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Pilot - Recap

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This episode begins with Stefan Salvatore's voice in the dark. He states plainly that he is a vampire. He's been in hiding for over a century.

A couple is driving along a wooded road at night. There is a figure in the road and the male slams on the brakes. The figure hits the windshield and goes rolling as the car comes to a stop. The blond in the passenger seat screams. The male driver gets out to check on the lifeless form. There is a ring and a blur of movement as the figure springs to life. She gets out of the car and turns to head toward where the body was a moment ago. It's vanished and, instead, suddenly the driver's body drops with a thud to the asphalt from out of nowhere. The neck has been ripped open. She screams once more but it's lost in the air as something drags her up and forward.

Stefan's voice splits the dark. He's atop the ridgepole of a roof. Effortlessly, he jumps and lands. He admits he should have stayed gone but felt drawn back to Mystic Falls.

Recently orphaned Elena Gilbert has her knees pulled up to her chest with her diary splayed out across them. She's writing about starting over and being someone new. She gets up and gets ready, giving one last glance in the mirror to a picture of her family. She looks heartbroken. In the kitchen Aunt Jenna asks if she wants toast. Elena reaches for a pot of coffee instead and gets joined by her baby brother, Jeremy Gilbert. Jenna comments on how unprepared she is for this day and asks again if they want lunch money or maybe a number two pencil. Instead of accepting the money, like her brother does, Elena asks about her appointment. The meeting was set for right now. Jenna gives an apologetic smile and heads out. Elena turns her gaze from Jenna to Jeremy. She questions if he's okay and he shrugs her off with a teenage attitude. Frustration lines Elena's face as she turns to finish her coffee. Behind her on the television the news about the mysterious couple in the woods. Their bodies have been found.

Elena catches a ride to school with Bonnie Bennett, who begins rambling about her family. Elena stares out the window of the bug only partially hearing her friend. Bonnie's Grandmother thinks she's psychic. There's a story about being descendants of witches. Bonnie verbally considers having her Grandmother committed before hitting on what few accurate predictions she has made. Elena drifts into a daze as they pass the cemetery. Bonnie gets her attention. In a smart-aleck moment, Elena prompts her to go ahead and predict something. Bonnie predicts a good year and that all troubles are behind them. There is a loud smack as a crow flies into the windshield. Bonnie asks a very dazed Elena if she is okay. She says she is, as a crow appears on the top of the street sign.

Dark and Brooding, Stefan walks into Mystic Falls High and heads to the office. Elena and Bonnie are at the lockers and Elena's eyes meet Matt Donovan's, her former boyfriend. Caroline Forbes comes running up and hugs her. She asks how she is, and then begins to speak to Bonnie about Elena in third person. Elena reminds her that she is standing right there.

Outside, Jeremy is giving Vicki Donovan, Matt's sister, drugs and smoking with her. Tyler Lockwood joins and embraces her. He and Jeremy trade insults. Vicki tells him to back off because Jeremy is Elena's kid brother.

Elena and Bonnie have moved to just outside the office door and are admiring Stefan's backside as he is talking to the secretary. She informs him that he is missing transfer papers and his immunizations. He removes his glasses and stares at her intently for a moment. He is compelling her to forget she needs any additional information and allow him into school.

Elena spots Jeremy walking in half-stoned. She grabs him and asks him where it is. She says that she's done watching his destruction. She adds that she will ruin his buzz all the time. She throws open the bathroom door and literally runs into Stefan as she's exiting. He asks if this is the Men's room. She stutters out a yes and tries for an explanation. She laughs it away and they go to move at the same time.

After school Elena cuts thru the cemetery. She sits down opposite her parents headstones and pulls out her diary. She begins to write about making it through. Looking up, she notices a crow and tells it hello. A fast-moving ground mist rolls in. She rises and shoos the bird away but it doesn't budge. Grabbing her stuff, she heads for the exit and a partial male figure appears in the mist behind her. Branches stick out in her way and she trips, landing on her rear. Getting back up in a rush of adrenaline she begins to move again. Getting back up, in a rush of adrenaline, she begins to move again. She gets turned around and, once again, comes face to face with Stefan. She asks if he's trailing her and he says that he's visiting family there. She comments that her attack on him is due to the fog and apologizes. She mentions how the crow was out of a movie and how nice his ring is. The ring looks similar to the one worn by the attacker in the middle of the woods. It's a family heirloom, he states, but his eyes darken. He asks if she's hurt. She has a deep cut on her leg and it's bleeding. He turns, telling her to go home and take care of it. She insists it's nothing. The veins around his eyes darken and his pupils turn red, but she doesn't see it. She turns back from looking at the wound to face him, only to find him gone.

Evening falls and Stefan's voice is heard. He sits at his desk. He writes about losing control around her.

Across town, Jeremy enters The Grill and tries to get Vicki's attention. She brushes him off and heads to serve her brother and Tyler. Matt questions Tyler's status with his sister. Tyler denies anything is going on, with a grin on his face, belying the truth. Vicki heads back to the counter and Jeremy confronts her about her two-faced behavior. She tells him not to interfere with her relationship with Tyler. He tells her that Tyler is using her. She accuses Jeremy of doing the same since the moment she took his virginity.

