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10 February 2018 @ 05:06 pm
'The Vampire Diaries' Wrap-up Thoughts... 7A/8 -- 25/50 Best Episodes  
It hasn't been a century... it's just the next year! Anyhoo, here is the next section of my Vampire Diaries wrap-up. This is a two-parter: What I consider the best episodes of the series. You'll find the first 25 here listed in chronological order. In the second post, I will list my absolute favorites (no specific number, just the ones that I put little stars next to when picking them). Narrowing this down was a process (understandably). I first was going to do only 20, but I just couldn't do it, so I decided on 25, but then a few more kept sneaking their way in, so I thought... oh heck, I'll do 50 and 50 it stayed. And so here is part one. Shockingly, I have my description of each episode and why I consider them the best to a paragraph (admittedly, some of them are on the lengthy side, but still only a paragraph). Read on....

MEMORIAL (i.e., The 50 Best Episodes, Part I)

01-Haunted

I adored the overall feel of this episode in part because there was a brilliant contrast throughout. Damon and Stefan's dueling methods of teaching Vicki how to be a vampire was mostly played with a light touch until she threatened Elena, and manipulated both Jeremy and Matt to keep everyone else at bay. Then there was the frivolity of the high school Halloween event contrasted with the dark violence of vampirism. This was the first time in the series where we truly saw the chaotic change that the Salvatore brothers had brought into Elena's life. Someone she had known her whole life was dead (and shockingly, a series regular had actually departed only seven episodes in). Her brother almost died; she almost died. She found herself lying to people she loved to cover up death and near-death. It wasn't when Elena found out that Stefan was a vampire that her life changed because Elena could have walked away, It was after these events, when she chose not to walk away despite what vampirism brought into her life. And because of that it was in this episode that the stakes truly began to rise in the series and viewers began to get the full measure of just how amazing The Vampire Diaries could be. We also got the full glimpse of how unpredictable the show could be.

02-Children of the Damned

Of the early season 01 flashback episodes, it's this second one that has my vote over "Lost Girls." Yes, that it is from Damon's perspective certainly helps, but there are other reasons. Firstly, and most importantly, I simply think that it is a better episode overall. By focusing on Damon's point of view, we're able to get a broader view on more characters as Stefan tended to narrow in mostly on Elena and Damon in early seasons. So along with those two, we saw some delightful interaction with Jeremy, Jenna, Katherine and Pearl. Furthermore, since Damon sees thinks much more clearly than does Stefan (with the exception of Katherine), all of those relationships offered much more meat upon which to feast. And speaking of Katherine… I think that Nina Dobrev and the writers had a better handle on differentiating Katherine and Elena by this go-round—and perhaps because of that—the flashbacks told a story that utilized all of the characters involved as opposed to just introducing a minx between two brothers. Finally, the modern-day story with its mix of characters and truths, half-truths, white lies and backstabbing tying to the past was just very nicely done.

03-Fool Me Once

Ah, so painful, but oh, so very good, this one not only was the culmination of what had been building for the past several episodes prior, but it also set up threads for quite a few upcoming arcs beautifully. In addition to the brilliant plot execution, there was also some strong character shading for Damon, Bonnie and Stefan. And as in many of the best episodes of the series, the emotional navigation of familial and romantic relationships was traversed among our many players (Damon with Elena, Stefan, Katherine, Giuseppe; Bonnie with Grams and Elena; Caroline with Matt and Damon; Anna with Pearl and Jeremy.) All of that, plus an unexpected jaw-dropper—Katherine Pierce was not even in the tomb—that opened the door for a multiple of storylines to come all the way to the final episode! What an episode.

04-Let the Right One In

Despite the fact that this episode ended with every story arc at a depressing point, it still was one of the best. While heartbreaking, every bit of that despair was earned. The series had been building up to the moment of Elena's horror at seeing the perfect vampire that Stefan presented himself was not so. And the follow-through of his subsequent shame and need for that human blood later was perfectly shown. There were also unexpected finds (Vicki—and the fallout) and unexpected teamwork (Damon and Alaric—Team BadAss!Bromance began). What happened in this episode introduced many key factors that played a large part in the final five episodes of the first season, and did so beautifully.

05-Miss Mystic Falls

Admittedly, the Damon and Elena interactions (especially the dance and their final scene) were key in making this episode so damn wonderful, but in all honestly, it was so superb in so many ways with every character showcased in marvelous ways. Stefan fell apart because he's the good brother, but he sure wasn't acting like it. Bonnie returned home, but the effect of Gram's death still weighed heavily upon her. Jeremy dealt with his brand-new information. Caroline was her awesome self and awesomely won the crown of the titular Miss Mystic Falls. Elena began to find that she couldn't pretend that everything was fine any longer. And Damon had to step up and become the good brother in deed. And all of the above was perfection; every note, every beat, every look was just… there is no other word but perfection. This episode had heart (of both the warming and breaking kind), heat, and a dash of humor. Just perfection from beginning to end. This is one of my absolute favorite episodes of the series, very few top it. It was co-written by Caroline Dries and was her first for The Vampire Diaries. Make note of that name, you'll be seeing it a lot.

06-Isobel

There were more than a few revelations in this episode, but none of them were particularly shocking—not to any long-time TV watchers who would have picked up on the clues. Of course, Isobel still had a soul buried deep underneath that cold and uncaring exterior. Naturally, John was Elena's dad; yup, Bonnie was going to betray the vampires… and Elena. Again, none of this was surprising. However, the lack of surprise did nothing to detract from the excellence of the episode because it was all in the execution. It was how we saw Isobel's soul. It was how Damon used Elena's parentage to needle Stefan. It was there in Bonnie's guilt as she told Caroline what she had done and the question of the consequences that would occur especially since she and Elena had just repaired their friendship (and so beautifully). This episode wasn't about shocking the audience, it was about the characters and why they were doing the things they were and how the hell they were going to deal with the fall-out. And it was good… no, it was great.

