The Vampire Diaries Wiki
The Vampire Diaries Wiki

That sounds like the beginning of a love story, Stefan, not the end of one.
Katherine Pierce to Stefan Salvatore

The Return is the first episode and season premiere of the second season of The Vampire Diaries and the twenty-third episode of the series overall.          


KATHERINE RETURNS WITH A VENGEANCE — Picking up on the same night as last season's finale, Elena arrives home to a nightmare as she discovers Uncle John's and Jeremy's fate. At the hospital, Sheriff Forbes is comforted by Matt, Bonnie and Damon while she waits to hear if Caroline will survive the car accident. After a confusing conversation with Elena and Jenna about the night's events, Damon is the first to realize that Katherine has returned. Katherine's arrival sends Stefan and Damon on a path to find out what she wants, why she's back, and how much of a threat she is to the people they love. Meanwhile, still reeling from his father's death, Tyler is surprised when his charming and mysterious uncle, Mason Lockwood, arrives to console the family.  


Elena finds John

Katherine surprises John in the kitchen. Posing as Elena, she explains Jenna is meeting with the fire chief. Jeremy is upstairs, where he drank vampire blood and tried to overdose on prescribed pills. Outside, Elena talks to Stefan on the phone, saying she has to go check on Jeremy. Inside, Katherine takes out a kitchen knife, cuts off John's fingers and stabs him in the gut. Elena finds John bleeding in the kitchen and calls for help while Katherine lurks. John warns her that someone is there, so Elena picks up the knife for protection, but Katherine moves too fast for Elena to see her and leaves. Elena finds Jeremy upstairs.

Elena wakes up Jeremy

Stefan arrives after the police and Elena explains what's going on. Stefan looks Jeremy over and announces he's not a vampire, though he warns him that if he tries to kill himself now, he'll really die. Anna's blood protected him from any harm the pills might have caused. Elena goes to the hospital to check on Caroline and Stefan stays with Jeremy.

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At the hospital, Matt tells Bonnie about the noise Tyler heard when he was driving and that Caroline isn't doing well. Sheriff Forbes tells Damon that Mayor Lockwood is dead and they think he was a vampire because he dropped when John's device went off, but she doesn't believe it. In the hallway, Damon suggests to Elena and Bonnie that he give Caroline some blood, just to heal her. Elena's against it, but Bonnie tells him to do it. After Bonnie leaves, Damon tells Elena they should talk about what happened at the house, but she has no idea what he's talking about. Jenna joins them and Elena asks her where she's been. Jenna reminds Elena that she told her earlier that she was going to the fire department. This is news to Elena, and they argue about whether Jenna really told her this. Watching this miscommunication come to light, Damon figures out that Katherine is back.

Katherine pretends to be Elena

Katherine enters the Gilbert house through the door and, pretending to be Elena, hugs Stefan, but he realizes that something is off and he is not hugging Elena. He throws her across the room after she tries to kiss him. They fight in the living room until, hearing someone at the door, Katherine throws Stefan down and leaves. Damon and Elena arrive and the three of them catch each other up with what they know. Damon points out that Katherine left Elena alive, so that's not what she's after. Stefan asks Damon what Katherine meant when she said that she fooled one of the brothers. He tells them about the kiss. Stefan is ready to fight Damon, but Elena reminds them they have more important things to worry about. Damon suggests they ignore Katherine to draw her out.

Bonnie and Matt visit Caroline in hospital

At the hospital in the morning, Bonnie checks on Caroline, who appears to be making a fast recovery. Liz talks to the mayor's wife, Carol, and asks why the mayor was affected by the Gilbert device. Damon cools down the heated conversation. At the mayor's wake, Tyler welcomes back his father's younger brother, Mason, who had been estranged from his brother for several years. Elena and Stefan go talk to John at the hospital. Elena places the ring in John's hand and asks him why Katherine is here. He can't stand the sight of Stefan with Elena and tells them to leave. Elena walks out but Stefan pauses before he aggressively pins John down by the neck, bites himself in the arm, and force-feeds John his blood. Stefan threatens John that if he doesn't leave town within 24 hours, he'll turn him into a vampire and watch him hate himself.

Bonnie gives Damon a 'headache'

At the mayor's wake, Liz informs Damon that Mason wants nothing to do with the council and he isn't a believer like John. Katherine stops by the wake after Tyler invites her in. Outside the hospital, Stefan admits that he threatened John and told him to leave town. Elena approves. At the wake, Bonnie tells Damon that Tyler was also affected by the Gilbert device. He thinks she's feeling guilty that Caroline was hurt when it went off. She promises that if Damon makes one wrong move, she's going to take him out, and demonstrates her power by painfully bursting the blood vessels in his brain with magic.

