Arabian (arabian) wrote,

'The Vampire Diaries' Wrap-up Thoughts... 7B/8 -- 50/50 Best Episodes

You guys... it has been only FIFTEEN DAYS! That's right it barely took me two weeks to get the next section up! Is that not amazing? I'm so proud of myself. (WHEE!) Now I know the next section will take a lot longer because it has a LOT of stuff in it as it is basically an overview of ALL of my favorite things about TVD, so yeah, that will take a while, but, you guys, FIFTEEN DAYS between sections! Part two of what I consider the best episodes of the series. (NOTE: Not my favorite episodes, but the best in terms of writing, direction, arcs, least amount of confuzzling moments, etc.) You'll find the last 25 here listed in chronological order. As in the first section, I have my description of each episode and why I consider them the best to a paragraph or two. Read on....

O COME, ALL YE FAITHFUL (i.e., Favorite 50 episodes)

26-Handle With Care

This was a great episode, and this was not surprising as it was co-written by Caroline Dries. Damon was in full man-of-action and protector mode, not just looking out for Elena, but all of those he cares for. There was some unexpected (and fabulous) teamwork with Katherine and Caroline. Paul Wesley offered up his best work as Silas. Viewers were treated to a jaw-dropper reminiscent of seasons past. As well, there was some wonderful characterization of Elena that was filtered through her relationships—her past with Stefan and present with Damon. Human!Katherine continued to be so entertaining. Despite being the selfish villainess we knew her still to be she was just so adorable. Another strong female was Janina Gavankar as Tessa/Quetsiyah. Every moment of her performance remained perfection. And her story continued The Vampire Diaries' storytelling brilliance of show as opposed to tell. It was the bad guys telling us the destined love of the doppelgangers while we were shown the strength and reality of the love that Elena had found with Damon. Oh, and speaking of Elena… or rather, her portrayer, Nina Dobrev not only gave a beautiful performance as Elena, a delightful one as Katherine, she also broke our hearts with the brief introduction to her third character in the present-day, Amara. It was icing on the cake to the greatness of the episode.

27-Death and the Maiden

Ah, this was a perfect episode in just about every way—minus (always a minus *sigh*) Olga Fonda's performance as Nadia because Olga Fonda is just not a good actress and was entirely unbelievable as a part of the Petrova bloodline. However, I refuse to knock the magnificence of this because of Fonda because it was just too, too good. Starting with another casting addition (the amazing Janina Gavankar) that we heartbreakingly also lost. Katherine and Caroline—who had been paired for the first time in the previous episode—were once again together and were once again wonderful. Even more wonderful was the reunion between Caroline and Elena with Bonnie. It was just a lovely earned moment. Also lovely, if bittersweet, was the Damon/Elena/Stefan dynamic and it was handled with such a deft touch that encompassed all the fallout of Elena choosing Damon, their happy summer together and hell that Stefan went through at the same time. The performances from everyone involved (other than Fonda, of course) were at some of their finest. Nina Dobrev's Amara was as different from her Katherine as Katherine was from her Elena as Elena was from Amara and so on and so forth and that was most evident in the scene featuring all three characters. Beyond the acting, there was strong characterization, tight narrative and everything was just superb all-around. This was simply put a truly fantastic episode.

28-The Devil Inside

The expected happened with Katherine in Elena's body; it was entirely and absolutely predictable. However, the execution of it all was just amazing and because of that, the predictable worked. The set-up was so brilliantly done in this episode and we continued to get the beautiful build-up of the love story of Stefan Salvatore and Caroline Forbes (eventually) Salvatore, even as Katherine connived to get Stefan back. There was also the despair witnessing Elena fight for herself, for her and Damon, only to be stymied by Katherine's take-over. And then more heartbreak, but so true to the narrative, so true to character, as Damon took another one of his famous one step forward, two steps back because he was such a work in progress. This episode was one that beautifully detailed that progress (or in this case the lack thereof). The journey of these characters that led to their beautiful endgame was necessary and it was because of an exquisite gem of an episode like this that we reached that end.