07-The Return

The second season opener was the best premiere of the series hands-down. It not only met expectations after the explosive first finale, but exceeded them beyond imagination. With a strong wrap-up of the many cliffhangers, quick movement of stories, a (literally) jaw-dropping final ten minutes, and fantastic performances (especially from Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev), this episode was outstanding by any measure. There was sex, murder, heartbreak, brotherly love (and hate), the death (and non-death… and return to life) of two major characters, and, of course, a party. Because this is Mystic Falls after all.

08-Masquerade

This was easily one of the greatest episodes of season 02 and one of the most outstanding of the series overall. A big part of that is because as fantastic as the pacing was in general on this show, it was absolutely masterful in "Masquerade." The editing, the quick cuts, the music, it all created a thrill of excitement that carried throughout from beginning to end. Of course, there was also some nifty action and some great character moments (from Damon—given a long-awaited cathartic release, and a touching reunion between Caroline and Bonnie). Other highlights included Caroline's moment of triumph over Katherine, Bonnie's familial moment with the one-off character of awesome, Lucy Bennett, and the extended cutting conversation between Katherine, Damon and Stefan while trapped in the closet Lockwood suite. Bottom-line, this episode hit on all cylinders. And, as always, in her roles as the doppelgangers, Nina Dobrev was absolutely brilliant!

09-The Sacrifice

When an episode took my least favorite series regular (admittedly still one I liked—of course, I speak of the cockroach-hybrid that is Tyler Lockwood) and made his storyline incredibly compelling, one that brought me near tears, there's no doubt that it was an excellent episode. And "The Sacrifice" absolutely was an excellent episode, and it wasn't only because of Tyler's discovery of werewolf video diarying. Nope, there was Katherine being Katherine (even while trapped in the tomb), Bonnie being, well, Bonnie. Jeremy being, heck, well, Jeremy and Stefan, oh, you know the drill. All three of them playing their versions of hero to take on Katherine—yup, our supreme bad girl still being the baddest of them all still while trapped in that tomb. Oh, Katherine, you were the worst, but still the best. Oh, and meanwhile, Damon and Elena were all getting up in each other's face (like really, really up in each other's faces) and Elijah was charming the heck out of Damon (and the audience) with his double-heart removal. *sigh* Phew! Oh, and did I mention Alaric in boxers and chunky monkey? What an episode!

10-The House Guest

I thought this episode was good when it first aired, but it was during my rewatch of the season that I realized just how good… nope, not good, not even great… but rather, downright excellent it actually was. There was romance both bittersweet (Alaric and Jenna) and beautiful (Matt and Caroline—that swoon-worthy stage kiss! The lighting was to die for!), and revenge, delicious (Damon to Katherine) and destructive (Jonas to the Grill) on display. This was the Valentine's episode after all! Katherine was casually cruel *and* adorably accommodating; Elena, Caroline and Bonnie had some lovely friendship moments and even pulled poor heartbroken (and, alas, still clueless) Jenna along. Damon was ridiculously, awesomely Damon—we got the humor, the broken heart and the smarts, natch! All of that, plus a twist or two. What can I say? Caroline Dries strikes again.

11-The Sun Also Rises

There are so many wonderful things about this episode, I could write a list—but when I think of this one, I think of Stefan Salvatore's love for his brother and how pure and beautiful it was. It was also very, very sad. But then as magnificent as "The Sun Also Rises" is, it was not a happy episode. After all, we also lost Jenna, the clueless-almost-until-the-very-end human who might have lived had she not been kept so clueless for so very long. True, Bonnie displayed awesome power, but it was for naught because Elijah showed that he was just like our Scooby gang. His family comes first, so he screwed our Scooby gang over thus negating Bonnie's fireworks of awesome. Sure, Uncle Daddy John displayed a selflessness that no one thought he was capable of… but that was in the service of giving up his life for his daughter. So, yeah, certainly not Happyland here, but still, oh my, so, so, so good. It was brilliant actually and that brilliance was evident in the theme on display: To be or not be… selfish. Some were selfless, putting others above themselves (or at least trying to). Others chose selfishness, choosing their wants, their desires even if it meant breaking promises and destroying lives. Over the top? Maybe, but this episode had such a grand, nearly operatic feel to it, I don't think so. It was just magnificent.

12-As I Lay Dying

This is one of those episodes that just really got me in the feels for every character who was highlighted. The arc climaxes to end the season and set-ups for the next were beautifully done, but this one was so strong emotionally that it was the character beats that carried the hour. While romance played a part in that poignant heft, the balance of that weight was familial and the bonds of friendship. Damon and Stefan, Caroline and Liz, Damon and Alaric, Alaric and Jeremy, and definitely from her point of view, Elena to Damon, yes, there was a bit of romantic feeling there, but more friendship, I believe. Added to that was the heartbreak that so many of our beloved characters were going through (Damon, Stefan, Liz, Bonnie, Alaric, Elena) that one couldn't help but feel so very much alongside them especially as we watched some of them take a few steps forward, while others took a few major ones back. It was a jam-packed season finale that was bursting with character, plot and most of all, heart.

13-The End of the Affair

The most wonderful thing about this was the introduction of Rebekah. With just a few strokes, writer Caroline Dries and actress Claire Holt—who connected immediately with Paul Wesley onscreen—created a strong, sassy, memorable character who was entirely believable as an Original, and as a girl who loved and was loved by Stefan the Ripper. However, it wasn't just the awesome of Rebekah that made this episode shine. Liz doing the bulk of the rescue-work for Caroline was amazing, and Elena finally getting actual glimpses into the true darkness of Stefan was important… even if she still remained encased within her bubble of their pure, perfect love; it was still a very important step. Ah, this was such a beautiful episode that featured so many strong relationships, some new (Stefan/Rebekah, Stefan/Klaus), some old (Damon/Elena, Liz/Caroline, Caroline/Tyler, Stefan/Elena), but all were showcased so very well with so much nuance. Of course, Caroline Dries. Of course.

