Suddenly we find ourselves in December, the month holidays are celebrated and gifts are given. It’s also a time to reflect, reassess, and hit rewind on the year that was. Since this is TVD Goodness Thursday, we decided to be ambitious and select our favorite episodes of the year. The Vampire Diaries is one of those shows so special, it takes three of us to write about it. So three different perspectives you’ll get. Heather M. “The Sun Also Rises”
Every episode of TVD has something about it that lingers afterward, but if I had to pick a whole episode that I thought stood out in 2011, it would be “The Sun Also Rises,” because they really did write out Jenna and kick off the curse and kill Uncle Daddy and revive Elena and transform Tyler and have Elijah betray everyone for Klaus all in the same episode. That’s some might fine storytelling, y’all. And the actors weren’t too shabby, either. It was a seriously hand-wringy hour that laid out the beginning of arcs we’re still sorting through nine episodes into the third season. As I said in my original review — I didn’t agree with or adore the actual plotting, but it was extremely well done .
Tina “As I Lay Dying”
OK, maybe it’s a little easy to choose a season finale because it’s supposed to deliver on everything. It needs to go above and beyond and build on the momentum of the episodes that preceded it. It’s also necessary for the final episode of any given year to be fan-freakin-tastic, badass in every way and make us ache in anticipation for the fall season to arrive.
“As I Lay Dying” did just that. In true TVD fashion, the episode raced to a conclusion giving us a finale that entertained thoroughly, featured wonderful dialogue and did a great job setting up Season 3. At the beginning of the hour, the characters were dealing with so many things:
- Jenna’s death
- Damon at death’s door because of Tyler’s werewolf bite
- Klaus achieving hybrid-dom
- Caroline’s mom on the vampire warpath
But it was really all the stories that resulted from Damon dying that gave us some unforgettable moments and twists. Some of the moments included a repentant Damon coming to Elena to apologize for forcing his blood on her. And then in the next scene he’s back at his house where he tries to kill himself via sunlight (he takes off the protection ring in order to make that happen). Stefan thankfully saves him and then puts Damon on suicide watch.
Some of the twists included the sheriff accidentally killing Jeremy while aiming for Damon. Because of this Bonnie was forced to tap into her ancient witch-y connections to resurrect him. And because of that, the cliffhanger ending was Jeremy seeing the ghost forms of his ex-girlfriends Anna and Vicky. One of my favorite parts of “As I Lay Dying” was the fact the show ended on this moment as opposed to anything that had to do with the big three of Damon/Elena/Stefan. As much as I love those three, I think it was unexpectedly awesome to end on somebody else.
Of course, this episode was also the beginning of Hybrid Klaus and Ripper Stefan’s reign of terror. Stefan made a deal with the Original to save his brother’s life and now he had to leave town with Klaus to go on a blood bender. There were little moments that satisfied as well, namely Caroline making up with her mom. And it’s all story that resulted from a werewolf biting a vampire.
Can’t talk about this episode without mentioning the scene between Damon and Elena in bed, however. Damon’s dying and Elena’s there with him to the bitter end. He wants her to tell his brother he’s sorry for blaming for everything that had to do with Katherine all these years. He chose to love her and it was a wrong choice. Damon said he deserved to die. He also said she would have liked him in 1864. I love how Elena told Damon she liked him now just the way he is. She kissed him and he thanked her and it was just about the sweetest moment ever. Katherine came in and gave Damon the cure but that scene was really a turning point in Damon and Elena’s relationship. As a result, in Season 3, you see this bond between the two that is as close to unbreakable as you can get.
Yup, “As I Lay Dying” was just a damn good hour of television. It wasn’t perfect — Matt and Tyler weren’t in it at all. Boo. Although I can’t recall there being a bad episode of TVD in 2011, this one stands out as my favorite.
Kara “The Reckoning”
It was hard to pick just one episode from 2011 since so many were so good. I liked this entry from Season 3 for so many different reasons. First, it is so refreshing to see our Mystic Falls seniors act like high school kids. They’ve been through a lot and often have to make very adult decisions. But at the beginning of this episode, they’re excited about school and participating in the age old tradition of Senior Prank Night. Of course, things quickly go off the rails when Klaus discovers the doppelganger is still alive.
Other great highlights:
Katherine and Damon lock lips. Ok, so may I really want Elena and Damon to be kissing and although a poor substitute, I’ll take what I can get.
Klaus challenges Bonnie to find a way to save Tyler after he forces him to drink his blood and kills him. I remember being genuinely worried for Tyler. All of Klaus’s previous hybrid experiments had ended very, very badly. Bonnie needs Jeremy to contact the dead to get the information she needs, but Katherine has him.
Klaus compels Stefan to obey.Â And later when Stefan would rather choose to stake himself than kill Elena, Klaus compels Stefan to turn it off. Of course, Klaus thinks he’s fixed Stefan.
Rebekah, the new girl, introduces herself to the gang. She assaults Caroline and Tyler, and bites Elena. Perhaps not the most auspicious beginning.
Matt, in an effort to see Vicki, drowns himself. They’re running out of options and time. Bonnie can’t rely on her magic to save Matt so she has to rely on her CPR skills.
Damon keeps reminding Katherine that she’s not Elena. He tells Katherine she doesn’t do it for him anymore. He turns his back on their plans to find Mikael after Bonnie texts him that Klaus has returned.
Elena’s blood is the key to Klaus’s hybrid army.Â And we find out Klaus was afraid of being alone for all eternity. Be care Klaus, your humanity is showing.
Klaus is about to kill Damon, who uses Mikael as leverage.Â It was nice to see Klaus afraid of someone.
Bonnie reminds Matt he’s the only normal one. He gets to live his life. Bonnie leaves and Matt sees his sister. It’s such a nice moment. Too bad she’s such a bitch to him later.
Stefan catches Elena and Damon getting cosy and tells him he’s sticking around to keep an eye on them, at Klaus’s command. Elena’s now under his protection. And, now, he couldn’t care less about how close Damon and Elena are growing.
Katherine and Jeremy find Mikael. At this point we only know he’s a vampire and a vampire hunter. We have no idea what his connection to Klaus or Rebekah is.
I don’t love it when some of the key characters are missing from episodes, so I loved this episode because all our major players are in play. Well, all except Alaric. If he’d even had a brief cameo, it would’ve made this episode perfect. Seeing Stefan fight so hard to save Elena was exciting and a reminder of how much I loved those two together. Seeing Damon come back to Mystic Falls for Elena was refreshing. I love where those two are going and I’d love to see them together as a couple sooner rather than later. Seeing Bonnie save Matt without the use of her magic was a much needed reminder that Bonnie is so much more than just a witch. Seeing Jeremy reluctantly help Damon and Katherine was nice because Jeremy wants to be a part of the action and gets to be. Tyler’s alive, but Caroline’s right to be worried.
For me “The Reckoning” delivered on so many levels. There wasn’t a moment of the hour I wasn’t on the edge of my seat. Since TVD has made a point of killing off major characters, I don’t ever feel like anyone’s safe. I’m so invested in these people and I want them to stay alive, or if they’re dead to at least stick around. Even Klaus.
What is your favorite 2011 TVD episode and why? We’d love to hear from you.
The Vampire Dairies returns Thursday, January 5, 2012 at 8/7c on the CW.
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