5.01 I Know What You Did Last Summer
- "If I hear the word doppelgänger one more time, I think I’m actually going to have to learn how to spell it."
Original air date October 3, 2013
Written by Caroline Dries Directed by Lance Anderson
Edited by Tony Solomons Cinematography by Darren Genet
Guest cast Max Calder (Student #2), Jesse Haus (Student #1), Claire Holt (Rebekah Mikaelson), Hayley Kiyoko (Megan), Hans Obma (Gregor), Rick Worthy (Rudy Hopkins)
Previously on The Vampire Diaries Paul Wesley
It’s college move-in day for Caroline and Elena, and Damon tries to keep things in check at home with human Katherine, extra strong Silas, and Little Gilbert.
While the season begins with its characters all over the map (underwater, on the Other Side, in the mountains of Appalachia . . . ), the episode manages to unite the storylines through each character’s desire to hold on to some form of normalcy after a summer that held them in various states of limbo — some of them way more fun than others.
Some opt for fresh starts in new surroundings, but Matt chooses the good ol’ reliable world he knows. He’s back in his Grill T-shirt because he needs a paycheck, and Rebekah’s “one more chance” to go with her to New Orleans doesn’t even tempt him. Tyler, a character fated to another thin season, literally phones it in this episode, leaving Caroline a voicemail wherein he chooses to focus on his supernatural side (helping a wolf pack) over freshman courses at Whitmore with his girlfriend.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Caroline and Elena struggle with their new normal in a storyline that explores that tension between a fresh start and bringing the past with you to the dorm, along with the small appliances. That conflict is created by doomed-from-the-start Megan: how will the girls manage to keep their supernatural secret from a vervain-waterdrinking roommate? Determined not to be outed as vampires on their first day at college, the roomies have amusingly opposing reactions, with Caroline suggesting the old route (capture, compel) and Elena successfully arguing for a diabolical alternative: act like normal and fun-loving human college students, a.k.a. fake it ’til you make it. “What’s the point in going to college if we’re just going to recreate what happens in Mystic Falls?” asks Elena, convincing Caroline to give it the old college try. These two as roomies is highly entertaining so far, and Caroline’s hilarious and sweet turn in this premiere signals a more Caroline-heavy, and nuanced, season than we saw in season four — from her neurotic control freakiness over the Megan situation to the perfect mix of emotions Candice Accola gives us as Caroline reacts to the news that Tyler won’t be joining them at college.
Remember back in season one when Elena told Damon that she “used to be more fun”? Well, gloomy graveyard girl is on hiatus in “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” Bonnie is right: Elena does look happy at Whitmore — thanks to a summer of lovin’, free of supernatural drama. Elena’s ignorance is her bliss, and her “normal college experience,” quite expectedly, is shortlived. The girls can’t even enter the party house, thanks to being vampires. Pretend as they might, they can’t deny what they are or outrun the past. What at first seems like a simple touching moment turns out to be a hint at a mystery to come: Liz tells Elena that her father fell in love with medicine at Whitmore College, and by episode’s end Elena has found a photo of her dead dad on her dead roommate’s cell phone. What does the vampire-hating good doctor Grayson Gilbert have to do with Megan?
Before Bonnie’s father is rudely interrupted (and then murdered) at the town’s end-of-summer barbecue, Mayor Hopkins says that family is one of the core values of the Mystic Falls community. But “I Know What You Did Last Summer” gives us families splintering and separating, which forces the characters to find connection outside their bloodlines. In the least tragic of situations, Caroline is treated to her empty-nest mom in tears, and then sheds some of her own. Lying in a strange new bed, her parent no longer a room away to console her, she relies on the comforting presence of her roommate and friend to get her through the heartache. It’s about as normal as it gets on The Vampire Diaries, especially Caroline’s earnest “I’m really glad you’re here,” said through her tears. By episode’s end, Liz Forbes is the only living parent of the core characters, and she acts as a surrogate parent to Elena when she moves the girls into their dorm room. Between the schlepping of boxes, the adorable “mom ears” comment (overhearing Caroline say that Damon and Elena have been “shacking up” all summer), and her tearful embrace of Elena, Liz acts as a stand-in for Grayson and Miranda Gilbert, reminding Elena that attending Whitmore is part of her family tradition.