14-The Reckoning

This episode was incredibly strong, incredibly layered, incredibly exciting. It was shocking, action-packed and yet it still managed to offer some lovely character moments. From Caroline's beautifully upbeat attitude, to Bonnie's non-magical bad-assery on display to Matt's crazy, stupid, awesome foray into the supernatural world, all of our supporting players were in fine form. Then there was the heart of the series in raw, aching form… Stefan torn between bloodlust and love; Klaus was the devil on his shoulder, Elena the angel. Meanwhile, Damon was trying escape to his status as the unchosen in Mystic Falls, but he couldn't do anything but follow his heart and so made the choice to return home… return to Elena and never leave her again. *sigh*

15-Ordinary People

This is one of the episodes that I consider damn near close to perfection. (Psst! Caroline Dries, co-writer… uh huh!) Rebekah's story told so much not only about her, but about Klaus and Elijah and the entire Original family, but even more compellingly, the audience also learned about the very creation of the vampiric mythology on this series. It was brilliant. As was a simple explanation as to why Bonnie Bennett—indeed the entire Bennett bloodline—is so powerful and so connected to vampiric activity. A Bennett was there when it all began. Again… brilliant. Ah, but it wasn't just the Originals and their story that was so well done. Oh no, the Brothers Salvatore and every single moment with them was magnificent. Their love for each other—never spoken, all but denied and decried—was evident in their every action to save one another's soul and, in Damon's case his (undead) life. Lastly, the little bit of screen time between Damon and Elena—their comfort lying in her bedroom, their conversation about Stefan's love for Damon (see?!)—was simply utter perfection. Which is just what this episode was. Because, you know, Caroline Dries. OK, and Julie Plec helped her write this one too, but, yeah, Caroline Dries!

16-Homecoming

I loved this (obviously… it's on this list), but the point is that I did love it even if there were aspects of it broke my heart. Such as the temporary loss of my beloved Rebekah. *sigh* Oh, but how glorious was every moment with her before (my also beloved) Elena literally stabbed her in the back? So, so glorious. Still, all was not painful in the splendor, there was also the beauty in Elena's swift, sure trust in Damon, along with her reminder that they always survive. There was the humor and surprise in Katherine's "Kaboom" and Damon's casual and hilariously cool disposal of his enemies' minions. And the Salvatore brotherly love coming to the fore in a devastating way as Stefan once again chose Damon over *everything.* Finally, Nina Dobrev delivered yet another tour-de-force performance where with just the slightest change in her stance, in her voice, in her facial expressions, she differentiated between Elena and Katherine. I just loved this episode so; it played with a lot of themes and moments that had been building from the premiere, as well it brought into focus threads of the entire series. Viewers also had to pay close attention because it was smart and cleverly laid out with a lot of trickery, but trickery that made sense with a brilliant, emotional and well-earned pay-off. Good, good stuff.

17-The New Deal

There is so much to love in this episode, but it's easy to start with the ending, so I shall… Damon and Elena's first real kiss. It was beautiful and lovely, and it was more than just a kiss. It also dealt with Damon's self-esteem issues both showing how they still exist, but how he's showing some growth and gaining a sense of self. We also saw an Elena who is beginning to maybe see beyond her delusional bubble, and, then there was Damon and Elena's first real kiss. *sigh* Oh, and there was so much more to the episode to love as well. And that more essentially boiled down to love of family, taking care of, protecting that family. Almost every main character showcased was focused on doing just that (Elena, Damon, Jeremy, Alaric, Stefan, even Klaus) and they were willing to do anything (lie, kill, compel, kidnap, even behead, you name it) to do what was necessary for family. Because family is precious… even if one is willing to piss off your brother and bear the guilt because you really want to kiss "his" girl. Yeah, fantastic episode, but… Damon and Elena's first real kiss. Yeah.

18-Our Town

Just about everything in this that was terrific also happened to be something that was terrible and that is what made this episode so tremendous. Stefan took on Klaus and he won… and it was awesome. The fact that he just happened to threaten to turn Elena into a vampire via car crash on Wickery Bridge as part of the plan was not so awesome, but it actually sorta was because that was how he won. Damon and Elena on the Gilbert porch, part deux? Also awesome even if Elena pre-rejected any kissy-face attempt from Damon. Why was it so awesome? Because Damon was totally cool with that pre-rejection ("It's right, just not right now.") Instead of birthday parties, our teenagers were having funerals for themselves and instead of depressing, it was—wait for it!—awesome. Why? Because it showed a level of maturity and growth that all of them (especially Caroline and Matt) have experienced since all of this supernatural chaos entered their lives. Finally, in this episode, we saw Klaus Mikaelson show not only our heroes/anti-heroes (am I right?) that he has more than vampiric strength to account for his immense power. He also has cunning and charm to spare. Again, amazing, but awful because it left our crew at his mercy, but, oh my, was it a joy to watch him work his wiles. Just like the episode as a whole… an absolute joy to watch.

19-All My Children

This was awesome sauce, just all-around awesome, awesome sauce. One of the great things about this one was how it followed through events from the prior episode—even the somewhat provocative aspects. And it did so swiftly, beautifully, in character, and seemingly in closure with just enough to allow future threads to play throughout the rest of the season. There was Elena's simmering jealousy over Damon, even as she and Stefan began to attempt to recapture their past. And the resurgence of the triangle wasn't all that was featured. The promise of Matt and Rebekah was introduced in this episode, and the chemistry between Candice King and Joseph Morgan—which was thoroughly highlighted for the first time in the previous episode—was once again explored. Along with the plot intricacy and romantic interplay, there was also the always beautiful friendship between Elena, Caroline and Bonnie—as a trio and in pairs—on display... even if it was painful as hell. But, hey, this is The Vampire Diaries, pain is a given, just as is awesome-sauce.

