Vampire Diaries

Episode Report Card
Cindy McLennan: B+ | 5 USERS: B-
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Dear Feelings Journal...
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!
It was a dark and stormy night... What's that -- you say you don't like cheese? I don't believe you, because you've been sleeping outside the cheese factory just salivating for your first free sample, so let's dispense with the pretense. Originally an artisan product handcrafted by Y.A. author L.J. Smith, The Vampire Diaries is now in the hands of corporate cheese: Outer Banks Entertainment, Alloy Entertainment, and Warner Bros, who have brought on accomplished cheesemakers Kevin Williamson (Scream, and some other little show that will always be the big cheese [head cheese; five-head cheese] 'round these parts) and Julie Plec (Kyle XY) to oversee mass production. Williamson and Plec must be doing something right, because they have won over an initially skeptical L.J. Smith, and the series premiere of The Vampire Diaries drew an audience of 4.91 million viewers (cancellation levels for the real networks, but those are the biggest ratings for any CW premiere. Ever). With that said, I do believe it's now "Time for Timer", so please follow me to the tasting room, if you hanker for a hunk of cheese. If you're at least 21, you may want to grab a bottle of something, to wash it down. If you're under 21, you'll learn within the hour that drinking is bad, bad, very bad for you young'uns, so I'll preach no more.

Now where were we? Lessee -- it's a dark and stormy night, well okay, it's foggy, or soon will be. Take a moment and get used to it, as over a shot of a fog filled forest, Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) narrates that for over a century he's lived in secret, hiding in the shadows, "Until now. I am a vampire and this is my story." Did anyone else go here? I am a vampire. I am a vampire. Just me, then. M'kay.

Cut to a 20-something couple driving through the night. The man (who we'll later learn is named Darren) complains about the concert they've just seen. "He sounded like James Blunt." The woman (Brooke) asks what's wrong with that. The man keeps his eyes on the road. "We already have a James Blunt. One's all we need." Somewhere, James Blunt -- not knowing why he feels a bit put off -- dedicates "You're Beautiful" to Brooke. Blind to her role in this international love triangle, Brooke laughs and asks Darren why he went to the concert. Darren steals a sidelong glance. "Because I love you." Oh dear, bye-bye Mr. Nice Boyfriend Guy.

Here it comes. The fog thickens. A dark figure stands in the middle of the road. Darren doesn't see him in time. THWACK! The figure bounces off the windshield, onto the roof, and over the top of the SUV, landing in the middle of the road, sort of like Olympia Snowe, or the Blue Dogs. As the couple comes to terms with their (mistaken) assumption that they've hit a human being, I yell, "That's about the oldest vamp trick in the book. Run, run, hit and run, it's a thing!" They don't listen. They never do. Darren brings his car to a screeching halt and tells Brooke to call for help, as he goes to tend to his victim. Sucker. Make that suckee. "Please be alive. Please be alive." Darren grabs Road-Kill's wrist, but the camera lingers on the unusual and unusually large ring Road-Kill's sporting. Not knowing he's in a vampire show and therefore that Road-Kill probably hasn't had a pulse in yonks, Darren freaks, thinking he's taken a life, even though he's clearly on the give side of that equation. Road-Kill springs up with a snarl, grabs Darren by the throat and sinks his fangs in, deep.

Brooke misses the commotion, because she can't get a signal on her cell phone. And of course, she gets out of the car to tell Darren that very thing, but Darren is nowhere to be found. CRASH! Oh, okay. There he is. Behind her, Darren's lifeless body is unceremoniously plopped onto the SUV's hood. Face flushed, hands clenched, she turns, screams and runs off through the flowing fog (which had been ebbing). Brooke is grabbed by an unseen force from above (and I don't think it's an angel), and screams again as we watch her ascent into what is surely not heaven. As we fade out, I like to imagine a single tear drops down James Blunt's cheek as he breaks into "Goodbye My Lover" then wonders who Brooke even is. Regardless? Title Card.

Over Stefan's shoulder, we watch the sunrise along with him. SUNRISE! The hell? This is a vampire show and I'm quite sure he's a vampire. Is he suicidal? It's not clear, but he is still talking to himself. I'm sure the people in the forums will diagnose him from their armchairs right quick, but if they go directly to Asperger's, I'm going beg TWoP Sun to make a new rule. Anyhow, Stefan says, "I shouldn't have come home. I know the risk, but I had no choice." The camera zooms out to reveal he's standing on the steeply pitched, mossy roof of a rather grand home. "I have to know her." In case you dozed off during the narration, Stefan leaps from the gable end of Mossy Manse, to hammer home that this is a big step for him. He lands lightly below and we cut to...

Gilbert House: Recently orphaned seventeen year old Elena Gilbert (DeGrassi's Nina Dobrev) starts her day in a cozy looking window seat. "Dear Diary..." Oh good. MORE narration. Elena's busy convincing her diary that this year will be different. She'll act all happy, peppy, and bursting with joy. I remember lying to my diary, too. When I was like eleven. Elena's eyes scan assorted photos of her family (mom, dad, brother and herself). "I will no longer be the sad little girl who lost her parents." She wants to start fresh. "...Be someone new. It's the only way I'll make it through." Oh man, is her diary going to rhyme? All the time? Ahem.

In the kitchen are guardian/grad-student Aunt Jenna Sommers (Sarah Canning), and Elena's fifteen year old brother, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen; son of Chad, and grandson of the Steve McQueen). As a parenting newbie, Jenna offers to make these great big kids some toast. Psst, Jenna, my kids are way younger and already get their own breakfast. Elena and Jeremy don't want to eat, anyhow. They're all about the coffee. Really? Is that the norm now, even for a 15 year old? I wasn't in the throes of that addiction until college. Jenna has to book, because she's late for a meeting with her thesis advisor. Once she's gone, Elena reaches out to Jeremy to give him time to establish himself as a sullen S.O.B., which he does just before he walks out on her. Over Elena's shoulder, the Gilbert's TV features headshots of poor dead Darren Malloy -- age 24, and Brooke I-Can't-See-Her-Full-Last-Name -- age 22. Too bad. So sad.

As Bonnie (Katerina Graham) drives Elena through the streets of Mystic Falls, Virginia and off to school, she natters on about how her "Gram" says she's psychic and that they're descended from the witches of Salem and whatnot. Whatever. My cousin is a Wiccan

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Vampire Diaries

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