The new Gilbert tradition? Struggling through the end of high school orphaned. It’s not clear what Jeremy did all summer (other than forge emails and postcards for Ghost Bonnie), but it’s obvious that Elena was way more focused on fooling around with Damon than on being her little brother’s keeper. (Which, fair enough.) The Gilbert siblings’ rehearsal of what lies to tell the school about Jeremy’s death and the Gilbert house fire are certainly necessary but a far cry from “normal.” With Elena off to college, and his actual little brother M.I.A., Damon is in the position of surrogate older brother, so he steps into Alaric’s old role as unofficial official guardian to Jeremy.
Now with two little brothers, Damon feels like he’s failing, and when he learns from Silas that Stefan has been suffering all summer long, he realizes he has. Silas’s suggestion that Damon has just been deluding himself into thinking that everything was fine, that Stefan would ever just leave and not get in touch, that it would be that easy, hits a nerve. While his initial reaction to being alone with Jeremy is that this guardianship will be very hands-off, by episode’s end, Damon shows just how much his feelings about Little Gilbert have changed since the beginning of the series. This episode offers a few choice callbacks to earlier seasons, tweaked for the new era that is season five, but none so poignant as Damon saving Jeremy and giving him a little hug as he comes back to life — now his protector, not his murderer.
Resurrected Jeremy struggles with the return to his old life, managing to get expelled on his first day back at school. Picked on for being the freak who faked his own death, he reacts as if he is battling a supernatural creature and not a run-of-the-mill teenaged jerk. Jeremy’s unaccustomed to his hunter strength and agility and the necessary secrecy that goes along with being mystically endowed, but his new roomie Damon is already teaching him the ropes. The tension between these characters has always made for great tv, and, awesomely, Jeremy is not too shy to bring up the whole “you killed me” thing. With Elena away at college but still very much present in their lives, their dynamic takes on new complications. Damon is keen to keep the darkness away from her; he withholds the truth about Katherine, about Silas and Stefan, about Jer’s expulsion and near death, so that she can go on enjoying her new college life. It’s as close to being a normal, supportive boyfriend as Damon is capable of, given the circumstances. And though it’s likely to blow up in Damon’s face at some point, Jeremy goes along with it. He’s used to keeping major secrets.
Bonnie Bennett shares Damon’s motivation. She refuses to drop the ruse that she’s still alive, forcing Jeremy to dupe her loved ones. It’s another lie that’s sure to be revealed soon with the way these TVD writers like to blaze through storylines. Bonnie’s putting on a happy face in the first half of the episode: she tells Jeremy that she feels lucky to be able to talk to her best friends from beyond the grave, she wants Elena and Caroline to have their happiness, and when she stands beside them at college, unseen, it’s a bittersweet and lonely tableau. She’s there, and they have no inkling that she’s dead. As the episode progresses, an increasingly frustrated Bonnie hits the limitations of her ghostly existence: she can’t help Jeremy convince Damon that Silas is back, she can’t help Jeremy when he lies dying in the road after the car collides with a telephone pole, and most heartbreaking of all, she can’t do anything to stop Silas from murdering her father in cold blood. While, on an intellectual level, she knows she is dead, knows that she’s present but unable to truly be a part of what’s going on, her new reality is brought painfully and horrifically home when she witnesses Silas’s demonstration of strength in the town square. Unaffected by his mass mind control but unable to stop him, she watches as Silas slits her father’s throat.
