As we anticipate The Vampire Diaries Season 5, we thought we’d show some love to our favorite episodes from last season. Narrowing down the field was extremely difficult and we had to rewatch a lot of episodes, but hey, nobody said this fansite thing would be easy. Right? Just kidding! It was totally easy and were really just looking for an excuse to watch our favorite episodes again. And again. And maybe a few more times after that, just to make sure we got all the details right. It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!
Elena: All of the hurt, I feel like it’s trying to explode out of me.
Written by: Jose Molina & Julie Plec | Directed by: Rob Hardy
Crissy: I was in Iceland when Memorial aired, and I remember feeling reluctant to watch it. On my first proper vacation in ages, I was all Waterfalls! Fiskur! Tall Nordic men!, and not really in the Elena-is-a-newbie-vamp headspace, despite having loved the season premiere. But then I watched the episode, tucked away in a quiet corner of the apartment me and my pals had rented in Reykjavik. And I was riveted. I bawled my eyes out. I lost my damn mind when Alaric showed up at the end, having been beside Damon in his grief the whole time. To me, this episode is a calling card of all the glorious things The Vampire Diaries is — surprising, fast as lightning, bloody violent, unexpectedly hilarious, full of heart and full of despair. The series shines when the gang rallies together, and never have I loved Tyler more than when he stood up in front of the congregation and took one for the team. From pitch-perfect character moments to insane amounts of blood vomit, Memorial will not be soon forgotten.
O Come, All Ye Faithful (EP409)
Carol: Klaus, please. Don’t hurt him. He’s my son. He’s all I have.
Klaus: And you’re all he has. There’s a beautiful symmetry to that, don’t you think?
Written by: Michael J. Cinquemani & Julie Plec | Directed by: Pascal Verschooris
Kate: It took three and a half seasons for Mystic Falls to get to celebrate Christmas, and what a Christmas it was. (Given the trauma that ensued, I’ll forgive them if they decide to wait another three years – or thirty – before attempting it again.) I’m one of those ridiculous Christmas-obsessed people who’s inclined to love the Christmas episode of any show, but I thought this one did a particularly good job of using the melancholy that often lurks under the cheerful trappings of the holiday to highlight and take stock of how alone so many of the characters are and how far they’ve come from any semblance of “normal” life or family. But let’s face it: The main reason why I love this episode so much is the gorgeous, terrible scene in which Klaus slaughters his hybrids as “O Holy Night” plays in the background. I’m a sucker for violent scenes set to classical music, and the Christmas lyrics add another layer of devastating beauty to this scene. It reminds us of how human Klaus’s motivations are – no one wants to spend Christmas alone and betrayed – and how they combine with his incredible power to make him truly dangerous.
Catch Me If You Can (EP411)
Professor Shane: You’re accusing me of orchestrating a mass murder. Do you know how ridiculous that sounds?
Sheriff Forbes: It’s Mystic Falls. It’s actually one of the least ridiculous things I’ve heard.
Written by: Brian Young & Michael Narducci | Directed by: John Dahl
Vee: Look, I know this pick might be mildly controversial, especially when The Killer (EP405) didn’t make this list, but if there is an episode that continues to delight with every single rewatch, it’s Catch Me If You Can. It is a straight-up whirlwind of crazy, with oodles of nasty fun and killer one-liners all up in the mix. It also has one of the season’s best pre-title card sequences, with Matt, Jeremy, and Damon getting their hunt on in the deep, dark woods, and Klaus’s Near Dark tribute in a backwoods bar. Then enter Elena, coming to Matt and Jeremy’s rescue as a flock of newbie vampires descend. The pace doesn’t let up for the next 40-plus minutes as the gang works to complete Jeremy’s mark, Damon fights Kol’s compulsion to kill Jeremy, Bonnie finally sees Shane’s true and creepy colors, and Stefan and Rebekah let wit and sparks fly. Fun is, in fact, possible on The Vampire Diaries and, next to American Gothic, this may have been TVD at its everything-but-the-kitchen-sink zaniest, capped with Elena’s downright Machiavellian master plan, not to mention one of the most devastating Stefan and Elena conversations ever: “You don’t know what I look like when I’m not in love with you.” Ouch.
Stand By Me (EP415)
Elena: There’s nothing here for me anymore, Stefan. Every inch of this house is filled with memories of the people that I love that have died. My mom, my dad, Jeremy and Jenna and Alaric . . . John, even John. They’re all dead. Everyone is dead.
