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TV Review: The Vampire Diaries 7.1 “Day One Of Twenty-Two Thousand, Give Or Take”
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The Vampire Diaries Season 7 Episode 1 Cover

The Vampire Diaries
Season 7 Episode 1: “Day One of Twenty-Two Thousand, Give or Take”
Directed by Pascal Verschooris
Written by Caroline Dries
Created by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec
Starring Paul Wesley, Ian Somehalder, Kat Graham, Candice Accola, Zach Roerig, Matthew Davis, Michael Malarkey, Annie Wersching, Elizabeth Blackmore, Scarlett Byrne, Teressa Liane, Justice Leak, Jaiden Kaine
The CW
Air Date: Thursday, October 8, 2015, 8pm

Who else is still reeling from the season six finale of The Vampire Diaries? The tearjerker episode capping off a twisty-turny, dramatic, exciting season saw the end of Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev). After finding out early on that this was Dobrev’s last season and making my way through the episodes, I remember asking myself: Can a show go on without its main character? But, as I thought about those she left behind, I felt myself caring so deeply about what happens to them, particularly Alaric (Matthew Davis). This guy is arguably the most tragic character in the entire series, and that’s saying a lot since they have all had some pretty bad things happen to them. I found myself describing the main group of young friends — Elena, Jeremy (Steven McQueen), Matt (Zach Roerig), Tyler (Michael Trevino), Bonnie (Kat Graham), and now Caroline (Candice Accola) — as a “generation of orphans.” Thank God they have Alaric…but will he be able to fulfill his fatherly role through all of his understandable grief?

Also, I know this is not a recap of the season finale, but I have to mention that wedding scene. Were they trying to rival The Red Wedding?! Because they came close. As much as I laughed throughout the season about some of the overacting and telling vs. showing in the directing, I was uncontrollably crying in the finale. That was visceral.

This season said goodbye to Sheriff Forbes (Marguerite MacIntyre), Jo (Jody Lyn O’Keefe) — NO! THIS IS TOO MUCH FOR ALARIC/RIC TO HANDLE! — Liv (Penelope Mitchell), Kai (Chris Wood), and the entire Gemini Coven. And let’s not forget Jeremy, for although he is not dead, he is most certainly gone. It appears Tyler is leaving as well. In Elena’s goodbye to him, she tells him to “get out of here” and follow his own path. As hotheaded and annoying as he can be, now that he’s a wolf, he’s finally interesting again. Oh, well.

Now, onto the season seven premiere, Episode 7.1 “Day One Of Twenty-Two Thousand, Give Or Take”!

SPOILERS AHEAD! You’ve been warned!

At the end of season six, we see Matt in a patrol car looking around with Mystic Falls in ruins. This leads to the basic question of the premiere: to what lengths will our protagonists go to ensure safety for their friends, family, and fellow citizens?

More importantly, though, there are SO MANY DIARIES in this episode! I keep have to keep remembering that these actors are playing teenagers, because to me, they just look like grown adults writing in diaries (nothing wrong with that, though)! It certainly does hearken back to the beginning of the show when Elena sat by herself a lot and wrote in her own diary. In a bit of an homage to the recently departed Elena, we see Caroline and Bonnie expressing their feelings in their diaries throughout the episode in order to catch Elena up in the future with their lives. We also meet one of Lily’s “children,” Valerie (Elizabeth Blackmore), who writes in her diary that she is living in a proverbial hell.

Meanwhile, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) is keeping Ric company as they both drink their way through Europe on a mourning tour of sorts. Bonnie tags along to watch out for Damon, even though he lashes out in resentment occasionally. It’s still good to see Ric and Damon back together (I had been hoping for these moments)! Ric is actually putting on a face for Damon; although he does enjoy Damon’s company, he has his own agenda. He sees a medium who is clearly a fake, and when the charlatan pretends to communicate with Jo’s spirit, Ric proceeds to break things and beat him up. He also reveals he lost Jo’s wedding band to the last medium he visited, so I think he is halfway between hoping to find answers and hoping to find more frauds. Later on, we learn that Ric has been paying off the morgue attendant to keep Jo’s body cold and contained and he says that he is planning on bringing her back to life. When the morgue guy looks terrified, Ric acts like it was a joke…but this is Vampire Diaries, so he’s definitely going to do some creepy thing and bring her back and she’s not going to be the same when she comes back! Frankenstein, anyone? “All of this has happened before and all of this will happen again.” Wait, sorry, confusing my fandoms.

Back to REALITY. Vampire Diaries. Caroline is just feeling her feelings! She seems very content in this episode (even though she talks about having a hard time moving on from her mother’s death) and sits upon a bench dedicated to her mom while writing. Stefan (Paul Wesley) comes and they have a super awkward conversation, and both admit it’s uncomfortable. Ever the perfect manpire, Stefan tells her: “You live your life, you heal, and in the meantime, we’re friends.”

