While last week's premiere served as the conclusion to the first season cliffhanger of Katherine's arrival, last night's installment of The Vampire Diaries set the tone for its sophomore campaign in somewhat slower-paced but equally impressive fashion.
There's a new vampire in Mystic Falls, one quite unlike any we've seen to date. Katherine is gone, for now, but her presence still looms. The Lockwoods are definitely not human. Bonnie has some serious powers and will not hesitate to unleash them.
Is Mystic Falls ready for a revamped (pun intended) Caroline?
"Brave New World" fleshed out all of these components as brilliantly as we've come to expect, thanks to surprisingly strong acting from a CW series. Katerina Graham, Michael Trevino and particularly Candice Accola were terrific Thursday night.
Watching their characters evolve (literally and otherwise) and new stories come together around the show's core - Elena and the Salvatores - makes this one of TV's best shows. As TVD begins this new chapter, the transition has been smooth so far.
Caroline wishes she could say the same.Unlike Vicki last season, she figures out exactly what's going on all by herself. She is dead. Katherine killed her. Katherine looks like Elena. Now she's becoming one of the undead.
Can she control her urges? She fought them all night, and did a respectable job under the circumstances. Look at her progress, and the body count could have been a lot higher.
Like Nina Dobrev shifting seamlessly between Elena and Katherine last week, it was fun to essentially watch two Carolines - and we have to say, she makes one bad ass vampire.
We didn't know she had it in her, which made for wildly unpredictable drama. It also potentially sets up a reverse Stefan-Elena situation with poor, sweet Matt when he finds out.
Speaking of secrets waiting to be uncovered, Tyler realizes something's up with his uncle Mason, even if he doesn't know exactly what. He can thank Damon Salvatore for that.
Mason and Tyler played into Damon's hand ... and this poor sap paid the price.
Convinced the Lockwoods have supernatural powers, Damon sends a sacrificial lamb to get his a$$ whomped by Mason. This same guy is later devoured by Caroline. Not his day!
Brazilian Martial Arts? We think not. Are those even real? In any case, we have a hunch Mason's werewolf tendencies are about to be revealed, with Tyler's not too far behind.
While Caroline and Tyler are still coming to grips with what they are, there's no doubting Bonnie's power. She was far from pleased with Damon's mind control stunt, and showed it.
The fact that she can paralyze a vampire could make her quite an adversary if she ever declared war on them. Once again, Elena stepped in to save Damon. Seems to happen a lot.
This isn't us. Elena told Bonnie this, breaking her concentration before Damon could be engulfed in flames. But who is "us" exactly? Elena is running out of human counterparts.
There's still Jeremy, one of Damon's growing list of enemies. In typical fashion, he plotted an assassination of Damon, but then couldn't go through with it, revealing his own plan.
Katherine was not present last night, but it felt like it. Everyone is shaken up and talking about her constantly, and clearly she has unfinished business ... whatever it might be.
Random observations and burning questions from last night:
- Did Katherine know Caroline had Damon's blood in her pre-smothering?
- Will Caroline keep controlling her strength, or end up like Vicki?
- What is the power of the moonstone, TVD mystery heirloom du jour?
- Why has no one thought of putting vervain in the town water supply? Eh eh?
- Will the CW fix its sound editing so we can hear dialogue when music plays?
Catch up on our favorite Vampire Diaries quotes now, return to TV Fanatic later today for our Round Table discussion and sound off below: What did you think of the episode?