A Look Through the TVD Episode Summaries: Progress Report Season 1

How big of a dork am I? Ugh. But once you get to reading the synopses out loud on a consistent basis, you get crazy like this. Anyways!

I finished going through season 1.

First of all, here’s the synopsis for the Pilot:

Four months after a tragic car accident killed their parents, 17-year-old Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev, “DeGrassi: The Next Generation”) and her 15-year-old brother, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen, “Everwood”), are still adjusting to their new reality. Elena finds comfort with her best friend Bonnie (Katerina Graham, “17 Again”), frenemy Caroline (Candice Accola, “Juno”), and former boyfriend Matt (Zach Roerig, “Friday Night Lights”), but Jeremy is trying to figure out why Matt’s sister, Vicki (Kayla Ewell, “The Bold and The Beautiful”), is suddenly rejecting him and hanging out with his rival, Tyler (Michael Trevino, “Cane”). As the school year begins, Elena and her friends are fascinated by a handsome and mysterious new student, Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley, “Fallen”). Stefan and Elena are immediately drawn to one another, but Elena doesn’t realize that Stefan is hiding a dark, deadly secret – the fact that he’s a vampire. At a nighttime bonfire party, Elena and Stefan are getting to know each other when chaos erupts after Vicki is attacked and left bleeding from a savage bite to the neck. Fearing that he knows who is responsible for the attack, Stefan finds that his older brother, Damon Salvatore (Ian Somerhalder, “Lost”), has returned to town. Now these two vampire brothers – one good, one evil – are at war for Elena’s soul and for the souls of her friends, family and all the residents of Mystic Falls, Virginia. Sara Canning also stars as Aunt Jenna. Marcos Siega directed the pilot written by executive producers Kevin Williamson & Julie Plec.

Oh how far we’ve gone off track come. The Salvatores sound like legit creepers. Imagine if this show really was about these people trying to save their souls from them and keep them from making MF their vampire nest.

Remember when Caroline was the frenemy? Remember when they used to put in the synopsis that Elena tries to find comfort in her friends? Something else that struck me was this part of the summary for Founder’s Day and Under Control:

Stefan (Paul Wesley) is uncomfortable with Damon’s (Ian Somerhalder) new attitude toward Elena (Nina Dobrev), but Elena is more concerned about repairing her relationship with Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen).

“Meanwhile, Elena’s effort to comfort Jeremy falls short and he decides to take matters into his own hands. Sara Canning also stars.”

Like, they used to allow Elena to have this. So much so that it was written in the summary.

Other things that used to go in the episode summaries? The characters meeting people. It was specifically stated in one summary that Jeremy meets Anna. And then we have Unpleasantville and History Repeating:

“Damon and Stefan accompany Elena to a school dance with a 1950s’ theme, where Alaric (guest star Matt Davis) introduces himself to Damon.”

Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) gets a break from the mysterious new history teacher, Alaric Saltzman (guest star Matt Davis, ‘Legally Blonde’) and introduces Alaric to Jenna (Sara Canning).

I don’t remember if they put in the summary for Rose that “Damon meets Rose” or “Damon and Rose meet.” I highly doubt it, because they met around the plot. Their actual relationship/friendship wasn’t the point. Unlike Jeremy/Anna and Alaric/Damon. Alaric meeting Damon was important because it was pertinent to Alaric’s storyline.

What strikes me about the summaries for season 1 is that they’re filled with the characters talking to each other. Just talking to each other. That’s what we had to look forward to every week. And the other stuff happened around that. Look:

At a fund-raising car wash, Bonnie (Katerina Graham) is surprised by abilities she didn’t know she possessed, and seeks advice from her grandmother (Jasmine Guy, “A Different World”)

Bonnie discusses the incident with Grams (guest star Jasmine Guy) and learns more about her family’s past. [after Damon tries to take the necklace in Haunted].

Despite Elena’s (Nina Dobrev) efforts to smooth things over, Bonnie and Caroline (Candice Accola) continue to argue over the medallion.

Matt (Zach Roerig) comes to Caroline’s aid when she needs a friend.

*Sigh.* Long gone are those days. They actually put in the summary that Bonnie and Caroline are arguing. Now we have to wait until the episode airs and Caroline will tell us that Bonnie’s upset. Or JP and Candice will say it in an interview.

Special shout-out to Olu:

“Damon (Ian Somerhalder) discovers that Stefan (Paul Wesley) is hiding a dangerous secret that could impact everyone in town.”

Remember when Stefan had secrets from Damon? When the Salvatores didn’t know every detail about each other’s lives? Now they just have secrets from Elena.