Next, we meet a bunch of snobby and flippant “heretics,” or powerful once-Gemini witches who were sired by none other than Lily Salvatore (Annie Wersching), who really remind me of The Originals, but not quite as good. Malcolm (Justice Leak), Beau (Jaiden Kaine), and afterlife couple Nora (Scarlett Byrne) and Mary Louise (Teressa Liane) complain that Lily has been sequestering them, forcing them to drink “three sips a day” of blood, and telling them to blend into society, hiding who they really are. This does not last long. After Valerie gets run over by a hit-and-run driver, Nora and Mary Louise help her track them down. Valerie smashes the driver’s head first and then bites the passenger after taunting her for a minute or so. Nora takes a selfie. Let’s take a moment to discuss how these people have been in the regular 2015 world for about three weeks, and are very well-adjusted! Valerie has learned the art of texting with one hand! Still, in typical old vampire fashion, the bodies are hung upside down for Matt and Stefan to find. You heard me right: Matt and Stefan are like a regular Sherlock and Watson on the path of these marauding mischief makers. I guess all of this mayhem brings people together.

Speaking of odd couples, Enzo (Michael Malarkey) meets with Lily in a bar, and she asks him to procure a strange, glowing red stone which recently went missing (and so happens to be in Alaric’s possession) for her. When she won’t tell him why, and says, “it’s a family matter” (obviously excluding him), he basically tells her to shove off. Throughout the premiere, we are guessing which side Enzo is on, and frankly, I think he’s trying to figure that out himself. Although he ends up injecting Caroline with a needle in the end as an apparent task on behalf of Lily, I believe he will play both sides if he can this season. Only time will tell.

Caroline and Stefan build a bomb together (people who build explosives together stay together?) and Matt and Caroline deliver it to the heretic house. Caroline does what she does best, and plays the happy neighbor, acting as a diversion while Matt places the bomb in a different part of the house. The house explodes, but this demise would just be too easy for our new villains, and sure enough, they’re alive. Nora and Mary Louise have a romantic moment when they realize they can hold hands in public at Matt’s deputy graduation because it’s the 21st century. Rather than relax and stroll in the lovely weather together, the two light the stage on fire and proceed, with their heretic friends, to kill anyone on sight including the entire graduating class (sans Matt). Matt’s going to be sheriff. I’ve been saying this since last season. It’s only a matter of time. I just hope he can keep it together.

Lily is irate by her family’s behavior and says, “The bloodshed ends now.” Ha, ha. Still, a temporary solution is put into place. We see a montage of scenes around town and we hear voiceovers from Caroline, Matt, and Stefan, who explain (in their presumable diary messages to Elena) that they have made up a story for the citizens of the town. They pretend that there is a carbon monoxide leak in the tunnels under the town, and then Caroline proceeds to compel people, door-to-door, to get out of town. This is in exchange for a truce, promising that the goodies and the baddies will live in harmony. And any civilians who choose to stay are “fair game” for the heretics. The town is empty; houses are boarded up and businesses are shut down. Here comes the saddest part: Stefan gives up his home for his mother, Lily, and her new family.

When Damon arrives back in town unannounced, he gets caught up on the situation by Stefan and argues that Stefan needs to try harder and that he’s hanging up his “hero hat for the girl.” To this, Stefan responds, “I’m not doing this for Caroline. I’m doing this for you.” In multiple scenes (one with Matt and one with Damon), it’s clear that Bonnie sides with Damon. She wants her town back. Bonnie and Damon profess their undying best-friendedness to each other and stare into each other’s emblazoned eyes, ready to take on the heretics. Next, we see Bonnie distract “Lily’s pet,” Malcolm, with her magic, while Damon rips his heart out! Nice teamwork!

In the next scene, Caroline finally realizes that she’s not unhappy, but that she will never stop missing her mother. Stefan tells her she must forgive herself for being happy during the bad parts of life. She exclaims: “I am happy. You make me happy. When I’m with you I’m happy.” Happy. Happy. Happy! Happy? And HOORAY, they finally start making out (in the totally appropriate T.V. way).

On The Vampire Diaries, we are accustomed to seeing some awesome flashbacks, but something new this season is the appearance of flash forwards. In the beginning and end of the episode, we see Stefan enter a storage compartment containing two coffins in the New York harbor three years from now. He wakes up Damon from his sleep with a few drops of blood and they are soon dodging wooden arrows and bullets from an unknown assailant. Damon ends with an ominous statement to his brother: “She’s back, and she’s not going to stop until you’re dead.”

What was your favorite or least favorite part of the episode? Did anything surprise you? Share your thoughts with us below!

Videos

The Vampire Diaries – Season 7 – Official Trailer

The Vampire Diaries Season 7 Episode 1 Promo

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