A NOT SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY — On the morning of Elena's 18th birthday, Caroline is busy planning a party, but Elena is focused on searching for any clues that might help her discover where Stefan is. Damon is also searching for Stefan, while trying to protect Elena and keep her from doing anything that would draw Klaus' attention. Meanwhile, Stefan and Klaus are busy trailing a werewolf named Ray Sutton. Now working at the Mystic Grill along with Matt, Jeremy is struggling to understand why he keeps seeing the ghosts of Vicki and Anna since he was brought back to life by Bonnie's magic. Meanwhile, Alaric does his best to watch over Elena and Jeremy while dealing with his grief over Jenna's death. Finally, Caroline and Tyler face a new and unexpected challenge.
- Antagonists: Klaus Mikaelson and Stefan Salvatore.
- This is the first episode since Miss Mystic Falls to feature Stefan as an antagonist.
- This is the first episode of the first chapter of Season Three, The Ghosts Chapter.
- There is a time jump from As I Lay Dying to this episode, with two months having passed, as confirmed by Damon in the episode.
- Jeremy has started working at the Mystic Grill over the summer.
- Stefan hasn't been seen by any of the Mystic Falls residents since As I Lay Dying.
- A photograph of Jenna and Alaric can be seen in the Gilbert House.
- Andie dies in this episode due to Stefan's compulsion, which causes her to purposely jump off of a scaffolding at the news station as a message to Damon to stop following him.
- This episode has many similarities with the episode, Pilot:
- Stefan stalks Andie before killing her, as Damon did with Elena in the pilot (although he didn't kill her).
- After Matt wishes Elena a happy birthday and ignores Caroline. She says "He hates me," which is the same thing Elena said to Bonnie in the pilot about Matt. She also said that their breakup led him to using drugs, which is slightly similar to why Jeremy started doing drugs, as a way to deal with Vicki's death.
- After finally seeing Stefan after two months, he greets Damon with "Hello, brother." Damon said this to Stefan in the pilot episode.
- Caroline and Tyler make love for the first time in this episode.
- At the end of the episode, Carol Lockwood coats Caroline's bag with vervain as a test to see if she's a vampire. When it burns Caroline's hands when she picks it up, Carol shoots her with vervain darts to incapacitate her.
- This episode marks Klaus' first attempt to create a hybrid. However, this attempt is unsuccessful, although the reason as to why is not confirmed until The End of the Affair -- he needs to feed the reawakened hybrids the blood of the human Petrova doppelgänger to complete their transition.
- This is the second episode to celebrate a birthday, the first being 162 Candles (Stefan's birthday.)
- This is the first episode that Elena's birthday is celebrated.
- Since this is Elena's 18th birthday, she is now the sole, legal owner of the Gilbert Building until Jeremy turns 18.
- This is the first season premiere to feature Klaus.
- This episode wasn't on Elena's actual birthday, June 22.
- It's revealed in Yellow Ledbetter, the second episode of Season Six that it was at this party that Elena finally knew she was in love with Damon; specifically, when he returned the necklace Stefan gave to her as a birthday gift, which showed her that he had the capacity to be selfless.
- Mystic Falls, Virginia
- Samara - Drained of blood; killed by Stefan
- Keisha - Drained of blood; killed by Stefan
- Andie Star - killed by Stefan (through compulsion)
- First episode in which Sara Canning is not credited. This is the first season premiere to not feature Jenna.
- This is the first season premiere to feature Alaric, Anna, and Klaus. It is the only season premiere thus far that both Alaric and Anna were in.
- In Behind the Scenes photos for this episode, Stefan's appearance in clothing is similar to that of Damon in the start of Season One as that he is wearing all black clothing.
- There have been talks that the episode would be named "Bloody," but Zap2It revealed on August 11, 2011 that the episode would be called The Birthday.
- Jeremy hasn't told anyone about seeing Anna and Vicki yet, except for Matt, but Matt didn't take him seriously, saying that he often thinks he sees Vicki (his sister), too.