Alright, the tally:

Q: How many times did the words “shocked” or “shocking” get featured in 22 summaries? 

A: It first appears in the third episode, and it was talking about Mr. Tanner’s death (“Finally, the town is shocked by an act of violence”). In total, it appears 4 times. Only 4.

We have these bonus synonyms for shocking, but since the CW people lose their thesaurus in seasons 2 and 3, I didn’t include them in the tally. But you can if you want to:

From History Repeating and The Turning Point:

Damon (Ian Somerhalder) finally reveals to Stefan (Paul Wesley) the stunning reason he has returned to Mystic Falls.

“When Sheriff Forbes (guest star Marguerite MacIntyre) tells Damon (Ian Somerhalder) there has been another attack, he offers to track down the killer and learns a startling piece of information about the town’s founding families.

Now people were more “surprised” than anything else. That word is all over season 1. Which makes sense since we’re just learning about this world.

Q: How many times did the word “surprised” and “surprising” get featured in 22 summaries?

A: It first appears in the 5th episode, and it’s a reference to Bonnie (At a fund-raising car wash, Bonnie (Katerina Graham) is surprised by abilities she didn’t know she possessed, and seeks advice from her grandmother (Jasmine Guy, “A Different World”). The word appears a total of 6 times. The first two times are references to Bonnie. At one point the word appears twice in one sentence (“Stefan is surprised by Lexi’s visit and Elena/Jenna are surprised by Jeremy’s change in behavior”).

There were no synonyms.

Q: How many times did the word “terrifying” appear?

A: It first shows up in the 7th episode, and is a reference to Vicky’s death (Trying to cheer Vicki up, Matt (Zach Roerig) takes her to the high school’s haunted house, but the evening soon takes a terrifying turn”). Next it shows up to describe Bonnie’s dreams about her ancestors. It only shows up 2 times in 22 summaries.

There were no synonyms.

“Tragic” showed up once, and it’s of course a reference to Damon (Finally, Damon’s offer to help Sheriff Forbes (guest star Marguerite MacIntyre) has sudden and tragic results.”

“Change” appears once (“When Damon returns from Georgia, Stefan is waiting with news that will change their world”).

We had one “frightening turn,” one “unexpected direction,” one “ugly turn,” and one “takes matters into his own hands”:

“In the present, Bonnie’s (Katerina Graham) date with Ben (guest star Sean Faris) takes a frightening turn.”

“and Jeremy’s (Steven R. McQueen) relationship with Anna takes an unexpected direction.

“Damon’s (Ian Somerhalder) attempt to find out why Uncle John has returned to town takes an ugly turn.”

Pearl also had an “ugly confrontation” with UJ, but I can’t remember how many confrontations are “ugly” henceforth.

“Meanwhile, Elena’s effort to comfort Jeremy falls short and he decides to take matters into his own hands. Sara Canning also stars.”

Q: How many times does the word “dangerous” show up in 22 summaries?

A: It first appears in the 14 episode Fool Me Once (“Stefan (Paul Wesley) helps Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Bonnie (Katerina Graham) out of a dangerous situation“). The word dangerous appears a total of 3 times in the season.

It appears as a synonym in Let The Right One InWhen Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) make a dangerous new enemy, Stefan suddenly finds himself in a perilous situation.” 

Finally, the word “Mysterious” appears twice. The first time is in History Repeating, and it’s a reference to Alaric: “Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) gets a break from the mysterious new history teacher, Alaric Saltzman (guest star Matt Davis, ‘Legally Blonde’) and introduces Alaric to Jenna (Sara Canning).”

“Damon and Alaric (Matt Davis) try to find a mysterious invention before Johnathan does.”

The synopsis for the season finale includes everything that was good about season 1. It has character relationships and tension, and, similar to Elena trying to solve Bonnie/Caroline’s argument, it’s mentioned that Caroline is trying to solve Matt/Tyler’s rift:

“Founder’s Day has finally arrived, and everyone is busy with last-minute preparations for floats and fireworks. Stefan (Paul Wesley) is uncomfortable with Damon’s (Ian Somerhalder) new attitude toward Elena (Nina Dobrev), but Elena is more concerned about repairing her relationship with Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen). Jeremy is worried about Anna (guest star Malese Jow), but not sure he’s on board with her latest plan for the future. While Caroline (Candice Accola) is enjoying her day as Queen of the celebration, she also tries to help Matt (Zach Roerig) and Tyler (Michael Trevino) get their friendship back on track. Finally, although Damon and Alaric (Matt Davis) do their best to stop him, Johnathan Gilbert (guest star David Anders) sets a plan in motion that brings Founder’s Day to an end amid chaos, destruction and death. Sara Canning and Katerina Graham also star. Marcos Siega directed the episode written by Bryan Oh & Andrew Chambliss).”