29-While You Were Sleeping

I knew how fantastic this episode was because even as a shipper, I knew that Damon and Elena breaking up at that point was the right thing to do. That is how good the writing and direction was. And I was OK with that—as a shipper—because the direction and performances were so good that it was made clear that relationship was nowhere near its end; it just needed some breathing room. Apart from the romantic aspect, the greatest joy and pain of this episode centered completely around the return of Elena Gilbert. The character had been taken over by Katherine for three episodes and the show didn't make light of it, pretend that it wasn't a violation of her person, her soul… they let all that had happened to her, not just herself, but how her friends, her family, her lover had reacted or rather had *not* reacted to her be processed. Once again, amidst all of the supernatural chaos, the things that truly matter: friends, family, love took precedence. And it was love that permeated the entire episode, Damon and Elena's love for one another, first in their light-hearted telephone flirting, later in their heartbreaking, face-to-face confrontation and break-up sex. It was there in the growing bond between Stefan and Caroline, and in the interaction between Elena and her friends. Elena… it keeps coming back to Elena because this really was her episode and Nina Dobrev was tremendous. She just rocked it out of the park. As did this episode.

30-Resident Evil

Over and over again, The Vampire Diaries rewarded my faith and this episode was one of the best examples of doing so. It was absolutely awesome, and one of the key reasons why is because by showing Stefan and Elena (even going back to the early seasons look of Elena) in a fantasy scenario—and how, their connection was based on a millennium-old travelers' spell—it made it crystal clear that Stefan and Elena had always been based on an illusion. On the other hand, every single moment with Damon and Elena was practically melting with the weight of the depth of their love and its in-your-face realness. This episode brilliantly deconstructed the entire triangle that built The Vampire Diaries. Breathtaking. I also thought it was fantastic how the background of the witches and the travelers tied in with Silas and Quetsiyah. This show uses its history and its own mythology to create new story and it is just, again, yes, brilliant. Like in previous seasons as we got near the finale, it all began to come full circle and everything was tied together. Amazing episode, and one that definitely ranks up there with some of the best of the series.

31-Promised Land

While The Vampire Diaries killed their main characters off (temporarily) quite a bit, the death of Stefan Salvatore in this one hit harder than any other time because it felt so real. Credit is due to writer Rebecca Sonnenshine and director Michael Allowitz for that. The set-up earlier of how Caroline always saw the brighter side to the moment in the end where she cradled Stefan's marbled, murdered form wailing and crying to God was devastatingly, beautifully done. Also really well-done was the flashbacks to how each of our vampires died who were still in Mystic Falls when the spell was placed on the town, and the rush to get to safety in time. There were so many great lines, great moments, great scenes—an especially nice one was the parallel line and kiss from the previous episode between Damon and Elena (made a touch awkward with her exes, Matt and Stefan standing to the side). This was an episode that was actually lighter than most until that end and then it was just devastating because Stefan's death that felt so real… even if it wasn't. Ah, but the emotion was there and that was all in the writing, the directing, the acting and that was all so fantastic. As was the entire episode.


Beautiful. I truly can't think of a word that better describes this episode. It was simply put… beautiful. There are other words, it was wonderful, it was well-written, well-directed, heartbreaking, devastating, etc., but really, it was… it was beautiful. From all of the gang's desire to save their friends' lives, to save their town, from Damon's desperation to save his brother, from Elena's determination to join Damon's *literal* suicide mission to save Stefan, to bring back Alaric (and Enzo). From Elena and Damon's declaration to spend forever with one another to his promise to come back to his unheard declaration that Elena was the greatest thing that ever happened to him in his 173 years on this Earth. From Gram's last trick in her pocket to save her beloved granddaughter to Lexi's sacrifice to Alaric's return to Stefan's despair upon his return to Bonnie and Damon standing hand in hand as the screen turned to white. Beautiful.

33-Yellow Ledbetter

This was a great episode, and interesting in that one-half was fairly lighthearted (for The Vampire Diaries) and quite humorous, while the other was full of denial and pain. Seeing where all of our players had been in the four months since Damon and Bonnie "died" was a fabulous episode arc and allowed for some great characterization in different locales… and that would be from whence the pain and denial came. On the flip side, we got our answers as to just where Damon and Bonnie had been hanging… and the two were just fabulous playing off of each other in their antagonistic glory. I loved their hilarious frenemy interaction. It was a soothing contrast to the pain going on with the rest of the Scooby Gang, and that's one of the things that made this episode so damn good.