20-We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes

One of the strongest things about The Vampire Diaries is the sense of friendship to the point where that friendship is family. Beyond family, this group of people had created their own small tribe with their own rules by which they lived. An example of that tribal mentality played out most intensely in this episode when someone who helped them was killed by them because it helped one of their own. This went beyond the earlier motto of 'kill or be killed' and into 'kill to save our own and if there's collateral damage, so be it.' The show was willing to go dark and was very self-aware about it. It was damn good stuff; and it wasn't the only thing this episode had to offer that was damn good. Elena's breakdown finally brought her back into the light, offering up some wonderful character actualization. She at last wanted to live... and that led her to let go of the boy who couldn't die. There were beautifully laid parallels with the season premiere where Elena didn't die, but would have preferred to and was given a second chance and was happy for it this time. The Elena and Katherine (hallucinated) moments where Nina Dobrev played off of herself was brilliantly executed. Various pairings (both romantic and familial) were given an opportunity to shine, and Dobrev wasn't the only actor who stepped up to the plate (I'm looking at you, Trevino!). Repeated viewings keep delivering more nuance and detail. Such an outstanding outing.

21-My Brother's Keeper

I expect excellence from every Caroline Dries-penned episode (co-written or not… as this one was) and yet even with already high expectations in play, this one managed to surpass them all. And mightily so… this was easily my favorite episode of the series since Dries' first ever (season 01's "Miss Mystic Falls"). One of the reasons this was such a very strong outing was because of the magnificent case of show as opposed to tell on display throughout. This was most evident in the narrative (proclaimed most loudly from Caroline) that Damon is bad, while Stefan is good. However, we were shown Damon giving Elena space while Stefan was doing things against her wishes, Caroline decrying Elena's feelings for Damon… to the monstrous Klaus with whom Caroline was smiling and laughing and flirting. We were told that Elena had changed since she had turned, but were shown that she was still the same empathetic, warm person she had always been. Intriguing bits of character (courtesy mostly of the excellent David Alpay's Professor Shane) and plot, callbacks (Miss Mystic Falls!), friendship awesomeness, sibling love, be-still-my-beating-heart romance, and, of course, Damon and Elena first time sexytiems! All wrapped up with the WTF!ery (in the most awesome, jaw-dropping of ways) of the sire bond reveal which I personally loved. I loved it because it kept that delicious couple angst going while providing time for my favorite couple and those around them to come to terms with what the two of them as a couple meant in their crazy, chaotic world. All of that included and introduced in 42 minutes of television, plus one of the dang hottest love scenes on network television ever? Utter magnificence. (Thy name is Caroline Dries.)

22-O Come All Ye Faithful

There was some awesome horror on display in this episode—Klaus on a murderous rampage, slaughtering hybrid after hybrid to "O Holy Night," and then drowning a tipsy Carol Lockwood to a ghostly version of "Have Yourself a Merry Christmas." It was sickly twisted and yet beautifully-poetic and all-around riveting, Joseph Morgan delivered a tour-de-force performance of psychotic outrage on overdrive and then with charming reason. On a less homicidal, but still fantastic, note was the interaction between various twosomes both romantic and platonic. Despite putting their physical relationship on hold, Damon and Elena were still completely them, as real as ever. Meanwhile, Caroline and Stefan provided emotional support for one another, and Jeremy and Bonnie began walking that line once again between friend and more. This episode had murder, love and friendship… it also had betrayal, existential snowflakes, oh, and the undaggering of one Rebekah Mikaelson. Of course, it was awesome.

23-Into The Wild

The atmosphere in this was a bit different than any other episode, partially because there were only two stories on screen. We've had something similar before, but there were flashbacks and different locales which made it feel more populated and less concentrated. This time, however, there was essentially the Gilbert home and the island/woods of Novia Scotia—the long (long, long, loooooong) time burial place of Silas—and that gave the episode a tense, narrowed focus that worked really well. I was riveted throughout. Also, despite the cure for vampirism in play and others expecting Elena's affections to lean towards Stefan once more, she remained steadfast in her love for Damon. Full-stop. And it was beautiful. Also beautiful was the (surprising) emphasis on two other pairings... Stefan and Rebekah and (even more surprising) Rebekah and Elena! Once Rebekah showed Elena that she wasn't evil, Elena forgave her because Elena is that freaking awesome. Just like this episode. It was fantastic, truly stellar stuff; Caroline Dries rocked it out again.

24-Stand By Me

This was such an amazing episode, and it's worth nothing that it is the first one that was a solo outing for Julie Plec. She did an outstanding job. One of the strengths of The Vampire Diaries (obviously) are the sibling relationships, but certain episodes focus on them more so than others and this is definitely one of them… ranging from a single line from Rebekah to a few mentions of Vicki to a powerful scene between the Salvatores and, finally, to the entire episode revolving around Elena and Jeremy. Those relationships were viewed not only through love, but through loss. Tribal mentality was so often what drove these characters, but in that situation it was pushed to the wayside as the humanity of our group rose to the fore. The cost of saving one life—even one of their own—was too high if it meant taking out a dozen more and opening the door to the Other Side. And once saving Jeremy was off the table, Elena's grief was overwhelming, and Nina Dobrev blew the roof off with her performance; she was beyond amazing. Everyone else also brought their A-game (a special call-out to Zach Roerig who was heartbreaking both with the reminder of Vicki and breaking down in his truck over Jeremy's loss). Not only was the dialogue excellent and heartbreaking and so damn real, but the breakdown of how it all played out, the intercutting of conversations, the sound mixing, the editing, all of it was just on point. This was an absolutely amazing episode.

25-Pictures of You

There was literally nothing that I didn't love about this episode; it was simply magnificent. There were so many great moments, scenes between every mix of characters—even unexpected ones like Damon and Caroline (and those unexpected ones were sublime). Damon and Elena gave us bittersweet nuggets, while Stefan and Elena revealed even further how far from their early romance they'd come. Meanwhile, Stefan and Caroline, and Matt and Rebekah both offered sweetly tantalizing glimpses of a romance on the horizon. And, per usual, friendships—along with the romances—were beautifully highlighted, both the good and bad (humanity-less Elena was hilariously terrible, it wasn't surprising that Caroline wanted to take her out for a bit). Sprinkled throughout the episode were moments of such nuance and intricate depth and incredible storytelling that honored the history of the series, the characters and their relationships. Two words: Caroline Dries. Yup.

......................................................


Shockingly (snert), I have no idea when the next section will be up. Hopefully in a few months, but, probably not.


