Vampire Diaries Episode Recap: 2.1 The Return

WARNING: Okay firstly, this is going to be a massive recap, so apologies ahead of time. They won’t all be this long, but this episode was an exception. And secondly, MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD if you haven’t seen Episode 1.

I’d like to begin this recap with an announcement.

If you happen to be a vampire and have, oh I don’t know, been in a tomb for 150 years plotting devious vampiric revenge on your human captors, you own an entirely black pour-me-in-boys-I’m-ready-for-my-close-up wardrobe, your sweet doppelganger is now dating your (seriously HOT with a side of I-eat-BADASS-flakes-for-breakfast-now) vampire ex AND your name is Katherine Pierce, then I have a message for you.

Vader and the Dark Side called. THEY WANT THE FORCE BACK.

That’s right boys & girls. The mother of all Evil (and apparently, curl boosting hair products & tight dark outfits) has returned to Mystic Falls, and she is back with a vengeance.

Picking up right where we left off in the season one finale (i.e. Katherine a.k.a the returning HBIC giving new horror to the term ‘finger sandwiches’ and stabbing Uncle John, just as Elena returns home from the epic events of Founder’s Day/Night) we find ourselves once more in the foyer of the Gilbert House, about to get the first of many answers to what have been four very long months of burning questions.

Elena, having come home to check on Jeremy, walks in to find John lying on the floor of the kitchen bleeding to death from a knife wound, unaware that her evil look-alike has not only returned, but is standing right behind her as she frantically calls 911 in order to save her father. John tries to warn her that Katherine is there, however she disappears from sight faster than Elena can turn around.

KILLER MOMENT #1: Elena is hunting her maniacal evil twin in her own house with a bloodied kitchen knife. As a great lady once said: OH. MY. FREAKING. SALVATORE.

Realising Jeremy is still in the house, she races up to find her brother who is lying in an apparent drug-induced coma on his bed, having tried to commit suicide by overdosing with Anna’s blood in his system in order to himself become a Vampire. After a few choice words and a good slap to the face from Stefan (*cheers*- been wanting to do that for months), who arrives shortly after, Elena rushes to the hospital to see Caroline.

Meanwhile, Damon – still mulling over his earlier intense kiss with ‘Elena’ on the porch – appears at the hospital where he encounters Sheriff Forbes who, along with a tired and distraught Matt, is waiting anxiously on news of her daughter, who is still in very bad shape after the car accident. Aside from being terrified for her well being, the Sheriff is still reeling from the death of Mayor Lockwood and his incapacitation when Emily Bennett’s bewitched anti-vampire device was set off.

Elena arrives and sees Bonnie, asking for news of Caroline, none of which is good. Damon sees them and comes to offer his blood in order to heal Caroline. Despite her friend’s objections and her own intense hatred towards him, Bonnie tells Damon to do it, reminding him that it in no way means they can call it even between them. Once she is gone, Damon turns to Elena, set on discussing the fact that they kissed. Elena however denies any knowledge of the event, only saying she was distressed that a tomb vampire had broken into her house and attacked John. It’s only when Jenna turns up, believing she had given a message to Elena, which Elena also denies happened, that the penny drops for Damon: it was Katherine on the porch. And he is not happy.

Meanwhile, Katherine shows up once more at the Gilbert house. It takes Stefan only seconds to realise that the woman in his arms is not Elena, and he proceeds to throw her across the living room. After getting in a few jibes about having deceived at least one brother, she disappears again, just as Damon and Elena arrive home from the hospital. As they discuss Katherine’s possible motives for returning to Mystic Falls, Damon is forced to tell Stefan how he had earlier seen Katherine and what she meant by deceiving one of them. He says eventually that he had kissed her thinking she was Elena. While the two are ready to fight, Elena tells them they need to deal with their issues later – right now, finding Katherine and discovering her plan is the most important thing. While Stefan and Elena resolve to talk to John Gilbert to get more answers, Damon says his plan to bring out Katherine is simple: pay no attention to her. If she thinks she’s being ignored, she’ll come out of her hole – then they’ll catch and deal with her.

KILLER MOMENT #2: Breaking up advice, Salvatore style. Problem: The evil ex-love of your life shows up intent on a violent destructive rampage. Solution: “Stake her. Rip her head off. Something poetic.”

Honourable Mention: Damon Salvatore defining kissing. I’ll be honest. I just like watching him explain what puckering is.

Bonnie goes to the hospital the next day, to discover that Damon has been and that after having his blood, Caroline has made a full recovery, much to the joy of Matt who is ecstatic to see his girl is okay.

Meanwhile at the Lockwood Mansion, Carol Lockwood confronts Sheriff Forbes when she arrives with Damon to the Mayor’s wake, demanding an explanation as to how her husband ended up dead at the hands of his own plan to kill off the vampires using Emily’s device. Damon (in diplomat mode) breaks it up and says that the worst thing they can do is start fighting amongst themselves.

Tyler however, is standing outside welcoming people into his home for his father’s wake, when his uncle turns up.

KILLER MOMENT #3: Three words, ladies: Enter. Mason. Lockwood. The man is hot enough to be a fire hazard. And major props to the gene pool responsible for that face. Oy veh, what a looker.

