Elena finds John on the kitchen floor. He tells her that his attacker is behind her, but Katherine uses her speed to escape. Elena goes to check on Jeremy who wakes up. She calls Stefan and he confirms that Jeremy is human, Anna's blood having healed the damage of the pills. Elena goes to the hospital and learns from Bonnie that Caroline is in critical condition following a car crash. Damon finds them and offers to give Caroline some of his blood to heal her. Bonnie tells him to do it, despite Elena's reservations, for Elena. Damon later tells Elena that they should talk about what happened, but she is oblivious to the kiss he shared with Katherine. Jenna shows up and, when Elena remains oblivious to where Jenna was (despite Jenna claiming to have told her), Damon discovers that Katherine's back. He and Elena return home to discover that Katherine just attacked Stefan.
Stefan discovers that Damon kissed Katherine, believing her to be Elena, and tries to attack him but Elena stops them and says that they can't let Katherine win. Elena and Stefan visit John in hospital but he refuses to help, telling Elena that she should have staked Stefan by now. Elena tells John that such hatred will get him killed and leaves. Stefan threatens John into leaving, and Elena later tells Stefan that she's glad. At Richard Lockwood's wake, Damon asks Elena why she was surprised that he would kiss her. She reveals that the surprise was that he thought she would kiss him back, and he admits he's hurt. Bonnie arrives and reveals that Katherine left with Stefan.
Damon and Elena find Stefan recovering from a wound Katherine had inflicted for saying he hates her. Elena's jealous that Katherine wants Stefan back. That night, Elena discovers Damon in her room, drunk and depressed. He tries to convince her to tell him she loves him, as he knows she does, and forcefully kisses her. However, when she reveals that she will always love Stefan (similar to Katherine), Damon snaps Jeremy's neck. Elena discovers that John gave Jeremy his ring before leaving, and Stefan arrives to wait with Elena until Jeremy wakes up. Elena declares she hates Damon.
Damon tells Elena that Katherine killed Caroline, making her a vampire. Damon decides they need to kill her to stop her dying like Vicki, but Elena and Stefan refuse. Damon tries to stake Caroline, but Elena jumps between them, and Damon says that she will have to accept the blame for whatever Caroline does. When Bonnie tries to kill Damon for being behind Caroline's death, Elena stops her, telling her that this isn't them.
Elena, Stefan and Damon come up with the idea to go through Isobel's research at Duke. They ask forAlaric's help. Alaric, Damon and Elena travel to Duke where Vanessa Monroe shows them Isobel's research. Vanessa mistakes Elena for Katherine and shoots a crossbow at her, but Damon jumps in front of her. Elena explains her identity to Vanessa and gives her vervain to protect her from Damon after convincing him not to kill her. Discovering that a bite from a werewolf can kill a vampire, Elena calls Stefan to warn him. As they're leaving, Damon gives Elena a book on the Petrova family, Katherine's original name. He asks her if he's lost her forever, but she just thanks him. Later, Damon confesses to Elena that he got lucky that Jeremy came back to life, as he didn't know that he would. Elena thanks him, but says he's lost her forever, revealing that she was only using him to get information on Katherine.
Katherine tells Stefan that he must stop seeing Elena, or else she will kill everyone Elena loves in front of her before killing her herself. Stefan and Elena stage a break up, but secretly continue dating. After Damon kills Mason, Katherine reveals that she has been compelling Jenna to spy on Elena. Under Katherine's compulsion, Jenna stabs herself. Elena goes to see Stefan and breaks up with him, realising that she has been selfish. Damon tries to comfort her, but she merely says "Katherine won".
Lucy links Katherine to Elena before she goes to the Masquerade Ball to retrieve the moonstone. Suspicious when she learns that Jeremy and Stefan have both gone to the ball without her, she confronts Alaric, but he tells her to leave it alone. Elena sneaks out and confronts Jeremy and Bonnie. They tell her about their plan to kill Katherine. Elena then starts bleeding and crying out in pain and Bonnie discovers that Elena's linked to Katherine. Jeremy convinces Stefan and Damon to stop for Elena's sake and stays with her whilst Bonnie tries to find Lucy. Elena refuses Jeremy's offer of his ring. Afterwards, Bonnie's able to take the pain away. Elena talks to Stefan and discovers that Katherine is locked in the tomb. He tries to kiss her, but she rejects him, saying that she needs to be by herself and make sure everyone's safe. Heading to her car, she's kidnapped by a man in a clown mask.
