Vampire Diaries Recap: Freshman Drama 101

Vampire Diaries Season 5 SpoilersThe Vampire Diaries made a surprisingly smooth transition to college in Thursday’s Season 5 premiere.

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While I still can’t picture Elena and Caroline actually attending class, their attempts at a “functional” fresh start, complete with dorm life and blood bags, fill a fun season opener and unlock a new mystery.

Still unaware that Bonnie is dead, the friends are surprised when they discover they have to share their spacious dorm room with a stranger named Megan. Caroline is immediately suspicious of her, and with good reason: There’s vervain in her water bottle, and when the trio head to a college party, Elena and Caroline find themselves needing to be invited in. That’s probably for the best, because Megan ends up getting killed by a vampire. The mystery deepens when the police find a suicide note, and then Caroline and Elena discover a picture of Megan and Elena’s dad on the dead girl’s phone. What?!

Meanwhile, back in Mystic Falls, Damon is playing Jeremy’s keeper while Elena is away at school. (If Elena is Jeremy’s legal guardian, how is it OK in the eyes of the law that she just left him with her boyfriend? I know, I know – suspension of disbelief.) Jer doesn’t make Damon’s new role easy when he gets expelled on the first day of school after getting into a fight with some bullies. I guess the whole “I burned down my house and faked my death because I had angst” cover doesn’t impress them much.

Complicating matters for Damon – who’s really trying to make a long-distance go of it with Elena – is a weathered, human Katherine, who shows up looking for help. She’s been running from her enemies, and she has blisters, darn it! Even worse, her hair’s all messed up, and you know she can’t be happy about that.

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But the real fun starts when Silas (Paul Wesley, relishing his new role) shows up in Mystic Falls. It’s a nice treat that he doesn’t spend a lot of time pretending to be Stefan, outside of one scene with Damon and Jeremy, who senses that he’s not really a Salvatore. After convincing Damon and realizing what he’s after, the two rush home, where Silas is having a flirty moment with a bubble bath-clad Katherine. Surprisingly, she doesn’t see through his un-Stefan-like behavior until he’s trying to choke her.

She does manage to get away, but Damon orders Jeremy to bring her back after Silas reveals Stefan’s miserable state. Katherine crashes the car to stop him. Jer’s pretty beat up from the accident, but Damon arrives in time to feed him blood. Damon actually looks really concerned about the little Gilbert, and I don’t think it’s just because Elena would never forgive him if her brother died on his watch. As for Katherine, she escapes, but Silas compels a whole gathering of townsfolk to track her down.

Then there’s poor Stefan, who’s drowning over and over and over and having hallucinations of Damon and Elena. After not hearing from him for a whole summer, Elena can sense that something’s wrong. Caroline, ever the Stelena ‘shipper, says that’s because she feels guilty Vampire Diaries Season 5 Recapfor breaking his heart and picking the wrong brother. But I’ve got another theory: Stefan and Elena are both doppelgangers, so maybe they have a connection through that?

On the ghostly front, Bonnie’s not ready to throw more death at Elena, so she has Jeremy send emails explaining that she’s on a trip with her mother. But hanging around Mystic Falls proves to be traumatizing when Silas kills her dad in the town square.

Finally, we come to sexy times with Matt and Rebekah, who open the hour with a threesome in Europe! She bids the busboy a passionate goodbye before taking off for The Originals in New Orleans. “Don’t call. Don’t write. And whatever you do, don’t you dare miss me,” she says between kisses. His threesome virginity isn’t the only thing Matt loses during their European adventure: The mysterious third party, Nadia, steals the Gilbert ring and comes to Mystic Falls (with a shady-looking dude) to attack him.

Vampire Diaries fans, what did you think of the show’s college try? What does Silas want with Katherine? And are you buying Tyler’s excuse that he can’t come to college because a wolf pack in Tennessee needs his help? (You made Caroline cry, Tyler. Not cool!) Grade the episode via the poll below, then back up your pick in the comments!