Since we're pretty sure we're going to be obsessed with the show this season (and it helps that True Blood is in between seasons and even The Gates is ending this weekend) so this is definitely on our permament Thursday night DVR schedule.
We're going to give all our readers who likely aren't obsessed yet, a reason and an opportunity to get obsessed! Here's a quick refresher on all the need-to-know info from last season before we give you our take on the first two episodes of Season 2.
A Guide to The Vampires Diaries: Season One
Welcome to Mystic Falls, Virginia (where everything is less boring than Forks, Washington but less scandalous than Bon Temps, Louisiana) a town where vampires have lived on-and-off since the 1800s and for some reason everyone in town keeps a fucking diary. (Watch Season 1 instead)
Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev):
Elena is 17. Before the series begins she and her parents, Grayson and Miranda Gilbert were all in a car crash. They died, but she survived because Stefan Salvatore secretly saved her. Then she later starts to date him... but doesn't find out that he saved her until later on. He also tells her that she was adopted and it turns out her real parents are all fucked up (more on that later). Also she looks exactly like Katherine Pierce, her ancestor/Stefan's ex/evil vampire.
Jonathan Gilbert (Joe Knezevich):
The vampire-obsessed author/inventor was the ancestor of the modern day Gilberts. He kept a number of journals and had several magical inventions.
Stefan is an angsty teenage vampire. He's one of those self-loathing vampires who struggles to be good and drink only animal blood. Sometimes this works for him; sometimes he relapses and then feels super guilty about it. He's super conflicted because his father was a vampire hunter, his brother Damon and ex-girlfriend Katherine are vampires and his current girlfriend (Elena) is his ex-girlfriend's lookalike. He spends most of his time trying to stop Damon/protect Elena/protect Damon. His work is never done!
The older, meaner, hotter Salvatore brother! He's charming and handsome and a little psychotic? Or maybe he's just in love. He spends the whole first half of the first season double crossing everyone in his path in order to save Katherine, who he's obsessed with, and then the second half moping about the fact that Katherine didn't actually need saving after all and probably didn't love him. He kills people like it's nothing and has little of the vampire-guilt that Stefan has... but for some reason Elena is able to bring out his more caring, human side.
Giuseppe Salvatore (James Remar):
Stefan and Damon's father helped lead the fight against the vampires back in 1864. It was in part due to him that Katherine and the other vampires were captured in the first place.
Katherine Pierce (also Nina Dobrev):
Elena's "doppleganger" (and possibly great-great-great grandmother, or something) is a vampire that both Salvatore brothers were in love with back in 1864 Mystic Falls. She is, as Damon put it, an "evil manipulative slut". She has been the main source of animosity between Stefan and Damon from the beginning: they both loved her, Stefan was semi-responsible for getting her captured and it was her blood that turned them both to vampires. She was allegedly locked up in a tomb for over a hundred years with a bunch of other vampires but then surprise! she actually escaped a long time before that. (Guess she never cared about Damon as much as he cared about her?)
Emily Bennett (Bianca Lawson):
Emily was Katherine's personal servant and a witch. She charmed all of the magical items, like the Salvatores' rings that let them walk in daylight and the Gilberts' rings that keep them from dying.
Bonnie is Emily's ancestor and Elena's best friend and found out this year that she's a witch. She's slowly learning how to use her witchy powers and lifted Emily's spell of the vampire tomb in order to save Stefan and Damon. (The strain of the spell killed her grandmother and she blames the Salvatores.) She goes back and forth between helping them and trying to sabotauge them.
Jeremy Gilbert (Steven R. McQueen):
Jenna Sommers (Sara Canning):
Jenna is Elena and Jeremy's aunt on their mother's side, who has taken guardianship over them after their parents were killed in the car crash. She used to date Logan Fell, a news reporter and vampire hunter who was turned into a ampire and then later killed. Then she started to date history teacher Alaric Saltzman, who has his own vampire-vendetta (wait for it). She also had a brief flirtation with Damon, but we all know why that's not gonna happen. Basically, Jenna is unlucky in love and has no idea what's going on. Her character has little to do on this show other than be concerned about Elena and Jeremy and then be kept in the dark about everything.
