Season six of "The Vampire Diaries" premieres October 2 on The CW, and given how much happened in the season five finale all the way back in May, we can't blame you if you're a little lost.
Here are the most important things from the story so far, as well as a few mild SPOILERS to let you know what you can expect:
1. The Travelers
As the Big Bad of season five, The Travelers are, obviously, responsible for the pieces that our intrepid heroes have to pick up in season six.
Basically, The Travelers are a sub-culture of witches who were not interested in the whole balance-of-nature thing; they were into using their magic to create immortality, as Qetsiyah and Silas did. As a result, the witches interested in balance cursed The Travelers and took away their ability to use traditional forms of magic and forced them to wander, unable to settle as a tribe (hence: Travelers). Wherever they settled, plagues, fires and so on would follow.
What The Travelers believed to be "pure" magic was perverted into "Spirit Magic," of which Bonnie was once a practitioner. They became determined to destroy it, and an ancient prophecy told that the blood of the doppelgängers would be able to reverse it. Also, because of how magic has changed since they were kids, they don't particularly like being called witches. (But, like, that's what they are.)
Therefore, The Travelers had an axe to grind with basically all witches and all doppelgängers. Considering Mystic Falls is overrun with both, that's where they set their sights.
Anyway, they were Not Nice: they tried to kill Caroline, they killed Stefan, injected Damon with the Ripper serum, and so on and so forth. However, their collective demise was as unceremonious and as unmagical as they come: Sheriff Forbes and Damon colluded to set the Mystic Grill on fire with the merry band of murderers inside. They thought they'd be able to pass back through from The Other Side, but they were wrong -- the dimension was destroyed before they could save themselves from it.
Elena and Stefan are de facto Travelers due to their ancestry, but their vampire status renders them inactive. We can assume that The Travelers are never going to be a thing again, but the aftermath of their actions has Mystic Falls all kinds of messed up.
2. Damon And Bonnie Are On The Other Side... Kind Of
While it would be a cold day in hell before showrunner Julie Plec would let Damon leave the storyline, he is, for now, relatively out of commission. Along with Bonnie, Damon was trapped on The Other Side after he went there with Elena to save Stefan.
However, The Other Side kind of imploded on itself after The Travelers ingested the doppelgänger blood, and so Damon and Bonnie are likely in some other mysterious dimension. From which they will surely escape. Or blood will run in the streets.
3. Elena Is Not OK:
Despite the fact that we enter season six with Elena committing to her studies in pre-med, as Julie Plec told TVLine, she'll also be abusing some mysterious witch drug which causes her to hallucinate Damon's presence.
Since these two things don't necessarily complement each other, we can only hope that Damon's (and Bonnie's) absence will be resolved fairly quickly.
4. Damon And Elena:
Damon and Elena were Facebook Official throughout most of season five. Despite a brief breakup enforced by Damon because he just loved her so very much, they enjoyed relative happiness. As the unspoken rule of supernatural television shows states, their happiness meant that tragedy would soon follow.
When Damon got stuck on The Other Side, Elena was totally hysterical and inconsolable. Despite the fact that she'll meet "sexy doctors" while studying pre-med, it seems highly unlikely that any other romantic prospects will be on the horizon for Elena any time soon.
5. Caroline And Stefan Are Probably Gonna Get It On:
Steroline shippers, gird thyselves -- your time just might come. "[Caroline]'s got a little relationship/crush/feelings for someone that will creep up to the surface and that is going to cause potential rifts between her and and one of her friends," said executive producer Caroline Dries. "It's a little under the surface, and moving into season six, we're going to see her actually set her sights on someone and make the move."
Unless Caroline will be going after Jeremy, which, doubtful, we can't imagine another romance that would cause a "potential rift" among her friend group.
Besides that, Stefan totally died to protect her from Julian! He didn't know he'd be resurrected, either -- if that's not True Love, we don't know what is.
6. Bonnie Got To Do Stuff:
Once the most powerful witch, like, ever, Bonnie is basically devoid of all the power she once had. After she was turned in to the Anchor to The Other Side by Qetsiyah, she was forced to feel the pain of every supernatural death as they crossed over from the physical plane into The Other Side, using Bonnie's body as a conduit.
Her Anchor status allowed her to pass between the physical and spiritual planes, and this ability would prove to be a detriment once The Other Side was destroyed by The Travelers. With nothing to be an anchor for, she's presumed dead, much like Damon. Given that this is "The Vampire Diaries," however, we can only assume that she'll come back to us. (Do you see how jaded you've made us, supernatural TV shows?)
BONUS: What About Alaric?
Now that the Mystic Grill has burned down, we're worried about Alaric. Where is he going to drink with his BFF upon Damon's inevitable resurrection?!
Season five was a crazy season, but season six promises to get back to basics, "which is tension, suspense, romance, psychological horror, simple horror, vampires living in secret, people discovering their secret and coming after them," says Plec. This is great news, because even Plec acknowledged that season five was a "genre extravaganza." That's a nice term for it.
So, are you looking forward to season six? Comment below with your dearest hopes and dreams! (For the show, but you can tell us other stuff, too.)