'THE VAMPIRE DIARIES' WRAP-UP THOUGHTS

- Major Unresolved Issues
- Minor Unresolved Issues
- Missed Opportunities
- THE Love Story
- Seasons 01-04 Favorite Scenes and Moments
- Seasons 05-08 Favorite Scenes and Moments
-
25 Favorite Characters
 
 
 
Bogwitchbogwitch on February 12th, 2018 12:09 am (UTC)
No Bad Moon Rising? I am sad.

Arabian: Stefan & Caroline01arabian on February 12th, 2018 03:24 am (UTC)
BMR was good, but it featured the werewolf stuff pretty heavily and in the early going that was not one of my favorite things (OK, it never really was). Honestly, it's probably closer to the mid-range tier for me when looking back at episodes. I mean, when there were only 32 episodes, I had it ranked at number 23.

But really? That's your only comment? I am sad.

Edited at 2018-02-12 03:26 am (UTC)
Bogwitchbogwitch on February 12th, 2018 08:43 am (UTC)
The reason this is my only comment is that this kind of list is so subjective. There are a few eps here I don't agree with, but then you wouldn't agree with all of mine, so it's difficult to get any depth into it. The rest I all agree with (especially Masquerade).

I just have a huge soft spot for BMR. : )
Arabian: Stefan02arabian on February 12th, 2018 01:41 pm (UTC)
Well, every TVD post I write is subjective. It's all my opinion. I want to hear your thoughts on my thoughts, including those you agree with. I mean, do you agree with my reasons. Why would you have them on your list? And I want to hear what episodes you disagree with and why, and which episodes you would put in here (for the first four seasons). As I said it was tough narrowing it down. In some cases, it really was a case of just one scene, or one performance, one reason that led me to crossing an episode off of my list because so many on this show are so good.

Any time I can get some discussion of TVD is great for me and we all know there isn't much time for that any more. :(

Edited at 2018-02-12 01:41 pm (UTC)
Bogwitchbogwitch on February 12th, 2018 11:53 pm (UTC)
Oh ok. I thought I was done with exam questions… Yeah it is sad there is no discussion to be had now - though I like reading what everyone else is saying and adding snarky comments more than thinking! I have two little fics I have never bothered posting, because who cares anymore (one is about Rose - who ever cared?)?

Uh. I don't really play favourites, but I'll have a go. My list would probably be the episodes I go back to the most, rather than the best ones, because I don't usually like all the plots (for example. I hate all the bits with Matt in, obviously) and all the episodes are good, I don’t think there are any truly duff ones, even if some annoy me (I Was Feeling Epic being the main one). Therefore taking the whole of the episodes into account, I think the best is probably Masqerade (as opposed to The Return being my actual favourite) as I like 100% of it - it's such a great ensemble ep with everyone working together (I feel season 2 has some of the strongest episodes, but I think the plot, especially around the middle of the season is a bit weak (or more truthfully, just not of interest to me) - I don't mind the werewolves, but yeah, their plot isn't all that).

So my top 15 of seasons 1-4, in no particular order are:

Masquerade
The Return - obviously
As I Lay Dying - ditto
Heart of Darkness – I’ll give you one guess why
Because the Night – I think you know my feelings on this, but it all one I go back to a lot.
Bloodlines – I like it less than I used to, but there is still a lot in it I like
Bad Moon Rising – It’s a lot of fun, but more or less everything at the waterhole is skippable
Growing Pains – I love Damon’s anger in it.
My Brother's Keeper – obviously for the sexy stuff, but I like a lot of it.
We'll Always Have Bourbon Street – ditto
Unpleasantville - another episode I just think is fun
O Come, All Ye Faithful - The sadness and the frustration of the sire bond is at it’s peak here and I really love angst.
The End of the Affair – Despite Stefan being unpleasant in that way that makes me not like him very much, as opposed to Rebekah, who is unpleasant in a way that does, everything else really good.
The Descent – I do love an episode with Damon falling to bits.
Ordinary People – I remember this being good? Maybe I should have picked Memory Lane or Kill or be Killed instead, I watch both them quite a lot, even though they aren’t the very best episodes.

As for why disagreed with some of yours:
Haunted – it’s good, just not a favourite. Vicki gets on my tits.
Children of the Damned – I don’t find any of the 1864 flashbacks particularly gripping, although this is the best one, I agree. Pearl helps with that.
Fool Me Once – this could have made my list, but just I don’t go back to it all that often.
Let the Right One In – I never got the hype.
Miss Mystic Falls – It’s just not my thing.
Isobel – I just never watch this one.
The Sacrifice – Luka, bleugh.
The House Guest - I care not for the silly singing, although I like the Katherine bits.
The Sun Also Rises – it’s probably too much of an action episode for my tastes.
The Reckoning – Matt didn’t drown.
Homecoming – it came close to making my list, but didn’t quite get there. Bonnie walking in on Damon and Tyler’s fight always amuses me as she looks like a mummy in that dress with her arms outstretched.
The New Deal – it has the kiss, but that’s about it.
Our Town – I can never remember what happens in this one.
All My Children – I just don’t care about the Originals that much, which would be why I still have got through their own show.
We all go a little mad sometimes – This could have made my list, but I don’t watch it much. I am still not over the perfect hair and make up when Elena wakes up and I never will be. He would have got her home and got her out of her wet clothes at a push (though the implications of that make me feel that he just wouldn’t have gone there at that point in their relationship, however well-intentioned). He would not have re-applied her make up and got in a hair stylist.
Into the Wild, Stand by Me and Pictures of You – I like all of these, but again I don’t watch any of them often.

