Season 2, Episode 2 (“Brave New World”)
I don’t know how she [Caroline] does this all the time
Well because she’s not human obviously
Elena just wants to have a normal day. With her best friend in the hospital, she is taking over her duty of running the school carnival. Her life can’t be about vampires all the time. But as she is saying all of this, her best friend is becoming one. When the show started, Elena’s only real connection to the supernatural world was her vampire boyfriend and her witch best friend. But since then she has discovered that her mother is a vampire, she has an evil doppelgänger who is also a vampire, and now one of her best friends since childhood is one as well. It’s good that the show gives her all of these other connections to this world so that it’s not just about her boyfriend. Even if Elena had never met Stefan, all of these things would still be true (well maybe not Caroline).
This episode largely focuses on Caroline’s transition. It is the first episode that really centers on Caroline and she is the first major character to turn. Though Vicki’s transition was very important, she dies so early on that it is hard to consider her a major character. Vicki’s transition impacted mostly just Matt and Jeremy, with some of the other characters just having to deal with it. Turning Caroline though was a great move to bring more of the cast into the supernatural drama, and have it matter to a lot more people. Caroline’s transition will have an impact on almost the entire cast. She is Bonnie and Elena’s best friend, Matt’s girlfriend, and the sheriff’s daughter. Her mom also happens to hunt vampires. In season 1, Caroline was mostly a side character whose major traits were being insecure, sometimes shallow, but overall well meaning. No one took her very seriously and she was constantly forgotten by her best friends. She has never been a particularly strong person, can she find strength in becoming a vampire or will it destroy her? Moving forward the questions are, how will she handle this transition? What kind of vampire will she be? Is Damon right that she will end up dead just like Vicki? Or can Stefan help her keep her humanity?
Another new supernatural entity is the mystery of the Lockwoods. In this episode, Damon has decided to focus his obsessive tendencies on solving this mystery. He and Stefan notice that Mason is stronger than a human, but not as strong as a vampire. Also, all of that anger/aggression that Mason and Tyler have is likely related to what they are and Damon uses this to get a supernatural response from Mason. When the carnival worker is compelled to pick a fight with them, Mason is able to jump in a non-human way and his eyes turn yellow like we saw Tyler’s do in the season 1 finale. Damon mentions that these signs point to werewolves but doesn’t really consider that possibility at this point because “this is reality, and there is no such thing as werewolves” which is a funny statement considering he is a vampire.
As Caroline is becoming a vampire, some of our other characters are still struggling to figure out where they stand on vampire in general. Bonnie is still angry at them for what happened with her grandmother and then the tomb vampires. She is devastated to find out that Caroline has turned and takes it out on Damon. She blames him for what happened (though this one really is not on him) and she tries to kill him. Elena stops her saying that regardless of what any of them have done, this can’t be the solution. If they kill them, then they are no better. Jeremy also attempts to kill Damon, but stops himself realizing that he doesn’t really know where he stands on vampires but he feels he should have one. Anna was a good vampire which led him to believe that maybe vampires were good but just misunderstood (like him). But Damon tried to kill him for no reason other than he was angry. Vampires, like humans, are just categorically good or bad – they are complicated.
This was another strong episode, season 2 is off to a great start. With Caroline’s transition and Tyler’s supernatural revelations the only main cast member to not be a part of everything is Matt. But with his connections to both of these characters, he feels relevant. Those three characters felt the most irrelevant in the first season so it is great to see that the show maybe always had a plan for them.
Episode Grade: A-
- Mason asking Tyler some very obvious questions, does his aggression have patterns, once a month, only at night….
- Bonnie and the carnival worker are attracted to each other but that dude looks 35
- Damon: “Jeremy! So good to see you alive”
- Caroline compels the nurse to believe that the bite on her neck is from her kinky husband. That is definitely a cover story Caroline would come up with.
- The scene between Caroline and Stefan in the bathroom was very sweet as he is able to calm her down and teach her how to control herself. Then following with the scene with Matt where she is able to control herself. Maybe Damon underestimates her!
- Damon: “Except it was 1864, and people knew how to whittle”
- Matt: “I came to see if today’s basket case period had expired” not exactly a nice thing to say to your girlfriend Matt. She almost died, let her be emotional.
- Body Count: 1, Caroline kills the carnival worker