'Vampire Diaries' Premiere: 10 Top Moments From Season 4 Opener

Vampire Diaries Growing Pains Season 4 Premiere - H 2012
Bob Mahoney/The CW

Vampire Diaries Growing Pains Season 4 Premiere - H 2012

[Warning: Major spoilers ahead from Thursday's episode.]

The Vampire Diaries returned for season four, with Elena (Nina Dobrev) desperately trying to understand her new ... situation.

For much of the episode, The CW's supernatural drama focused on the difficulties facing Mystic Falls' latest vampire as she says goodbye to her old human life to her new -- and unfamiliar -- supernatural one. The episode served as a reset, of sorts, for the series, cementing Elena's uneasiness in her new skin and the Salvatore brothers' clear disdain for the other's view on how vampires should live. 

PHOTOS: The 100 Fresh Faces of Fall TV

In pure Vampire Diaries fashion, the season premiere closed out with a cliffhanger -- after Elena solidified her choice, Stefan (for now) -- and that moment will fuel next week's episode. But first, THR runs down the top 10 moments, complete with timestamps, from "Growing Pains":

8:01 p.m.: It was a long five-month wait but Elena, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan (Paul Wesley) are finally back on the TV screens. Unfortunately for Elena, it'll be the moment she realizes why she's even still alive. While Elena is crying about what was supposed to happen -- her death -- and not accepting her potential vampire state, Damon's a bit miffed at the entire situation, even throwing a zinger for added effect. "Your choice, Elena. As always." Zing. 

8:04 p.m.: Elena checking her teeth in the mirror to see if she has fangs. Because, why not? A few moments later, she crushes a brightly lit light bulb with her hand. Who wants to bet Elena's heightened emotional state will cause major issues?

8:14 p.m.: Now that Elena's in transition, moments that she was compelled to forget start to surface. The first is a conversation she had with Damon, where he professed his love for her, gave her the necklace she often wears and declared that because of that fact, he couldn't be selfish with her. It's a moment that further changes her perspective on Damon, who finally lets some emotion show. Later, Elena also learns that she met Damon first, not Stefan.

PHOTOS: The CW's 2012-13 Season: 'Carrie Diaries,' 'Arrow' and 'Cult'

8:18 p.m.: It lasts only a few seconds, but when the van with Rebekah (Claire Holt) and Caroline (Candice Accola) is hit, the significance of the impact is shown rather effectively -- with the van turning while the camera stayed still. Guess who saves the day: Tyler, who's really Klaus. Shocker, he chooses to save Caroline. "Keep 'em busy, little sister," FakeTyler (Michael Trevino) says to Rebekah as they run off. Way to look out for your family, Klaus. 

8:26 p.m.: After saving FakeTyler saves Caroline's butt, the two celebrate their reunion in the woods with a heavy makeout session complete with shirtless bodies and right hooks. Wait, what? Yup, FakeTyler's consistent use of "love" clues Caroline in on his true identity, which leads to said punch. Caroline's reaction to the whole thing? "Ugh! I have to sanitize my mouth!"

8:31 p.m.: Bonnie (Kat Graham) tries to pull Elena out of her transition into a vampire, but guess who shows up to spoil the party? Grams (Jasmine Guy) with a stern warning that there is something darker at play than Bonnie can't even begin to understand. Later, she learns just what her Grams was trying to tell her -- and Bonnie loses her for good.

8:38 p.m.: Stefan and Elena, both in horrific shape and locked up in cells, have an emotional conversation with Rebekah as witness. It's in that moment that Stefan concedes, admitting that Damon was right all along, that she should have fed earlier instead of fighting against her transition. Barely breathing, Elena confesses to Stefan that she was on her way to be with him when the car veered off the road. After all the two have been through, it's a deeply human moment -- and one that may even bring Rebekah to tears. (On a related note, there's some wonderful "nearly dead" acting by Dobrev.)

8:41 p.m.: Oh, poor Matt. Mystic Falls' last remaining humans. Earlier in the episode, Matt and Damon nearly get into a fight because the Salvatore still doesn't think Matt should've been spared. So what does he do when the two arrive at the pastor's home? Bait time! After fighting off two goons with their own guns, Damon is ready to say goodbye to Matt, but fully transitioned Elena (and her fangs!) says not so fast.

8:54 p.m.: This scene sums up just how dysfunctional and heartbreaking the Damon-Elena relationship has become. While Elena is ready to be a martyr, for the greater good of everybody else, Damon is less willing to give up the one person he truly cares for deeply: "I would have picked you, in a heartbeat, no question," Damon says as the two rehash the coulda-woulda-shouldas of the car accident. 

8:55 p.m.: Klaus (Joseph Morgan), as we know him, is finally back. Rebekah, heartbroken over the fact that he'd rather save a girl over his own blood, confronts him on this fact, so what does the hybrid do? "You are nothing!" before snapping her neck. Cold-blooded.

What were your favorite moments in the premiere?

The Vampire Diaries airs 8 p.m. Thursdays on The CW.

E-mail: Philiana.Ng@thr.com

thinks she’s made her way past the most recent hurdle, something’s going to happen that sets her back or sets her on a new path," executive producer Julie Plec said to THR of season four."]