The third season of The Vampire Diaries begins with Elena Gilbert';s 18th birthday with all series regulars returning with the exception of Sara Canning whose character Jenna Sommers was killed off in the previous season. As Stefan sinks deeper into the dark side, Damon and Elena struggle with the guilt of their growing bond, even as they work together to bring Stefan back from the edge.
Pretty much everything has been turned on its head since we last visited Mystic Falls, Virginia, but it's a testament to The Vampire Diaries' consistently strong writing and acting that it already feels so normal.
If anyone was worried that The Vampire Diaries had lost their touch with cliffhangers, the attack on Caroline should put those fears to rest. That scene was well executed to catch the audience off guard by turning quickly from light comedy to suspense.