“For over a century, I have lived in secret, hiding in the shadows, alone in the world,” some guy intones. Yes, yes, and into every generation, a Slayer is born. Well, not on this show. But that’s about the only WB/CW supernatural program that wasn’t plundered. Yet.
The guy, whom we’ll find out shortly is Stefan (Paul Wesley), is a Vampire-American. A leech. A fanged one. Like a certain other vampire, whom we’ll just call Nedward Nullen, Stefan feeds only on animals. Yes, America, it is. Another diet vampire.
After Stefan’s revelation, we hop into the car with a couple made up of a blonde who looks vaguely like Diane Kruger and a man who looks like Chris Kattan as David Duchovny.
They’re driving home from a concert featuring an unnamed musician who sounds a little too much like James Blunt for Duchovnot’s taste, especially since “we already have a James Blunt.” It’s foggy, they’re on a dark country road, and whadya know? There’s a figure in the road. A figure whom they hit. They stay in the car and call emergency services. J/K, they get out and investigate. Well, Duchovnot does, at least.
“Please be alive,” he pants. Is undead the next best thing? He notices a ring on the prone figure…
…and seems to recognize it, as he exclaims, “Oh my God,” just before the figure grabs him and then fangs him. Blonde gets out of the car without even looking at the scene in front of her because of course she does. She’s wailing about the lack of a cell signal. She’s got bigger problems.
Oh, there’s your man. All bled out and stuff. On your hood. Blonde takes off running but before she can get too far, something swoops down and picks her up. No, really.
Well, enough of that unpleasantness. Back to Stefan! He’s all emo about how he shouldn’t have come home, because it’s unsafe, but he had no other choice. For some reason! Oh, wait. He has “to know her.” We don’t know who “her” is.
Dear Diary, Max is an alien. Whoops, wrong show. This is Elena (Nina Dobrev), who exposits that she’s going to be a newer, different, harder, better, faster, stronger person now and not the sad orphan. She and her brother now live with their aunt. Her brother chooses to be sad orphan. As Elena is getting coffee’d for school, the cameraman watches TV.
24, my ass. Elena rides to school with her friend Bonnie, who natters on about being psychic before a crow goodbye-cruel-worlds onto the windshield. Girl, the same thing happened to me on the first day of school this semester! Except the bird I hit just flew off. This crow hits their windshield like it was thrown. This freaks out Elena, of course, because as we will later find out, her parents died in a car accident that she survived. Elena steadies herself, as Bonnie gives her prediction that Elena’s “sad times” will come to an end this school year. Yeah, Elena! Turn that 😦 into a :)! And as they drive off, look who’s squawking:
“Try again, bitch.” Elena and Bonnie finally get to school, where we follow in a mysterious young fellow in shades. Could it be Stefan? (It is totally Stefan.) This is our first opportunity to see the students at Mystic Falls High and let me just say that they are way too polished to be real high school students. Anyhoozle, Elena tries to wave hello to her ex, Matt, but he just stares at her. God, girls who need space after losing both parents in a traumatic accident are the worst!
We also meet Elena’s frenemy Caroline, while Elena’s brother Jeremy smokes weed and sells pills to Vicki, whom you might know better as Maureen from Freaks and Geeks. She’s Matt’s sister, by the way. Then, Elena and Bonnie take notice of the mysterious stranger in the office. Oh hay, Stefan. He doesn’t have his immunization proof or transcripts from vampire school, but no prob. He just glamours the office lady into enrolling him, anyway.
Elena catches sight of Jeremy ducking into the men’s room and she stomps in there to give him hell for being high. On her way out, she collides into Stefan, who’s just finished an attention-getting stroll through the hall. Girls were practically swooning.
Stefan and Elena (and Bonnie and Matt, Elena’s ex) all end up in the same history class together. Elena not-so-surreptitiously checks out Stefan, which triggers his vampire stare response. Bonnie takes notice.
No. No. No, ma’am. We are not spelling it like that. Matt stares over Bonnie’s desk as she types and I can’t tell if his dyspeptic look is because Stefan and Elena are obviously into each other or because omg, we are not spelling it like that. For the record, yes. Yes, he is STARING @ U.
After school, Elena goes to the cemetery, specifically, to her parents’ graves. A crow squawks about. A ridiculously heavy fog surrounds Elena.
