Well, who saw that one coming?
The Vampire Diaries has been throwing curveballs at us since the Season 5 premiere — doppelgangers, anchors, Travelers, mama drama, etc. — but Episode 8 (“Dead Man on Campus”) left our heads spinning. Damon was an Augustine vampire back in 1953? Now we really want to know what this Secret Society at Whitmore is hiding.
It turns out Whitmore has been running experiments on vampires for decades now, and we’re assuming that Damon was one of their first subjects. And before Dr. Wes, there was another FrankenProf poking and prodding vamps. So for over 60 years, this society has been experimenting with vampires, but what was their mission? To create a new kind of vampire — a stronger vamp who doesn’t crave human blood. Instead, these vamps crave vampire blood!
Unfortunately, Jesse was a casualty of this little experiment. Dr. Wes successfully turned Jesse into a vamp, but like all baby vamps, he had trouble controlling his bloodlust. After he attacks Dr. Wes, he calls the only other vampire he knows — Caroline — in a panic. He really doesn’t want to kill his roommate, who is OF COURSE Aaron. Thankfully, Caroline is able to find him just in time before he drained poor Aaron. Caroline sees this as an opportunity for her and Elena to teach Jesse the ways of vampirism — clearly, they don’t know about his thirst for vampire blood. (But to be clear, neither does poor Jesse.)
So the best way for Jesse to deal with his bloodlust is to (obviously) attend a college party with hundreds of human co-eds. The party in question is Elena and Caroline’s dorm party to celebrate being doppelganger free and their bestie Bonnie’s return to the living — they made flyers AND jello shots! Seriously, though. This party is cooler than anything I ever attended in college. (And how did they sneak all of that alcohol into their dorm? Oh, to be young and have the power of compulsion.)
Everyone seems to be having a great time at the party — Caroline and Jesse are making out on the dancefloor, Elena and Aaron are having a heart-to-heart on the stairs, etc. — except for Bonnie, who coming to terms with her new reality as the anchor to the Other Side. It turns out not only did Bonnie lose her ability to practice magic — this means Bonnie is completely useless at this point — she’s also struggling to deal with the pain of being the anchor. She feels every supernatural death. Given the death toll in Mystic Falls alone, that sounds excruciating. But Bonnie isn’t about to let that stop her from making out with Jeremy. (Now that Jeremy has been expelled from school, he has so much free time on his hands!)
Meanwhile, Elena’s convo with Aaron takes a melancholy turn when he tells her just how his parents died. (Who knew one jello shot could make someone so chatty?) Aaron’s parents died when he was six after a family camping trip turned into a grisly nightmare. The poor kid thinks his parents were killed by wolves, but Elena knows it was vampires. This would explain why Dr. Wes is so consumed with his vampire experiments — by turning vamps off human blood, he’s saving countless other mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons.
Upon realizing that Dr. Wes is the only family Aaron has left, she calls Damon — who’s busy torturing Dr. Wes for answers — and tells him not to kill him. This, of course, is hard for Damon, but he obliges. Instead, he settles for a flesh eating virus. But their little interrogation is spoiled by Jesse, who’s freaking out because he accidentally bit Caroline and he really, really liked it. He goes after Dr. Wes, but when he smells Damon’s delicious vampire blood, he lunges for Damon. (Dr. Wes forgot to tell Damon how his Augustine vamps have super vamp strength.) Just when it looks like Damon might be dunzo, Elena rushes in and STAKES Jesse.
Unfortunately, Caroline witnessed the entire heartbreaking scene. We really felt for Caroline as she cradled Jesse’s ashen body in her arms. She truly wanted to help him — and she thought Elena did, too. But Elena insists she had no other choice. Caroline, on the other hand, has always harbored distaste for Damon, and she thinks Elena is oblivious to her boyfriend’s dark and dangerous past. (This is definitely going to boil over soon.)
While going through Maxfield’s blood bags in his lab, Damon discovers a blood bag taken from an Augustine subject. He recognizes the code name on the bag, and suddenly, we finally have a reason to care about Augustine! It turns out Damon was an Augustine vampire back in 1953. For over 60 years, Damon believed the Augustine society was extinct, and just as he was about to torture Wes for more answers, the savvy scientist breaks out of his restraints, douses the room in atomized vervain, and knocks Damon unconscious. When Damon wakes up, he finds himself back in his same old cell — eek!
Does this mean Damon craved vampire blood at some point, too? Or was he a failed subject? Perhaps this will explain why Damon was such a bad guy when we met him way back in Season 1. He’s clearly carrying a lot of emotional baggage. Did he also suffer from PTSD at some point?
If so, Stefan could really use a few tips. Crippled by his PTSD, Stefan wants to drink the pain away. Luckily for him, Katherine is the perfect drinking buddy. So Stefan and Katherine meet up to drink and commiserate together — and in an effort to take his mind off Silas, Kat decides to give Stefan’s “life a purpose.” His new mission involves Nadia — Katherine’s daughter — and Matt, who unfortunately has been possessed by Nadia’s Traveler boyfriend.
Thanks so a little interrogation, Katherine finds out that after Silas, the Travelers’ next target was Katherine, so Katherine does what Kat does best and saves herself by killing Gregor. (It turns out that dagger was the only want to truly kill a Passenger — aka a Traveler who possesses another body.)
Nadia is not so happy that her mom killed her true love, but hey, it’s kill or be killed. However, Katherine was so down her unfortunate aging, she decides to kill herself. Luckily, Stefan finds her suicide note and is able to save her from committing suicide.
She jumped off the clock tower, ready to end it all, but Stefan was there to save her. He even gave her a pep talk! "You're Katherine Pierce. Suck it up." Did you see those sparks?! Katherine and Stefan are totally hooking up, and honestly, a Katherine/Stefan/Elena triangle sounds way more compelling than what we’re used to.
$#*! Vampires Say
“I mean, what dorm has a fireplace?”
“The only mystery guy I want to make out with is you.”
“His memory is back, and he remembers he hates us.”
“You translate, you drink.”
“The first rule of being a vampire is realizing how awesome you are.” OH, IS THAT RIGHT, ELENA?
“I think I’m madly in love with him.”
“I would much rather be getting drunk right now.”
“You’re Katherine Pierce. Suck it up.”
What did you think of “Dead Man on Campus,” TVD fans? Sound off in the comments!