First and foremost, some very important business: Matt is back! Sure, many of you won’t think that Matt returning to the show is a big deal, but trust me, it is. That boy has been away for the past three episodes, then TVD just now casually brings him back… but, hey, it’s fine, all is now forgiven – he’s back, so we all (I) can finally stop complaining about his absence. Other than Matt’s comeback, a bunch of other (more) important stuff happened on TVD last night. While most of it was supposed to shock us, the whole episode felt a little redundant and forced. But, since much of it will (hopefully) be expanded on in future episodes, let’s jump in and breakdown some of the most significant things we learned in last night’s episode, “Dead Man on Campus.”
Jesse is an Augustine vampire: Ok, to be fair, I’m still not sure what exactly an Augustine vampire is, and by the end of the episode, it’s still not completely explained. However, Dr. Maxfield apparently made Jesse into one because, at the onslaught of the episode, the Doc feeds Jesse his first bag of “undiluted Augustine blood,” which gives Jesse enough power to break out of his chains and attack Maxfield. Of course, Jesse doesn’t kill him (Maxfield is too hot for that — translation, he won’t be dying anytime soon) and Jesse instead makes his way back to his dorm where he calls Caroline. Understandably freaked out, Jesse begs her to come over before his roommate shows up. Lo and behold, Aaron is Jesse’s roommate, and before Jesse can contain himself, he attacks him. Luckily, Caroline shows up and stops Jesse from killing Aaron, and that’s when the fun begins. Caroline calms Jesse down and her and Elena (with blood bags in tow) start to show Jesse how to be a vampire. They feed him blood, help him heal Aaron, and teach him about compulsion (Aw, vamp bonding).
Bonnie gets a haircut: Not sure why this is important, but for some reason it feels very necessary to mention. When Bonnie comes back to the land of the living, she does so with a great fashion sense. Chopping off her long locks, Bonnie gets a cute bob that pairs perfectly with the flirty dresses and short shorts that she wears throughout the episode. However, looking fun and happy is a stark contrast to the weird and awful things she is going through. Now that Bonnie is the anchor, she begins to see (and feel) the dead supernaturals that must pass through her to get to the other side. While it’s kind of bleak, not the mention painful, Bonnie rationalizes that it’s all worth it so that she can be with Jeremy. And sure, that sounds great, but, in actuality, the Bonnie/Jeremy relationship is a bit cringe-worthy. Sure, we’re all supposed to believe that these two are madly in love, (we even get a sex scene at one point) but the relationship just doesn’t really feel as epic as it should be considering all the crap they had to go through to be together. What is basically comes down to is that these two don’t have any chemistry to speak of. And now that they can finally touch and truly be together, we should all excited, as well as invested in the future of this union, however, it all feels a meh (shoulder shrug included).
Matt is back: Eek! (All right, it’s out of my system). Matt is back in Mystic Falls and working at the grill. While bartending, he is casually watching the video of Gregor taking over his body when Katherine asks for another drink. Matt cuts her off since she is clearly wasted, but Katherine just replies, “You realize every time you say no, it just makes you hotter” (agreed). However, they make a deal that, in exchange for liquor, Katherine will interpret what the Gregor says in the video when he speaks Czech. Katherine translates that Gregor “activated” Matt, which basically means that Gregor is a Traveler, a.k.a. a powerful witch, who is hanging out in Matt’s brain like a parasite. Matt also details his union with a beautiful dark haired girl who he thinks is involved. Katherine correctly identifies her as Nadia.
House party: Caroline and Elena throw a party in honor of Bonnie’s return. (And they have it in their dorm’s wide-open common room… where the hell are the RAs in this show?) While setting up, Elena calls Damon and asks him to go check on Dr. Maxfield (whom Jesse locked in his lab) and see if he can get some answers out of him about Augustine vampires. Caroline yells at Elena, saying that sending Damon will end up with Maxfield dead (probably correct). Unfazed, Elena then tries to entice Stefan to come to the party (she bought the good bourbon) but he is too busy having drowning flashbacks to go. Instead, he goes to the grill to drink where he has a pity cocktail with Katherine after she explains how he’s going to end up with someone who looks like her anyway (doppelganger prophesy). Back at the party, Bonnie talks with Jesse about how in love she is with her friend’s younger brother (eww). Unfortunately, she sees a supernatural, which kind of kills the buzz (incase the gross description of Jeremy didn’t already). During her little ‘I see dead people’ moment, Jesse and Caroline dance, which Jesse finds exciting because every touch is heightened now that he’s a vampire. In the lab, Damon is torturing Maxfield by injecting him with diseases he finds around the lab (flesh eating disease, rabies) and heals him with vampire blood if he gives him answers. Maxfield eventually explains that Jesse is an Augustine vampire, meaning his true hunger can only be sated by vampire blood. Maxfield created him so that vampires would eventually only kill/feed on other vampires and the killing of humans would not be necessary. Unfortunately, back at the party, Jesse and Caroline kiss, and apparently, Jesse can smell Caroline’s blood because he bites her, and get his first insatiable taste of vamp blood.
