Then finally: Delena Sex! Delena sex! He gets the girl! Everything’s coming up Damon!

But his delight is short-lived, because, hello: Sire Bond. Damon doesn’t want to believe this is true, so he tests it by saying blood bags are delicious and—surprise!—now Elena can drink from them.

Ugh. Now Damon has to go to New Orleans to release the last lady this happened with, whom he left counting every brick in the Big Easy. Turns out, as a witchy NOLA friend tells him, the only way to break the sire bond is to tell Elena he’s release her.

Back in Mystic Falls, Damon distracts himself helping by little vamp hunter Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) get his hunter instincts under control... you know, so he doesn’t constantly try to murder his big sister. When they’re training at the Gilbert lake house, Damon finally works up the nerve to tell Elena to go home, because that would “make him happy.” She leaves, because sire bond.

But it doesn’t last for long! He’s still at the lake house helping Jeremy’s hunter’s mark grow (as part of the search for the cure), when he tells Elena to get in her car and, “Come to me.” Swoon.

But then, twist! After Damon gets a possible address for Katherine, he gets trapped on the roof by Elena and her partner-in-crime Rebekah (Claire Holt) when they use the same sneaky tactics he used on Lexi in the 1970s.

Damon and Stefan follow this vampire version of Thelma and Louise to small-town Pennsylvania, where they find Katherine, Elijah, and the cure. But then, of course, they all head back to Mystic Falls just in time for prom!

Damon and Stefan are busting their butts to get Elena’s emotions back on, but when that fails, they lock her in the basement. Like you do. Damon and Elena are in a humanity standoff until he tries to kill Matt, which finally gets her emotional engine to kick over. Another rough day — but hey, Elena’s back!

It gets rougher when the veil gets dropped and all those dead supernatural creatures come back to the land of the living. Plus side: Alaric returns! He and Damon bro down, and it’s adorable.

When the fourth season of The Vampire Diaries premiered last fall, we all knew we were in for a bumpy ride. Elena (Nina Dobrev) was a newbie vampire, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) was hijacking bodies, Pastor Young was on a bizarro vamp rampage. Par for the Vampire Diaries course.

But everyone’s favorite bad boy vamp Damon (Ian Somerhalder) has had it as bad (if not worse) as everyone else. Come on, the man has been through a lot in the last few months. Need a refresher? Below, here is our super-simplified look back at what became of Damon in TVD’s Season 4.

At the start of the season, Damon’s completely heartbroken. Elena’s en route to becoming a vampire (fail!), but more than that, she’s chosen Stefan over him. Again. So angry Damon (who was secretly sad Damon) is all rage-y. He’s taking it out on Matt (Zach Roerig) at Pastor Young’s place, and probably would have killed him had vampire Elena not intervened.

Ah, vampire Elena. Ask the question, “What happened to Damon in Season 4,” and the answer is pretty much vampire Elena.

On the plus side, her vampirism is making her remember all the lovely moments she and Damon shared that he compelled her to forget when she was human... because he’s secretly a nice guy. But shhhh, don’t tell anyone.

On the minus side, she can’t keep any blood down, which is where Damon comes in. He wants her to feed on human blood (no bunnies), and from the vein instead of a blood bag. When she refuses to drink from a human, Damon offers up his own blood and she goes to town. (And who can forget that almost uncomfortably orgasmic look on his face.) Later, Stefan (Paul Wesley) sucker punches Damon because Elena is still his GF — but only after saving him from vampire hunter Connor, so we guess they’re kind of even?

Stefan decides to hold a lantern ceremony so that everyone can mourn those they’ve lost. Instead (and not surprisingly), Damon goes to drink alone on Alaric’s grave. Best. Moment. Ever.

Getting back to business, Damon teams up with Klaus to trap Connor in the hospital, because Klaus realizes that he’s one of The Five vampire hunters. Also, there’s a cure for vampirism. The plot thickens.

Too bad the mood gets killed when Damon and Klaus team up for realz to make Jeremy kill hella vampires, so his tattoo will fill in and they can get the cure for Elena. Then Kol kicks Damon’s ass and compels him to kill Jeremy.

His compulsion lasts until Kol gets off-ed, which also completes Jeremy’s arm map. So it’s off to vampire island, where he gets his neck snapped by yet another one of The Five. Rough day, dude.

But the worst part is learning there’s only one dose of the cure! Well, no. The worst part is that Katherine (Nina Dobrev)’s trickery and snatching of the cure leads to Jeremy’s death, and Elena is losing it. Cashing in on that sire bond, Damon tries to spare her the pain by making her turn her humanity off.

Kind of a mistake. His newly emotion-free protégé will now feed on anything, and his sire bond doesn’t work because she feels nothing! So Damon takes her on a road trip so she can sow her wild vampire oats. As they’re kicking it in NYC, Damon takes Elena to his fave haunt Billy’s — cue ‘70s flashback! — so she can feed without worry and he can get a lead on Katherine’s whereabouts. (Remember, Billy’s used to be a hothouse of vampire fake IDs.)

Graduation day arrives and Damon gives Elena the cure all gift-wrapped. She won’t take it, which means the sire bond is over! Hooray! He also won’t take it, even though he’s been shot with a werewolf venom bullet by a back-from-the-dead vampire hunter. Oh, Damon.

Thankfully, the elder Salvatore lives because Klaus comes back to town and heals him. Elena’s pissed that Damon would rather die than be human, so... face slap! But, of course, she only slaps him because she loves his selfish face. Then they make out in front of the fire. Damon gets the girl!

But first: Party time! Damon goes with Elena and Bonnie (Kat Graham) to Whitmore College, where Bonnie can check out Professor Shane and Damon can teach Elena to feed on humans — starting with a Halloween frat party. Cue sexy times on the dance floor.

Things are less sexy later, however, after Elena kills vampire hunter Connor, and the torment of the Hunter’s curse makes her try to kill herself. After she throws her daylight ring into the water from Wickery Bridge, Damon shows up and rescues her before she’s fricassee-ed by the sun.

But then things get way more sexy! Elena breaks up with Stefan because of her feelings for Damon. After a super tension-y time at the Miss Mystic Falls pageant, she shows up at Casa Salvatore, and she and Damon slow dance in front of the fire.