It’s back-to-school day on The Vampire Diaries, but classes aren’t the only things making a return. Several dead characters come back in various forms, some more confusing and crazy than others.

If you’re keeping track of the Vampire Diaries timeline at home, the new school years takes place exactly one year after the series premiere when Elena met Stefan. So the first two seasons and the first six episodes of season 3 all covered just a single year. At first I thought this made no sense, but it might actually work, as long as you believe the Lockwoods had their season 2 Masquerade Ball in March.

The Return of Ripper

Now that Stefan has turned off his emotions, Elena is waking up at 5:15am to train with her Watcher. Oh wait, that’s a different show, but Alaric is definitely stepping up his Giles-like role, training her to fight.

Elena hatches a plan to locked Stefan away until they can fix him, and it involves her getting drunk at the back-to-school bonfire to lull Stefan into a false sense of security so Alaric can shoot him. I’m generally in favor of any plan that involves getting drunk.

The Return of Vicki

Unfortunately for Elena, Vicki convinces Matt to help her come back with the help of a spell courtesy of a witch on the other side (most likely the Original Witch). It works and Vicki becomes corporeal, only Matt is shocked to learn that it’s part of a deal she made to help prevent Klaus from making hybrids, a plan that involves killing Elena.

Ghost Vicki goes to the bonfire where Elena has successfully captured Stefan, only she sets the car on fire and traps Elena and Stefan inside. Luckily Elena is able to escape before getting blown up, but the same can’t be said for Alaric’s car, which is destroyed. Then Bonnie casts a counter-spell to send Vicki back to the other side.

The Return of D-Bag Tyler

Remember how Tyler was a total jerk before becoming a werewolf and connecting with Caroline? Now that he’s a hybrid, the jerk is back because Tyler is loyal to Klaus because he sired him. Tyler briefly fights it off long enough to have sex with Caroline again, but when she leaves Rebekah shows up with some dinner. That’s right, Rebekah has her sights set on Tyler, and it looks like she’s going to get him.

The Return of Mikael

Katherine spends the episode trying to coax Mikael out of his tomb, and she eventually succeeds. The only problem is that the vampire who hunts vampires doesn’t feed on the living, so instead of bites Katherine. It doesn’t look good for her.

The Return of Anna

Throughout the episode Bonnie is insanely jealous of Jeremy’s dead ex-girlfriend, and it turns out she has a good reason. At the end of the day, even when Jeremy is on the phone with Bonnie, he’s thinking of Anna and she appears in his bedroom. Then the two touch, because now she’s corporeal. It’s going to really suck if Bonnie’s boyfriend cheats on her with a ghost.

The Return of Mason

In the unbelievably shocking final scene, Damon is alone in the Salvatore mansion recuperating from being stabbed with a branch by Rebekah. He hears a disturbance and assumes it’s Stefan, but then he gets knocked down and sees … Mason Lockwood! Yes, the one whose heart Damon ripped out last season. WHAT?!?

Next week on The Vampire Diaries: Hopefully we’ll find out how on Earth Mason is back, because that’s seriously the most confusing twist ever.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.