- 1) Which character had the strongest emotional arc
2) Which character drove the most story
3) Which character had the most key focus in their scenes (and in scenes not involving them)
4) Which character interacted with the most characters
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 1
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 2
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 3
- Central Character Per Episode (The Vampire Diaries), part 4
SEASON TWO, Episodes 17-22
2.17 "Know Thy Enemy" | Bonnie Bennett -- Bonnie joins the main trio in being the only cast member to get a triple-episode arc where they are the central character. No question, Bonnie had the strongest emotional arc, and drove the most story. Sure, she didn't drive much story, but she drove more in this episode than anyone else. In fact, everyone else was fairly reactionary. Now, Elena interacted with more characters than Bonnie (or anyone else), but just barely. Also, Elena had the second strongest emotional arc with regards to her change of attitude towards Isobel and John to a degree, but Bonnie's was much more powerful. Finally, while Elena, by far, was the key focus of her scenes, and most others were focused on her, technically the focus was more on the whole sacrifice/Klaus situation. So, I'm giving this one to Bonnie, especially since it's in between two stronger Bonnie-as-central-character episodes.
2.18 "The Last Dance" | Bonnie Bennett -- Although, we see more of Bonnie's role play out as the season closes, this episode effectively ends her arc because she has fully come into her powers, fully accepts them and the accompanying responsibility. She's also intensely bad-ass in this. By far, her character drove the most story -- as she was why Elena was "allowed" by the Salvatores to be out and about, why the majority of them were at the dance, why AlariKlaus was focusing on them at the dance (to kill her) and, even though, Damon came up with the idea of the 'dead Bonnie' plan, she clearly went along with it and had to have been the one to come up with the specifics. Finally, for once, it was Bonnie's life that everyone (except for Bonnie, and Damon here and there) was focused on as opposed to Elena's, so she was definitely the primary focus of most scenes. Finally, she interacted with everyone with depth, except for Caroline and Matt.
2.19 "Klaus" | Damon Salvatore -- Really, none of the characters had an emotional arc (unless you count Damon being pissed off through most of the episode before kinda breaking down at the end there), so he gets it rather by default. Elijah definitely drove the most story, actually he pretty much drove all of it, but he isn't a lead. It was because of Elena that he was out, but she went there because of her last interaction with Damon, so that action was driven by Damon as well. Outside of Elijah, Klaus and Katherine (none of whom are leads), the characters most focused on were Elena (somewhat by Elijah, and definitely by Stefan, Damon and Jenna to a degree), but also Damon (by Elena at various points, Andie, Stefan towards the end, and even Elijah for a brief spell). And finally, Damon was tied with Elena for most interaction with the other characters, but he did have the emotional arc of sorts, and his release of Andie was rather the final act ending without a death that began in "The Return." So, Damon.
2.20 "The Last Day" | Damon Salvatore -- Damon went through a myriad of emotions in this one (fear, anger, despair, regret, hope) and his arc went from selfishness at the start because he couldn't deal with losing Elena, to selflessness at the end, saving Caroline, Tyler and Matt, willing to sacrifice himself in place of Jenna, desperate to make up for his selfish act earlier. He also drove more of the story than anyone else, outside of the obvious Klaus. It was his actions that led to Stefan and Elena's waterfall sightseeing tour, which led to Jenna being alone in the house, thus staked and turned. His decision to try and halt the sacrifice led him to saving Tyler and Caroline, bringing Matt more fully into the story, leading to their situation at episode's end. He was also seen a lot and was thus the focus of viewers. Also, he was a focus (to a degree) in the Stefan/Elena scenes, the focus of Alaric (after Jenna), the focus of Matt, Liz, Caroline and Tyler (the latter two to a degree as well), and Elijah, Klaus and Katherine spent time focused on Damon too. Finally, Damon interacted (or was at least in scenes with them) with every character we saw on screen except for Greta and Liz.
2.21 "The Sun Also Rises" | Elena Gilbert -- This is one where the central character is just barely there. Damon had the strongest emotional arc -- coming to accept his fate by the end of the episode, but the key focus was very much on Elena in almost every scene (minus the Caroline/Tyler/Matt B-plot). Damon also interacted with the majority of characters, and he drove the B-plot by his actions in the previous episode, but the entire sacrifice is driven by Elena's human existence and with the key focus on her, I'm giving this one to her.
2.22 "As I Lay Dying" | Damon Salvatore -- This episode, similar to "The Descent" is pretty much Damon all the way. Other than Jeremy getting shot and Bonnie's subsequent witchery, and the results -- which was driven by Damon's actions, Caroline's resolution with Liz -- another moment driven by Damon, almost everything that happened in this episode related in some way to Damon. He was the key focus in almost every scene, his character drove the action of every character (Stefan going to Bonnie and Klaus, Bonnie asking the witches for help, Elena going to Damon, Jeremy looking for Elena because Damon was looking for her, Jeremy getting shot -- helping Damon, Liz aiming for Damon, etc., etc.), and other than Klaus and Caroline, Damon interacted with every character for at least a brief period. Finally, the strongest emotional arc was definitely Damon's. It began in "The Return" -- another episode that was very much Damon-centric -- and the arc reached its conclusion in this episode (of sorts, obviously there's more to go, but that's for next season). So, the season began and ended with Damon as the central character.
Final tally --
Damon - 15
Elena - 14
Stefan - 7
Caroline - 4
Bonnie - 4
The first season started out as a tie focusing on Stefan and Elena, but quickly revealed itself to be about Elena's overall arc. The second season clearly was about Damon's arc. And based on the Stefan's scenes in "As I Lay Dying," I think it's a safe bet to say that season three will be Stefan's arc. I can't wait! :D (If there's interest, either from others, or, I just want to do it again, LOL, I'll probably do a write-up after the mid-season finale of season three episodes.)