34-Black Hole Sun

As important as other characters and reveals to and about them were in this episode, there was an encircling (of sorts) about Damon from most of the other characters that was so well done. This episode had these moments, these scenes and speeches and lines of dialogue with characters who were members of Damon's inner circle and every one of them was so beautifully done, I was frankly in awe with the execution. That was highlighted especially with the writing of Damon and Bonnie; their dynamic was beyond utter and absolute perfection. In this episode that heavily featured that dynamic, we saw that the bit of snark and sass was still there between them, but the affection and love that had grown through the years but been under the surface had now risen to the fore and has grown in a believable way without a hint of romantic or sexual tension. Just as Stefan and Elena, in the friendship-zone, were now and were nearly as wonderful to watch. And it was while with Elena, that we were given some fabulous characterization with Stefan. Viewers were shown the evolution of his character using flashbacks and it was beautiful and brilliant. By utilizing the history of the both he and his Damon, contrasting the two in 1994 versus the characters we've grown to know and who they had become, truly showed how both had progressed, especially Stefan in relation to his brother. Depth of characterization of our main characters, brilliant use of flashbacks, great friendships, wonderful acting, writing… what an episode! It really was just sensational.

35- The World Has Turned and Left Me Here

This one was all about action, emotional OMG!moments and set-up that I'd say paid off pretty well. Stefan finally admitted to himself that he was lost without Damon. Damon, of course, came back then when Stefan needed him the most. And the scene played out beautifully, Stefan reaching out to touch him, his eyes shining with unshed tears, wanting to desperately believe that his brother was actually, somehow, miraculously there… and he was and it was quite the moment. Just so beautiful. Just as was Bonnie once again showed her selflessness, doing all for those she loves and to keep evil at bay. There was also the juxtaposition of college fun with the supernatural chaos that followed our gang mixed in with cellphone usage while driving leading to a more commonplace kind of chaos. This brought us some of Michael Trevino's finest work and introduced his most well-developed relationship (with Liv Parker). Action, drama, some comedy, romance, friendship and that Vampire Diaries trademark brotherly love. Fantastic.

36-Fade Into You

This episode used their new, recurring characters to great effect. With just a handful of scenes, the end of Elena's relationship with a tertiary character made a strong, yet, subtle statement not only about the depth of her feelings for Damon—even without her memories of loving him—but also her aversion to vampirism. And in her one scene with Damon—again, so subtle and yet so beautiful—was the simple fact that just as she had so many times before, Elena chose the messy, beautiful reality of Damon because that was her messy, beautiful reality and it was the one she preferred. On the other hand, there was Stefan who was so similar to Elena, but had yet to accept the reality that what was best for him, was right in front of him (i.e., Caroline) and yet just as beautiful as Damon and Elena's journey had been up to this point, so has been Stefan and Caroline's. They were just a few steps (seasons) behind. In addition to the beautiful character beats and romantic aspects on display, we also got some fantastic plot movement with the Gemini coven (linked to the Bennetts!). There was tension, some horror, humor, romance, angst… This episode was just spot-on. Oh, and Miss Cuddles. Always added a touch of awesome to any episode.

37-Prayer for the Dying

One of the things that stood out was how strongly the foundation of the relationships of the two main romances were shown in this episode. Other than the tail-end of the first and last scene of Damon and Elena which were romantic—another first kiss, everything else was about how good they were together as a team. The episode also featured one of the strongest Stefan and Caroline scenes, and one of my favorite Stefan scenes because in it we saw how Caroline had made Stefan a better person, how he was showing his true self to someone, putting that person's needs before his own. (See: Foundation.) There was also some lovely relationship matters with Tyler and Liv before her world fell apart thanks to the climactic showdown between the Gemini twins leading to a merge. Yes, the merge because we also saw the family dynamics of the Parkers—Jo, Liv, Luke and Kai as well as their father—on display and, as always, on The Vampire Diaries, family… family matters so very much. Romance, humor, some action and heartbreak—this was the true beginning of the end for Liz Forbes—such a great, great episode.