Elena discovers her kidnappers are two old vampires called Rose and Trevor. They reveal that they are handed her over to "Elijah," described as Elena's "worst nightmare". Rose reveals that the Curse of The Sun and The Moon can only be broken by Elena's death. Elena finds a note from Bonnie, telling her that Stefan and Damon are on their way. Elijah arrives and kills Trevor for betraying him, but grants Rose her freedom. Elijah then manages to compel Elena into telling him that the moonstone is in the tomb with Katherine. Stefan and Damon arrive and Damon manages to stake Elijah. Rose escapes and Elena tells Damon to let her go. Elena returns home where she reunites with Jeremy and Bonnie. She discovers Damon in her room and he returns her necklaceto her, since Elijah took it. Before he gives it to her, he tells her he loves her but compels her to forget it.
Elena enlists Rose's help in contacting Klaus through Rose's friend Slater. Discovering that Slater's dead, they instead enlist his girlfriend Alice's help. Damon arrives to convince Elena not to offer herself to Klaus, but the three are confronted by two of Klaus's vampires. They are then killed by Elijah, and Rose escapes. Elijah leaves. Jeremy tells Elena that Stefan has been imprisoned in the tomb with Katherine, and Damon stops her from going to see him.
Elijah is able to enter Elena's house by winning favour with Jenna. He tells her of his plans to use Elena as bait to lure Klaus out of hiding so that he can kill him, in return for keeping those she loves safe. Elena decides to make the deal, on the conditions that Elijah frees Stefan from the tomb. He does so, and Stefan immediately visits Elena. They sleep together. Elena and Bonnie support Caroline after Brady tortures her.
Damon makes Elena stay with Rose once she's bitten by Jules. She comforts Damon after he's forced to kill Rose, aware that he cared for her. Stefan tries to contact Isobel to help in keeping Elena safe, but John shows up instead. Elena and Damon confront John.
After discovering the Gilbert journals Elena starts to read them and discovers that Stefan was just like Damon back then whilst Damon was the better brother. She confronts Stefan about it and he tells her the story about what he was like back then, and how Lexi was the one that changed him into a better vampire. Later, Elijah shows up at the lake house and Elena wants to renegotiate, asking him to promise not to harm anyone.
She then says that if he refuses her deal, she will let herself bleed to death so Klaus will never be able to go through with the sacrifice like Elijah wants. He calls her bluff, not believing she would kill herself for so little an issue. She stabs herself in the chest with a knife and he says she has his word if she lets him heal her. As she stumbles forward, she stabs him in the chest with the special dagger, thus killing him. He falls to the ground as Stefan feeds her his blood to cure her and Damon appears.
Elena is shocked and upset that Katherine is free from the tomb. At school, she goes to Alaric and they discuss how Jenna is asking a lot of questions aboutIsobel. Elena says that after they take care of Klaus they will tell her everything as it may be dangerous for her to not know anymore. Later that evening, Elena, Bonnie, Caroline, and Jenna go to The Grill for a girl's night out as Caroline is upset about her break-up with Matt, Jenna is upset about her situation with Alaric, and Bonnie needs to tell Elena about her relationship with Jeremy. Jonas Martin attacks, looking for Elena but Stefan gets her out and he uses Katherine to pretend to be Elena to save her.
Elena lashes out at John for Isobel's return and the fact that he invited her into the house. Later, Elena sits down and listens to what Isobel has to say. She goes with Stefan to the Lockwood house to accept a check from the Historical Society for her mother's foundation. Katherine then kidnaps her for Isobel. At Grove Hill cemetery, Isobel takes Elena there to show her the grave that Isobel's parents made when they couldn't find Isobel body after her presumed death. Isobel then tells Elena that she is sorry that she was a disappointment to her; she removed her lapis lazuli necklace and burned to death in the sun.
