To quote Katherine Pierce, “I like Elena-less Stefan.” We do too, Kat.

If you thought losing the Originals — especially vulnerable villain Klaus — was going hurt The Vampire Diaries Season 5, think again. In the Season 5 premiere (“I Know What You Did Last Summer”) Paul Wesley steps up to the plate and makes a delightful foe as Silas, Stefan’s evil, and very immortal, doppelganger. Even poor Stefan is inherently more interesting as he contemplates switching off his humanity at the bottom of the quarry. We haven’t cared this much about Stefan since his Ripper days in Season 3. Consider us intrigued, Julie Plec.

The Vampire Diaries begins its fifth season like an homage to a Nicholas Sparks movie. We hear Bonnie and Elena tell each other about their summers via heartfelt letters. Of course, what Elena doesn’t know is that Bonnie is very much dead — but it’s she’s a little too busy hooking up with Damon in every room of the Salvatore mansion to notice. In fact, no one’s noticed that Bonnie is dead, which we think is a little ridiculous considering how close Elena, Caroline, and Bonnie are.

But alas, they think their bestie is travelling the world when in reality, she’s dead and instructing Jeremy to lie to his sister. (Also of note, how does Elena not recognize Jeremy’s handwriting? Did he spend all summer trying to mimic Bonnie’s — or is Elena having too much hot vampire sex with Damon to care?) Jeremy doesn’t exactly want to keep the charade going, Bonnie thinks it’s for the best. After all, Elena and Caroline are starting their freshman year at Whitmore, and she doesn’t want to worry them. Ugh.

Dear Bonnie, stop being such a hopeless martyr. This is why you died in the first place. If you’re going to stick around Mystic Falls, please make yourself useful and drag Alaric back from the Other Side. Love, Crystal.

Back at the Salvatore mansion, Elena, who’s awoken from her post-sex slumber, is helping Jeremy craft the perfect cover story for his sudden reappearance in Mystic Falls. The best one they could come up with? “I was looking for attention, so I lit my house on fire and faked my own death.” Clearly, Jeremy is going to have a rough time at school. Back to the stoner wall you go, Jer.

Then it’s time for Elena and Damon to say goodbye, and we never thought we’d say this, but it’s fun to see Damon act like a boyfriend — and he’s surprisingly good at it. Their goodbye is short and sweet. (Caroline is waiting in the driveway with a panini press and she can’t afford to be late for registration, natch.)

The College Years

Enter Whitmore College, where hot upperclassmen have frat parties and Lorde’s “Royals” is played on repeat. Caroline, being her signature Type A self, has micromanaged this moment down to which appliances go where. She’s also enrolled Tyler into classes for fall — even though he’s up in Appalachia helping a werewolf pack. Seriously bro, you whine about Klaus and coming back to Mystic Falls and then when he basically gets the OK to return, he passes? That’s lame. Not to mention, Caroline is upset. After all, she’s had a vision of what college would be like — and it included her BF and her two BFFs. (Because that’s realistic and not controlling at all, amirite?)

However, Caroline doesn’t have too much time to be upset about Tyler because just as Elena and Caroline are about to toast their frosh year with a pint of O neg, in walks their new roommate Megan — aka the girl from Disney Channel’s Lemonade Mouth. Caroline is not pleased. She’s signed up for a unrealistically large double, not a triple.

Elena takes this surprise in stride, opting to embrace college instead of stressing over their roommate situation. Caroline, however, puts on her b---- face and lays down the law. But just when we think Care is overreacting, she goes to take a sip of Megan’s vitamin water (out of spite, natch) and realizes it’s vervain water.

Whoa. Does Megan know they’re vampires? Caroline thinks Megan could be a hunter, but Elena wants them to play it cool, so they go to a frat party hosted by Jesse, a cute upperclassman who takes an immediate interest in Caroline. (Seriously?! How many men can this girl have?) In order to convince Megan that they’re normal girls, Elena and Caroline go to the party. Unfortunately, they realize they have to be invited in, which leads to an awkward doorway encounter with Megan.

Just when they think their cover has been blown, Megan calls Elena frantically screaming for help. Seconds later, she’s thrown from the roof of the frat house. When Elena and Caroline inspect the body, it looks like a vampire attacked her. Is there a vamp on campus? When the girls return to their room, they find some of Megan’s belongings missing, including a “suicide note” someone used to cover up her death.

But that’s the least of Elena’s troubles because when she looks through Megan’s phone, she finds a photo of Megan — with her dad! We know Mr. Gilbert went to Whitmore, but what connection does he have to Megan? And why is the campus trying to cover up her death?

As for Caroline, she later receives the call she’s been dreading. Tyler tells her that he’s doing to defer school for now. The werewolf pack needs him, and he can’t turn his back. Caroline starts crying, and our hearts break for her — even if we think it’s Karma for not going to New Orleans with Klaus. Sorry ‘bout it, Care Bear.

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

We know Elena feels guilty for breaking Stefan’s heart — she even tells Caroline that she’s been having dreams about him — but isn’t it a little funny that both Damon and Elena think it’s perfectly normal that Stefan hasn’t called in three months? Damon doesn’t even realize something is up when he sees “Stefan” for the first time and the two share an awkward hug. It’s apparent that these two want to keep living in their fantasy world.

