|This article is about Pilot, the first episode of the first season and series premiere of The Vampire Diaries. You may be looking for Pilot, the zeroth episode of the first season of The Originals.|
|“||Dear diary, today will be different. It has to be. I will smile, and it will be believable. My smile will say "I'm fine, thank you." "Yes, I feel much better." I will no longer be the sad little girl who lost her parents. I will start fresh, be someone new. It's the only way I'll make it through.||”|
— Elena Gilbert to herself.
DESIRE, HEARTBREAK, ENVY, REDEMPTION, FEAR, AND RAGE, BEGINS NOW — Four months after the car accident that killed their parents, Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) and her younger brother, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen), are still trying to move on with their lives. As the school year begins, Elena is intrigued by a handsome and mysterious new student named Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley), who came from another school, and the two are immediately drawn to one another, with Elena not realizing that Stefan is actually a century old vampire. When Stefan's older brother, Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder), arrives in Mystic Falls, an old rivalry between the two is awakened that could be the ruin of Elena and the town. Sara Canning, Katerina Graham, Candice Accola, Zach Roerig, Kayla Ewell and Michael Trevino also star.
- This is the pilot/first episode of The Vampire Diaries.
- Antagonist: Damon Salvatore.
- This episode marks the first time a main character is an antagonist.
- Elena and Damon share no scenes in this episode.
- Darren Malloy and Brooke Fenton are the first characters to be seen in the series and first characters to be killed on the show. Their names appear on the television behind Elena in a news broadcast.
- Brooke Fenton appears to be carried off, suggesting her attacker had limited flight.
- This is a supernatural ability that vampires no longer have, though they do have the strength and ability to jump extremely high.
- This is the first episode to feature all main characters.
- The main characters are introduced in the following order Damon, Stefan, Elena, Jenna, Jeremy, Bonnie, Caroline, Matt, Vicki and Tyler.
- According to Elena's phone when she's reading Bonnie's text, the date displayed on the phone says September 7, 2009, which is a Monday. Thus the first episode takes place over a three day period, September 6–8, 2009.
- The front door of Elena's house has a window in it only in this episode because filming of the series moved from Vancouver, Canada (where the pilot was filmed) to Atlanta, Georgia (for the rest of the series thus far).
- 935 is the house number of the Gilbert House.
- Nina Dobrev portrayed Katherine in this episode, but only in a photograph; she doesn't actually appear as Katherine for the first time in flashbacks until Lost Girls.
- Elena's conversation with Stefan in the cemetery reveals that they have both English and French class as well as History class with Mr. Tanner.
- The "history" comment is also foreshadowing; both to the fact that Stefan had a relationship with someone who looked like Elena previously, and the fact that Stefan and Elena technically met once before their run-in in the boy's bathroom at the high school, when Stefan rescued Elena from the car wreck that killed her parents.
- We see Stefan stop himself from feeding off Elena when he smells the blood from her leg injury. He vamp-speeds away when she isn't looking at him.
- This is the first episode of the first chapter of Season One, The Vicki Chapter.
- In this episode, it is revealed that the car accident that killed Elena's parents occurred four months prior.
- The first post-teaser scene features Stefan standing on the roof of the Salvatore Boarding House, staring off into the woods. This echoes Stefan's first scene in The Awakening, as he stands in the woods before school.
- Elena sits by the window as she writes in her diary. She is later watched by a crow as she makes her way to school.
- Bonnie jokes about being a psychic.
- Caroline begins her rivalry with her best friend Elena.
- Mystic Falls, Virginia
- Darren Malloy and Brooke Fenton - drained of blood, killed by Damon Salvatore.
- During the scene where Elena Gilbert and Bonnie Bennett are together in the car, a crew member was crouched down behind the back seat.
- Kat Graham, who plays Bonnie, actually ran through a stop sign in the opening scenes when she's with Nina in the car.
- It is the only episode of season one to have audio commentary with it on the DVD/Blu-ray.
- The scene where Elena catches Jeremy trying to hide the fact he did drugs was filmed at 2:00 am in the morning.
- When Elena and Stefan are in class and answering questions, the male sitting behind her is actually older than Mr. Tanner in real life, as said by Julie Plec in the commentary.
- Paul Wesley (Stefan Salvatore) revealed in interviews that his naturally pointy "canine" teeth went unnoticed until he arrived on set for the pilot shoot in Vancouver.
- According to Paul, he was cast less than two weeks before shooting began in Vancouver. Upon winning the role, he immediately went to a book store to buy and read the series.
- Nina Dobrev (Elena Gilbert) said the showrunners gave the entire cast journals to chronicle their experience during the Vancouver shoot.
- Director Marcos Siega asked his Twitter followers for music suggestions during editing.
- In screener copies of the pilot, "Panic Switch" by Silversun Pickups is used in the opening scene, but the show was unable to get clearance for air. "Sort Of" by Silversun Pickups was used instead.
- This was the only episode to be filmed in Vancouver, British Columbia. The rest of the episodes have been filmed in Covington, Georgia (which doubles as the fictional small town of Mystic Falls, Virginia) and various other communities around Greater Atlanta  to take advantage of local tax incentives.
