The Vampire Diaries offered so much creative and juicy fun for fans in the season 3 premiere episode, that it’s hard to not cite every minute as a “favorite.” But I’ve valiantly tried to recap the very best parts of “The Birthday.”

The Vampire Diaries Recap – Season 3 Episode 1 – The Birthday

  • We were introduced to the idea that Stefan has firmly gone to the dark side. The Vampire Diaries didn’t shy away from being scary and a little gory. Stefan easily, ruthlessly murders people now. He even… tears off their heads and re-assembles them! Eeek. It’s a horrible place for him to be in, no doubt about that. Klaus almost has Stefan as more of a pet (guard dog) than a partner.
  • Alaric is a wreck over losing Jenna. And he’s staying at the Gilbert’s. He’s not so much helping Jeremy and Elena, but they all need each other. They’re a new little family. I’m so glad that Jenna isn’t forgotten.
  • Caroline has resumed her role as the bubbly, happy, shopping girl. It’s refreshing and I suspect she does this because she knows her group of friends needs her to be positive. She wants to be there for Elena.
  • Ian Somerhalder has implied nudity in one scene as Damon takes a big bubble bath )in a gorgeous tub, probably made out of marble) and then walks out of the bathroom only to have Elena see him naked. Yea, Damon planned that.

More after the jump.

  • More about Damon… it was established in just a few scenes that he and Andie Starr (Andy?) are in a real relationship. And when she says something about how she’s not his slave, he doesn’t do what he used to do – no compelling. He treats her nicely. And the fact that he cares so much is what makes us invested and upset when Stefan kills her. BOOM, dead. Stefan means business.
  • Jeremy and Matt are working together at the Grill, but it’s hard to be friends when you’re seeing your friends dead sister as a ghost. #lifelessons
  • Damon has a map (where he tracked Stefan’s kills) in his closet, and he kept it hidden from Elena. Hidden charts and maps are cool, okay?
  • The Vampire Diaries music in The Birthday: INGRID MICHAELSON – “Are We There Yet” was a great song choice. So was Ron Pope – “A Drop in the Ocean.” It reminded me of Dawson’s Creek music choices.
  • Caroline and Tyler seemed like they were dating, and it was revealed they weren’t. But they had an incredibly close friendship that had spanned the summer. She tells him everything. “Just because I tell you things doesn’t mean you’re allowed to know them!” (That is SO something a girlfriend would say to a boyfriend.) And they had angsty scenes where they talked openly about being horny. The sexual tension was ridiculous, and hot. Ridiculously hot, really.
  • “It’s your party, you can cry if you want to.” – Damon
  • Damon had a birthday gift for Elena – her necklace. And he put it on her. Romantic. He also escorted her down the stairs and through the crowd. Again with the romance.
  • Matt is jealous of Tyler and Caroline, and he tried to make Caroline jealous by kissing Elena on the cheek slowly. Augh, tension!
  • “Hello, brother.” – Stefan (This was a great callback.)
  • Caroline kissed Tyler. “Let’s get out of here.” They had a steamy, sexy scene.
  • Elena got a birthday call from Stefan. He didn’t talk. But she knew it was him. “I love you Stefan. Hold on to that. Never let that go.” Heartbreaking.
  • Mrs. Lockwood tricked Caroline then shot her with sedative or something. OMG. Who say THAT coming?