There were a few changes in The Vampire Diaries series premiere that I wasn’t thrilled with. Not simply, because they were different, but because I feared in the long run it would take away some of the quality of the original text. I have stated my thoughts on all of that though and realize that the series is going to be a different take on the original novel series.
The second episode of the series opens up on the dark, shadowed woods amongst teenage promiscuity. Sounds like the perfect set up for Jason Voorhees to come slice up some teenage sluts to have his revenge. The teens are faced with death, but in the form of a powerful vampire. Meanwhile, Vicki is in pain and suffering from her own vampire attack. Her brother, Matt, sits with her day after day. When Stefan overhears that she thinks she was bitten by a vampire he gives her a little visit and forces the truth out of her mind, taking a great deal of power from him and raising Matt’s suspicions. Damon is thrilled at the chance to get Stefan to embrace the power that is just beneath his fingertips.
I am pleased that things seem to be building up between Elena and Stefan. Since Stefan was in love with a girl that looked just like Elena and tragically lost her, it is understandable how he could fall quickly for Elena or at least the idea of her. Elena realizes that there is something different about Stefan; she just doesn’t know that that something is a need for blood. We are able to get to know the characters as they get to know one another. Also, as much as I love Damon as the bad guy, he isn’t played as nearly as malicious and evil compared to the books. Elena was extremely attracted to him, but she knew that there was something bad in him, and found the courage to resist him, for the moment being anyway. Elena has only just met Damon in this episode and she is interested, but confused about Stefan. Still Damon sparks something in Elena. I really hope they build off of this, questioning whether that something Elena felt with Stefan was just that she could tell he was different than the guys she was used to. The triangle between the three has only slightly been introduced without being rushed. It is established and the competition and temptations seem like they will heighten episode by episode. Although, I really wish Stefan would display a little more of a personality, to make it a little easier to be more engaged with him.
I’m still getting used to Caroline as a friend and not an enemy, a huge difference from the books. It seems like perhaps she was just jealous of Elena over getting Stefan to notice her in the first episode rather than her being completely self-centered and backstabbing as we’re used to seeing her. I think this is actually a change for the better even if it requires shifting some of the key events and how they play out. Better to do away with high school rivalries and trivial girl drama when there are vampires, death, and supernatural troubles in the midst.
In this episode there seems to be a small, but existent development in Bonnie’s psychic skills and their foundation through her family’s history. She mentions that her ancestors were “ Salem witch chicks”. This isn’t very specific and she doesn’t seem to really have a good grasp on her ancestors and where exactly her abilities came from. I was still pleasantly surprised that they even bothered to acknowledge the history that will add to the development of her powers. There was always such an intense power to Bonnie’s abilities that seems stronger than the average psychic, making me think her being a witch might add to that level of power.
In this episode there wasn’t a ton of action, but we got a few attacks here and there. Vicki’s visions of Damon tormenting her in her mind adds a good amount of tension and creepiness as well. Damon’s sexual and primitive blood encounters are shown or at least hinted out, letting us see him in his most brutal state of enforcing his power over the girls he takes over. Once again, Damon’s presence injects excitement, danger, and sinister wit. Overall, it wasn’t the most eventful episode, but it was kept interesting by a few attacks and Damon’s taunting as well as fear escalated in many, including Stefan. This episode was more about the small things, pointing out that they are not rushing things but taking things step by step. The episode subtly hinted assurances to its fans that they plan on building and developing the foundation that’s being set.