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I know what you did last summer seems like the beginning of a new chapter for Elena and her friends. The season premiere underwent an obvious shift in tone, but it was quite reasonable that none of it would last.
Both Caroline and Elena meet new people at college and want to adjust properly while pretending to be "normal". Meanwhile, Jeremy's circumstances surrounding his death are not as normal and the consequences are highlighted when he returns to school. All hell breaks loose.

Are they really happy?

I felt pity for Stefan. Drowning in a box for an entire summer, while his brother and Elena were nothing short of happy together, is not exactly the nicest outcome for someone who walked away with a broken heart. The same applies to Bonnie who paid the price in order to see her friends and especially Elena happy. It seems like she's the one always suffering the most, and that impression is confirmed after Silas, in the body of a shadow-self of Stefan, brutally kills her father in front of an unmoving audience. Each and every character is confronted with problems that their friends are not aware of, including Matt's mysterious encounter with Nadia (Olga Fonda) and her villainy sidekick.
We don't know the specifics of Nadia's intentions or the connection between Elena's father and her roommate who was killed by a vampire. And unfortunately, each character still keeps secrets for the sake of someone's ignorance and bliss, including Damon's chat with Silas and Katherine, and Jeremy's close encounter with death.

Problems

In the end, I felt that each story arc felt a bit choppy and disconnected, and death was once again used as drama fodder that has no meaning, including Megan's death and Elena's and Caroline's dismissive reaction to it. We know that they are quite used to this, but I'd prefer watching a bit more humanity coming out once in a while. It would give these mini storylines more emotional impact, which is why Caroline's breakup with Tyler was a complete non-issue to me. Sorry, Forwood fans.

Highlights

Bonnie (Kat Graham) deserves more than she usually gets and I wish her storyline would be more frontline in Elena's and Caroline's life. They will eventually find out that she died and the end result is not going to be pretty for anyone involved. Her personal vendetta against Silas might just be the beginning.
Another highlight was Stefan's hallucination and his struggle with humanity or non-humanity for his freedom. Interestingly, Damon prefers the easiest choice to get the best result, but it is once again Elena who persists that humanity is Stefan's greatest gift, and one that should not be thrown away to end his misery. Hopefully, he will still get out of that box, though. Preferably sooner rather than later.

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