The Vampire Diaries is back, you guys! And with it comes a brand-new version of Elena, as she wakes up out of her vampiric coma and plunges into her new life . . . as a dead person. That's right, vampire Elena is here for season four, but she doesn't have the smoothest of transitions, physically or mentally. As she and her friends fight for her to stay human, we also find out what Klaus/Tyler is up to, and we meet a brand-new villain who's religious about his hatred for supernatural creatures.
It's clear that this season is going to be sharply different than all previous seasons (as evidenced by the brand spankin' new intro) and I couldn't be more excited. But let's rewind to the premiere; now that the show is back, that means that our recap of the good, the bad, and the bloody is back, too! Come break it down with me after the jump.
- In her transitional state, Elena is tweaking out a little bit, having extreme mood swings and getting superirritated at flickering light bulbs and such. There is one pleasant side effect: the memories that Damon had compelled Elena to forget start returning, and the first one she gets is Damon's love confession from way back in season two. A very interesting thing to remember right at the beginning, no? Hopefully, this little memory will throw a wrench in whatever relationship Stefan and vampire Elena are getting back into.
- Excuse me, but who are these new council members? We've never met this Pastor Young, but he appears to be someone everyone knows, and he's out for vampire blood (oh, also, somehow he has absolute authority and can arrest people without a badge). The good news about a new villain is that maybe we don't have to watch everyone trying to kill Klaus every week.
- The writers really had me worried that there might be a loophole in making Elena a vampire. Bonnie's spell almost works, but when Elena's penned up by the council, the spirit of Bonnie's Grams warns her about dark magic and doesn't let it happen. Luckily, Stefan and Rebekah team up to make sure Elena gets to feed, tricking a guard and letting his blood drip, drip, drip toward Elena, and she reaches out a tentative finger and licks it off. Yum!
- Back to Klaus: who else was excited to see that beautiful face? (We, like him, are also glad his body wasn't destroyed in the finale.) On the show, though, Rebekah might be happy to see that Klaus is alive, but she isn't happy with him, especially since he rescues Caroline and not her from the council. She destroys the last of Elena's hybrid-making blood, so Klaus needs a new goal. Maybe it can be making friends, since family is out? Breaking your sister's neck isn't exactly a good anecdote for Sunday dinner.
- I'm sick of Bonnie always trying to use her witchy powers to get the gang out of whatever supernatural conundrum they're in. The scene of her chanting amid a ton of candles could have been lifted from countless other episodes; it's time to retire this. I'd much rather see Bonnie either get killed off in dramatic fashion or use this dark magic to shake things up.
- Tyler pretending to be Klaus is the funniest thing about this episode, even though it's not supposed to be. I love Michael Trevino, but his impression of Klaus is hilarious, from his Klaus-speak ("easy, love," "you incessant woman!") to his little mannerisms. I don't know if it would have been funnier if he'd tried using Klaus's accent, but hopefully we'll never have to see Klaus jump into Tyler's body again. Let's let Klaus be Klaus.
- Are Elena and Stefan going to be a full-on couple this season again? If so, snore. The final scene between Elena and Damon may be a fight (I love that he calls her out with "the first night we met's not all you remember"), but it's also crackling with their signature chemistry. It's much more exciting than Elena and Stefan's chaste smooch on the roof.
- Poor Matt is Damon's punching/biting bag this week. He feels guilty that he was the one who was saved in Elena's place, and Damon wants to make him feel even worse. Luckily, Elena's first act as a real vampire is to save him from Damon.
- This show has desensitized me from hearts being ripped out of people's bodies, but we get to see Tyler attempt the yucky maneuver in a whole new way: he tries to do it to himself! Of course, it's Klaus trying to do it to Tyler's body, with one clawed werewolf hand digging into his flesh. Gross and rude.
- So Pastor Young blows all the council members up in the end . . . or does he? My guess is that they're down but not out, and will return in some other creepy way to chase after vampires. That "we are the beginning" speech couldn't have been for nothing.
So now that Elena's a vampire and outfitted with a ring, what kind of shenanigans are we going to see next? Weigh in with your theories and reactions to the season premiere below!