'Vampire Diaries' Recap: 'The Birthday'

Vampire Diariesby Cassie Title

You know when your favorite TV series goes on hiatus for four months, and you’re so obsessed with its fictional world that you start to expect the characters to miss you as much as you’ve missed them? And you secretly "know" that they’ll return, in all their supernatural, dramatic glory at 8 p.m. on September 15, unbearably miserable because they’ve been without you all summer?

Yeah. Welcome to my pitiful existence when "The Vampire Diaries" isn’t on. And just to add salt to my already very deep wounds, the Mystic Falls gang has been busy all summer, not missing me in the slightest. Here are all of the really cool things they’ve been doing besides commiserating with my loneliness, they caused.

Truth or Wolfsbane

Stefan’s been learning some new parlor games. Being Klaus’ ripper wingman has some perks; yeah, you kill a bunch of innocent people and cut off contact with Damon and Elena, but you make friends with Simon Camden! (Ever wonder where he went post-"7th Heaven"? Now you know! He turned into a werewolf, naturally.) Well, friends is a bit of an exaggeration, but chaining him up and using him as the target in darts is definitely creating some sort of relationship.

"I see dead people"

Jeremy’s still kicking it, "Sixth Sense" style. And, interestingly enough, now that he works at the Grill, Matt—boring, old, unsupernatural Matt—is the only one he can talk to about his Haley Joel Osment tendencies. (I guess they need to find some plotline for Mr. Roerig. Aha! This is why Bonnie is conveniently out of town.) But Jer’s going to need a lot more than emotional, bromance support from Matt to figure out how to deal with Vicki’s plea for help and Anna’s otherworldly presence.

Party Planning

Caroline’s been planning a small, low-key 18th birthday party for Elena. Complete with a keg. And 100 or so of Elena’s closest friends. And Alaric. Who’s finally understanding how awkward it is to attend a party with your students. It’s the place to be, though. Elena finds out that Damon’s been secretly tracking Stefan’s and Klaus’ moves without her, The CW acknowledges that teens smoke pot, Caroline compels Tyler’s date to leave (how useful) and she and Tyler finally act on their insane sexual tension and leave to get it on, and Damon gets an interesting phone call…

Bathing

In case we forgot (which is kind of impossible, considering how obsessed these producers are with showing us that Damon cleanses himself, which I’m really starting to think is just an excuse for him to be naked...), Damon bathes. A lot. In fact, he’s probably been doing it all summer. With champagne. And Andie Starr. Who Stefan traps at the news station and compels to fall down from a really high up platform and die. As a warning to Damon to stop tracking him. Hello, brother.

Telephone conversations

Stefan calls Elena. Who finally knows for sure that he’s alive! He doesn’t speak, but she knows it’s him. (That just happens when you’re in love, okay?) And she tells him she loves him. And that he’ll get through this. And our hearts break just a tiny bit more.

"I shot the sheriff’s…daughter"

Oh, Carol Lockwood. Catching some chick leaving your teenage son’s room early in the AM is no reason to shoot her. Even if she is a vampire and you’re obnoxious. OK, but really. I’m not concerned. Caroline’s going to be fine. Right?

We have no idea

What’s going on with Katherine? I’m sorry, I can’t help myself. Where is she? Is she coming back? Why is she doing this to me?!

Oh, welcome back, "TVD." Welcome back.

(Hey, in case you missed it, we asked "TVD" stars for their birthday wishes for Elena. Check it out!)

Were you impressed with the season premiere? Do you approve of Damon’s new V-neck fashion choice? When’s Bonnie coming back? Is Caroline going to be okay? When will Elena get to see Stefan? And how excited are you for next week’s episode, and the next week’s episode, and the week after that…? Come one, come all! Leave some comments in this virtual peanut gallery. It’ll be fun. And therapeutic. And glorious.