Hmmm, I didn’t realise that our lists would be this different, even though you picked more of them!
Arabian: Damon & Elena21arabian on February 14th, 2018 02:38 pm (UTC)
1/2
My list would probably be the episodes I go back to the most, rather than the best ones

Ah, see at this point, I don't go back and watch any episodes, just certain scenes or rewatch seasons. I may do that once I'm done doing my rewatch-repost after this series of posts, though. I think because I wrote such detailed posts on every episodes and kept lists, constantly updating of what I thought were the best episodes, that was how I based it, on the whole plot of the specific episode, the characters, whether it really worked.

all the episodes are good, I don’t think there are any truly duff ones

I agree.

even if some annoy me (I Was Feeling Epic being the main one)

Really? I didn't know that you felt. Yeah, looking at my ridiculous 2-part massive post on it, I see that you didn't comment.

Therefore taking the whole of the episodes into account, I think the best is probably Masqerade (as opposed to The Return being my actual favourite) as I like 100% of it - it's such a great ensemble ep with everyone working together (I feel season 2 has some of the strongest episodes, but I think the plot, especially around the middle of the season is a bit weak (or more truthfully, just not of interest to me) - I don't mind the werewolves, but yeah, their plot isn't all that).

The middle of season 02 is pretty weak, I agree. I do love "Masquerade," and it's probably in my top 10.

Because the Night – I think you know my feelings on this, but it all one I go back to a lot.

This one actually was close to making the cut. It is a fantastic episode. But when trying to cut it down to 50, that is when personal preference came into play, and well, you know how much I loathe Lexi so... yeah.

Bloodlines – I like it less than I used to, but there is still a lot in it I like

I only really love the Damon/Elena and Alaric/Isobel storylines in it, Anna with Jeremy and Stefan being seen as all noble by Grams is just 'ok, whatever' so the episode as a whole just never did it for me.

Bad Moon Rising – It’s a lot of fun, but more or less everything at the waterhole is skippable

Other than Damon, Elena and Alaric being, well, Damon, Elena and Alaric, and Stefan/Caroline at the watering hole, this one isn't one of the best, thus why it's not on my list.

Growing Pains – I love Damon’s anger in it.

Yeah, but I felt there were so many missed opportunities. And Jeremy not being happy that Elena was still around just felt SO OFF to me. Overall, the episode just wasn't as strong as I felt it could have been.

We'll Always Have Bourbon Street – ditto

This one barely didn't make the cut. It was just a matter of me preferring a couple of other episodes more, but I do adore this one.

Unpleasantville - another episode I just think is fun

I agree that it's a great episode. It's another one that just didn't quite make the cut. (There were SO many that just didn't quite make the cut, LOL!)

The Descent – I do love an episode with Damon falling to bits.

Damon/Alaric is about the only thing I like about this episode. It's one of the weaker episodes of the series, imo. Elena's interaction with him makes no sense (when did she forgive him for killing Jeremy?!). Stefan was randomly a total, unfeeling asshole. I know you have issues with him, but when he acts that way, there is generally a reason behind it. Lauren Cohan was off and on in her performance. The dream/death with Damon/Rose was lovely, but it was just unearned because the "relationship" with Damon/Rose was not even remotely built up enough. That final scene with Damon/Jessica *is* still one of my all-time favorite Damon and TVD scenes period, though. But, yeah, I had issues with the episode.

Ordinary People – I remember this being good? Maybe I should have picked Memory Lane or Kill or be Killed instead, I watch both them quite a lot, even though they aren’t the very best episodes.

AMAZING EPISODE! This had the Originals origin, Rebekah/Elena, Damon freeing Stefan from being chained up, Stefan finding a loophole in Klaus' compulsion to save Mikael from ripping Damon's heart out, Damon and Elena in her bedroom on her bed, talking about how it would be Stefan's love for Damon that would save him. *sigh*

Edited at 2018-02-14 02:41 pm (UTC)
Arabian: Damon & Elena24arabian on February 14th, 2018 02:48 pm (UTC)
2/2
Haunted – it’s good, just not a favourite. Vicki gets on my tits.

Oh, I'm not a Vicki fan, either. But, she DIES in this episode, and it was just so more than anything beforehand and showed everything TVD could be.

Children of the Damned – I don’t find any of the 1864 flashbacks particularly gripping, although this is the best one, I agree. Pearl helps with that.

Fair enough. I liked the fact that we got to know Damon more and his relationship with his father, and Stefan back then, plus seeing Damon (the supposed "bad boy") interacting with Elena's family in a way that Stefan never had was awesome.

Miss Mystic Falls – It’s just not my thing.

Oh, blasphemy! LOL! Until "My Brother's Keeper" this was my favorite episode. I just love everything about it.

The Sacrifice – Luka, bleugh.

I don't like Luka, no, but the episode overall is so good.

The House Guest - I care not for the silly singing, although I like the Katherine bits.

But that's just one small part of the episode, everything else is soooo good. And that silly singing is the light-hearted frivolity that sets up the horror that follows.

The Sun Also Rises – it’s probably too much of an action episode for my tastes.

See, I had to think of what you meant and realized the part with Bonnie and Klaus, but that's just all at the end. The rest is just great character stuff. There's really no more action than a regular TVD episode. And it's SUCH a great Damon episode.

The New Deal – it has the kiss, but that’s about it.

Every Damon and Elena scene is pure gold. And it has the family stuff with Damon, Elena, Alaric and Jeremy. Plus, Damon being all pissy (and awesome) with the witches.

Our Town – I can never remember what happens in this one.

Stefan threatens to turn Elena into a vampire on Wickery Bridge. Caroline's birthday, and they celebrate her dying. It's a really beautiful episode where the teens of the show pretty much accept what their lives are now. And has the awesome "It's right. It's just not right now" from Damon to Elena on the porch.

All My Children – I just don’t care about the Originals that much, which would be why I still have got through their own show.

I don't either, this one also had great stuff on Elena, and Elena/Damon, Damon/Stefan, and Bonnie. That's what I love about TVD. It was never one thing, the themes and arcs pinged on each other.

We all go a little mad sometimes – This could have made my list, but I don’t watch it much. I am still not over the perfect hair and make up when Elena wakes up and I never will be.