John Gilbert (David Anders):
Elena and Jeremy's uncle, on their father's side. He's basically a douchebag that everyone hates. He learned about vampires from his big brother (through the journals of their ancestor Jonathan Gilbert) and has a magic ring that protects him from being killed. He shows up back in town to take down all the vampires, because that is his destiny! Whatever. He's a member of the Founders' Council and he killed Jeremy's vampire girlfriend Anna and her mom, Pearl. Dick. Oh and surprise - he's Elena's biological father!
Isobel Flemming-Saltzman (Mia Kirshner)
Elena's birth mother. She dated John Gilbert as a teen, got pregnant with Elena and gave her up for adoption to John's brother (a doctor) and sister-in-law. She was married to Alaric Saltzman and spent lots of time studying vampires. He thought she was murdered by Damon for a while until it is revealed that she was actually turned by Damon (at her request!) A lot of season 1 had to do with both Alaric and Elena search for Isobel; neither character was very happy with what they found.
Alaric is a history teacher at Mystic Falls High and used to be married to Isobel. He hates vampires - especially Damon - and has spent most of his post-Isobel like learning about how to take them down. He can't be killed because he wears a magic ring like the one John Gilbert wears (back story: John gave his to Isobel; the one he wears used to belong to his brother but he got it whe he died; Isobel gave the ring to Alaric shortly before she was turned). Even though he hates Damon, he has helped the Salvatore brothers on several occasions, partly because he can't be killed and partly because he's a good guy so he wants to protect the town from the other vampires.
WHAT YOU MISSED IN THE SEASON 1 FINALE:
It's Founders Day... so everyone is dressed in old-timey outfits and that includes Elena. She looks exactly like Katherine now, which triggers some memories for both Stefan and Damon. Jeremy's all mopey and pissed at Elena because he just finally found out that she's been lying to him for a long time (by reading, what else, her diary). Anna gave him a vial of her blood, so he can turn into a vampire, but now that he knows that Vicki is dead he's having second thoughts.
Meanwhile the tomb vampires are planning an attack on the town. John Gilbert and the Founders Council have "The Device" one of Jonathan Gilbert's mysterious anti-vampire inventions (which was actually charmed by witch Emily). Stefan and Damon think that the spell has been broken by Bonnie, but she's actually just a bitch and lied about it. She thinks she's protecting the town, and she's right, but she could have warned the Salvatore brothers! When the device is activated all the vampires within a certain distance start to experience a piercing pain and collapse to the ground... this includes Stefan, Damon and Anna. Alaric and Elena save Stefan, but Damon and Anna are given a shot of vervain and taken away with the others.
Oddly enough, Mayor Lockwood and Tyler are also affected by the device. The Mayor is rounded up with the vampires and Tyler, who was driving Matt and Caroline home, crashes the car. When the EMTs check him out he has yellow eyes for a second. Hmm... what exactly is he? Caroline is seriously injured and rushed to the hospital.
All the vampires and the Mayor are locked in away in the basement of the old Gilbert building. Mayor Lockwood isn't affected by the vervain, so he's not a vampire... what is he? Even he doesn't seem to know. And he doesn't have time to find out, because his neck is snapped by one of the tomb vamps. John Gilbert shows up to stake Anna and pour gasoline all over, setting the room on fie so the vampires can all be burned alive. Bonnie does a spell to help Stefan get Damon out safely (those brothers sure have a love/hate relationship don't they?) but tells him thta if Damon kills another innocent person she will take him down. And she can too, her witch powers are getting stronger and stronger.
Damon tells Jeremy that Anna is dead, which makes him even more depressed and mopey than usual. He drinks Anna's blood and then takes an overdose of sleeping pills, hoping to die and wake up as a vampire so he can "turn his feelings off".
Damon meets Elena outside the house and, realizing that he kinda really does care about protecting the town, go figure, tells her that she makes him a better person. They kiss (WHAT!?) until Jenna catches them and tells her to get inside. Once she's inside she confronts John Gilbert and then, noticing that he's wearing the protective ring, CUTS HIS FINGERS OFF! Fooled you! It wasn't Elena, it was Katherine all along. And the real Elena is on her way back to the house any minute.
Now THAT is how a season finale is done. Full of excitment, suspense, surprises and WTF-moments. Now that you're all caught up on the first season, go here to check out our recaps of the season two premiere and last night's episode #2.
Watch Episodes From Season One Now:
Watch Episodes From Season Two Now: