Elena and Alaric head to Tennessee, where they believe Klaus is trying to create hybrid slaves, and Damon joins them. Ray and his werewolf pack suffer horribly after Klaus tries to turn them into hybrids. Damon, Alaric and Elena come across Ray, whose wolf side is activated by the full moon. Damon leads him away from the others and is almost bitten, but Stefan arrives, kills Ray, and tells Damon to protect Elena. The attempt to create hybrids fails when all of the werewolves die. Tyler realizes that his mother has captured Caroline. He makes her witness his transformation into a werewolf, and Carol realizes that Caroline is not a monster. She calls her accomplice Bill and tells him not to harm Caroline, but Bill brushes her off. Caroline, who is locked up, calls Bill "Daddy" when she sees him.
Klaus and Stefan hunt for werewolves so that Klaus can turn them into vampires in order to continue the breed of hybrids. Stefan and Klaus find out that Damon has been tracking them, so Stefan returns home and gives Damon a warning to back off by killing Andie, Damon's semi-compelled girlfriend. Meanwhile, Elena's 18th birthday arrives and Caroline holds a party for her. During the party, Jeremy sees the ghosts of Anna and Vicki. Alaric, who has stepped in as Elena and Jeremy's guardian after Jenna's death, decides to move out of their house, as he considers himself a bad role model. Caroline becomes jealous of Tyler's date Sophie at Elena's birthday party and compels her to leave. When Tyler confronts her about their issues, they kiss and go to Tyler's house. In the morning, Caroline attempts to leave the house quietly but is caught by Mrs. Lockwood, who shoots Caroline with vervain darts.
The Vampire Diaries was officially renewed for a third season by The CW on April 26, 2011 that aired from September 15, 2011 to May 10, 2012. The third season consisted of 22 episodes and focused on the story of Klaus' origin, his relation with his family and reveal more about the original family. The third season opened to generally positive reviews. The season takes a gap from the last season and begins with Elena Gilbert's 18th birthday with all series regulars returning with the exception of Sara Canningwhose character Jenna Sommers was killed off in the previous season. Joseph Morgan's character Klaus became a series regular instead of returning as a recurring character.