Elena plans on attending the 60's decade dance with her friends and starts receiving disturbing messages from Klaus. She discovers that Bonnie might die if she channels too much power at once, which is what she will have to do if she wants to kill Klaus. Elena confronts Damon when she learns he knew Bonnie had to die and slaps him. After Damon explains what happened she apologizes to him. He then tells her that if it means Elena will be safe, he would not mind letting Bonnie die, even doing it himself, as he will always choose her. Elena, believing she can save Bonnie, sneaks down in the basement and pulls the dagger from Elijah's heart, thus reviving him.
Elena is able to strike up another deal with Elijah. Damon is very unhappy about this, but Stefan accepts that this is what Elena wants to do and decides to trust her judgement. Elijah has a special elixir that would bring Elena back from the dead after the sacrifice as a human, but no one knows if it will work because of how old it is as it was originally intended for Katherine in the 1400s. Damon asks her what she will do if it doesn't work and she concludes that she will just be dead. Upset, he storms off but she follows him. He decides he is the only one who knows how to save Elena and so forces her to drink his blood so he can be sure she will come back, even as a vampire. Elijah puts the elixir away, as it is no longer necessary, and Stefan fights Damon for feeding Elena his blood but Damon stakes Stefan in the chest.
Stefan takes Elena away for the day, and she says she never wanted to be a vampire. Elena then says goodbye to Stefan and is taken away willingly by Klaus for the sacrifice. Elena arrives at the site to find that Klaus had made some changes to the sacrifice and that Jenna was being used as the vampire, having been turned by Klaus. Jules is brought along and all three are placed in fire rings by Greta Martin, Klaus' witch. Klaus then arrives and kills Jules as the first part before adding her blood to the moonstone that has been set ablaze.
As Klaus is about to kill Jenna, Stefan arrives and asks to take Jenna's place but Klaus refuses and stabs Stefan as he says he has other plans for him. He then moves to kill Jenna but as Greta breaks the flames, Jenna runs towards her and bites her. However, Klaus gets to her and kills her before she can kill Greta. As he brings Elena out for the final part of the sacrifice, he thanks her and Elena tells him to go to Hell. He then drinks her blood and Elena dies as Stefan watches in horror, unable to move since Klaus stabbed him.
As Klaus starts to turn, Bonnie arrives and starts attacking him with her witchcraft. Damon kills Greta and retrieves Elena so as to bring her back to the witch burial site. Bonnie attacks Klaus to the point of death at which point, Elijah intervenes and goes to finish Klaus but he betrays everyone when Klaus tells him that he can help him find his siblings that Klaus had killed and supposedly buried at sea. Elijah and Klaus escape and Bonnie is unable to stop them.
At the burial site, Damon whispers to a dead Elena that if she comes back as a vampire, he himself will stake her; he tells her not to, but he will because he couldn't stand the idea of her hating him forever for turning her. Elena awakens as a human because Bonnie and John had found a spell that could return her to life as a human by binding John's life force to hers. As Elena returns to life, John dies. Before the funeral, Jeremy gives her a letter from John and his ring. In the letter, he tells her that it is hard to be an ordinary father to an extraordinary daughter and that he had failed her because of his prejudices but tells her that he will love her nonetheless, if she is reading the letter as a human or as a vampire.
He tells her that he gave his life so that she could remain human and make the choices she wanted to make about having a child and all the choices a human could make. He tells her that the reason he gave her the ring was because he wanted her to give it to her child if she ever had one and that she would therefore succeed where he had failed. Elena is seen crying for both her father, her aunt and her adoptive parents as she places roses on each of their graves.
She was forced to confront her feelings for Damon after she finds out he is dying from Tyler's werewolf bite. In an encounter with Damon he hallucinates and believes she is Katherine offering blood and he drinks Elena's blood until realizing what he is doing.
Later in Damon's bedroom, as he is dying, he confesses his feelings to her and tells Elena he wishes she could have met him in 1864, because she would have liked him then. He tells her he loves her. Elena answers she likes him now just the way he is, and kisses him. He thanks her for forgiving him for everything, including killing Jeremy and feeding her his blood before the sacrifice. Suddenly Katherine appears with the cure from Klaus and tells them that Stefan traded himself for it.