From TV Line:
Although Elena is definitely with Damon, Stelena ‘shippers will still get a little something to tide them over.
From ET Online:
TVD’s other dynamic doubles, Stefan and Silas, are both given moments to shine (quite literally in Stefan’s case since his entombed hallucinations are stunning works of lens flare beauty).
At the same time, Elena can’t shake the feeling that something might be “wrong” with Stefan, but she seems reluctant to tell Damon about this lingering feeling. Caroline thinks it’s residual guilt over choosing Damon, but Elena doesn’t necessarily agree. Stelena shippers will enjoy a particular moment in this episode, but I think it’s clear that Elena is happy with Damon. Whether that changes in the future will remain to be seen.
Pure agony. Watching Stefan in the box is actually terrifying, especially if you fear drowning (and who doesn’t?). He’s suffering as well, complete with hallucinations, beautiful as they may be. But he has a choice to make that could help him…or will it just ultimately hurt him?
Silas’ Ruse. As it turns out, Silas isn’t all that interested in pretending to be Stefan and he also reveals some very interesting facts about his physiology. Most importantly, his mind control powers are a thing of sheer power. I can’t spoil it for you, but you will be very impressed – and terrified – with the beginnings of Silas’ master plan and his execution of it.
From TV Guide:
Steamy bubble baths: There’s not one, but two bubble bath scenes. (If you’ve seen any of the previews, you know who is half-naked in them.) Although both scenes start off sexy, they actually have more somber (and scary) endings.
Swoon-worthy Silas: It wouldn’t be the first time we fell for a villain (ahem, Klaus!). As fans of Ripper Stefan know, Wesley is oh-so-good at playing bad, and he shines in a role that has him manipulate and intimidate his way to getting what he wants.
Silas doesn’t waste any time pretending to be Stefan (unlike Klaus who enjoyed pretending to be Tyler for as long as he could). He’s been spending his summer getting more and more powerful, and the extent of his mind control will shock and terrify you along with the entire town of Mystic Falls, while Stefan has spent the last three months in agony trapped in his underwater prison, debating whether or not to make a huge choice that will have dire consequences.
From Hollywood Life:
I know many of you will miss Stefan — I got a lot of heat on Twitter for suggesting that you won’t — but when you see Paul Wesley in action as Silas, I think you’ll be too preoccupied by his incredible performance to pine over his “shadow self.” That said, Stefan still has plenty of screen time, both in his present-day cramped quarters and in several flashbacks that allow him to stretch his legs.
Even though Stefan and Elena are no longer together, their connection is still present in the premiere as her ex is still on her mind. And Caroline, her roomie, is definitely still Team Stelena.
MVP of the Episode: It’s the season of Paul freaking Wesley, y’all! Wesley is clearly having a field day playing the deliciously evil Silas (who we learn actually hates vampires). And man, Silas is evil with a capital E, which makes Wesley’s portrayal all the more thrilling to watch.
From Just Jared Jr:
The fact that Stefan’s been gone for several months certainly isn’t lost on [Elena]. She unknowingly helps him in a way that no one else can.
From TV Fanatic:
Stefan once again battles with his humanity.
From The Examiner:
Poor Stefan remains in his watery prison and we get to see just how miserable he’s been and what’s been going through his head. For fans of the Salvatore brothers’ dynamic, there are great scenes that take place in Stefan’s head. The same goes for fans of Stefan and Elena. She might be with Damon now, but that connection she shares with Stefan is not gone.
Silas is sinister. One of the first things we learn about him is that he hates vampires and does not appreciate being called one. For those who worried it might take time for people to realize he’s not Stefan, he doesn’t really try to fool anyone for long. He’s powerful and he knows it so all he wants is to further his agenda. We can’t tell you what he wants and why, but we can say that every scene he’s in was captivating and Wesley is phenomenal.