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 backdoor pilot 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 writing in her diary.

Pilot is the first episode of the first season of The Vampire Diaries and the first episode of the series overall.

Summary

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 brotherJeremy (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 brotherDamon 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 CanningKaterina GrahamCandice AccolaZach RoerigKayla Ewell and Michael Trevino also star. 

Plot

Darren Malloy is Damon's victim.

Text in Bold and Italics are diary entries/voiceovers.

The episode starts with a voice-over, the voice of Stefan saying: "For over a century I have lived in secret; hiding in the shadows, alone in the world. Until now. I am a vampire. This is my story."

Outside Mystic Falls, a young couple, who are having a good-natured argument in their car, notice fog thickening around them. Suddenly, they hit something in the road that immediately startles them. When they look back, they see a person on the ground, which leads Darren to get out of the car to check on him, leaving his girlfriend Brooke to call for help. As soon as Darren makes it to the body to examine it, he is attacked by the man. Failing to get a signal on her phone when she calls for help, Brooke gets out of the car as well and calls out for her boyfriend. Suddenly, his body drops onto the hood of the car, and his throat is visibly bloodied, as though he was bitten by an animal. She screams and runs away in panic, but she doesn't make it far before she looks as though an unseen force has grabbed her and flown her into the sky.

Stefan returns to Mystic Falls.

The voice over of Stefan continues: "I shouldn't have come home. I know the risk. But I had no choice. I have to know her."

On the roof of the Salvatore Boarding House, Stefan, who had been watching the sunrise, jumps several hundred feet to the ground.

At the Gilbert house, Elena sits in her room and writes in her diary: Dear Diary: Today will be different. It has to be. I will smile and it will be believable. That 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 promises to put the past behind her.

Damon uses the crow to spy on Elena.

Downstairs, Elena's aunt Jenna offers to make her and her brother breakfast before leaving for a meeting at her college. Elena tries to talk to Jeremy, but he's not receptive. During the drive to school, Bonnie tells Elena that she thinks she's psychic, but notices Elena's not listening. Suddenly, a large crow hits the windshield of her car, scaring them both. Bonnie looks at Elena with concern due to her past history, but Elena says she can't be freaked out by cars for the rest of her life.

Elena, Bonnie and Caroline reunite.

At Mystic Falls High School, Stefan walks across the campus toward the main building. At the lockers, Caroline hugs Elena and asks Bonnie if Elena is okay, despite the fact that Elena is right there. In the school yard, Jeremy gives Vicki some pills, and is teased afterward by resident jock Tyler. Inside, Stefan compels the school secretary to let him into school despite not having the required paperwork as Bonnie and Elena check him out from behind in the hallway.

Stefan stares at Elena in William Tanner's class.

Elena sees Jeremy enter the men's room, so she follows him and accuses him of taking drugs when she catches him putting eye drops in his eyes. He walks out and Stefan encounters Elena leaving the men's room. They are both awkward around each other for a moment before Elena leaves, eyeing him again as she goes. In Mr. Tanner's class, Bonnie texts Elena to tell her that Stefan is staring at her.

Elena and Stefan encounter each other in the cemetery.

Later at Mystic Falls Cemetery, Elena sits at her parents' (Grayson and Miranda Gilbert) grave while she writes in her diary: 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."

Suddenly, fog gathers and a crow lands on the gravestone in front of her. She tries to ignore it and even shoos it away, but when she turns around, it's still there. Unnerved, she runs off and accidentally stumbles down a hill, only to find Stefan at the bottom. He asks if she's okay and says he's visiting family. Elena then introduces herself and so does Stefan. She sees his ring and comments on it before he suddenly smells something in the air and inquires if she's hurt herself. She checks her leg, which is bloody, and the sight of it makes his face change, forcing him to turn around so she can't see it. He tells her she must leave, and when she turns around, he's gone. 

Later at the Salvatore Boarding House, Stefan writes in his journal about his encounter with Elena: "I lost control today. Everything I've kept buried inside came rushing to the surface. I'm simply not able to resist her."

Jeremy confronts Vicki as to why she's ignoring him.

At the Mystic Grill, Jeremy asks Vicki why she's ignoring him. Nearby, Matt and Tyler talk about Vicki, who is Matt's sister and Tyler's girlfriend. Meanwhile, Caroline tells Bonnie about Stefan, for whom she has developed a crush. At the Gilbert house, Elena is surprised to see Stefan at the front door when she's getting ready to leave the house. He returns her diary, which she dropped at the cemetery, and she invites him to the Mystic Grill with her.

Matt asks Bonnie about Elena.

Back at the Mystic Grill, Matt and Bonnie talk about Elena when Matt asks about how she's doing and wonders aloud about the status of their relationship. Just then, they see her and Stefan arrive together to the restaurant while Caroline, Matt, Tyler and Bonnie stare at them. Matt, Elena's ex-boyfriend, immediately introduces himself. At a table, Matt, Caroline, Stefan, Elena and Bonnie talk and Caroline mentions the back to school party at the Falls.

Darren Malloy and Brooke Fenton's deaths are announced.

At the Salvatore Boarding House, Zach bursts into Stefan's room, handing him a paper detailing the deaths of Darren and Brooke, believing Stefan had something to do with it. Stefan says he has everything under control and when Zach leaves, he goes to a cupboard and extracts a book with a photograph of a young woman who looks exactly like Elena, except the photo bears the words "Katherine, 1864".