The episode’s “Previously On” narration says, “We’ve all made sacrifices,” but true suffering is visited upon Bonnie and Stefan. Characters who have been punished rather than rewarded for their selflessness and sacrifice, they struggle to hold on under the weight of excruciating situations. Though Bonnie is (for the most part) alone on the Other Side, she has found ways to still be a presence in her loved ones’ lives, and in an inverse of that situation, Stefan finds a way to keep his loved ones with him, even as he is alone in a nightmare. The horror of being trapped for months in a coffin-like prison, waking, drowning, dying, and then doing it all over again with only his own tormented thoughts for company, is a little too much for anyone’s brain to handle. Stefan basically mind-whammies himself, as we’ve seen vampires do to others in the past: he hallucinates his home — open space and daylight and sustenance — and, in the shape of his brother, Stefan tells himself to give up and turn off his emotions. While he’d still be in physical pain in the underwater safe, if he flipped his switch, he would lose all the emotional torment. And he very nearly does choose that option. Stefan may have a literal, external shadow self in Silas, but he also has split selves within: the conflicting voices in his head arguing for this or that course of action, which he personifies as Damon and, finally, Elena. Stefan seems surprised by her appearance in the final hallucination (though it’s his own imagination that has conjured her), and he draws from her words the strength he needs to hold onto his humanity, just as he did during their brief phone call on the night of her 18th birthday when he was tethered to Klaus and on the path back to ripperdom. Stefan well remembers the last time he flipped his switch, and his Elena apparition urges him not to let go. “Your humanity is the one thing that makes you who you are” — sage advice from one doppelgänger to another. While there are some differences in physical ability between Silas, the original immortal, and his vampire knock-off, what makes Stefan Stefan and not just Silas’s “shadow self” is his humanity, and Stefan knows it. He finds a way to experience light in the darkness, and the hallucination sequences are masterful from a technical standpoint, as are the stark transitions in and out of those moments. While “Graduation” had Stefan resolving to let go — of Elena, of Mystic Falls — here he chooses to hold on to what his love for Elena inspires in him. It’s a poignant reminder that the people you love are with you even when you’re alone.
But what if you’ve spent 500 years deceiving, using, cheating, killing, and making enemies and running from them? Enter Katherine Pierce, Human Edition. She now understands how much work mere mortals put in to looking even one percent as good as she normally does, and Katherine remains delightfully Katherine in “I Know What You Did Last Summer.” Like the girl who hung herself to escape Klaus and Rose and Trevor, Katherine solicits help from Damon but as soon as she realizes she’s reached the limit of his goodwill, she scrambles to save herself. The scene in the car with Jeremy is a prime example: Jeremy goes along with the rescue mission but gives her the silent treatment (after all, he’s been ordered to protect the person who fed him to Silas, left him for dead, and unleashed all kinds of hell on earth), but when he turns that car around to deliver her to Silas, Katherine kicks into high gear, negotiating for her life with all she’s got. When her pleas fall on deaf ears, Katherine Pierce doesn’t accept her fate: she changes it. Crafty and quick thinking, she crashes that car and leaves Jer for dead — again. Still integral to Silas’s plan (for reasons yet to be revealed), our girl is back on the lam, bruised and bloody, in a bathrobe and bare feet, no less. TVD may have lost a villain we loved to root for when Klaus left to be King of New Orleans, but Queen Katherine is proving more than capable of filling that role this season, scrambling to survive no matter who she has to leave in her dust.
With Katherine as willing as ever to kill off Jeremy to serve her own interest, it’s a good thing Damon is in Hero Mode, because with his brother trapped in the quarry, Bonnie dead, Matt brain-zapped by mysterious and sexy foreigners, and the college coeds out of town, he’s leading a lone charge against the impressively villainous Silas. Introduced last season wearing all manner of disguises, Silas reveals his true self and personality in “I Know What You Did Last Summer” — a snarky, all-knowing villain who hits where it hurts, and not just with physical violence. He casually reminds Damon that Stefan has historically been the Chosen One when it comes to their shared lady loves; he points out to Katherine just how vulnerable and weak she is; even poor Liz Forbes gets a dig (“Eating your feelings?”) before being sliced into. Silas is clearly experimenting with the limits of his abilities — chugging blood all summer. But the biggest question isn’t how many people he can dupe in one go, it’s the one he flat-out refuses to answer: what is his plan? What does he want with Katherine? As the one who consumed the Cure, she’s got very special blood running through her veins. A bold new villain wearing a hero’s face, Silas seems intent on not only compelling the townsfolk into helping him find Katherine, but on revealing the selfdelusions that plague the characters.
