After the high of the season premiere last week, it was inevitable that The Vampire Diaries would have at least a small drop off in the level of excitement and tension that made last season's finale and the premiere episode a week ago so entertaining. "Brave New World" takes the time to set up new storylines for the season, but most importantly it introduces the newest member of Mystic Falls' supernatural community: Vampire Caroline.
While Elena tries to pretend that it's possible for her to be a "normal" high school teenager, Caroline wakes up in the hospital to the realization that any semblance of normal is gone forever. Candice Accola gives an affecting portrayal of Caroline's growing horror as she grasps the idea that she is a vampire. She disgusts herself by craving blood to drink and is afraid to be alone with Matt. There is a quietly heartbreaking moment in the hospital when Matt visits and a ray of light between them is something she can't cross. Hilariously, and in typical Caroline fashion, she immediately sees the usefulness of being able to compel people to do things. It was a pleasant surprise in the first season when Caroline turned out to be more likable than the stereotypical cheerleader she first appeared to be. But a vampire Caroline is sure to be even more interesting.
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