I just disagree. First behind the scenes logistics. Nina Dobrev has naturally curly hair. They had to re-straighten her hair once it was wet, period. It would have started to re-curl otherwise. (I know that, I have the same kind of hair she does.) But on the show, Damon and Caroline are the only two who would have taken care of Elena like that. There's no way that Damon (or Caroline) would have not had put Elena in a change of clothes. And no way he (or Caroline) would have looked at her hair and not thought that's gonna be a rat's nest if it's not brushed because they are both vain and shallow enough to think that way, and thus brushed it. As for perfect make-up, she didn't have full make-up on. She had light make-up on which is par for the course for a teenage drama. Any other character besides Damon (or Caroline), and I'd agree, no way, she'd look like that... but since it was Damon, totally made sense. (And, of course! Damon would take the opportunity to sneak a peak! How would he know he'd be boinking her the next episode?!)
Florencia: DE (The Wreck of Our Hearts)florencia7 on February 18th, 2018 08:55 pm (UTC)
RE: Best Episodes 1/3
“It hasn't been a century... it's just the next year!” - Ha, true, but even if it was a really long time, I came to appreciate that! You definitely do have a point that until all the thoughts and comments have been written down, the show is not *really* over yet. I feel the same way about that.

“I first was going to do only 20, but I just couldn't do it, so I decided on 25, but then a few more kept sneaking their way in, so I thought... oh heck, I'll do 50 and 50 it stayed.” - It still must have been hard to pick. I included my top 10 in post scriptum, however if I was to choose all the episodes I loved, without forcing to limit myself to just 10, the number would have probably been closer to 50 too.

“I adored the overall feel of this episode in part because there was a brilliant contrast throughout.” - Very true. This made it even more memorable and captivating.

“It was after these events, when she chose not to walk away despite what vampirism brought into her life.” - Well said. That was a very important moment.

“the flashbacks told a story that utilized all of the characters involved as opposed to just introducing a minx between two brothers.” - That’s a very good point.

“What happened in this episode introduced many key factors that played a large part in the final five episodes of the first season, and did so beautifully.” - I love your analytical attitude AND your ability of putting all those analytical thoughts into words! This sort of thing makes episodes great but sometimes it’s hard to identify this as (one of) underlying reasons for their greatness, so to speak.

“Admittedly, the Damon and Elena interactions (especially the dance and their final scene) were key in making this episode so damn wonderful, but in all honestly, it was so superb in so many ways with every character showcased in marvelous ways.” - Beautifully said. This was one of my very favorite episodes too. It was wonderfully characters-oriented and just riveting all around.

“This episode had heart (of both the warming and breaking kind), heat, and a dash of humor. Just perfection from beginning to end.” - Exactly.

“However, the lack of surprise did nothing to detract from the excellence of the episode because it was all in the execution.” - Very true. And it really really worked.

“The second season opener was the best premiere of the series hands-down.” - I was thinking about this long and hard and came to the shocking conclusion that… I agree lol The reason why I wasn’t sure at first if I felt the same way was that while this episode was absolutely fantastic, it didn’t make my top 10. But then I remembered that it was most likely just because it was too sad overall ;)

“This was easily one of the greatest episodes of season 02 and one of the most outstanding of the series overall.” - I always had a problem with this episode. Everyone seems to love it and I did like it but I was never crazy about it. It was awesome in terms of, er, logistics, though. I’m fully aware of that.

“And "The Sacrifice" absolutely was an excellent episode, and it wasn't only because of Tyler's discovery of werewolf video diarying.” - I have to confess that for some reason all Tyler-heavy episodes always feel somewhat hazy to me. That’s why it’s hard for me to love any of them because I just tend to not to remember them too well. It’s weird lol

“Damon was ridiculously, awesomely Damon—we got the humor, the broken heart and the smarts, natch! All of that, plus a twist or two.” - So true, yes!

“There are so many wonderful things about this episode, I could write a list—but when I think of this one, I think of Stefan Salvatore's love for his brother and how pure and beautiful it was. It was also very, very sad.” - This is yet another episode that I totally loved but which is too sad for me to consider one of most favorite ones (I know it’s silly but I can’t help taking that into consideration). And yes, it was brilliant and heartwrenching. A wonderful episode for sure.
Florencia: DE (Let There Be Light)florencia7 on February 18th, 2018 08:57 pm (UTC)
RE: Best Episodes 2/3
“Over the top? Maybe, but this episode had such a grand, nearly operatic feel to it, I don't think so. It was just magnificent.” - Wonderfully said.

“This is one of those episodes that just really got me in the feels for every character who was highlighted.” - Same here. I had tears in my eyes and this doesn’t happen to me often while watching/reading.

“and definitely from her point of view, Elena to Damon, yes, there was a bit of romantic feeling there, but more friendship, I believe.” - To me it was always the moment when Elena’s unconscious self realized it was love. She might have admitted it wordlessly to herself in 3x01, but the moment when her heart knew was during that scene. That’s how it played out to me, how Nina brilliantly played it. It’s all there in little gestures and in her face.

“Ah, this was such a beautiful episode that featured so many strong relationships” - And it was an extremely entertaining episode! I remember just having so much fun watching it.

“This episode was incredibly strong, incredibly layered, incredibly exciting. It was shocking, action-packed and yet it still managed to offer some lovely character moments.” - Fantastic summary of it.

“Rebekah's story told so much not only about her, but about Klaus and Elijah and the entire Original family, but even more compellingly, the audience also learned about the very creation of the vampiric mythology on this series.” - I did like the episode, it was awesome all around (and that last scene ♥), however due to a lot of (very, very well done but still) exposition, is (to me) one of those episodes I loved when I first watched it but upon re-watching it inevitably starts to drag just a little.

“I just loved this episode so; it played with a lot of themes and moments that had been building from the premiere, as well it brought into focus threads of the entire series.” - It was a truly brilliant episode. I adored it too. No wonder it was originally meant to end with a DE kiss. It would have been an icing on the already fabulous cake.

“It was beautiful and lovely, and it was more than just a kiss.” - Yes, so true. That’s why it was so good. I also always appreciated the fact that it was one of those rare moments when TVD allowed us to get prepared and really enjoy a happy moment. When Damon and Elena walked out of the house and onto the porch, and the song started, and I *knew* they were going to kiss. The 3 minutes of expecting the kiss to happen didn’t ruin the surprise, but made it even happier.

