The Vampire Diaries S07E01 “Day One of Twenty-Two Thousand, Give or Take” Review
Airing in the UK on ITV2, Weds 11pm
Writer: Caroline Dries
Director: Pascal Verchooris
Essential plot points:
- Damon, Alaric and Bonnie start the episode in Amsterdam. Alaric is apparently drinking a lot after the murder of his bride Jo during their wedding. Damon is watching over Alaric and pining over Elena. Bonnie is watching over Damon to make sure he fulfils his promise to Elena that he wouldn’t give up on life while she slept.
- We are introduced to Lily’s family, the five Heretics (vampire-witch hybrids). Lily is trying to make them lay low for a while and ration their blood intake so they don’t attract too much attention and become hunted again.
- This doesn’t go to plan and two of the Heretics, a couple named Mary Louis and Nora, brutally murder two teenagers who ran over a third Heretic, Valarie, and left her for “dead”.
- This doesn’t go down well with Stefan, Matt and Caroline so they find out how to make a bomb from Alaric (via mobile, obviously) and they try to blow up the Heretics in their hideout house.
- The Heretics turn out to be a lot harder to kill and in revenge they attack Matt’s police academy training class’s graduation killing nearly everyone ; they are stopped by Lily before they can kill Stefan, Matt and Caroline.
- They decide that no one is safe so evacuate the entire town by coming up with a story about a gas leak. They make a deal with Lily that if anyone trespasses into the town then they are free game for the Heretics to feed on.
- Alaric was only pretending to be drunk and he slips away to beat up a fake psychic in Amsterdam who claims to be able to speak to Jo’s spirit. He shows the psychic a red stone ball, the same thing that Lily asks Enzo to find.
- Enzo refuses saying that he is not an errand boy. But his loyalty comes into question on both sides because he is trying to stay friends with Damon and Caroline while also being part of Lily’s family.
- Stefan and Caroline finally kiss (yay!).
- After hesitating before saving Bonnie from being hit by a truck in Amsterdam, Bonnie questions whether Damon wants her dead. Damon tells her he couldn’t live without her even though he would have Elena back if she died and called Bonnie his best friend (aww).
- Alaric goes to the hospital morgue and pays the mortician to keep Jo’s body on ice while he finds a way to bring her back from the dead (newsflash – Lazarus Pit no longer available).
- Damon and Bonnie decide to fight the Heretics on their own to save their town so they ambush the one called Malcolm and rip his heart out putting the pack Stefan made in jeopardy.
- The Heretics find the body and Lily vows to kill the person who did it.
- Enzo goes to Caroline’s house and it appears that he finally picks a side when he injects her with vervain.
- Jump forward three years and Stefan wakes Damon up from a coffin to ask him for help, just as they’re attacked by a mysterious woman in shadow.
This is the first episode of the new Elena-less era of The Vampire Diaries and it was interesting to see what the cast and crew did with the gaping hole left by the show’s former main character. It’s not often that shows can continue, or at least continue as strongly, having lost the character around whom the show used to revolve. But with a load of other great characters – Bonnie, Damon, Stefan and Caroline – to draw upon the episode shows that The Vampire Diaries can remain as strong as ever.
All in all it was a strong first episode of the new season. The writers handled Elena’s absence well and have set up an exciting enmity between the heroes of Mystic Falls and the Heretics. Their mixture of vampire and witch make them formidable and seem unstoppable. It will be interesting to see how Caroline, Stefan, Damon, Bonnie and Matt cope and which of them survive the season.
- The episode starts with Caroline writing in her diary everything that’s happening so that when Elena eventually wakes up she won’t feel like she’s missed out on anything. It feels like it’s taking The Vampire Diaries back to its roots a little bit and is reminiscent of the first season.
- Another nice touch was linking up the last shot of the previous season with this episode. That was the shot with Damon standing on top of the clock tower looking over what appeared to be a post-apocalyptic, deserted Mystic Falls. It was a confusing but exciting vision to be left with and left you eagerly wondering what disaster could leave Elena’s hometown in such a state. The disaster turned out to be Lily and her family, perhaps some of the most merciless villains in The Vampire Diaries so far.
- And of course Caroline and Stefan finally kiss! This was something fans waited for for most of last season. First of all it was Stefan hesitating because he never really even considered a relationship with Caroline, then it was Caroline hesitating after the death of her mother and she turned off her emotions and went into crazy mode! But finally they both see that life (or vampire life) is too short not to be with someone who makes you happy. Let’s see how long this relationship lasts…
- Speaking of relationships, Bonnie and Damon’s friendship is extremely enjoyable to watch. The cutting remarks and sort-of-serious-but-not-really suggestions of each other’s demise are interspersed with genuine care and concern for one another. Being trapped in the prison world with each other for so long left a lasting unbreakable connection between these two which is good because they are stuck together until Bonnie dies and Elena wakes up!
- With Lily’s family there were too many new characters introduced at once. One of them, a mute by the name of Malcolm, was so unmemorable you probably struggled to recall who this review was talking about when his name was mentioned earlier.
- It’s only the first episode so most of the Heretics haven’t shown a solid personality yet but they should have established Malcolm a little bit more before offing him.
- Alaric’s story is interesting but there are potentially worrying issues with it for anyone who’s an Alaric fan. He’s gone rogue and has taken it upon himself to eliminate fake psychics by beating them up. Although his motives come from a good place (he berates them for swindling bereaved people who are at their lowest point and just want to contact a love one) he clearly knows he is doing something wrong and out of character because he pretends to be drunk and sneaks away from Damon and Bonnie to hide it. Alaric has always been the good guy and he should stay that way.
Review by Georgina Tyson