This one was a tear-jerker. Not surprisingly… because, well, we lost Liz and I loved Liz Forbes. I loved Liz from the beginning. So, yes, this episode was one helluva a tear-jerker, but it was also one helluva an episode, period. Everything was so well-done, starting with the Liz and Damon scenes. They felt so fully earned, and showed an appreciation for their friendship, and they were so beautifully written. Of course, the whole episode was. Written by Caroline Dries and Brian Young, my goodness, the writing of every single character, every moment, every scene was just perfection. And it wasn't just the writing, it was the direction and the performances… it was everything because it was all of that that gave us Stefan and Caroline's first kiss—enveloped within beautiful scenery, delicate, tension-filled, delicious dialogue—and outstanding direction. Oh, this episode. There were first kisses and last goodbyes. There was joy and pain, laughter and tears. There was pot. There was one last threat of murder from Damon to Jeremy—we lost him too, on a bus outta Mystic Falls. There was a little girl riding a pink bicycle. There was no more Sheriff Elizabeth Forbes. It hurt like hell, but it hurt so damn good.

39-Let Her Go

For an episode that had so much happen, this was a rather reflective episode as befitting its main storyline: the funeral for Sheriff Elizabeth Forbes. I was very appreciative that the show went all out in honoring the character, realizing how important she was to our core characters, to the town of Mystic Falls, to the heart of the series and thus the viewers and so she was given a very worthy goodbye. The entire funeral, from the Last Call to Damon's eulogy to Caroline's song, it was all so very beautifully done. I also liked the little moments that surprised me, along with the much bigger blow of Caroline choosing to turn her humanity switch off. Twists like that were more reminiscent of the earlier seasons of the series. Julie Plec as the writer (and director) of this one brought back that early Vampire Diaries vibe in spades, as well as getting some amazing performances out of her cast, especially from Candice King, and Zach Roerig as the ever-human Matt who finally found his calling among his supernatural friends.

I also enjoyed how Plec wrote Caroline and Elena in this episode in that Elena knew how to deal with the death of a parent because she's been there, and also how Caroline acted. Her whole "I'm fine" routine was carbon-copy Elena from how we saw her in the Pilot. That has always been a trademark of this show, how well friendships are presented, in all facets of life, not just in happy times, but through the good, the bad, the heartbreak, the joy, the grief and everything in between. And it was friendship in just about every facet that was highlighted, even among lovers. Amidst all of the wonderful character and relationship shadings, plot mechanics and threads were beautifully laid into place for what was to come. I thought this episode was absolutely stellar.

40- I(ll Wed You In The Golden Summertime

Six seasons in, viewers have watched these characters grow up and it was this maturity that was on display in beautiful fashion in this episode. As romantic as it would have been to see Caroline find true love with Stefan since he finally was ready, it was right that she put herself first and did what was best for her, getting in control. Stefan didn't push, didn't pout… he stepped back, and understood she needed to get that control. As for Damon, he showed that he has grown by already having things in control, preparing for his future of being human with Elena no matter what that future could throw at him. And Elena showed hers by willing to not have her happily ever after on the same page with Damon if it meant doing what was best for him. It was all about love and doing what was best for those they love, even if they could lose them… like Alaric did. Oh, there was so much emotional build-up about love and loss throughout the entire episode with love seemingly triumphing as Damon pledged to live and die of old age with Elena. The space filled with guests, the bride and groom said their vows until… until it went splendidly, horrifyingly wrong. Before the "I do's" could be said, red spread across Jo's white wedding dress, and there was Kai. Then there was the Gemini coven chanting, blood everywhere, glass flying, lights flickering, vampires—including Elena—unconscious. It was just… what a cliffhanger! What an episode. So much emotion and then wham!a whirlwind of action that was a kick to the gut. Outstanding.

41-I'm Thinking Of You All The While

I loved how Elena's goodbyes were presented throughout the episode, and I mostly loved them. With her friends (Bonnie, Matt and Stefan especially) remembrances from the past that held such significance were recalled, getting the emotions just right. Others weren't quite as on-spot, but there were moments that at least came close. And Elena's goodbye to Damon was threaded throughout the entire episode, paired with callbacks and a deliriously romantic dance and swoon-worthy kiss. Everything in Damon and Elena's story that played out in this episode felt so right, so true to their love story, to their characters. What was the best thing about all of the goodbyes, though, is that they were very clearly positioned as not final… Elena would not, could not be forgotten. Chris Wood as Kai once again showed why he was this show's best ever villain (after Katherine, of course) with his quips, his killing, his pure, evil awfulness on display while still being so ridiculously boyishly charming. So insanely good. Matt Davis was fantastic in his grief-stricken, near-suicidal rage. Penelope Miller and Michael Trevino were heartbreakingly beautiful as they closed out Liv and Tyler's love story in one of the most powerful death scenes ever seen on the series. I thought this episode was excellent. Julie Plec and Caroline Dries (of course) did an amazing job with the script and Chris Grismer's direction was fantastic. It was just splendid, beautiful, amazing, and a capper to a really wonderful season.

