The Vampire Diaries season premiere recap: Never Let Go

Season 3 starts off with a bang, a body count, and a lot of bulging biceps 
Ep. 01 | Aired Sep 15, 2011

DEAD MAN GAWKING Werewolf Ray (David Gallagher) looks worried even before Klaus (Joseph Morgan) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) invent Truth or Wolfsbane Darts.

Bob Mahoney/The CW

It's summer in Mystic Falls, which means V-neck T-shirts instead of Henleys to show off the boys' biceps, and short, sexy dresses that can be easily lifted over the girls' heads. God, it's good to be back.

Roughly two months have passed since Stefan left town with Klaus for their awesome ripper road show. We caught up with them in Tennessee when Klaus used the ol' my-car-ran-outta-gas-and-my-cell-is-dead-and-I'm-not-a-serial-killer line to try to score himself an invitation into the house of a woman who'd come outside to find her dog. I guess the hybrid runs cold, because even though she was complaining about it being hot, he was wearing a V-neck sweater. Maybe long sleeves on hot days is a form of TVD hazing. The girl wasn't as stupid as we originally thought, and she told Klaus he wasn't coming inside, she'd bring the phone out to him. He compelled her to show him some Southern hospitality, and in he went.

He told Woman No. 2 that he was looking for Ray Sutton (played by guest star David Gallagher), who he suspects comes home once a month BECAUSE HE'S A WEREWOLF. Woman No. 2 ran to the front door — good friend — and I wondered why Klaus didn't pop up to stop her. That's because when she opened the door, Stefan was standing there looking hot in a black V-neck T-shirt (or, as I wrote in my notes, "HOTTTT"). Compelled Girl invited Stefan inside, and even though Woman No. 2 told them Ray was hanging out at a bar called Southern Comfort, Klaus still told Stefan to kill Compelled Girl quickly and to make the other one suffer. We saw Stefan take a bite, and I got distracted by how much darker TVD blood is than True Blood blood. We heard screams as Klaus walked away from the house as if he was leaving an explosion in a Michael Bay movie.

Elena awoke, all clean-faced, and told Jeremy he was late for work at the Grill. I liked how Elena paused before opening up the blinds, like she had to make the decision to start another day without Stefan. For a moment, I thought that she and Jeremy had had a slumber party in her bed, but then I rewound and saw the different comforters. Just some fancy editing. Those were his blinds she opened. He's the reason she's getting up each day. Caroline phoned to tell Elena the 18th birthday party Elena didn't want was happening and that her mother had another lead for Elena — the third "animal attack" in Tennessee in a week. I love that Sheriff Forbes is on board now even if she didn't get any screen time. Alaric, we learned, has been sleeping on Elena and Jeremy's couch for half the summer because he can't bring himself to sleep in Elena's dead parents' room or his dead girlfriend's room. And Damon, well, he's still into taking bubble baths with Andie, who has enough free will to tell him to go fetch his own champagne.

Ian Somerhalder told us he was naked on set for like two days to film those opening scenes, and I really don't think it should have taken that long. But I guess Damon did spend some time standing still after rising from the tub so Andie could appreciate the view in the mirror, and, perhaps, it did take some time to line up those shots so that the candles in the bedroom and the glasses in the study would always cover his man bits. "Mornin'," he said to Elena downstairs. I don't think they used the take when Somerhalder replaced his modesty pouch with elephants ears taped to his thighs. Elena was surprised but not that surprised. "You should learn to knock... What if I was indecent?" he said, his eyebrows officially waving to welcome us to season 3. Elena threw him a towel, and we found out how things have been working: Once Elena gets a lead, she passes it to Damon, who gets an address from Andie and checks it out without her because they don't want to risk Klaus finding out she's still alive. I assume that's because Klaus is vindictive, but also because her blood could, perhaps, be used to put the curse back on him?

NEXT: Outdoor dining at the Grill and a girl nicknamed Slutty Sophie — equally exciting!

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