We’re only three episodes into Season 5 of The Vampire Diaries, and we’re already totally hooked in fact, we think it might have the potential to be our favorite season of all TVD time! Here are the five reasons why we think this season totally rocks.

The doppelganger mythology

We’ve always been a bit mystified by the doppelganger plot device because it felt a bit gimmicky and nonsensical. However, we totally let it slide because watching Nina Dobrev kick butt as two characters? Double the fun of watching her kick butt as one.

However, when we found out Stefan was also a doppelganger at the end of Season 4 we were a bit worried. You can’t just pull the doppelganger card whenever things get slow, TVD! But we have to admit, the way the show has included the Silas/Qetsiyah backstory as a way to not only explain the existence of doppelgangers, but the reason why they always seem to be caught up in epic love triangles actually makes a lot of sense. This mythology could derail at some point in the upcoming episodes but for now, the explanation of the doppelgangers is making Season 5 pretty darn enjoyable.

Human Katherine

If there’s anything we love more than snarky, superficial vamp Katherine, it’s snarky, superficial human Katherine. So far, it has been a hilarious joy to watch Katherine try to deal with the trials and tribulations of being human (the blisters!), while simultaneously try to stay out of Silas’s clutches. It’s basically the best payback ever. Also, it gives her character something new and interesting to do. She has the potential for believable growth in a way she never has before, having stayed more-or-less unchanged as a selfish villain since Season 1.

Watching her ice possibly begin to thaw, while still keeping her trademark wit has been great and has given other characters new dynamics to play, as well. One of the best moments of Season 5 so far? When Jeremy gives Katherine a blanket because she’s cold. She totally killed him last season. The emotions!

The lighter tone

Sure, Bonnie’s still dead, Bonnie’s dad bled out in front of half the town, and Stefan was stuck perpetually drowning for two episodes, but you have to admit, this show has had an extra spring to its step (especially if you’re not Bonnie).

Last season held a lot of endings: the end of high school, the end of so many beloved characters lives (RIP, Alaric), the end for now of the Stelena romance. This season, however, is about beginnings. Caroline and Elena have a fresh start at college, Delena is finally trying the romance thing, and Matt is seeing what it’s like to be possessed by an angry Eastern European. Basically, compared to previous seasons of Death and Despair, this start has been relatively joyous. Characters are actually laughing and not sarcastically, or through their tears.

New villains we don’t love

We loved the Mikaelsons, but now we have a whole new show to watch them on! Which means we can finally root against the villains on TVD again and really mean it. It was getting difficult to be so conflicted about which side we wanted to be victorious, even with Silas and Professor Shane around to root against. Now, we have Silas and Tessa to worry about (and we’re still not sure what this chick Nadia is up to, but it seems dubious). There’s an epic battle between Silas and Tessa brewing with our TVD faves stuck in the crosshairs — and it’s nerve-wracking. And awesome!

Matt’s very own storyline

It’s been awhile since Matt has had anything to do that didn’t involve one of the central character’s problems, and thankfully, now it looks like he is a central character with his very own problem! (OK, so this probably increases the chances of his death by 25 percent, but since those odds were already at 1,000 percent, it really doesn’t matter.)

We would watch Matt in any capacity, but the move from “getting his neck snapped to fix your humanity” storyline in Season 4 to “threesomes and possessions” storyline in Season 5 is definitely an upgrade. And don’t even get us started on Zach Roerig’s performance as Matt-as-possessed-by-Gregor… because we’ll never stop gushing.

How do you like Season 5 so far? What are your favorite elements? Sound off in the comments below!

Catch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries on Thursday, October 24, 2013, at 8 p.m. ET on The CW, followed by a new episode of Reign.