42-I Carry Your Heart With Me

This episode's theme explored the relationship between the men of our show and the women they loved, Damon and Elena. Stefan and Caroline. Alaric and Jo. Damon was still questioning whether he was even worthy of Elena's love. Alaric had succeeded (or so he thought) in bringing Jo back from the dead. Stefan's entire life-span had been defined by whatever woman he happened to love (or not) at the time, and always in an unhealthy fashion, such was not the case with Caroline. So the exploration of those relationships hit an apex for all three of them in this episode with some lovely set-up for what was to come that wasn't heavy-handed, and in Damon's case led to him realizing that he needed to find himself outside of Elena. We also got to see more of the inner dynamics of the Heretics and got our last glimpse at the wonderful Tim Kang as (not) Oscar. This was just a lovely, lovely episode (Caroline Dries, of course) with some bits of humor, some romance, and some heartbreak (The Vampire Diaries, of course).

43-Hell Is Other People

This was just—wow… just amazing. This was one of the series' best episodes, hands down. It was quite, quite fabulous. The ending was legitimately shocking, but not so much in a cliffhanger type of way, but rather in an emotionally devastating way because there wasn't any question that the characters "killed" by Damon would return in the next episode, but rather what was shocking was how efficiently and in such desperate anguish that Damon "killed" all of his friends and the very fact that he did so, and the why of it was from where the emotion came. Of course, emotions ran strong throughout as the heart of Damon Salvatore's guilt was explored in exquisite, brilliant detail. The script and direction here was top-notch (kudos to writers, Holly Brix and Neil Reynolds, and director, Deb Chow), but it was Ian Somerhalder who made this episode sing, shine and soar.

He was outstanding; viewers were exposed to so many different shades of Damon, it was remarkable. First there was the sweet, innocent Damon pre-Hell-realization, and then as the events began to repeat and repeat, the sweetness began to fade as cynicism started to set-in, but the earnest boy was still there believing. As we neared the three-quarters mark, the snark was in full bloom and the Damon viewers knew quite well was evident in the if-you-look-close you could still see the innocent human from years long gone. And then came the final moments when he was like a child, crying over his mother, desperate for her love, just wanting her return. Throughout the whole episode, we followed Damon's journey through Somerhalder's performance, through the writing and direction as Damon fought against giving in to his own personal hell. He finally did, guided by the love of the two most important people in his life… his brother and his girl. This was an outstanding episode; it was an excellent character exploration of a complex anti-hero that delved deep into the heart of his greatest issue, one that had been introduced in the very first season, touched upon time and time again. In this episode, it was given its final and necessary exploration. And it delivered in every way. It really was a splendid effort all around.

44-I Went to the Woods

This was one of the best episodes of the series' run. It was also the best-Brothers Salvatore-centric episode. It made me smile, broke my heart and then uplifted it. Everything that happened between the two of them—especially their phone conversations—was sheer perfection. This was also the best Stefan-centric episode, and it was the one in which Paul Wesley gave his best performance, as a suffering Stefan in a human's body in various stages, and as a soulless vampire inhabiting Stefan. This was, bar none, HIS episode. He was amazing; everything in this episode was amazing. Damon impersonating Matt Donovan, Alaric and Valerie making a surprisingly great team, the snowy woods practically becoming a character of its own. The final scene was amazing and terrible; it was so awesome. Music pulsing, crowds of college kids partying and tales of unsolved massacres. Brotherly love, broken hearts, long, winter nights and psychotic vampires… this episode, written and directed by Julie Plec, was fantastic.

45-Requiem For a Dream

The Vampire Diaries often had brilliant beginning, mid, and season-ending parallels and such was the case in season 07. It involved Damon making the decision to save Bonnie's life. The season-ending choice came up in this penultimate episode and it was (per usual) wonderful. Damon saved her life for a third time, but this time, he did it without reservation (unlike the first time), and knowing that Elena was still alive (unlike the second time), showing tremendous growth on his part and his love for his best friend. Furthermore, he owned his guilt, taking responsibility. The Damon and Bonnie friendship was highlighted, but we also saw Bonnie's friendships with Caroline and Matt on display as well because it's not just romantic love that matters on this show, it's friendship and family too. However, it was her friendship with Damon that was the key and special note must be made of the final scene between the two. The script, the direction, the acting… it was just beautifully, superbly done. Ian Somerhalder delivered so well there, as did Kat Graham. Of course, she was so good throughout the whole episode, she really, really was—but in that scene it was all Somerhalder. Overall, though, Graham was incredible.