Written by: Julie Plec | Directed by: Lance Anderson
Red: As Vampire Diaries fans, we’re all used to the emotional roller coaster that this show frequently has us riding, and Stand By Me stands out in this regard, sending the characters and viewers on a whirlwind trip through the five stages of grief in the space of one short hour. We have it all: Elena’s heart-wrenching denial that Jeremy is gone, clutching at any flimsy hope that he’ll still live; Damon’s anger at Katherine, Silas, and even himself that it’s come to this; Bonnie’s bargaining with Silas to bring the dead back, tumbling into her own spiral of madness; Matt’s depression as he deals with his own losses while still trying to give hope to Elena and function as a human in this crazy supernatural world; and Elena’s chilling acceptance that Jeremy is gone, that the price to bring him back is too high. Finally we, the viewers, have to accept that there’s no Hail Mary coming for Jeremy at this point in time, as the Gilbert house – the home we’re all comfortable with and have known from the beginning – is turned into his funeral pyre. While that chapter of Mystic Falls life is firmly closed, the fire brings new beginnings, as Elena’s emotions are switched off and we wait with great trepidation to see just what the new Elena will turn into…
(We also hope that Elena’s teddy bear survived that fire. It was over at the Salvatore boarding house, right? RIGHT?)
American Gothic (EP418)
Katherine: Did it ever occur to you that you have no idea who I really am?
Damon: Did it ever occur to you that you’re not that deep?
Written by: Evan Bleiweiss & Jose Molina | Directed by: Kellie Cyrus
Abby: I admit, I was predisposed towards this episode on the grounds of title alone (I still haven’t forgiven CBS for cancelling that show back in 1996), but this episode had some great stuff in it. Agonized hallucinations! Doppelgänger hijinks! Don Juan Elijah! Furious Caroline! And let’s not forget the cafe scenes between Rebekah, Katherine and humanity-free Elena. (“Your shoes. I want your shoes.”) I mean, come on, how many of us spotted the fishless-fishtank and yelled “IT’S RIGHT THERE!” only to be double-crossed right along with Rebekah? How much skepticism flooded Twitter when Katherine gave Elijah the cure? Throughout the hour, there was a consistent mix of snappy dialog and genuine emotions, with smooth transitions so that none of it felt forced. Joseph Morgan really outdid himself in this one, playing a side of Klaus that we almost never see, and the Salvatore heart-to-heart (not to be confused with a Salvatore “rip out your heart-to-heart”) was a nice display of character growth for both Stefan and Damon. Put all these things together with a last minute murder and you end up with an episode that’s just plain FUN.
Stefan: I’m not happy about Elena, but I’m not not-happy for you either. I just want you to know that.
Damon: Thanks, brother.
Written by: Julie Plec & Caroline Dries | Directed by: Chris Grismer
Holly: Graduation episodes have a high bar to meet at Holly HQ. They’ll always be measured against Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Graduation Day I & II. They need to be both an end and a beginning. TVD’s Graduation succeeds because, like Buffy, it reminds us of the bond between this group people we’ve watched for four years and gives us hope for the next four. Far beyond vampires and werewolves and hybrids and hunters, The Vampire Diaries is about families, the ones we’re born with and the ones we choose. Most every character on the show gets their chance, in this episode, to remind us and their found family of who they are and how they’ve grown in the years since we began this journey on the first day of school years ago. Elena is at peace with being a vampire, and reaffirms her bonds with Jeremy, Alaric and her friends. She gets her moment of triumph, in a great callback to the books, when she defeats Katherine. Stefan and Elena remind us that, even if they’re not together, they never give up on each other. Damon impulsively tries to save the day, as we would expect, and he finally gets to hear that Elena returns his love. The Salvatore brothers prove why they’re my favorite love story of TVD, in a subtle scene that gives us hope that their bond isn’t broken. Caroline is still Caroline, but with the maturity and grace she’s earned. Bonnie Bennett is not gone, but she’s a ghost, the most drastic sacrifice yet in her never ending quest to protect her friends and the town. Alaric got a last drink with his best friend and a meal with his kids. And y’all, Matt Donovan graduated. Bring on the next chapter.
Summer hiatus continues, but at least the CW is airing a rerun tonight: Memorial (EP402) will be on at 8/7c.
Episode refresher course:
Miss a post this week?
- Originals Pilot Questions Answered via Zap2it + TVD Wins in EW’s 2013 Season Finale Awards
- Friday Night Bites, May 18-24: Wedding Fun, Cannes Pics & Photo Shoots
- The Originals: A Trio of Interviews via Alloy Entertainment, Zap2it & Hollywood Crush (VIDEOS)
Previously on The Vampire Diaries we got a refresher course in the art of unfriendly handshakes and comforting hugs. Things were heating up in the bathroom at the Mystic Grill and just about everyone we know was wrecked for days after a particularly emotional twist at the episode’s end. Oh, and there was an awesome shout out to the book fans. Relive the madness and get it all straight in your head before tomorrow night!
Let me start with an apology for taking so long to get this post written. But really, it’s not my fault. This episode left me in tears, and stunned at the show’s continual mastery at delivering a highly emotional but action-packed and sexy and funny and supernaturally interesting story. The bar is so high for TVD, and yet again I am blown away. How can I write about Memorial? I have too many feelings to think! Elena isn’t the only one with heightened emotions — we, the audience, are right there with her and the rest of the Mystic Falls team.