Bonnie finds out it's Katherine

Bonnie meets Katherine on the front porch and, thinking she's Elena, complains about Damon. When Bonnie touches Katherine's arm, she immediately knows something isn't right. Making an excuse to get away, she moves to another room and calls Elena, who tells her she's not at the Lockwoods' yet. When Bonnie turns around, Katherine is behind her. Katherine tells her she's putting all the pieces of Elena's life together. Bonnie tries her headache trick but Katherine brushes it off and grabs Bonnie by the throat. Bonnie uses her powers to fling open the doors so people can see them and Katherine finally backs down when Stefan appears. She enjoys people thinking she's Elena. He asks her what she wants, but she's coy.

Jeremy, Jenna, and Elena arrive

Jeremy, Jenna and Elena arrive at the wake. Elena goes to talk to Damon. He thinks she's worried that Katherine will send him off the deep end, but he pretends to be fine. She's not surprised he would kiss her; she's surprised he would think she'd kiss him back. Jeremy finds Tyler sitting alone drinking from a flask. Tyler reveals to Jeremy that he thought his dad was a "dick"; Jeremy agrees. Tyler hands Jeremy the flask right when Mason walks in. Mason takes the flask and asks Jeremy to leave. Mason takes a swig from the flask before giving it back to Tyler.

Katherine and Stefan take a stroll outside. He tells Katherine that he was never in love with her because she compelled him, but Damon's been obsessed with her for 145 years. He asks her to get on with whatever she's up to. Katherine confesses that she came back for him, to which he responds that he hates her. Katherine retaliates by pulling a nearby waist-high candle holder out of the ground and stabs him through the gut. She tells him that sounds like the beginning of a love story, not the end.

Later, Elena tends to Stefan as he heals. Damon shows up and teases Stefan about his "crazy ex" issues. When Elena leaves, Damon tries to goad Stefan into fighting by mentioning the kiss again, but Stefan says Katherine is going to pit them against each other and he won't fall for it. He thinks the fact Damon feels something for Elena is a good thing, because it shows he cares.

Back home, John packs up his belongings. He says goodbye to Jeremy, who doesn't understand where John's hate comes from. Jeremy asks him why the ring didn't protect his dad and John reminds him it was an accident, and not a supernatural death. Tyler looks at a picture of his family and smashes it. Mason tackles him after Tyler brushes his mom aside, telling him to calm down. Damon comes home to find Katherine there. She tells him she's leaving, and he asks what she's up to. She taunts him, telling him to kiss her or kill her. She tackles him to the ground and crawls on top of him. He throws her off but then starts kissing her. As she starts pulling Damon's clothes off, he tells her to stop. He has a question and if she answers it right he promises to forget the last 145 years. She already knows the question and the answer. She tells him that she never loved him, that it was always Stefan, and she leaves.

Elena tries to explain to Damon that she loves Stefan

Elena finds Damon waiting in her bedroom. He's sulking, and drunk. He brings up what she said earlier, about being surprised that he would think she would kiss him back. He tells her she's lying to him and Stefan and herself. He kisses her, but she pushes him away. He persists and she pushes him away again. Finally she tells him she cares about him but loves Stefan, and that it will always be Stefan. Damon, rejected in one night by the two women that he has loved, doesn't take it well. He sees Jeremy in the doorway and asks if he still wants to be a vampire. Before Jeremy can answer, Damon snaps his neck and leaves without another word. Elena clutches Jeremy in horror, sobbing hysterically, until she looks down and sees he's wearing the Gilbert ring.

Damon snaps Jeremy's neck

At the Lockwood house, Mason talks to Tyler about learning to control himself. Elena cradles Jeremy as Stefan tries to convince her that the only reason Damon went after Jeremy was because he saw the ring, but  Elena insists that she hates Damon. Back at the boarding house, Damon is left alone with his rage.

In the hospital, a healed Caroline wakes up to see Katherine standing over her bed. Katherine wants her to give the brothers a message for her: "Game on." She takes a pillow and holds it over Caroline's face until she stops struggling.


Main Cast

Guest Cast




Episode Title revealed.