Daughters and Travelers: Back at the bar, Katherine starts complaining about her crappy human life that includes receding gums, joint pains, and a weak bladder. While still sitting with Stefan, Katherine asks him for a favor just as Nadia shows up, asking Katherine what she wants. Katherine leads Stefan and Nadia to the back room where Matt holds that knife that Gregor told him to keep safe. Katherine then tells Nadia to bring Gregor forth and Katherine speaks with him, asking why he was really in Mystic Falls, claiming that she wanted to know because she was wary of anyone who wants to be around her daughter (such an adorable and human moment from Katherine). Eventually Gregor explains that after Silas died the Travelers were supposed to kill Katherine. Annoyed, Katherine holds up the knife and taunts Gregor, eventually stabbing him (Matt) in the stomach, effectively killing the Traveler, but not Matt (thank god!). Katherine explains the the knife is the only thing that can truly kill a Traveler, she knows because he father was one. Nadia seems pissed that her mom killed her boyfriend (or whatever he was).
The dead man on campus: At the party, Elena swaps sob stories with Aaron and realizes that Maxfield is his guardian. She immediately calls Damon and tells him not to kill Maxfield because Aaron would be left with no one. However, right then, Jesse shows up at the lab to ask Maxfield why he feels compelled to feed on Caroline. Unfortunately, Jesse smells Damon and begins feeding on him. Another fun fact? Augustine vampires are apparently much stronger than normal vampires because Damon can’t fight back or get away. Elena shows up and, seeing Jesse feeding on Damon, she quickly grabs a wooden stake (how to these just randomly appear?) and stabs Jesse. Caroline shows up just in time to see her crush die. Damon tries to explain to Caroline that Elena had no choice but to kill Jesse. However, Caroline says that the old Elena would have been more compassionate, and given Jesse the chance to beat him vampire hunger, which, to be fair, is harsh but true.
Suicidal thoughts: Stefan has another freak out where he feels like he’s drowning in the bar. When he makes his way outside, Katherine comes out the back door and sees him struggling. Annoyed, Stefan squeezes her neck, but through her attempts at breathing, Katherine calms him down and he eventually lets go. Nadia finds them outside and Katherine tries to explain her motherly instincts, telling Nadia she deserved better than Gregor. Nadia, not so happy with her mom, tells her to rot in hell and storms off. Back inside, Stefan makes his way over to close out his tab when he finds a note addressed to Nadia. Within the letter, Katherine explains that she can’t outrun time and so she was going to take control of her life. Cut to Katherine standing on the clock tower, then falling backwards off the building. And, even though you hesitated for a second, we all knew Stefan would be there to catch her, and he was. Katherine quickly explains that she is dying of old age and doesn’t know how to fight it. Stefan touches her face and sweetly says, “Hey. You’re Katherine Pierce. Suck it up,” and walks away. Katherine smiles. And it was the one scene in this episode that was absolutely perfect.
Cliffhanger: Back in the dorm bedrooms Bonnie and Jeremy are getting hot and heavy when Bonnie suddenly looks up and, startled, sees Jesse, who she correctly assumes is dead. Holding hands, Jesse tearfully tells Bonnie that he is not ready to go. But Bonnie, being Bonnie, comforts him until he passes through her and then she immediately falls over, screaming in pain. Back at the lab, Damon is cleaning up the mess he made with the disease viles when he notices a blood sample labeled 12144. Quickly, Damon looks at Maxfield and explains that at one point, he was 21051. Suddenly, Damon realizes he was an Augustine vampire and just when he goes to kill Maxfield, (Elena and Aaron be damned) Maxfield hits the emergency button which releases vervain into the air, effectively crippling Damon. The doc then creepily says, “Augustine will be thrilled to have you back.” Cut to Damon trapped in a cell, having vivid memories of himself bleeding and being tortured decades beforehand.
Wait, what the hell? Damon was an Augustine vampire? And he just forgot!? Then, that easily, he remembered? And, as he remembered, he explain it to Maxfield? That just seems stupid. Also, is there going to be a Katherine/Stefan relationship now? Will Bonnie get crazier as the season goes on? This whole supernatural/anchor thing seems painful, and like it’s going to get annoying very quick. Is Matt going to be gone for another three episodes now that the only cool storyline he had is gone? And finally, is there any hope for humorous innuendos now that Damon has some seriously scary PTSD visions going on? What do you guys think? Did this episode live up to expectations, or are the over-the-top story lines ruining it for you?
Check out the promo for the Dec. 5 episode, “The Cell.”
The Vampire Diaries airs on Thursdays at 8 PM ET on the CW.