[Warning: Spoilers from Thursday's winter premiere.]
A funeral, a confession and a death, well, sort of.
The Vampire Diaries came back with a vengeance Thursday night with "After School Special," with much of that resting on the shoulders of a pissed-off Rebekah (Claire Holt), eager to find answers about the cure.
But first, Mystic Falls said goodbye to Mayor Lockwood, who died a grisly death at the bloody hands of Klaus (Joseph Morgan) in the winter finale. As they say, however, the show must go on, and the town appoints Rudy Hopkins, Bonnie's (Kat Graham) father, the town's new mayor -- and he wants to enact some harsher rules. Easier said than done.
Rebekah played cruel mind games, which targeted former lovers Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Stefan (Paul Wesley), and the truth came about about how Elena truly feels about both Salvatore brothers. Stefan, meanwhile, may be on the road to becoming the Ripper again by episode's end, as he may have forged a new partnership with an unlikely person. Not good news for the townspeople, but far more entertaining to watch as a viewer.
Here are 11 highlights from The CW drama's winter premiere:
8:03 p.m.: Rebekah's back -- and my oh my, she's angry. (It's also refreshing to see April standing on her own two feet.)
8:06 p.m.: Damon (Ian Somerhalder) continues on his quest to make Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) a formidable vampire hunter, and it's clear from the younger Gilbert's fighting skills that he still has a ways to go. Meanwhile, Damon cuts Matt (Zach Roerig) and Jeremy's pizza stash as incentive for them to get their butts in order. But, Damon's also distracted from Elena's voicemail declaring that the sire bond is not her reason for being close.
8:13 p.m.: Rebekah catches Elena, Caroline (Candice Accola) and Stefan -- and the viewers -- up on the cure. (On a lighter note, Rebekah likes flow charts.) And moments later, things get even more awkward when Elena and Damon's hook-up becomes public knowledge. Talk about bad timing.
8:16 p.m.: Klaus comes traipsing in while Damon and Jeremy have their daily "How to Become a Good Vampire Hunter 101" class. But Damon has the last laugh, shooting the Original multiple times in the chest: "That's for Carol Lockwood."
8:18 p.m.: The truth comes out, that Elena is in love with Damon. She later likens to being with Damon as being "free," but with Stefan, Elena feels "she's a project" and looked at "like a broken toy."
8:29 p.m.: Pizza girl comes back into play, and sadly she's all just a part of Klaus' grand plan (to create a town full of vampires for him to kill) to have Jeremy make his first kill since Damon took over as his sensei. Poor girl didn't even see it coming, but at least Jeremy's tattoo is growing.
8:35 p.m.: Sorry "Stelena" fans, looks like there won't be a Stefan-Elena reunion any time soon.
8:36 p.m.: While Professor Shane (David Alpay) -- who is desperately seeking Silas -- is being water-boarded, the effects which is also harming April, son of Pastor Young. During Professor Shane's spiel, Kol dramatically stakes Shane and thus April, but the professor isn't dead. It's Bonnie's protection spell that saved him and linked the professor to April.
8:48 p.m.: Rebekah brings up an interesting dilemma. She can wipe clean the love Stefan ever had for Elena, and Stefan wants her to go ahead and do it. Like the conniving torturer she is, Rebekah decides not to grant him his wish. "Consider your eternity of pain my revenge, Stefan."
8:55 p.m.: Elena and Damon finally have their first real interaction, albeit by phone, but it counts. Elena declares her love for him, which prompts him to ask her to go to him.
8:57 p.m.: Are Stefan and Rebekah teaming up? Mystic Falls is about to get turned upside down.
What were your favorite moments from "After School Special"?
The Vampire Diaries airs 8 p.m. Thursdays on The CW.