Damon has deluded himself into thinking that Stefan really would just disappear for three months, cool with his big bro shacking up with Elena, and send nary a text message to assure anyone that he’d not spiraled into ripper mode. Elena herself has been plagued by unease and dread — something’s wrong with Stefan, and she can feel it — but she’s been pushing those feelings aside, assuming they are just the workings of her guilty conscience, as Caroline argues. And Caroline is herself deluded about her relationship with Tyler. Silas hints at a season-long concern when he asks Damon, “How well do you know your brother?” In a season full of characters not knowing those closest to them and not recognizing when something is terribly, terribly wrong — like a loved one is imprisoned in a safe underwater or has been dead for three months — the gang is unable to admit how far from okay their reality is for fear of losing the little glimmer of happiness they are experiencing.
No normal college party free from murder-by-vampire. No pleasant town event without the Mayor’s shocking death. No threesome in Europe without supernaturally dicey consequences. Whether a few hours away at Whitmore College or back home in Mystic Falls, the gang’s drama-free summer has come to a brutal and bloody end.
- COMPELLING MOMENT Silas murdering the Mayor in front of the silent and still crowd, Bonnie’s screams and cries as her father is slain the only sounds. Absolutely chilling.
- CIRCLE OF KNOWLEDGE
- Tyler doesn’t appear in this episode, but his voice is heard when Caroline picks up his voicemail.
- I Know What You Did Last Summer is a 1973 young adult suspense novel by American writer Lois Duncan. Nine months after a hit-and-run accident that kills a 10-year-old boy, the four teens who were in the car are confronted with their past sin as a vengeful Someone Who Knows escalates from creepy notes to violence. Julie James, a happy senior whose love for cheerleading and socializing disappeared after the life-changing incident, plans to escape the past by attending college far from home. Her ex-boyfriend Ray Bronson comes back to town after a year away, having realized that you can’t outrun your past. The 1997 film adaptation, starring Jennifer Love Hewitt, Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, and Ryan Phillipe, was penned by Vampire Diaries cocreator Kevin Williamson, who reimagined the story as a straight-up slasher film.
- In the threesome scene, Nadia says to Rebekah in Czech, “I want you.” Rebekah and Nadia’s smooch is the first same-sex kiss on the series.
- Bonnie’s email has one line that we don’t hear in the voice-over but is visible onscreen in Elena’s Gmail: “And I’m assuming no one’s heard from Katherine since you shoved the vampire cure down her throat?”
- It wasn’t until most of our characters had graduated for the series to give us Mystic Falls High School’s principal. Principal Weber calls the Salvatore house to report Jeremy’s hallway brawl. Damon later uses compulsion on Principal Weber (offscreen) so Jeremy won’t be expelled from school; he gets a “generous three-day suspension” instead.
- Silas prefers to use the term “shadow self” over doppelgänger, which pulls in the Jungian concept to the relationship between Silas and Stefan. Swiss psychologist Carl Jung (1875–1961) wrote about the “shadow” as the darkness within each individual’s “self” that is cut off from his or her conscious being. “We carry our past with us,” said Jung in 1937. For someone to be cured of a looming shadow self, Jung said, “it is necessary to find a way in which his conscious personality and his shadow can live together.” The idea being, if one ventures into the “darkness” of the self and brings the self and shadow into a “precarious unity,” then it’s possible to assimilate the dark side rather than be overwhelmed by it (which Jung felt was the inevitable result of denying and repressing it). “The hero’s main feat is to overcome the monster of darkness,” wrote Jung, referring to the victory of the conscious self over the subconscious urges. In TVD, Silas and his shadow self are a peculiar inverse of this concept — with Stefan as a carbon copy of who Silas was before his crime against Nature (the immortality spell), a shadow of the self that is arguably less evil and dark than the original or prime consciousness.