But that all changes when Katherine comes back into the picture. She approaches Damon for protection. Throughout her 500+ years of life, she’s acquired more than a few enemies. Not to mention human life isn’t treating Katherine so well. “I have blisters, Damon!” she cries. Kudos to Nina Dobrev for such a stellar performance. Katherine was always a cocky scene-stealer, but Nina has managed to show Katherine’s human vulnerability — in a hilarious way.

Damon isn’t so willing to help Katherine, be we know how he has a soft spot for the original doppelganger who broke his heart, so he lets her clean up in the bathroom. (Because homegirl was a hot mess.)

Enter Silas, who Katherine believes is Stefan. Paul is just insanely good when he’s playing bad, and suddenly, I’m shipping these two more than I ever did Stefan and Elena. Stelena fans, if your OTP can’t be together on-screen, at least their doppelgangers have insane chemistry.

But it becomes clear that the man before her isn’t Stefan when he tries to kill her. Katherine may not have vampire speed anymore, but she’s still learned a thing of two from her days on the run. She manages to escape and run into Damon, who tells Jeremy to take Katherine and not to tell him (Silas can read minds).

It looks like Silas needs Katherine — he even got inside Sheriff Forbes head to try and get it — and the only way that’s going to happen is if he offers Stefan’s whereabouts to Damon in return for Katherine. So Damon calls Jeremy and tells him to come back to Mystic Falls. Katherine gets spooked and purposely crashes Jeremy’s car and leaves him for dead on the side of the road.

Thankfully, Damon finds Jeremy in time to save it. He promised Elena he would take care of him, and he wasn’t about to let her down 48 hours after she left. Of course, when Elena calls, he doesn’t exactly mention Jer’s near-fatal car crash… or that he got expelled from school for getting into a fight… or the fact that Stefan is at the bottom of a quarry… or that Silas is back.

Speaking of Stefan, the poor guy has been trapped at the bottom of a quarry all summer, drowning repeatedly. Not to mention he’s been suffering from dangerous hallucinations that try to convince him to turn off his humanity. Just when it looks like Stefan has had enough and turn it all off, Elena appears in his vision. “Your humanity is the one thing that makes you who you are. Don’t let go. Please Stefan, for me.” Uh-oh. We’re beginning to feel like the Damon-Elena-Stefan love triangle is far from over.

As for Silas, he’s taking his hunt for Katherine to the next level by enlisting the help of every Mystic Falls resident. It appears that he consumed enough blood over the summer to basically control the entire town. His mind games are serious, and just to prove a point, he kills Bonnie’s dad in front of the townspeople and Bonnie! Poor Bonnie is heartbroken and sobbing, but her father can’t see her — she’s a ghost. Sad times for all, except for Silas, of course.

Three’s a Crowd

Matt “Perfect Human” Donovan went from getting no action to becoming Mystic Falls’ top scorer. During his romp around Europe with Rebekah, they have a ménage à trois with European thief Nadia. However, Nadia left in the morning with her clothes, Rebekah’s jewelry, and the Jeremy’s Gilbert ring, which he had given to Matt. But Matt doesn’t seem to fazed by it back in Mystic Falls. (Hey, three months of YOLO’ing will do that to a person.)

As a fan of Mabekah, it was hard to watch Rebekah say goodbye to Matt. We knew their European adventure was nothing more than a “no strings attached” summer fling, but there was something about these two that really worked. Before Bekah heads off to New Orleans, she leaves Matt with one final message: “Don’t call. Don’t write. And whatever you do, don’t you dare miss me.” Aww. OK, that was a near perfect way to end this relationship. Besides, she’ll get more action in N’awlins anyway.

For Matt, however, what happens in Prague didn’t stay in Prague. When Nadia shows up in Mystic Falls with the GIlbert ring we think she just followed him back to return it, but that wasn’t all she wanted from Matt. Seconds after she slips the ring back on Matt’s finger, her accomplice grabs Matt from behind and zaps him with something witchy. (Excuse us while we go play Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” on repeat.)

We’re not quite sure what kind of mess Matt has gotten himself into, but we’re just happy he’ll be getting more screen-time this season.

Notable Quotes

  • “I was looking for attention, so I lit my house on fire and faked my own death.” — otherwise known as TVD Logic 101.
  • “You’re going to drink cheap beer and protest things you don’t care about.” — We’re glad being blissfully happy hasn’t ruined Damon’s snarks.
  • “You bought a panini press?” — Typical Caroline Forbes.
  • “Don’t call. Don’t write. And whatever you do, don’t you dare miss me.” — Elijah may be one for epic entrances, but clearly, Rebekah is an expert at saying goodbye.
  • “I’m unkillable, I’m immortal, and I’m psychic. And to function, I need human blood… but don’t you ever call me a vampire.” — Why does Silas hate vampires so much?
  • “I have blisters, Damon!” — Katherine, we love you. Please don’t get yourself killed.
  • “I like Elena-less Stefan.” — Again, please don’t die.
  • “If I have to hear the word doppelganger one more time, I think I’m actually going to have to learn how to spell it.” — Damon pretty much sums up TVD.

    What did you think of the premiere, TVD fans? Sound off in the comments!

    Catch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, October 10, 2013, at 8 p.m. ET on The CW, followed by the series premiere of Reign.

    Crystal Bell is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment and our resident fangirl for all things The Vampire Diaries. Follow her on Twitter and Google+!

    Credit: Celebified Photo: Paul Wesley Moves On From Ex Torrey Devitto With His Vampire Diaries Co-star Phoebe Tonkin