Prior to attending proceedings at the Lockwood mansion, Stefan and Elena pay a visit to John in hospital in search of answers about Katherine’s motives for reappearing in Mystic Falls. He however is reluctant to talk and refuses to help, despite Elena returning his enchanted protective ring and Stefan pointing out that Katherine will never stop hurting people, unless she is stopped. When Stefan asks him to help in the very least for the sake of his daughter, John’s only reply is that his daughter should have driven a stake through Stefan’s heart a long time ago. Elena leaves, disgusted with how hateful her father chooses to remain, even if it is to her cost. Stefan however is less forgiving, and stays behind to give John a powerful ultimatum. Rather than kill him for his actions,  Stefan bites his own wrist and forces blood into John’s mouth, stating that the blood will not only heal him, but give him 24 hours to get out of town. If he doesn’t, Stefan will kill John with his blood still in his system, therefore turning John into the one thing he hates most: a vampire.

Back at the wake, Sheriff Forbes and Damon are discussing how Mayor Lockwood could possibly have been affected by Emily’s device. They also discuss the arrival of Mason into town, causing Damon to wonder what supernatural secret might be running in the Lockwood genetic line.

Later, Bonnie and Damon have a secretive confrontation at the wake, and she storms outside to vent to who she thinks is Elena. A combination of intuition and her witchy senses immediately alert her however that it is in fact Katherine, who Tyler has earlier unwittingly invited into his home. Katherine slams Bonnie against the wall after Bonnie tries to escape and pull her usual vampire-incapacitating mojo that works so well on the Salvatores, but to no avail. Katherine states that she is older and much more immune to Bonnie’s fledgling powers. Stefan interrupts her however, and she lets Bonnie go.

Outside, Jenna, Elena and Jeremy arrive, where Elena sees Damon drinking on the porch. She goes to him and asks in earnest how he’s doing, which isn’t well. She doesn’t believe him when he says he hasn’t been hurt by all of this, rather saying that he does but then covers it up and inevitably goes and does something stupid. Damon mentions the kiss, and how he still can’t believe that she is surprised he tried to kiss her. Elena says this was never the case: she was only surprised that he believed she’d have kissed him back. Visibly wounded, he walks away.

Later Jeremy runs into Tyler, and they share an awkward “I dislike you intensely but I get what you’re going through so I’m sorry” moment.

Finally, out in the gardens where they can be alone, Stefan confronts Katherine and demands the reason for her return. She states that she has come back alone for him, to pick their love affair up where it left off. He however makes it clear that he knows his feelings for her were never real, and that he will never go back to her, or love her, because at heart she is still the same manipulative bitch she’s always been. Stefan tells her that if she doesn’t leave, he will hunt her down and rip out her heart, at which point she skewers him with a metal stake from the garden and tells him that this is just the beginning.

Later after Elena has found her boyfriend, the brothers have their inevitable confrontation over Damon attempting to kiss Elena. While Damon seems ready to pick a fight, Stefan refuses, stating that as much as he’d like to kill his brother for moving in on his girl, he won’t fight him, because he knows a fracturing of their relationship would play right into Katherine’s hands.

Back at the Gilbert house that night, Jeremy runs into John as he is leaving town. Jeremy, still grieving Anna’s death, cannot understand his Uncle’s hatred of all vampires, despite John saying that it’s just how he was raised. Jeremy sees John wearing the protective ring that had once belonged to his father, and asks why it did not save him from dying. John states that it was because his father had died of natural causes.

After the wake, Tyler loses it in his father’s office, and begins smashing up the room, screaming at his mother how much he hates him. Mason has to forcibly subdue Tyler as a horrified Carol Lockwood watches on.

At the Salvatore house, Katherine shows up to see Damon.

KILLER MOMENT #4: The Encounter. After which all of TVD viewing fandom felt the need to go take a cold shower, and discovered a new and innovative use for antique sideboards.

It quickly turns rough and passionate between the pair, until Damon stops, desperate to ask the one question that has been plaguing him for 150 years. Katherine says that she already knows what he wants to ask, and her answer: that she never really loved him, and that it was always Stefan who had her heart. She leaves him alone in his house with her revelation and his grief.

Drunk and desperately needing consolation, Damon turns up in Elena’s bedroom seeking some kind of solace from the one person who believed he was capable of being a good person. However when he pushes for her to admit that she really does have feelings for him, and tries to kiss her, she says exactly the same thing as Katherine: that for her, it is now and will always be Stefan. Angry and incredibly hurt by the words of both women, he lashes out and breaks the neck of an unsuspecting Jeremy who has just walked in on the pair. Leaving a screaming Elena behind, he disappears. As she clutches her brother up in her arms, she looks down to see his hand: he is wearing John’s protective ring. Despite knowing he will then be okay, she murmurs her hatred of Damon for his actions to Stefan, who arrives to find them on the floor. Stefan mourns what he believes is the loss of the last good part of his brother.

KILLER MOMENT #5: The Grand Emperor of all TVD Shock Plot Twists Ever: Meet Caroline Forbes. The Vampire.

All the while, Caroline has been back at the hospital, now well thanks to Damon’s blood and awaiting release the next day. She awakes shocked to see who she thinks is Elena, but who is in fact Katherine standing over her. Katherine asks Caroline to give the Salvatore Brothers a message, before smothering her with a pillow and killing her, knowing that Damon’s blood is still in her veins.

The message?

Look alive boys.

It’s GAME. ON.

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Ruthie took her passion for The Vampire Diaries books and started Vampire Diaries Online in February 2009. After 10 years online, she continues to engage with fellow TVD fans here and on Twitter, sharing in the love of The Vampire Diaries. #TVDForever


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  2. What an amazing recap! I especially loved the first part when the recap is addressed to katherine! lol
    Thanks for posting and writing

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