- The lady doppelgängers share a fondness for baths: at the start of the episode, Elena indulges in a bubble bath while Damon plies her with champagne and asks her to stay; later, Katherine takes a bubble bath in the same tub, only her experience is much less relaxing . . . since Silas tries to kill her.
- THE RULES Bonnie can communicate with Jeremy, because he can see ghosts, but they can’t touch each other. Her death undid her spell that encased Silas in stone (“The Walking Dead,” 4.22). As a ghost, Bonnie has no magic.
- Silas unloads a lot of important fun facts regarding his capabilities. First of all, do not call him a vampire. He’s an immortal; vampires are just perverse knock-offs of him. He is unkillable and has vampire-style healing abilities (though a little slower, judging by his recovery time from Katherine’s retaliation), he needs to drink human blood in order to sustain himself, he does not have super speed, but he does have super psychic abilities — mind control, mind reading — and the more blood he drinks the greater his ability. (R.I.P. mayor #3.) And while there haven’t been any psychic powers the likes of Silas’s, Bonnie’s spirit-magic abilities first manifested as psychic (like her uncanny ability to correctly guess what’s in the Gilbert kitchen drawers in “Friday Night Bites” [1.03]); through physical touch, she was able to learn that Mason and Katherine were a secret item and that the moonstone was hidden in a well in “Plan B” (2.06).
- When Jeremy touches Silas, he gets a chill where his hunter’s mark used to be — akin to the way a witch can tell someone’s a vampire by touch.
- Silas states that the creation of a shadow self, or doppelgänger, was Nature’s retaliation for him becoming immortal: a killable edition.
- PREVIOUSLY ON THE VAMPIRE DIARIES Tyler’s excuse for missing his first semester at Whitmore is a familiar one: he tells Caroline that he’s helping a wolf pack in Tennessee. After Bill Forbes told Tyler how he must break his sire bond to Klaus in “The Ties That Bind” (3.12), Tyler left town and later returned to Mystic Falls a changed man in “Heart of Darkness” (3.19), having broken free of the bond by turning deliberately a hundred times in the Appalachian Mountains. When Klaus and Stefan searched for werewolves to turn into hybrids, they found a pack in the Appalachian Mountains (“The Hybrid,” 3.02).
- Jer’s excuse about faking his death plays into his character, albeit the one we were introduced to in season one: erratic, a drug user, troubled.
- We first saw Whitmore College in “The Five” (4.04), when Bonnie, Elena, and Damon went to scope out the school and met the professor who took over Sheila Bennett’s Occult Studies class, Atticus Shane.
- Silas reminds Liz that they “met before” when he impersonated her daughter — a moment we didn’t see from “Pictures of You” (4.19): by the time we see Caroline returning home, Silas was role-playing as Liz.
- By forcing the car crash, Katherine nearly kills Jeremy — again. She attacked him in “The Sacrifice” (2.10), when he attempted to retrieve the moonstone from the tomb where she was trapped, and she killed him in “Down the Rabbit Hole” (4.14) by feeding him to Silas.
- Silas taunts Damon, refusing to tell him what he’s up to because it’ll be more “fun” that way; not a far stretch from season one Damon, who irked his brother with his smart-ass villain comments like in “The Night of the Comet” (1.02), “That’s for me to know and you to dot dot dot.”
- Last time Stefan was missing for a summer, Damon and Elena spent every waking moment trying to track him down (“The Birthday,” 3.01), but they spend this summer assuming Stefan has left town of his own volition, as he told them in “Graduation” (4.23).
- OFF CAMERA Caroline Dries calls “I Know What You Did Last Summer” her proudest writing moment of the season, “because it felt funny and fresh and like a really good start to the season. Also, every department was ‘on’ — all the actors were fresh, the directing was inspired, the editing was fantastic. Everyone kind of nailed it.”
