Katherine was a woman that came between Stefan and Damon in 1864 and the repercussions of her death reverberate in the first part of the first season of The Vampire Diaries. Caroline is currently Damon’s go-to blood-drink, and her body has lots of bite-marks. Damon continues to be a predatory pariah that makes Stefan’s life an absolute hell. How can Stefan ever truly enjoy the company of Elena if damned Damon keeps interfering with his mind games, planting a seed of doubt through Caroline to Bonnie (in the previous episode, Night of the Comet, Bonnie touched Stefan’s hand and felt the cold of death) that Stefan was behind the demise of Damon’s relationship with Katherine, an obvious lie that creates suspicion. Damon, in Friday Night Bites, attempts to glamour Elena into kissing him, but this fails because Stefan gives to her a necklace with a locket containing an herb that works against vampires, weakening their resolve and power. This herb is especially potent in its effect at the end of Family Ties when Stefan cleverly spikes champagne tasted by Damon’s human teeth biscuit, Caroline. Planning to kill Caroline, Damon takes a deep bite and the herb leaves him quite subdued. It is a satisfying moment during the early part of the first season because Damon has been a thorn in Stefan’s ass throughout. He can’t seem to help himself…Stefan hoped some semblance of humanity still remained inside him but on the night of the Big Game, Damon kills the school’s history teacher/football coach out of sheer spite!
So far Damon has to use his glamour on those he wants to control. He flaunts his looks, charm, appeal to the ladies. But without that vampire in him, he’s a cocky dreamboat who might have that bad boy image the girls like, but as we see when Caroline didn’t want to leave to “help with the dishes”, he must use his resources to get them to operate under his control. For the first time, Stefan identifies a weakness without having to resort to feeding from a human for strength to combat his brother.
Stefan is encouraged by Elena to join the football team, as a wide receiver. He does so at her urging (she winds up not rejoining the cheerleading squad after advice from Damon, and later Stefan, tell her she should not return to the way things were but move on with a clean slate) and winds up being killer on the field. Tyler can’t stand Stefan because as a defensive player he can’t stop the vampire from catching the pigskin and embarrassing him through constant avoidance. Matt, still hurting from Elena’s rejection, allows Tyler to persuade him to throw a ball high enough so he can land a nice, painful tackle on Stefan. Because Matt is just a pleasant fellow, he later apologizes, particularly because Stefan helps keep Jeremy from killing Tyler during a scuffle regarding Vicki.
The storyline thread involving 18 year old Vicki and 15 year old Jeremy, with Tyler involved because she has been trying to maintain a relationship with him that just continues to fail for various reasons, leaves me rather ill at ease. Mainly because Tyler’s mayor dad and stone cold bitch mom consider Vicki unworthy of him (she refers to her when talking with her son as “trash”), it seems doomed. Tyler invites Vicki to this sophisticated party (“founder’s party”) but keeps her away from his rich, well-to-do parents. Vicki decides at the end of Family Ties to revisit relations with Jeremy. I dunno. I just find that creepy.
Bonnie’s “witch skills” are elaborated as she can make candles flame by suggestive thought and she’s certainly honing her clairvoyance (she knows where the utensils in Elena’s kitchen are among other gifted “sight”). Bonnie’s ancestry is considered a positive thing by Stefan, and a dinner arranged by Elena for the three of them persuades her to re-think his danger to her best friend.
And Aunt Jenna (Sara Canning) left Mystic Falls because of a news reporter who cheated on her, Logan Fell (Chris Johnson). Logan wants them to try again. The end of Family Ties, which includes Stefan locking away Damon in the hopes of getting rid of a monster, has Logan meeting with Caroline’s mother (a cop whose husband went away to Memphis to live with Stephen!), the mayor and wife over a watch that was supposed to be secured by them from Elena for reasons not yet specified. The importance of this: they speak as if they are opposition to vampires and know they have returned to town. That watch was Elena’s father’s, meant to be Jeremy’s, but the mom assigned it to the mayor’s wife as a “loan” for the town museum.
Despite all the making out, kissing, and potential for great romance, Elena and Stefan will come under constant strain because that is what these soap operas do. She seems to re-think her fight with Stefan over his unwillingness to share his past (Damon’s handiwork and influence), but after seeing Caroline’s bite marks considers Damon a rotter, once again deciding the romance is not one to abandon.
The question of Damon’s humanity might be considerable but when shown in Elena’s room (she invites him in with Stefan unable to stop it) as she sleeps, adoring her face and hair, there might just be something that still exists inside that seemingly ferocious and manipulative, morally dubious nuisance.