TV Guide sits down with Joseph Morgan to discuss what the arrival of big bad vampire hunter Connor (Todd Williams, introduced in last night’s episode) means for Klaus and whether the Original sibling showdown that happened between Klaus and Rebekah in the premiere will have long term repercussions.
“Season 4 will … see that bond tested more than it’s ever been,” Morgan told us on the Atlanta set of the CW series. “He goes a little further than he’s ever gone and [as usual] Klaus likes to ruin everything for himself and push people away.”
Watched last night’s episode? Then check out these spoilerific post-mortem interviews with Julie Plec, where she touches base on specific plot points (those of you who are little confused about a particular Damon and Elena moment will definitely want to read):
- Entertainment Weekly: ‘Vampire Diaries’ EP Julie Plec talks the meaning of blood-sharing, this week’s emotional final scene, and what’s next
- Zap2It: ‘Vampire Diaries’ ‘Memorial’ recap: Julie Plec talks Elena’s first ‘feed’ and that very special appearance
- Reaction post & poll: Memorial (EP402)
- Short & Canadian Promos for The Rager (EP403)
- Extended Promo for The Rager (EP403)
- Complete Songlist for Memorial (EP402)
Well. WELL. So all THAT happened. We’re not quite sure we’re strong enough to watch Memorial (EP402) again just yet, but if you are, have at it. US fans can now download the episode from iTunes or Amazon; we’ll add the iTunes UK link once they post it. And remember, US fans can also watch the episode for free right now at the CW site.
UPDATED: iTunes UK link added.
Canadian fans can watch the episode over at the CTV website.
In case you missed ‘em:
Courtesy of Chris Mollere, Vampire Diaries’ music supervisor – follow him on Twitter!
Songs listed in order of appearance.
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New arrivals in Mystic Falls tonight; a vampire hunter and a high school student. Given past form with new kids in Mystic Falls, I’d be more worried about April the student than Connor the vampire hunter. That aside, there’s probably some serious betting pool action going on down at the Mystic Grill over which of them will be first to meet a grisly end secure their own place on the memorial table.
Once you’ve seen the episode and shaken yourself back to reality, swing by here to rate the new episode of The Vampire Diaries. Because the forums are no more, all discussion about the episode is welcomed and encouraged in the comments of this post. Just remember, beware of spoilers if you haven’t seen the episode yet!
Quick guide to the poll options: Lilies are traditional at memorials, though given who this memorial is for, would vervain be more appropriate? 5 lilies = LOVE, 1 lily = MEH.
Entertainment Weekly sat down with Nina Dobrev during a recent TVD set visit to talk about the Season 3 finale, Elena’s transition, and Salvatores:
“She’s confused and changing and having different cravings and having different urges,” says Dobrev. “I feel like she’s kind of gone back to being stuck in the middle between the two boys.”
Give Me My Remote has more with Julie Plec, who discusses the show’s success, Twitter reactions to the Season 3 finale, and why Season 4 will not be slowing things down:
JP: And so I went into season 3 and I told all the actors, “This is the year we really need to prove to everybody that we’re good at what we do and this show is never going to falter. And the quality of storytelling, quality of production, quality of performance is our priority, and we’re going to do it, we’re going to work our asses off so nobody thinks this was just a fluke.” And we did so well in season 3 that I think in the back of our heads, we thought we could step back a little in season 4 and sleep a little. And then we get to season 4 and we realized, no, it’s been going so well, we haven’t faltered yet, let’s just drive this train all the way to the end of the series and never let anyone say, “You really blew it.” So that’s the goal.
And Zap2It has a nice introduction to upcoming guest star Grace Phipps, whose character, April, takes her bow on The Vampire Diaries in tonight’s episode. Spoiler alert: Phipps is really charming.
Phipps brings a great new energy to the cast, while April shifts the dynamic of the show a bit. Now, Elena isn’t concerned about saving herself all the time — she’s got a new, innocent person in town who means a lot to her, and keeping April safe begins to take priority. As we’ll see in tonight’s episode, “Memorial,” keeping April safe is much easier said than done thanks to a new hunter in town.
The Insider caught up with Julie Plec for an excellent and lengthy discussion about tonight’s new episode, Memorial, and the events and fallout of last week’s Season 4 premiere, Growing Pains. In addition to touching on the big mystery set up in last week’s final moments and Elena’s journey as a newbie vampire, Plec also explains why tonight’s Memorial acts as a Season 3 finale:
Insider.com: Earlier you mentioned that you were slow playing these first few episodes. Does that allow these characters, whose lives whoosh by, to take stock of everything that’s happened?
Julie: For sure. I look at episode two in my own special way as the finale of last season’s journey. We never got a chance to mourn, we never got a chance to properly grieve Alaric. In a way, our characters are never given the opportunity to sit and think about the terrible things that happen to them. This is a way of saying to the audience, we are allowing ourselves this moment to grieve. We are putting this away and moving forward. In many ways, episode three is truly the launch of season three [four? - V.] in that we’re really beginning a new chapter. Episode one and two are almost like a nice bow wrapped on end of season three.