Stefan rejects Caroline.

During Mr. Tanner's class, Stefan corrects the teacher when he incorrectly speaks about the casualties of the Battle of Willow Creek, leaving Mr. Tanner humiliated and angry. At the party, Stefan arrives and is accosted by Caroline. Around the fire, Bonnie hands Elena a bottle and when she inadvertently touches her, she gets a vision of death. She walks off before Elena can ask her about it, and Elena ends up finding Stefan standing behind her. On the bridge, Elena talks about the car crash that killed her parents. Stefan tells her she won't be sad forever.

Jeremy confronts Tyler for mistreating Vicki.

In the woods, Jeremy finds Tyler trying to force himself on Vicki and aggressively pulls him away from her, but when Jeremy tries to tell Vicki that Tyler isn't good for her, she becomes upset and runs away. Back at the bridge, Stefan asks Elena about her friends and Matt. Stefan's face involuntarily changes again, and when Elena points out that his eyes are red, he gets flustered and leaves, claiming he's going to go get another drink. Later on, Vicki is alone in the woods and is suddenly attacked by an shadowy figure.

Back at the party, Matt tells Elena he still believes in them as a couple. Caroline once again begins flirting with Stefan, but Stefan outright rejects her and tells her they're not going to happen. He then approaches Elena again, who sees Jeremy wandering off and goes after him. They discovers Vicki's body in the woods, her neck bloody and torn open, as though she, too, has been attacked by an animal. She opens her eyes for a second, gasping for air, and then falls unconscious again. They return to the party seeking help and Stefan disappears.

Damon returns.

At the Salvatore Boarding House, Stefan arrives home and tells Zach about the attack. In his room, a crow flies in as he comes face-to-face with his older brother, Damon. Stefan asks why Damon has come back, but Damon does not answer the question; instead, Damon says that he knows Stefan has returned to Mystic Falls for Elena.

Stefan fights Damon.

At the Falls, Bonnie tells Elena about her vision. In Stefan's room, Damon taunts Stefan, provoking him until Stefan shows his vampire face and shoves him so hard that they both fly through the window and land on the ground below. Outside, Damon continues to taunt him, stealing his ring in the process, but he eventually hands it back to him. Before Damon leaves and goes inside the house, Damon shoves Stefan forcefully against the garage and warns him not to mess with him again.

At the party, Elena tries to talk to Jeremy, reminding him that he needs to get back on track, because everyone has already forgotten that their parents died, but he brings up the subject of her cemetery visits and points out that she's not exactly adjusting well either. At the Mystic Grill, Bonnie talks to a rejected Caroline who is jealous of Elena and believes that she is always chosen first instead of Caroline. At the hospital, Vicki wakes up to Matt and when he asks her what attacked her, she says "vampire."

In Elena's room, she writes in her diary: "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."

Meanwhile, Stefan, who is at the Boarding House, looks at Katherine's photograph and writes in his own journal: "I had a plan. I wanted to change who I was. Create a life with someone new, someone without the past."

In synchronized, dual journal entries, they express their feelings: "Without the pain, someone alive".

In the living room, Jeremy looks at a photograph of his parents while Jenna looks at him sadly.

Elena continues in her journal entry: "But it's not that easy. The bad things stay with you. They follow you."

Damon catches Caroline's attention.

At the Mystic Grill, Bonnie pays for the drinks as Caroline smiles coyly at Damon.

Elena keeps on writing in her journal: "You can't escape them. As much as you want to. 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."

She then spots Stefan standing outside of her house. When he asks her if she's okay, she tells him to ask her tomorrow and then she invites him inside.

Cast

Main Cast

Guest Cast

Co-Starring

Uncredited

Trivia

  • 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.
  • In this episode, Damon uses a crow to spy on Elena. However, we don't ever see this event happen again and was only used in the first episode.

Book References

Locations

Body Count

Production Notes

  • 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 VancouverBritish 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 [1] to take advantage of local tax incentives.

Cultural References

  • 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.

Continuity

  • 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 kills the six month pregnant Gail in front of Stefan and Zach Salvatore.
      • Zach's daughter with Gail, Sarah Salvatore, survives, but was put into adoption after Stefan compelled Zach to forget he knew of Gail and the child they were expecting.
  • 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.

Quotes

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: "Damon."
Damon: "Hello, brother."

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."

Multimedia

Soundtrack

Last.fm_play.png "Sort Of" – Silversun Pickups
Last.fm_play.png "Here We Go" – Mat Kearney
Last.fm_play.png "Consoler of the Lonely" – The Raconteurs
Last.fm_play.png "Say (All I Need)" – One Republic
Last.fm_play.png "Take Me to the Riot" – Stars
Last.fm_play.png "Thinking of You" – Katy Perry


Last.fm_play.png "Kids" – MGMT
Last.fm_play.png "Running Up That Hill" – Placebo
Last.fm_play.png "Death" – White Lies
Last.fm_play.png "Back to Me" – The All-American Rejects
Last.fm_play.png "Siren Song" – Bat For Lashes
Last.fm_play.png "Never Say Never" – The Fray


Pictures

References

See also

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