesters in the '60s. (DO YOU THINK THEY HOOKED UP???)

More firsts! We got our first glimpse of the Styrofoam door outside Katherine's tomb. (While walking around in the woods above, Bonnie literally fell through a hole into the tomb. [Oh, Bonnie!])

Elena had her first beer.

Damon almost got murdered by a mysterious/handsome vampire who'd been summoned by bartender Bree, and it turned out he was Lexi's boyfriend. Team Lexi's Boyfriend! I briefly hoped he'd kill Damon because Damon was a jerk (sorry ladies!), but alas, Elena talked the angry boyfriend out of it.

Damon didn't extend the same mercy to Bree and he immediately RIPPED HER HEART OUT. Another first! Except this episode made such a Season 1 rookie mistake by not actually SHOWING the heart being ripped out. Why so shy, Season 1?

So then we got one of the most crucial scenes of the whole series so far. Stefan let loose a ton of new backstory for Elena, and it was all devastating:

... Stefan witnessed the car accident that killed her parents.

... Stefan personally saved Elena's life but watched her parents die.

... Stefan had been stalking her long before they officially met.

... Elena is adopted.

Elena seemed pretty upset about these revelations. Understandable! Hilariously, the only person she got mad at was Jenna. Deep down I bet Jenna's reaction was like, "I'm just happy to be included."

Season 1, Episode 12

I dunno, this pizza guy seemed WAY too stoked to be invited inside Elena's house. Spoiler alert, he's a vampire. Also, he's the same guy Elena hit with her car.

Hey look, it's Sean Faris! He has the best resumé. So in this episode he was a new character/bartender at Mystic Grill, and also a former "cool senior" that all the characters know from school. He paid some special attention to Bonnie, which she could hardly believe! (Low self-esteem).

So the hoodie vampire stalked Elena a ton. He wandered through her house, he prank-called her, he was just a total pest. Ostensibly he only did it because of her resemblance to Katherine, which was the exact same reasoning Stefan used to stalk Elena before THEY met. Ugh, vampires!

Oh, and Mystic Falls had a 50's Decade party! First off, seriously? But worse, Jenna claimed that they will also be having 60's and 70's themed parties later in the year. (Is that a THREAT, Vampire Diaries?!?) So sure, while there had been a ton of school- or town-wide functions in previous episodes, this definitely cemented Vampire Diaries' love of having large gatherings in every episode.

At the dance, Jeremy pretty brutally rejected the cute girl Anna who was clearly into him. But maybe his instincts were correct, because it turned out she was A VAMPIRE and she just wanted his ancestors' journal! Nice try, Anna. So that's TWO new vampires in town. Except, whoops, hoodie vampire got staked in the cafeteria while the dance was happening. Back to one new vampire!

But WUH-OH! Sean Faris was a vampire too! Not only that, but he and Anna were lovers! Oh man, WHAT are they up to? Freeing Katherine or something.

Oh, and Alaric's dead wife was Elena's birth mom. Probably? Not sure, brain melted.

And to end on a lovely note, Caroline and Matt finally cut through the platonic red tape and made a go of it. Yay, Beige Pals!


... Aren't you so glad that Damon brainwashed the lameness out of Jeremy?

... Wasn't it so weird when Anna and that girl from Suite Life on Deck got all slutty in The Social Network?

... What is your favorite Sean Faris film? The rugby one or the fighting one?

... What season of Vampire Diaries do you think will feature a were-monkey? What about a hunky chupacabra?

+ Vampire Diaries Rewind, Part 1: Let's Kick It Old-School!
+ Vampire Diaries Rewind, Part 2: That's More Like It!

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