[Warning: Spoilers ahead from "Bring It On."]
"I don't care."
That's what the new Elena (Nina Dobrev) wants everyone in Mystic Falls to think in the return episode of The Vampire Diaries. Elena without a soul may be far more entertaining to watch, with her deadpan delivery, countless zingers and truth bombs, but to her friends, it's another hurdle they must deal with.
Following the fiery death of Elena's only remaining blood relative, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen), and the disappearance of her humanity -- thanks to Damon (Ian Somerhalder) -- this new Elena proved to be a major force in "Bring It On."
The biggest moments from Thursday's episode:
8:02 p.m.: A good Samaritan becomes Elena's first feed in a long while. And it's ironic that it's Damon who has to scold Elena about feeding on innocent bystanders: "We agreed no killing!"
8:04 p.m.: Is this the beginning of The Originals? Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) have an encounter in the middle of the night, naturally. Klaus knows he's the only one who can protect Hayley, and he wants to know exactly what's going on with her and Katherine.
8:05 p.m.: This soulless Elena is already entertaining to watch. She re-emerges from the Salvatores' vervain-free shower in the nude, catching Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon off guard. "What? It's nothing you haven't seen before." Truth. When a warning not to eat anyone becomes commonplace, you know the show has traveled light-years away from what it was.
8:10 p.m.: Elena is back in full cheerleading form, and she has her eye on a particular cheerleader as her next feeding victim. The poor girl should have given Elena her blue ribbon! Well, next time.
8:15 p.m.: A wrinkle arises when the Salvatores and Caroline (Candice Accola) realize that since Damon turned off Elena's humanity, the sire bond that connected Damon to Elena is no longer in effect.
8:19 p.m.: Elena's first cheerleading routine in a long time ends horribly, to say the least. When she fails to catch Caroline, who falls with a major thud on the pad, it's enough to make Stefan and Caroline suspicious of this new Gilbert.
8:25 p.m.: "I know where you take someone to have a good time," Stefan says before he surprise attacks Elena with a shot of vervain following her move. Slick, Stefan. Very slick.
8:27 p.m.: Rebekah (Claire Holt) questions why Damon wants to the find the cure. After all, the sire bond is broken, so why continue on the search, she wonders.
8:30 p.m.: "You're really going to keep stripping in front of me? That's mature," Stefan says after Elena wakes up from her vervain-induced nap.
8:32 p.m.: Elena throws a big party at the Salvatore house. Why not?
8:40 p.m.: Sorry Klaroline fans, looks like Klaus is moving on to Hayley. They'd be a fiery pair.
8:48 p.m.: "Life sucks when you're ordinary," Damon says to Rebekah about being human.
8:49 p.m.: An epic battle in the woods between new Elena and Caroline, after Elena hurt her mother. Here's an Elena zinger to end all zingers: "You're probably too busy butting into other people's businesses!" And this, too: "You fight like a girl!" Ouch.
8:54 p.m.: "When her emotions are off, she's the worst version of herself," Stefan reassures Caroline, who says this: "Her life sucks, Stefan. Why would she come back to us?" Even through all the bad she's done, Stefan still maintains there's some good in Elena.
8:55 p.m.: Elena grapples with which version of herself she wants to be. From her perspective, it doesn't matter that Damon is the way he is. "To be honest," she tells him, "I like you better like this."
8:56 p.m.: All throughout the episode, Caroline leaves Tyler (Michael Trevino) voicemails, hoping that he'll hear them and get back to her. Unfortunately for her, she finds Matt (Zach Roerig) at his house, and a letter revealing that he won't be coming back any time soon (and he left Matt the deed to his house!).
And there's that Originals connection: Klaus discovers a mark on Hayley's back that traces all the way back to Louisiana and a powerful werewolf group. Meanwhile, Damon and Elena go on yet another road trip, this time to New York City.
Notable quotables and some observations:
- Damon: "I know it's controversial, Stefan, that people actually want to have fun."
- Sheriff Forbes: "It's been a rough week." Tell me about it.
- Who wants to see Damon's full list of things Klaus is crappy at?
- Klaus: "Painting is a metaphor for control."
What are your thoughts on Thursday's return episode?
The Vampire Diaries airs at 8 p.m. Thursdays on The CW.