"The Vampire Diaries" is back, and for just a moment it's possible to pretend that the season opener might ease into the action. Caroline and Elena are skipping off to college just like regular girls who drink beer instead of blood, talking about laundry days and where to put the panini press, while devoted Damon has promised to keep the flame alive long distance while babysitting Jeremy. This makes me miss old, bad boy Damon just a little bit, as he seems to be one step away from wearing an apron and making French toast, but he's still his snarky self, so I'll let it pass. These first few moments are as charming as they are jarring, as we know "The Vampire Diaries" never lets our vampires relax for long. 

Caroline and Elena get a roommate... for a minute I was wondering if Meghan would be a burr under Caroline and Elena's saddle for longer than an episode, but I'm sure that the challenges of building storylines around hiding blood bags from the pesky human and trying to resist the urge to eat her would have gotten old. No, Meghan serves a far more important purpose -- she's going to set up a mystery that suggests Elena's plans for a normal college career were doomed to failure long, long before she made them.

Meghan is killed by what we suspect is a vampire (right after she calls Elena and Caroline for help, which seems an odd choice as there's this thing called 911, but okay), and not only do the police deem it a suicide (can you say compelled?) but Elena finds something sinister in Meghan's phone -- a photo of the dead girl and Elena's dead dad. The upside in this curious mystery is that Caroline will be able to distract herself from the fact Tyler is blowing her off to counsel werewolves and Elena will have an excuse not to study. I'm hoping this conspiracy ties back to Mystic Falls in some fashion, and hopefully it opens the door to new characters (isn't that what college is all about?), as so many have skipped town for NOLA and "The Originals."

Though I knew full well Caroline and Elena couldn't simply concern themselves with keg parties and pledging sororities at college (and if they did, we'd never forgive them), this seemed a sad ending to their new endeavor. Watching those hopeful faces crumble in the face of bloodshed was, albeit familiar, still sad. When we are reminded that these characters are just teenagers who haven't completely shed their human hopes and dreams, it adds a needed context to all the supernatural stuff. And speaking of that...

Silas is back! We knew this had to happen, and even though I will always love Good Stefan, I am rather enjoying Paul Wesley's Christopher Walken-esque take on Silas. It's not entirely clear why Silas wants Katherine, but he wants her REALLY bad, and a human Katherine is just as pathetic as you'd expect. "Have you ever tried to run in heels?" she screeches at Damon. "I have blisters!" Of course, it's not going to be easy for her, devoid of any vampire powers, to stay one step ahead of all-powerful, mind-reading, super-compelling Silas. She can't even keep her hair straight. Still, as she callously leaves Jeremy to die after he crashes their car (granted, crashing it on the way to deliver her to Silas via Damon), I suspect she may be far tougher to beat than any other human. While I wasn't entirely buying that a simply slash of the razor would slow Silas down the first time he attacked her, I suspect he's going to take his time with this task because, well, he can. 

Bonnie is having a crappy death Oh, Bonnie. Even in death the poor witch can't catch a break. After frantically texting her friends and somehow convincing her dad she was on a whirlwind tour of Europe, it all comes to naught when Silas uses her dad as a disposable blood bag. I hate to see Bonnie cry, even dead ghost Bonnie, and watching her sobbing over Jeremy, then sobbing over her dad, I'm starting to feel as if the show had better give her something more to do before she becomes a depressing plot point. 

Matt's European vacation had some nasty side effects At first, it seems as if Matt had the best summer of any of his friends. He and Rebecca hump their way through scenic Europe, and even engage in a threesome -- with a chick who steals their stuff. Alas, she also takes the daylight ring. Matt is rightly suspicious when she shows up in Mystic Falls to return it, but he's still not prepared to be grabbed and... well, I'm not sure what the guy did to him, but Matt's eyes turned black and I can only assume it's not good. 

Will Stefan flip the switch? Many times we see Stefan in his underwater grave, struggling, gasping, then falling limp. As he struggles, he imagines Damon and Elena talking to him, urging him to either flip his switch (and turn off his humanity) or cling to his humanity like a life raft. I'm guessing Stefan will have to flip his switch at some point, though it didn't happen in this episode. He's right to be hesitant, as Ripper Stefan is not a great one to have around and awfully hard to switch back. But I also suspect that Ripper Stefan may be a useful tool if he can be harnessed toward fighting his doppelganger Silas (sidebar: best line of the episode was Damon sneering, "If I'd have known I'd be saying doppelganger so often, I would have learned how to spell it). Of course, time will tell if there's anything that's effective in fighting Silas, who has recruited the entire town of Mystic Falls to help him find Katherine. This is one Big Bad who will not go down easy, if at all.

Do you think Stefan will flip his humanity switch? What do you think has been done to Matt? What do you think the story is with Caroline and Elena's dead roomie?