Bob Mahoney/The CW
Samantha Highfill
September 17, 2015 AT 12:00 PM EDT

Elena Gilbert might be taking a (really, really long) power nap, but that doesn’t mean everyone else stops living. After all, there’s no one who can slow down Mystic Falls … except maybe the Heretics. 

Here’s what you need to know heading into Vampire Diaries season 7:

Where did we leave off?

With Elena’s life linked to Bonnie’s, Elena chose to say goodbye (for now) so that her best friend could live a long and happy life. As for everyone else, well, an ominous flash-forward introduced us to Mystic Falls post-Heretics, and the best way to describe it is … post-apocalyptic.

Who are the Heretics?

Short answer: The new big bads. Long answer: They’re Lily’s new family members, otherwise known as wampires — witch/vampire hybrids. (And two of them make up the show’s first-ever gay couple.) Showrunner Julie Plec has talked about how they remind her of the Original family in that they’re layered, very complex individuals. But more than anything, they’re at fault for the downfall of Mystic Falls.

What’s happening with the timelines?

There will be two timelines running throughout the season. There will be present day and then there will be a flash-forward to three years in the future. And by the end of the season, we will be caught up to that futuristic timeline. In other words, three years worth of stuff will happen in season 7.

What about Steroline?

Well, Stefan has told Caroline he’ll wait for her. Now it’s up to Caroline to respond, but based on the trailer for the season, there’s at least one kiss coming our way. As for Damon, expect him to be too busy being his old season 1 self to get romantic with anyone new. Plus, he loves Elena, even when she’s asleep.

As for everyone else, Bonnie’s got survivor’s remorse, Alaric is drinking, Enzo is playing guitar, and Matt is protecting and serving. Oh, and we could be seeing Tyler’s face sooner than expected! (But what about his abs?)

Will Damon take his clothes off?


The Vampire Diaries returns Thursday, Oct. 8 at 8 p.m. ET on The CW.

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