  • Antagonist: Katherine Pierce.
  • This episode marks the last time Caroline Forbes is human on the series.
  • Katherine meets Matt, Tyler, Bonnie and Caroline in this episode.
  • Katherine becomes a Series Regular as of this episode.
  • This is the first episode that Caroline and Katherine appear in the final scene together, when Katherine arrives at Caroline's hospital room to ask her to give the Salvatores a message for her before killing her, knowing that Caroline has vampire blood in her system.
  • This episode marks the first appearance of Mason Lockwood, who is the show's first activated werewolf.
  • This is the first episode of Season Two.
  • This is the first episode of the first chapter of Season Two, The Katherine Chapter.
  • During the wake at the Lockwood mansion, both Damon and Katherine pick and eat fruit from the buffet table. The fact neither of them need to eat human food but do so anyway indicates the same hedonism that L. J. Smith gave Damon in Dark Reunion.


Body Count

Production Notes

  • This is the first season premiere to not feature Alaric, since joining the show mid-way through season one.
  • Episode name was known on July 12, 2010 thanks to Ian Somerhalder's twitter picture.
  • Julie Plec said: "Stefan and Damon will know within the first fifteen minutes of the first episode about Katherine. Damon realizes he was duped, and Stefan comes face-to-face with Katherine. The fun of it is how Stefan responds to the moment, as opposed to how Damon responded to the moment."
  • Elena's house number is 2104 Maple Street.
  • This is the first season premiere to not feature Vicki. It is also the first to feature Katherine.
  • Mason meets Tyler and Jeremy in this episode.
  • When news of new character Mason Lockwood emerged, fan and media speculation on casting included popular picks of Milo Ventimiglia, Skeet Ulrich, Jason Dohring, Brian Austin Green and Gale Harold. Ultimately the role went to Taylor Kinney.
  • Mads Langer's track "The River Has Run Wild" (featured during the Damon and Katherine scene at the boarding house) was recorded especially for this episode.

Cultural References

Behind the Scenes

  • This episode had about 3.35 million viewers in the USA.


Elena: "What happened?"
Damon: "Katherine happened."

Elena: "Katherine was in this house. That means that she's been invited in. What are we going to do?"
Damon: "Move."

Stefan: "What happened tonight when you thought she was Elena?"
Damon: "To risk another frown line encroaching on a very crowded forehead... We... kissed."
Elena: "And you thought it was me?"
Stefan: "What do you mean you kissed?"
Damon: "Well, you know when two lips pucker and they go—" (He makes a kissing noise)

Katherine: (to Caroline) "We haven't officially met. I'm Katherine."

Bonnie: "I know who you are."
Katherine: "Of course you do. You're the best friend right? I've been putting all the pieces of Elena's life together. Isobel told me it was a bit of a puzzle. I do know who Jenna and Jeremy are, and I've met that delicious ex-boyfriend Matt, who's sweet on Caroline. And then there's you-- the vampire-hating Bennett witch. Did I do good?"

Stefan: "You haven't changed at all, have you?"
Katherine: "But you have. You're stronger, meaner, sexy."
Stefan: "Don't flirt with me Katherine. I'm not Damon. I haven't spent 145 years obsessed with you."

Katherine: "You wanna know why I'm here, Stefan? I came back for you."
Stefan: "Well, the problem, Katherine, is that I hate you."
(Katherine stabs Stefan with a fence pike)
Katherine: "You hate me, huh? That sounds like the beginning of a love story, Stefan, not the end of one."

Damon: "I kissed Elena."
Stefan: "Because you feel something for her, because you actually care. And I'm not gonna let Katherine come in here and destroy that part of you that is finally, after all of this time, willing to feel something. She will try to break you. She will try to break us. And how we respond to that will define us. It's our choice."

Damon: "I just need the truth just once."
Katherine: "Stop. I already know your question and it's answer. The truth is... I've never loved you. It was always Stefan."

Stefan: "He saw the ring, that's why he did it. He knew."
Elena: "He didn't see the ring."
Stefan: "It's Katherine. She got under his skin. She undid everything that was good about him."
Elena: "There's nothing good about him, Stefan. Not anymore. He's decided what he wants. He doesn't want to feel. He wants to be hated. It's just easier that way. He got his wish. I hate him, Stefan."



Last.fm_play.png "Out of Our Hands" – Gemma Hayes
Last.fm_play.png "How To Save A Life" – Piano Tribute Players
Last.fm_play.png "Breakeven (Falling to Pieces)" – Piano Tribute Players

Last.fm_play.png "Wonderful Life" – Hurts
Last.fm_play.png "The River Has Run Wild" – Mads Langer
Last.fm_play.png "Come Home" – One Republic featuring Sara Bareilles


See also