Season 6 of The Vampire Diaries began with our heroes mourning the devastating loss of Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Bonnie (Kat Graham), who turned out to be trapped in a 1994 prison world by a sociopathic magic-siphon named Kai Parker (guest star Chris Wood).
Unable to cope with the loss of her love, Elena (Nina Dobrev) compelled away all of her memories of loving Damon, which meant that when he finally returned to Mystic Falls, he had to win her over again.
Meanwhile, Caroline (Candice Accola) had to come to terms with her feelings for Stefan (Paul Wesley) in light of her mother's heartbreaking battle with cancer. That battle ultimately proved fatal, sending both Caroline and Stefan down a dangerous path as humanity-free vampires.
Bonnie returned from the prison world with a surprise for Damon, the cure for vampirism, which he ultimately chose to give to Elena.
Damon and Stefan came face-to-face with their mother Lily (guest star Annie Wersching), who they long since believed to be dead.
As the season built to a wedding between Alaric (Matt Davis) and Jo (guest star Jodi Lyn O'Keefe), Damon used the ceremony to profess his dedication to Elena, but not without a catastrophic event that left lives hanging in the balance.
In the wake of Elena Gilbert's goodbye, in Season 7 some characters will recover while others falter. As Lily tries to drive a wedge between the Salvatore brothers, we'll still hold onto hope that Stefan and Caroline's love story is strong enough to survive.
In the first episode of Season 7, "Life Without Elena": after a twisted plan left the life of his girlfriend Elena linked to that of his best friend Bonnie, Damon is forced to navigate his new reality without the love of his life.
A newly empowered Bonnie has decided that she will be Damon's moral compass and keeps a close eye on him as he, in turn, cautiously keeps tabs on Alaric, following the loss of his fiancée Jo.
Meanwhile, as he waits for Caroline to sort out her emotions, Stefan takes an active role in protecting the town from Lily and her family of Heretics, who have wasted no time wreaking havoc in Mystic Falls.
Elsewhere, Enzo (Michael Malarkey) struggles to find his place in Lily's new life, and is quickly forced to decide where his true loyalties lie.
Finally, with the stakes higher than ever, Matt (Zach Roerig), who has recently completed his deputy training program, teams up with Stefan and Caroline to put a stop to the Heretics, but an unexpected turn of events leaves one of them in a dangerous position.
Based on the series of books by L. J. Smith, The Vampire Diaries is from Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with Outerbanks Entertainment, Alloy Entertainment, Warner Bros. Television and CBS Television Studios.
The series was developed by Kevin Williamson (The Following, Scream) & Julie Plec (The Originals, Kyle XY, Wasteland), who serve as executive producers along with Leslie Morgenstein (Gossip Girl, Pretty Little Liars) and Caroline Dries (Melrose Place, Smallville).