- James Blunt is an English singer-songwriter known for his acoustic soft rock.
- Barack Obama is the 44th President (2009-2017) of the United States.
- Heath Ledger was an Australian actor who died accidentally from the abuse of prescription medications in January 2008 at the age of twenty-eight.
- Air Supply is a soft rock duo who rose to fame in the late seventies/early eighties with hits such as "Lost in Love", and "Making Love Out of Nothing At All."
- Pete Wentz is the bassist for emo/pop-punk band Fall Out Boy. He's known for being fond of black eyeliner and nail polish.
- Carson Daly rose to fame in the late 1990s while hosting MTV's Total Request Live (TRL).
- Hitchcock refers to Alfred Hitchcock, the British film director responsible for classic psychological thrillers such as the one Elena is alluding to—The Birds.
- First appearance of Elena Gilbert.
- First appearance of Stefan Salvatore.
- First appearance of Damon Salvatore.
- First appearance of Jeremy Gilbert.
- First appearance of Bonnie Bennett.
- First appearance of Caroline Forbes.
- First appearance of Matt Donovan.
- First appearance of Vicki Donovan.
- First appearance of Tyler Lockwood.
- First appearance of Jenna Sommers.
- Stefan first met Elena on May 23, 2009 before the events of "Pilot." They are reunited four months later as seen in this episode, although this time Elena gets to "meet" Stefan for the first time.
- Stefan mentions that he has not seen Damon for fifteen years.
- The episode Black Hole Sun, later reveals what happened between them the last time they saw each other, which was on May 10, 1994.
- Damon and Elena have no scenes together, although Damon does mention Elena, implying that he is aware of her. However, it was revealed in the The Departed, that he met Elena before Stefan and subsequently compelled her to forget their encounter.
Behind the Scenes
- This episode had about 4.91 million viewers in USA, making it the most watched episode to date.
- Technically, this episode is unnamed. The term "Pilot" is traditionally used in the entertainment industry to identify the first episode of a television series.
- Stefan: "For over a century, I have lived in secret-- hiding in the shadows, alone in the world. Until now. I am a vampire, and this is my story."
- Stefan: "I shouldn't have come home. I know the risk, but I had no choice. I have to know her."
- Elena: "Dear diary, today will be different. It has to be. I will smile, and it will be believable. My smile will say, "I'm fine, thank you." "Yes, I feel much better." I will no longer be the sad, little girl who lost her parents. I will start fresh, be someone new. It's the only way I'll make it through."
- Elena: "Dear diary, I made it through the day. I must have said "I'm fine, thanks" at least thirty-seven times. And I didn't mean it once. But no one noticed. When someone asks "How are you?", they really don't want an answer."
- Stefan: "I lost control today. Everything I've kept buried inside came rushing to the surface. I'm simply not able to resist her."
- Elena: "Dear diary, I couldn't have been more wrong. I thought that I could smile and nod my way through it. Pretend that it would all be okay."
- Stefan: "I had a plan. I wanted to change who I was. Create a life with someone new, someone without the past."
- Elena: "Without the pain."
- Stefan/Elena: "Someone alive."
- Elena: "But it's not that easy. The bad things stay with you."
- Stefan: "They follow you. You can't escape them. As much as you want to."
- Elena: "All you can do is be ready for the good. So, when it comes, you invite it in, because you need it. I need it."
- Elena: "Were you following me?"
- Stefan: "No, I, uh, I just, I saw you fall."
- Elena: "Uh-huh. And you just happened to be hanging out in a cemetery."
- Stefan: "I'm visiting. I have, uh, family here."
- Elena: "Oh. Wow. Tactless. I'm sorry. It's the fog. It's making me foggy. And then back there, there was this bird, and it was all very Hitchcock for a second. That is the bird movie, right? The Hitchcock...? I'm Elena."
- Stefan: "I'm Stefan."
- Elena: "I know. We have history together."
- Stefan: "And English and French."
- Elena: "I'm meeting Bonnie at the Grill."
- Jenna: "Okay, have fun. Wait. I got this-- don't stay out late, it's a school night."
- Elena (chuckles): "Well done, Aunt Jenna."
- Zach: "Please, Uncle Stefan, Mystic Falls is a different place now. It's been quiet for years. But there are people who still remember. And you being here, it's just gonna stir things up."
- Stefan: "It's not my intention."
- Zach: "Then what is? Why did you come back after all this time? Why now?"
- Stefan: "I don't have to explain myself."
- Zach: "I know that you can't change what you are, but you don't belong here anymore."
- Stefan: "Where do I belong?"
- Zach: "I can't tell you what to do, but coming back here was a mistake."
- Stefan: "You won't be sad forever, Elena."
- Stefan: "Why are you here now?"
- Damon: "I could ask you the same question. However, I'm fairly certain your answer can be summed up all into one little word: Elena."
- Damon: "You should know better than to think you're stronger than me. You lost that fight when you stopped feeding on people. I wouldn't try it again."
- Elena: "You okay?"
- Jeremy: "Don't start."