'The Vampire Diaries' Season 6 Recap Will Fill You In On Life In Mystic Falls Before Elena Gilbert Went To Sleep Forever

It's ba-a-ack — and by it, I, of course, mean the best show ever. The Vampire Diaries Season 7 premieres Thursday, October 8, and what better way to celebrate it's return than to look back at all the ups, downs, and number of times Damon took his shirt off, in Season 6? Yes, I'm talking about a full on The Vampire Diaries Season 6 recap. Let's do it.

Last season began with Elena back in college pursuing a medical degree, Alaric back from the dead/being the hottest teacher ever, and Caroline and Stefan still not professing their love for another — at least, in terms that weren't wrapped in complete and utter vagueness. Also, Bonnie was still dead, and Damon was sort of dead? But TVD fans know better than anyone that dead doesn't really mean dead, unless you're Nina Dobrev and you've publicly declared that you are leaving the show for good. And, speaking of Nina Dobrev, let us not forget about the storyline where Elena Gilbert was addicted to a "drug" that gave her hallucinations of Damon. I never remember learning about that one in D.A.R.E.!

There's so much to talk about, and trust, I could go on for an uncomfortable amount of time — but, for efficiency's sake, let's discuss only the most momentous story lines of last season, in order to get you prepared for the Season 7 premiere.

Damon & Bonnie Found Their Way Back Home

Season 6 opened with Damon and Bonnie trapped within an alternate prison dimension, and it wasn't until a few episodes in that Damon finally made it back to Mystic Falls. Bonnie, on the other hand, was heavily tortured by new character, Kai, until she finally returned home later in the season. Bonnie, BTW, has approximately infinite amount of lives.

Kai Tortured Everyone

Kai was the main antagonist of Season 6, aka the sh*t stirrer. At first, Kai tried to form an alliance with Damon and Bonnie as they attempted to make their way out of the prison world. He's the reason for the bloody wedding massacre, amongst other terrible things (probably too many to recount here). After learning that he was responsible for Elena's life long slumber, Damon killed him. His legacy (read: torment) definitely left an imprint, though.

Damon & Elena's Saga Continued

As mentioned above, Elena coped with Damon's "death" by taking hallucinogenic drugs, but when that didn't work, she went to Alaric for help and asked him to compel her to forget any and all memories of Damon. Well, it worked — but then Damon had to come back from the dead and screw it all up, of course.

The two work to get the memories back, but Elena just couldn't remember how to love him. She ended up dating Liam, but Liam is not Damon, and so their collegiate affair didn't. Eventually, the two find their way back to happiness, decide to become human together, and then BOOM — Elena leaves for good/Damon probably procures a substance abuse problem. This is cyclical, people, I'm telling you.

Stefan & Caroline Finally Got Together

Stefan and Caroline's friendship had been strong for a few seasons, but finally cultivated into l-o-v-e during Season 6. (Praise!) He was there for her as she mourned the loss of her mother, the two shut off their humanity together, and basically, totally fell in love (read: had very aggressive vampire sex).

Alaric, Jo, & The Wedding Massacre

Poor, Alaric. Homeboy just can't catch a break. After falling in love with Jo, the adorable doctor, he became an expectant dad and soon-to-be-husband. That is, until Jo's evil bro, Kai (see above) crashed the wedding, then killed her and the unborn babies. It got real dark, real fast. Oh yeah, and then Tyler, in an effort to turn back into a werewolf, murdered his GF, Liv. Told you...dark.

Jeremy Went To Hunt Vampires For Real

Jeremy pretended that he went off to "art school," but instead decided to become a vampire hunter, following in the footsteps of Alaric. Then, he came back on the series finale and was all like, "What did I miss?!" Your sister's in a permanent coma, that's what you missed. How was art school, though? It's TBD on what happens with Jeremy next.

Damon & Stefan's Mom Returned, Along With Her Prison Family

Lily was brought out of the prison world by Elena and Bonnie, but it turned out that Kai was responsible for releasing her "prison" family: a group of witch/vampire hybrids, the Heretics. As seen in the last moment of the Season 6 finale, they wreak havoc on Mystic Falls. Also, Lily induces quite a bit of mommy issues in Damon/Stefan.

Elena Turns Human & Goes To Sleep Forever. (Sort Of.)

Elena takes the cure for Vampirism and turns back into a human. She also gets her memories of Damon back, which makes what's about to happen next even sadder: Kai somehow magically links Elena's life to Bonnie's, which means that because Bonnie is now alive, Elena is rendered unconscious. That is, until Bonnie dies. Basically, both of them can't be alive at the same time.

That was a lot to get through, and I still have so many questions, so many strings that I'd like to see tied up into pretty little bows. Hopefully Season 7 will give us some answers, and hopefully it will still be the show we all know and love, despite Elena not being there.

Images: Bob Mahoney/The CW; Giphy (6); vd-gifs, tenetur-fer-sanguinem/Tumblr