Bonnie was cold and deadly with just glimmers of "our" Bonnie shining through, especially when the reality of the real Bonnie was so vivid because she was willing to literally sleep herself to death to save those she loved. There was also some beautiful character play in this episode not just for the centrally-featured, Bonnie, but also with all of our main characters (Damon, Stefan, Caroline, Matt and Alaric). But the heart of the episode involved four relationships—two more heavily featured than the others, one romantic and one platonic in both pairs. Damon and Bonnie, and Stefan and Caroline were the more prominent, and Bonnie and Matt, and Bonnie and Enzo the less, but all four were important and resonated. This was a beautiful episode where love was the most featured player even if it was the biggest loser but for one split second. Of course, that split-second saved Damon's life, and Bonnie's heart and soul. Such a beautiful episode.

46-You Decided I was Worth Saving

A key component of the beauty of this episode was in its title because it was illustrated so perfectly. It brought that truth to fruition for the character of Enzo who had always been abandoned, left behind. In this episode, Bonnie chose him above everyone. Aside from romance, there was also the bonds of friendship and sibling love thriving as those bonds were tested, literally battling it out, in one case, nearly to the death to save one friend (or brother) over another friend, choosing which friend (or lover) to save. It was some pretty intense stuff. The big bad of the season—the Siren known as Sybil—was already making an indelible mark. Also, the Saltzman children were used so well. Not too much, just enough that they were there, they were believable, adorable, and just a bit supernatural. And absolutely acting their age. (Rare, on television, and as such, so very awesome.) Truly this was an excellent, excellent episode.

47-We Have History Together

This was a fantastic episode and that was due in big part to the direction by Ian Somerhalder who did an outstanding job, and the script by Matthew D'Ambrosio who was fantastic as well. In terms of that direction, the pacing, the cuts, when and how different shots were used, all worked in chorus with the script and combined, all of it created this tension throughout the episode leading up to a horrific cliffhanger that had been beautifully set-up throughout. It was haunting; it was horrible and it was memorable. There was also a lot of awesome Brothers Salvatore in this one with a reversal of the early season 01 dynamic with Damon the "good" brother and Stefan the "bad." This led to a lot of really great stuff with the brothers and some beautifully-nuanced character insight delving into Damon's past with not only Stefan, but Elena, Caroline's past and future with Stefan. Viewers and Matt also learned of his family history and their ancestry with Mystic Falls itself. And Sybil continued to be such a fun, awful, no-good, but delightfully straight-forward evil, bad, bad person. All that, plus viewers received some long-awaited answers to questions that had been posed earlier in the season. Overall, this episode had a great script along with strong acting and direction. Simply put, it was awesome.

48-What Are You?

This episode was full-on awesome-sauce, intriguing and left one wondering where do we go from here in the best way possible. Having the reality of the law applied to one of our own, seeing the juxtaposition of that reality against our supernatural world really brought into light just how wrong vampirism, etc. is. Of course, in Mystic Falls, there were always extenuating circumstances (ripper-dom, humanity switches and Devilish control), but it was just so chilling in an extremely affecting and frankly brilliant way seeing our "anti-heroes" from a real world perspective. And it opened the door for viewers to see the effect a vampire's actions would have on a human through Stefan. We saw him feeling genuine guilt and wanting to right a wrong. There was a fragility and vulnerability to this human form of Stefan, a tentativeness that showed how uncomfortable Stefan was in this weak mortal frame, how shell-shocked he was in this new condition. And all of it was so beautifully played by Paul Wesley.

He wasn't the only Salvatore brother who shone in this episode. The maturity of Damon and the journey that he's been on was so evident... how he had been there for the people in his life (not only Elena and Stefan, but Bonnie and Alaric and Caroline and Matt), how they knew they could ask him for help, rely on him, believe in him—even when upset with him—was something to behold. He had become that better man that Elena always believed he could be... that he needed to believe that he could be. We also saw Bonnie once again lose someone she loved, once again having to tap into her reservoir of strength to not fall apart completely. And Matt, Matt Donovan, finally became a part of the town's history and supernatural chaos. Lastly... Kai returned to grace our screens. That automatically upped the episode's awesome, and this one was already pretty damn awesome.