“Just about everything in this that was terrific also happened to be something that was terrible and that is what made this episode so tremendous.” - haha Perfectly explained!

“This was awesome sauce, just all-around awesome, awesome sauce.” - I have to say I don’t remember this episode as an episode I particularly loved, but I’ll pay special attention to it upon re-watching the series.

“We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes” - The week after this episode and before the next one was my happiest TVD week ever! I was naively certain a perfect bliss would follow (at least for one full episode, come on!), alas the sire bond revelation came crashing down instead. Nonetheless, I’ ll always remember that time fondly.

“The show was willing to go dark and was very self-aware about it.” - Such moments are always terrific, and whenever TVD does them, they are done so very well, which makes them even better.

“Elena's breakdown finally brought her back into the light, offering up some wonderful character actualization.” - Yes, I also loved this about the episode.

“There were beautifully laid parallels with the season premiere where Elena didn't die, but would have preferred to and was given a second chance and was happy for it this time.” - That’s very true. I also just loved loved loved the joined jump venture off the Wickery Bridge. The parallels and anti-parallels, the layered symbolism of it all just made it my THE favorite scene of the entire series.

“One of the reasons this was such a very strong outing was because of the magnificent case of show as opposed to tell on display throughout.” - Yes, and what was also great about, it was that it was cleverly done, not in-your-face, but rather in rather subtle ways.
Florencia: DE (I Promise You)florencia7 on February 18th, 2018 09:02 pm (UTC)
RE: Best Episodes 3/3
“Intriguing bits of character (courtesy mostly of the excellent David Alpay's Professor Shane)” - I will never get over the fact that they killed him off so quickly.

“I loved it because it kept that delicious couple angst going while providing time for my favorite couple and those around them to come to terms with what the two of them as a couple meant in their crazy, chaotic world.” - I get all of it now, but right after that episode aired, I needed 3 full days to recover and the PTSD lasted for a few more weeks lol

“It was sickly twisted and yet beautifully-poetic and all-around riveting, Joseph Morgan delivered a tour-de-force performance of psychotic outrage on overdrive and then with charming reason.” - I’m actually disturbed by how compelling all the bad things in this episode were. It was just all so artfully done.

“Once Rebekah showed Elena that she wasn't evil, Elena forgave her because Elena is that freaking awesome.” - That’s true. It was lovely.

“This was such an amazing episode, and it's worth nothing that it is the first one that was a solo outing for Julie Plec.” - It’s the main reason why it’s hard to be truly upset with her. She’s genuinely talented.

“Those relationships were viewed not only through love, but through loss.” - Wonderfully said.

“And once saving Jeremy was off the table, Elena's grief was overwhelming, and Nina Dobrev blew the roof off with her performance; she was beyond amazing.” - I still get chills even just thinking about that.

“a special call-out to Zach Roerig who was heartbreaking both with the reminder of Vicki and breaking down in his truck over Jeremy's loss.” - Yes, and I just realized, it was such an amazing parallel to Elena's breakdown in her car over lying to Matt about Vicki's death in 1x07.

“There was literally nothing that I didn't love about this episode; it was simply magnificent.” - This episode is on my black list lol It's not a serious black list, just a list of episodes that for a variety of reasons made me very, very, very sad. No matter how brilliant they were.

“Sprinkled throughout the episode were moments of such nuance and intricate depth and incredible storytelling that honored the history of the series, the characters and their relationships.” - That is very true. It was spectacular.

“Hopefully in a few months, but, probably not.” - I will be waiting! ♥

This was a delight to read! I love reading your thoughts! :)

PS. I have a very hard time coming up with any top favorite lists but I made the greatest effort and compiled my top 10 TVD episodes ;) These the ones I rewatched in their entirety more than twice, and which also featured some moments particularly close to my heart, which made me very, very, very happy for mostly (but not only) DE-related reasons. I think the honorable mention should go to the series finale since I did watch it 4 or 5 times, but I didn’t love it as much as some other episodes, that’s why it didn’t make the top 10.

1. 4x6 We All Go a Little Mad Sometimes
2. 4x23 Graduation
3. 7x17 I Went to the Woods
4. 2x22 As I Lay Dying
5. 3x10 The New Deal
6. 5x16 While You Were Sleeping
7. 1x19 Miss Mystic Falls
8. 4x2 Memorial
9. 8x14 It’s Been a Hell of a Ride
10. 3x9 Homecoming
Arabian: Stefan02arabian on February 18th, 2018 09:54 pm (UTC)
Re: Best Episodes 3/3
Obviously, I will do a much more in-depth response, but I noticed something throughout all of these comments. You kept saying "favorite" episode and why you wouldn't pick so and so episode no matter how good it was which made me realize you didn't quite get my choosing of these episodes. This isn't a list of my favorite episodes or my rewatch episodes. I have no idea what my favorite episodes would be. I rewatched episodes only after they aired or rewatch whole seasons (or specific scenes). I'm sure I will rewatch and figured out my favorite episodes when I'm done with my last two specific series rewatches. But as of now? I'm not sure.

This list was specifically about picking the BEST episodes (in my opinion, of course) and trying to be as objective as possible. I picked episodes that I genuinely thought were the best-written, best-acted, best-directed episodes of the series, not just ones that were my favorites because of how they made me feel or favorite arcs, etc. If there was an A, B or C storyline that didn't work out i the episode or any glaring plotholes, it was off the list. There are episodes that I would have totally put on here because I loved things about them so much, but because there were flaws in them I didn't include them because there were aspects that just were not of the best quality overall compared to other episodes.

Edited at 2018-02-18 09:56 pm (UTC)
Florencia: DE (The Wreck of Our Hearts)florencia7 on February 19th, 2018 04:28 pm (UTC)
Re: Best Episodes 3/3
*face palm* haha Yes, you're right. I have no idea why and how I apparently just jumped to the conclusion that best = favorite LOL I will keep that in mind while re-reading the post and your responses :)