Elena says goodnight to Jenna. New to the role of parental guardian, she tells her not to stay out late. Elena opens the door and runs into Stefan again. He apologizes for leaving so abruptly earlier. She makes a comment about blood making him squeamish. Pulling out her diary, he hands it back and assures her he didn't read it. He would not want someone reading his. She turns to grab one last item and tells him he doesn't have to wait out there. She doesn't invite him in though. Instead, she does ask him if he wants to go to The Grill with her. They enter and see Matt and Bonnie already present. The table positions change to allow all three girls, plus Stefan. In a short amount of time they drag out that he, too, is an orphan. He also isn't speaking to some unnamed sibling. Caroline announces that since he is new in town, he probably doesn't know about the party at the falls tomorrow night. She invites him.

Later that evening, at the Salvatore Residence, Stefan is confronted by his nephew, Zach Salvatore, several generations removed. Zach shows him a newspaper depicting the wooded scene with the murdered couple earlier. Stefan denies any involvement on his part. Zach tells him there had been peace for several years now. He states that some of the older town members remember the past horrors. Zach says that it has been quiet for awhile. Zach goes on to tell him he should never have come back. Zach exits and Stefan goes to a tall cabinet across the room. He opens it to show years’ worth of journals. Some of them have dates on them and some do not. Picking up one that is leather bound, he opens it. Inside is a picture of what appears to be Elena. The caption beneath reads “Katherine 1864.”

Stefan, Elena, Bonnie, and Matt are in history class at the high school the next day. Mr. Tanner, their professor, requests statistics on the death count at the Battle of Willow Creek. This battle occurred in Mystic Falls. He seems to take pleasure in punishing those who do not have a correct answer. Stefan breaks this streak. He not only knows the correct count but can account for an additional 27 civilians that Mr. Tanner cannot.

At the party, Stefan enters and uses his better-than-human hearing to listen in on what Bonnie and Elena are saying. He starts to walk over but Caroline interrupts. When Bonnie questions where Stefan is, Elena makes her pinpoint him with her supposed psychic intuition. Bonnie agrees and Elena hands her a beer bottle as a makeshift crystal ball. When Bonnie goes to grab it she looks as though she's been hit with electricity. She tells Elena that she sees a crow and fog. Bonnie breaks the mood by going to get a refill. Elena had kept her eyes on her friend so when she turns around she is face to face with Stefan for the third time. A comment is made that he keeps doing this to her. Breaking off from the rest of the party, Stefan and Elena discuss the fact that he is mysterious and she is sad. This leads to a conversation depicting how her parents died and the fact that she was there when it happened.

In another part of the forest, Vicki and Tyler are caught up in a heated moment. Tyler tries to push her past what she is comfortable doing. Jeremy gets in the middle of it and sends Tyler on his way. Instead of being grateful for his assistance, Vicki insists that he is trying to get into her heart and into her head. She thinks that he will dump her when he's through using her. It's clear, to Vicky, this is worse.

Somehow Stefan and Elena have gotten onto the subject of her and Matt. Elena admits there was no passion in their relationship. The moment is gone when she has to ask him about his eyes. They have darkened and the veins are pronounced. He makes an excuse about getting them a drink and walks off. Matt takes advantage of the fact that Elena is alone and announces that he has no intention of giving up on them.

Vicky is walking through the woods alone. The same fog from earlier in the graveyard rolls in. She turns and comes eye-to-eye with someone.

Stefan attempts to re-enter the party but gets stopped again by Caroline. He tells her she's had too much to drink and she agrees. He tells her that this pairing, he and she, is not going to happen. Continuing on to Elena, he inquires if Caroline is like this with every male. Elena informs him that the fresh meat phase will pass. Jeremy stumbles into view and Elena switches gears to go deal with him. Unable to walk straight, he is headed away from his sister when he trips and falls. He lands on Vicki's body. Her neck has been ripped open but she is alive. Jeremy carries her back to the party and Matt screams for 911 to be called.

Ducking out of the commotion, Stefan heads back to the mansion and informs his nephew of the attack. He adds that it wasn't him and he heads upstairs. The mysterious crow flies past and a figure appears on the balcony. Stefan's eyes follow the bird and land on Damon Salvatore, his brother. It's been 15 years since they have seen each other. Stefan tells him it was reckless to leave Vicki alive. Damon agrees, it is reckless, for Stefan. It was done intentionally to cast a shadow on Stefan's entry into Mystic Falls. Stefan asks him four times why he has come back. Damon tells him it amounts to one word and mentions Elena's name. Damon comments on the fact that she is a twin for Katherine. He goads Stefan into attacking him. They both tumble out of the window and into the courtyard below. Stefan's ring has been taken but Damon gives it back before picking him up and throwing him again. He informs his brother that he lost the contest of strength with him when he ceased feeding on humans.

At the party, Vicky is loaded into an ambulance and Matt climbs in as well. Bonnie says she is going to fill up on caffeine at The Grill and wait for news. She also tells Elena that whatever she saw when she grabbed the bottle, is only the beginning. Elena heads to check on Jeremy and tells him that he needs to move on. Jeremy comments on her habit of writing in the cemetery and suggests she take her own advice.

At The Grill, Caroline is still drunk. Caroline has always made things a contest between her and Elena. She’s upset that she keeps losing, especially when she is the only one trying to win. Bonnie gets up to pay the bill and Damon is revealed to be at the table behind them. He smiles to Caroline and gets one in return.

Hours later, Vicki wakes in the hospital. She says one word to Matt, "Vampire".

Elena's voice splits the night. She says she was wrong. Stefan's breaks it up. He talks about a life without his past. Their voices join and they both mention a life without pain. They each take turns continuing to speak as they write in their respective journals. Jeremy is on the couch, clutching a picture of his parents.

This episode ends with Elena doing the one thing that had prevented Stefan from coming in before: she issues an invitation.

- Erica Bedow