- This episode marked Claire Holt’s final recurring guest star appearance on The Vampire Diaries as she made the transition to a regular on The Originals. She admitted to ET Online that she was surprised at Rebekah and Matt’s European adventures when she read the script. “Even when we were filming [the threesome scene], I thought, ‘Are we allowed to do this?’ We’re getting very risque in the 8 p.m. hour . . . All bets and clothes are off!” Olga Fonda revealed that it was the very first scene she shot when she arrived on the Atlanta set. “I call it an ice breaker,” she told E! Online. “I got to tell you, Claire and Zach are amazing. They made that scene so easy and so fun and so wonderful that I’m very thankful for them.”
- Kat Graham was excited about Bonnie’s lack of powers now that she’s dead, particularly the moment where she can only watch helplessly as Silas murders her father. “You’re going to see a character who is already vulnerable because her power got taken away,” she told Zap2It. “But I also think you’re going to see a side to her that’s a bit more powerless. She’s wanting things to change and realizing the reality of the situation she’s in now.”
- As for Silas, who returns to Mystic Falls masquerading as Stefan, Paul Wesley provided insight into the Big Bad’s cocky nature. “[Silas] isn’t intimidated by anything,” he told TV Guide. “He’s 2,000 years old and finds himself to be supremely more interesting and sophisticated.” As for Silas’s unusual method of drinking blood, which we see him perform on Sheriff Forbes, Wesley explained, “He doesn’t feed on people, he thinks it’s gross and primitive, so he manipulates people into cutting themselves and pouring their blood and then he drinks it; he’s a little snobby.”
- FOGGY MOMENTS The lid and straw to Liz’s drink cause some continuity problems, disappearing and moving from shot to shot, as Silas is mopping up her wound before walking away. But perhaps more curiously: why did no one in the town square see Silas cut Liz’s wrist and drain it into the cup?
- We see how Bonnie is able to email her friends from the Other Side (thanks to Jer) but how does she send postcards that are (a) in her own handwriting and (b) postmarked from all over the country?
- Back in “The Five,” Elena and Damon were able to waltz right into a party at Whitmore College, their only invitation a flyer, but here Elena and Caroline are barred from entry because they haven’t been invited in by the homeowner, even though they have a flyer and the verbal invite from Jesse. So only some frat houses at Whitmore have legitimate tenants?
- Why does Caroline care if the authorities hear the voicemail Elena left for Megan? It was a deliberately innocent-sounding message about leaving the party.
- In “The Walking Dead” (4.22), Silas’s victim, whom we saw in the hospital drained of blood, had his wrists slashed, and Silas gives Liz a slice at the block party in this episode. Does Silas have fangs and refuse to use them, or did those come with the vampire upgrade too?
- Where did Silas get the large volume of blood he consumed over the summer?
- The mystery of poor Megan! When was that photo taken of Megan and Elena’s dad? How did they know each other? How did she end up as the girls’ roomie? Did she know they were vampires, or did someone give her that vervain-laced “protein water” to protect her from her roommates? Who killed her and why?
- Matt’s eyes turn black after Nadia’s friend performs some sort of spell. What did he do to Matt? What language was he speaking? Are Nadia and her friend witches? Did she know what the Gilbert ring was when she stole it? Will she be returning Rebekah’s earrings as well?
- Resurrected Jeremy is still a hunter, Silas still lives . . . Does that mean there are still four other hunters (or hunter potentials) out there?
- Katherine is reluctant to try turning into a vampire for fear she will just stay dead. What would happen to Katherine if she tried to turn?
- Who will volunteer to be the next mayor of Mystic Falls?
- Tyler says he is “helping” a wolf pack. How? Unless the entire pack of them are newbie werewolves who need help sorting out how to handle the full moon (and the psychological ramifications of realizing you’re a werewolf), Tyler has no skillset to offer them — no hybrid bond to break. Does he just not want to return home after Klaus lifted his exile in “Graduation” (4.23)?