49-It's Been A Hell of a Ride

This glorious, laugh-out-loud, heart-wrenching, heart-lifting, beautiful episode was almost perfect, but that slight imperfection was so slight it barely counts. One of the very best things about The Vampire Diaries was that it's not the madness and chaos that drove story; rather it was how the characters were affected by it. The heart and beauty of the show was in how the characters reacted, fought back and (mostly) ultimately triumphed. So, sure the Devil as the final Big Bad? Awesome. Even more awesome? Reaching back into the show's history to nab arguably their greatest villain ever to close the series out: Katherine Pierce. But before we were promised Katherine in the final seconds to close out the episode, we saw the last of arguably their second greatest villain, Kai, and, per usual, he was magnificent. Whether quipping, threatening, telling sad childhood stories, stalking children, giving advice, karaoking, you name it—he was awesome.

Also awesome? Nay, brilliant was how we got a re-introduction to the triangle that drove the show for at least half of its run, but this time in the very best way possible. The triangle at the heart of this show had always been about three people who loved each other so much that not a one of them could imagine losing any of the other two and would die first themselves. Love in its most pure form. As for the two boys in the equation, everything Damon and Stefan in this episode was just right. From their first interaction near the top, every moment between the brothers simply shone with love for one another. And the love was a'flowing as well between Damon and Bonnie—as she became someone (alongside Elena and Stefan) willing to fight wholeheartedly to save his life. And Bonnie Bennett once again showed just how amazing and powerful and bad-ass she could be. And the love was also there between Stefan and Caroline, giving viewers the promise of a happy ending. In the end, that is what this episode was all about… promise and love and it was beautiful.

50-I Was Feeling Epic

This wasn't perfect, and I even debated about including the episode quite a bit because I did have issues with it, probably more than I did with any other episode on this list. However, they were small ones, and in the bigger picture, inconsequential when taking into account that bigger picture. And that was that this was the final episode of an eight-season 22-(mostly)-episode series. Therefore, there is a tall order that must be met, every major storyline, arc, thread, every major character, every couple all must be wrapped up in some form if possible to give as many viewers as satisfied an outcome as possible. Again, that's a really tall order and The Vampire Diaries succeeded quite, quite admirably. The love of their main couple, Damon and Elena, was sprinkled throughout the episode in dialogue with other characters, in visual cues, in parallels and in the moment they saw one another, no words needed to be spoken. The looks exchanged at their reunion and in their subsequent flash-forward scenes told the tale of their love clearly enough, and Damon and Elena were given the happiest of happily-ever-afters. The not-so-happy ending of Stefan and Caroline, on the other hand, was full of words, heartfelt and heartbreaking, but showing the incredible strength and growth of both characters and the journey that they had both undertaken to become who they were. They may not have gotten a happily-ever-after, but they did have true love and that carried Stefan into his ever-after-peace and Caroline will carry Stefan in her heart forever.

Viewers got glimpses into the futures of those still around, vague enough that stories can still be spun, but they were fairly happy where we saw them. And I thought that it was beautiful that we saw so many beloved departed characters at peace. Death has been such a constant on this show, but in the end, we were told that when you strive to do better, be better and are better, a true forever—one that is filled with peace, where your humanity isn't threatened and where you don't have to go against your very nature to be—is attainable. There were callbacks and parallels galore. There were returning favorites, there were explosions, and big moments, friendships and grand romances celebrated, family, heartbreak, tears, joy and in the end, yeah, it was pretty epic.


I don't expect the next section up for a few months at the earliest. There will be a LOT in that section. Like a *LOT* LOT!


- 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
- 50 Favorite Episodes, Part 1/2 (25/50)
Tags: alaric saltzman, bonnie bennett, bonnie/matt, candice king, caroline forbes, damon salvatore, damon/alaric, damon/bonnie, damon/elena, damon/jeremy, damon/matt, damon/stefan, elena gilbert, ian somerhalder, jeremy gilbert, katherine pierce, matt donovan, nina dobrev, paul wesley, stefan salvatore, stefan/caroline, stefan/katherine, the vampire diaries, tv

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