It’s been a long summer, and lots of things have changed. We’ve said good-bye to an old friend (rest in sleep, Elena Gilbert), but hopefully you’ll say hello to a new one: I’m Tara Sonin, your new TVD recapper! Some things may never change, like the format of these recaps and the height of Stefan’s hero hair … but it’s Mystic Falls and we are in uncharted territory, so without further ado, let’s …
Flash-forward three years into the future. And scratch what I just said: We’re not in Mystic Falls, we’re in Brooklyn. Stefan’s making his “I’ve just been shot” grunting noises, which is just about the only familiar thing in this setup. Plus 10, because those are kind of hot?
Plot twist: There are two coffins, not one! Damon has been napping away, but Stefan says he needs him and wakes him up. Whatever the reason Damon’s there, team Salvatore is still alive and well, three years into the future. Plus 8.
Flashing back to just after Elena “died” — the diaries are back. I’m into this, but I feel like it would be totally more efficient for them to just take voice memos on their iPhones?
Bonnie, Damon, and Alaric are drunk in Europe, grieving. “Damon’s watching out for Alaric, Bonnie’s watching out for Damon … I’m not sure who’s watching out for Bonnie.” Bonnie can watch out for herself, thank you very much. She’s now literally the safest girl on the show. Plus 20.
Hot Cop Matt, running. And let us say: Amen. Plus 50.
“I made this a thing, didn’t I?” Stefan, no offense … but you kind of make everything a thing. This is why we love you. That, and you’re pretty when you cry. Plus 10.
I’m calling it now, though: I cannot handle an entire season of will-they-or-won’t-they with my dear, precious Steroline. Stefan said he could wait for her, but he was not speaking on behalf of me, okay? I. Can’t. Wait. (Minus 8 because I’m still waiting.)
The heretics (also known as “wampires”) have arrived. Beau, Nora, Mary Louise, Malcolm, and Valerie (a.k.a. the Originals 2.0) are not fitting into the 21st century. They hate the people, the technology … and the stoned dude who hit and ran one of them. (In fairness, that wasn’t cool.) They also are not acclimating well to this three-sips-a-day regimen Lily has them on:
“Beau’s not complaining.”
I don’t know much about these heretics, but I know I like Beau. Plus 6 for Beau.
Damon is doing the I’m-stuck-with-you-until-you-die dance with Bonnie. “Unless you tragically choke to death on those cocktail peanuts,” he points out. Damon’s a Slytherin, guys. Plus 4.
I’m pretty sure these heretics are about to ditch Lily’s Ten-Million-Day Detox Cleanse and go feasting, ripper-style. Plus 10 because I want to see how formidable they are.
Two words: Murder Selfie. (And four more: I was totally right.) These heretics are bad, and I love it. Plus 4.
Damon’s done the math: There are approximately 22,916 days (give or take Bonnie’s witchy genes) before he sees Elena again, and he plans to spend the entire time drunk on bourbon. Bonnie, I love you, but I hope we’ll see Elena again before we say good-bye to this show. Minus 20.
Alaric, on the other hand, has been faking being drunk the whole time — but that’s because he’s totally gone off the deep end. He’s trying to communicate with his dead wife, Jo, via psychics, with some special red stone that he has … but they keep scamming him.
“I lost the real ring to the first psychic I saw,” he says, pummeling the con artist into a pulp. Yikes. I love when Alaric goes dark, but this is bad. Minus 8.
Turns out Lily also wants this red stone — but more than that, she wants Enzo to pick a side. As do we all: Enzo, for the love of television, pick a side. Be good, be bad, but this Fifty Shades of Grey look is NOT hot on you. Minus 30.
The gang has formed a plan to bomb the heretics' house. I can tell you now, the plan will not work. Evidence: All of the other plans over the past six years that have not worked. Minus 4.
“Is there any version of this plan where you’re not worried about me?”
Step 1 to Steroline fulfillment: They are staring at each other. Only 9,999 steps to go. Minus 5.
New rule: The heretics can compel people — just not other vampires, as Caroline uses her “broadcast journalism” skills to fake them into thinking she was. Plus 8.
Damon pulled an Edward Cullen and saved Bonnie from a moving car. Real suave vampire move, dude. Too bad you stole it from the Dude Who Sparkles. Minus 3.
But the chemistry in that one moment … damn! Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham are working each other RULL GOOD. There’s hate, love, friendship, guilt, and even smoldering passion under the surface between them. I don’t know if a #Bamon romance is in the stars, but if there is, I am here. For. It. Plus 40.
Aw, Mary Louise and Nora are lesbians! Yes, they’re our big bad heretics, and they’re about to do something borderline psychotic to our beloved town, but it’s not TVD if the villains don’t have some humanity. #Loveislouder. Plus 35.
And with a single “Incendia,” Matt’s entire graduating class of cops either becomes barbeque meat or … blood sausage. (Except for Matt himself, because his invisible fairy godmother waved a wand and said bibbidy-bobbidy-boo.) Plus 15.
“There’s a splinter in my neck.”
Slow-clap for Stefan Salvatore, king of the completely unsubtle flirt. Plus 80.
Turns out the scene we left off with in the finale wasn’t that far away: Matt patrols Mystic Falls in his sole cop car, past boarded-up windows and empty houses. Everyone human is gone, to keep the peace. I am mostly shocked that no one thought of this years ago.
“And by the third, I remembered that you’re my best friend. And if anything happened to you, I’d lose my mind.” Plus 100 for Damon not backsliding into total season-one territory. He’s not breaking people’s necks because he’s sad. (Yet.)
Team Bamon for the win! So glad Damon heart-snatched Malcolm. I could tell already he wasn’t going to be my favorite heretic. (My money’s still on Beau.) Plus 7.
“You make me happy.” THANK YOU, WRITER GODS. I’m sure Steroline will fall apart at least once this season, but … Stefan and Caroline are too cute and pretty not to make out at least once per episode to make up for it. Plus 100.
I knew it was too good to be true: Looks like the kidnapping trend has switched from Elena to Caroline. But at least Enzo picked a side and decided to be bad. I support this decision, Enzo. Now just give us back Caroline. Minus 30.
Flash back (forward?) to Brooklyn, three years from now: “She won’t stop until you’re dead.” I have so many questions: Why is Damon in the coffin? Why are they hiding the coffins in Brooklyn? Why was Stefan shot — and most important, WHO IS SHE?
We’re already off to a breakneck start: Alaric is totally nutso, Lily’s going to want revenge for Malcom’s murder, and Caroline is kidnapped! While I’m catching my breath (and replaying that Steroline kiss over and over — someone send me a GIF ASAP, please) you can find me in comments, or on Twitter at @TalkativeTara.