The events used to meet something :(. Now they just pop up out of thin air or at most there’s a two episode warning.

The upside is that these events really were shocking and surprising and terrifying. We hadn’t yet been saturated with them to the point of numbness. These episode summaries are also less vague than what we currently have. They don’t just say “the characters have a conversation,” but they include what the conversation is about. Because Continuity was still alive back then! We also had stuff like this:

“Finally, Elena hears a disturbing story about the Salvatore family from a stranger.”

Trying to cheer Vicki up, Matt (Zach Roerig) takes her to the high school’s haunted house, but the evening soon takes a terrifying turn.”

“After reading the journal left by one of the Gilbert ancestors, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) is inspired to return to his hobby of sketching fantasy creatures, a talent he had abandoned when his parents died.”

Come on now, like a detail like someone getting back into a hobby would make it into these new and improved summaries.

So those are the results from season 1. Until season 2! I looked at the description for the premier, and the word “mysterious” has already popped up:

“Meanwhile, still reeling from his father’s death, Tyler is surprised when his charming and mysterious uncle, Mason Lockwood, arrives to console the family.”



6 thoughts on “A Look Through the TVD Episode Summaries: Progress Report Season 1

  1. Season One was this show at its very best. And then a thesaurus and vagueness and like JP’s fantasy world struck it down.

    Oh the days when the Salvatores had secrets from each other.

    The whole war over the souls of the town would have worked even better if Damon and Katherine had partnered up. She could still do the whole “It was always Stefan” thing, it would be even more complicated with this set up. But all of this would require the show having a mythology + not killing characters off left and right for shock value. Everyone would have had to know about vampires and stuff by s2 and I’m going to stop because down this road of developing a plot within 30 seconds of just thinking is a rage blackout directed at the producers/writers and they don’t deserve that much energy,

    • Lmao! True story though. When you say “everyone,” do you mean the main cast? Because yeah, that would need to happen. It could’ve been so interesting.

      The phrase “So and so have an awkward conversation” also popped up. I don’t know when’s the last time the word “awkward” showed up on a TVD summary. I didn’t paste it on the document, but it was either a conversation between Matt and Stefan or one between Alaric and Damon.

      • Yup. In fact, I would change make it so they didn’t kill Vicki. At least not as quickly as they did. Or if they did, I would have them show both Matt and Jeremy being suspicious. Jeremy’s sl could go the same way it actually did, but I’d have Matt worried or suspicious because his memories wouldn’t match up with her being dead. And the triangle would just not be a triangle at that point. Or maybe even ever.

        Matt and Stefan had a few awkward conversations in s1. Alaric and Damon…I guess so. If the CW decided to read “you killed my wife” as an awkward conversation.

        • After Vicky died and Elena hugged him, they kind of had him stop mentioning her. I would’ve liked the focus on him wondering where Vicky is. We know from Jeremy that compulsion doesn’t take away that deep feeling, so they missed the chance to explore it from Matt’s pov. But what else is new?


          • The closest thing they had to a mention of her was when he was telling Caroline he couldn’t lose her because he’d lost so much already. They were broken up by like the next episode so it didn’t even get to mean anything. Which is another problem with the whole “the characters aren’t doing anything when they aren’t on screen” because 1) they have to be, otherwise what are your characters other than puppets for dialogue and 2) repeat number 1 because seriously.

            I think that would have been a smart thing to do. Just had calling her friends or in the middle of walking down the hall with Caroline, spotting one of her friends and asking, “Have you heard from Vicki lately?” or “If you hear from her tell her I’m worried.” or something. It would take 30 seconds and then Caroline could ask him about it and bring it up to Bonnie would in turn bring it up to Elena. For all that Vicki’s death was supposed to represent a turning point for everyone, whether they knew it or not, whether they got to remember it or not, they did not utilize, the one other character who would be concerned about her, Matt’s sense of loss enough. It would have been a way to make her death about Matt him, but not simply centered on his worry or his grief. They all knew her. Whether they were friends with her or not.

            • Ugh.

              Unless they wanted us to believe that Vicky’s friends amounted to the people was hanging out with in the cemetery, and Damon killed all of them.

              But that would’ve been awesome, and it would’ve worked because at that point, Caroline had no idea about the supernatural. It would’ve also made her eventual discovery of Vicky’s body more potent.

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