- From this episode until Graduation, Joseph Morgan (Klaus) is a series regular.
- This is also the first appearance of Klaus as a series regular (not counting his first three appearances were he was portrayed by Matthew Davis).
- This is the second season premiere to feature Carol. The first was Season Two's The Return.
- This is the second season premiere to feature Vicki. The first was the series premiere episode.
- This is the last episode of the series to be written by Kevin Williamson until the final season.
- Jenna is seen through a photograph with Alaric. It was first seen in As I Lay Dying. She was last seen in The Sun Also Rises when Klaus staked her.
- Andie Star was last seen in Klaus.
- Klaus, Carol, Vicki and Anna were all last seen in As I Lay Dying.
- This is the second season premiere in a row to feature Caroline in a cliffhanger. The first was The Return when Katherine smothers her with a pillow before becoming a vampire.
Behind the Scenes
- This episode was watched by 3.10 million viewers in the USA.
- Alaric: Hey Elena... Happy Birthday.
- Damon: Morning.
- Elena: Hey, I was gonna— (She looks up and sees Damon wet from a bath and wearing nothing but a towel as she turns around) OH!
- Damon: Hey, you should learn to knock, what if I was... indecent?
- Damon: Stefan, for sure.
- Alaric: How do you know?
- Damon: It's his signature. It's the reason they call him "the Ripper." Feeds so hard he blacks out and rips them apart. But then, when he's done, he feels remorse. That's the damn thing... he put the bodies back together.
- Alaric: (horrified) Back together?
- Damon: Definitely Stefan.
- Caroline: (to Tyler, when Elena's out of sight) Just because I tell you things doesn't mean you're allowed to know them!
- Stefan: My brother still on our trail?
- Klaus: He's getting closer, I'm gonna have to deal with that.
- Stefan: No, no no. Let me handle that.
- Klaus: Why should I let you leave?
- Stefan: Cause you know I'll come back.
- Klaus: Do I?
- Stefan: You saved my brother's life, I'm at you're service.
- Klaus: Aah, you make it all sound so tedious. Aren't you even having the least bit of fun?
- Stefan: I'll make sure that my brother doesn't bother us any more.
- Caroline: (about Matt) He hates me. His hatred of me has driven him to drugs!
- Elena: He doesn't hate you, he hates that he's not with you.
- Damon: Well, hold the fort down, will ya?
- Alaric: You mean the fort full of my drunken history students?
- Damon: Drink more, you'll feel less weird.
- Elena: I think I'm gonna pass on the whole cake-thing.
- Caroline: What? No, no way, no! It's your birthday! You know it's the dawn of a new day, and you can't get on with your life until you have made a wish and blown out the candles.
- Elena: Is that what you all want me to do? Just get on with my life?
- Elena: (to Caroline) I'm not going to give up on finding Stefan.
- Elena: (to Caroline about Stefan) You want me to make a wish? I just wanna know that he's alive. That's it! That's my wish.
- Damon: Stefan.
- Stefan: Hello, Brother.
- Damon: You don't write, you don't call.
- Stefan: I need you to stop following me. It's causing some... problems.
- Damon: With who? Klaus? I'm supposed to care what he thinks?
- Stefan: What you're supposed to do is let me go.
- Damon: I saw your latest artwork in Tennessee. You're walking a fine line there, my friend. Keep that up and there will be no saving you.
- Stefan: See, the thing is, I don't need any saving. I just want you to let me go.
- Stefan: (to Damon) Let. Me. Go.
- Elena: We're supposed to be in this together. Why didn't you tell me that you've been tracking Klaus' victims?
- Damon: Because they're not Klaus' victims, Elena, they're Stefan's.
- Elena: What?
- Damon: He's left a trail of body parts up and down the eastern seaboard.
- Klaus: (to Stefan) You never stop caring about family, do you? But every time you feed, the blood makes it easier to let go.
- Elena: (on the phone) Stefan, if this is you, you'll be okay. I love you, Stefan. Hold on to that. Never let that go.