She runs off as a figure watches from the fog and when she falls, there’s Stefan. He wasn’t following her. He just saw her fall. As one does when they’re taking leisurely strolls through the cemetery. They’re all awkward and flirty, but then Stefan smells the bleeding cut Elena just got and disappears.
He shows up at her house later to return her diary, which she left at the cemetery. She invites him to come with her and hang out at the
Bronze Brinze with her and her friends because hanging out with ex-boyfriends and possible new vampire boyfriends rules.
Awkward! Elena’s friends interrogate Stefan about his life, relatives, etc. and then invite him to the back-to-school party, but he accepts only after making sure Elena’s going. Back at Chez Vampire, Stefan’s “uncle,” who is actually his nephew, is way aggro about the deaths of Duchovnot and his lady Brooke. He does not buy that it’s an animal attack and if it weren’t Stefan, then who could it be? Hmm, maybe one of those siblings Stefans doesn’t speak to. After his nephew leaves, Stefan consults one of his old-ass books and look what he finds. Quel surprise.
The next night, Stefan heads to the party and looks for Elena. She’s with Bonnie, who decides to give her fortune-telling another try. Using a beer bottle as a crystal ball, she brushes Elena’s hand and utters my favorite line of the episode: “When I touched you, I saw a crow.”
Tanis: When I touched you, I saw a crow?
Me: Yes. Yes. Yes. When I touched you, I saw a crow.
Stefan and Elena go off together and talk, while Vicki is almost raped by Tyler and rescued by Jeremy, whom she rejects again. Mostly because he wants to talk and get to know her before all the screwin’ and who needs that, amirite? Vicki wanders off on her own and OMG SHOCKING, she is attacked. Stefan’s eyes get all googly, which Elena notices, but Stefan Nedward Nullens it off with an uh-studded nonexcuse. He mumbles something about drinking and excuses himself for a moment. When he returns, he finds Matt guilt-tripping Elena about her previously expressed need to be alone and how she’s not so alone right now, what with her vampire date and all.
Caroline throws herself in Stefan’s path and he cuts her off with “You and me, it’s not going to happen.” It comes off gentler out loud. When he finally gets back to Elena, she has to run off after her brother, who’s lurching around drunkenly. As he turns around to tell her that he doesn’t want to hear whatever she’s going to say, he trips and literally falls on top of Vicki.
Vicki is alive and Jeremy carries her back to the party. Stefan stares in horror and then runs off, which Matt definitely notices. Stefan goes home, as the crow flies. Literally. The crow is followed by Damon, Stefan’s brother.
He is not a diet vampire. He knows all about Elena and her resemblance to Katherine and after taunting Stefan about what Elena’s blood must taste like, Stefan charges him. Damon laughs it off and then points out that Stefan’s lost his ring. Lost it in Damon’s hand, more like. As Damon goes to return it, he knocks Stefan across their yard. After warning Stefan not to think he’s stronger than Damon, Damon sociopaths into a jolly mood and walks inside to greet their nephew.
Jeremy and Elena are still at the party site, as Vicki is loaded into the ambulance. Bonnie is trying to sober up Caroline, who’s woeful over losing to Elena. Matt is at the hospital with Vicki. She finally stirs and although Matt tells her not to try to talk, she does get one word out: “Vampire.”
Later, Elena writes in her diary and Stefan voiceovers about how you can’t change who you are and how they wanted a new life and a new undead, respectively, but you can’t escape the past. Jeremy stares at a picture of his parents. Bonnie gets up to pay the tab on the apparently 400 cups of coffee they’ve had, because how long have they been at this place, seriously? After she leaves, Caroline notices the guy at the next table, who is, of course, Damon. Of course. He smiles sweetly at her and you can almost see the big red cartoon hearts around her head.
Elena continues to ramble on in her journal, stopping only to notice Stefan standing in her yard. She goes to the door and he wants to know if she’s okay. She doesn’t really know but she’d rather talk inside. So she invites him in (following vampire regulations, he cannot come in unless asked). Of course he accepts.
So there we have it. It’s a strange mixture of Roswell, Dawson’s Creek, and this other inexplicable cultural phenomenon whose name I can’t quite recall. It’s overdramatic and cheesetastic. I will watch every episode.