The penultimate episodes of The Vampire Diaries are always tough (crazy awesome) to watch. It’s like being on a roller coaster that stops right at the moment of drop-off. Last night was intense, and set us up for what promises to be the most epic season finale yet. The veil was lifted, and ghosts were running rampant in Mystic Falls. We got our favorite faces back (we love you, Matt Davis!), but we also got something really important: stakes. Death has come to mean very little on this show, particularly this season. There has always been a ring or a spell to bring someone back (little Gilbert, you were spell proof … until now). But the point stands: People turn to vampires, our heroes kill, and very little actually changes. But so much of that had to do with Bonnie. So many of the reasons our heroes were able to cheat death were because they had her. Now, they don’t, and things will never be quite the same again.
That was pretty serious. Want to talk more about Paul Wesley’s face? OKAY, LET’S DO IT.
Stefan Figured It Would Be Love or Hope or Compassion … Wrong
* “That did nothing for me, how was it for you?” Elena says as she smashes a brick in Stefan’s hands. Which reminded us: No one has done it on this show for a while. Minus 5?
* “Give me 50 pull-ups.” See previous comment, but we thought this scene was kinda hot. Remember when Damon grabbed Elena’s skin underneath her Lululemon tank top and told her he’d do anything for her? That was pretty hot, too. Someone should hook up on this show soon, we think. We’re giving points for the gym right now. Plus 6.
* Stefan and Caroline had flashlights in an enclosed space. Together. Plus 5.
* “Really? I’m your biggest problem right now?” Says Katherine to Stefan. Plus 4. Excellent point.
* “Do you still have feelings for her?” Elena asks Stefan. Yeah, we also want to know that. We have wanted to know that for LITERALLY YEARS. We know we sound like a broken record on this issue, but the Katherine/brother stuff just isn’t done for us. SHE AND ELENA LOOK IDENTICAL. ARE WE CRAZY? Plus 6.
* “No, I’m saying you have to face your grief, but you don’t have to do it alone.” We loved this line because even after everything — and we mean everything — Stefan still wants to help Elena through this. And it’s not because he thinks he’s going to get her back; I think Stefan knows he’s not. It’s because he doesn’t want anyone to suffer the way he has. Because he cares. Plus 20.
* “Welcome back,” Stefan said as he locked eyes with Elena. We feel that beat was the last we’re going to get from Stelena for a while. Okay. Plus 10.
* Aw. We loved when Lexi showed up when Stefan was with Caroline. So fitting. So much joy from Stefan here. Plus 15.
* “I see I’ve been replaced … she’s cute.” Lexi ships Steroline. What else do you need, writers?? Plus 12.
Damon Is Kind of Focused on the End of the World Crap Right Now
* Damon knows one of the great truths of the female experience: No major problems are solved by Pilates and a juice cleanse. No, seriously, we have tried. No, not even that one. Plus 10.
* I love how Damon assumes everything takes place on a full moon. It’s a totally fair assumption, too. Plus 5.
* “Damon and I can look outside while you (Stefan) and Caroline look inside.” Yes, this for everything. Always. Plus 12.
* “Someone’s an eager beaver!” Why was Damon trying so hard to sound old all of a sudden? Seriously, he was so crotchety this episode, we wanted to sit him in a rocker. Minus 3. Your chick is 18, Damon. Buck up.
* “As self righteous as Stefan is, he has a point.” Aw, brothers! Plus 3.
* Elena stabbed Damon. Minus 6. Her logic sucked, too, by the way. “Let me kill this person and then I’ll be happy!” Um, no.
* ALARIC CAME BACK AND CALLED DAMON HIS BEST FRIEND. PLUS 1,000 POINTS. THAT HUG. THAT HUGGGGGGGGGGG. ALSO THEY KEPT BOOZE AT SCHOOL.
* “Isn’t she your girlfriend?” —Alaric. “Who knows?” —Damon. Plus 10 for the obvious but also plus 3 for Alaric CLEARLY spending his afterlife keeping tabs on Damon’s relationship status. We half expected him to follow it up with, “Do you love her like you loved me?”
* This is normally something we’d minus points for, because enough already, but we really loved when Damon told Alaric to call Stefan because “he’ll do a better job than me.” Damon still doesn’t think he’s the best brother for Elena, and we really loved seeing that vulnerability last night. Plus 12.
* Damon tried to kill Alaric! That must have been hard for him. Plus 4.
* “The most important thing is Jeremy, and saying good-bye.” We loved that both brothers set aside their feelings to do what was right and needed in this episode. Growth! Plus 4.
* “I thought you were going to take care of the children.” THESE TWO.
* AND THEN: Alaric gave Damon the cure. “Get the girl,” he told him. This is important for a few reasons. For one, the cure. For another, Alaric was always firmly not on Team Delena. Remember “You need to take a beat?” Alaric telling Damon to find his joy, follow his bliss, get his, was basically like heaven itself giving Damon its blessing. We know, and have known for quite a while, that it’s time. Plus 100.
* “I don’t have a lot of family.” —Matt. We are going to try not to dwell, but minus 3.
* “No one cares that I’m graduating and, to be honest, neither do I.” How are these guys even graduating? No, seriously, we know a lot of their teachers died and it’s really nebulous what else is on their curriculum besides history, but no one ever goes to class. Isn’t attendance like 40 percent of your grade? Is anyone in high school here? Can you help us out with this? Minus 8.
* We didn’t totally understand all the exposition with Bonnie and Katherine, but that’s cool. At this point, we’re just here for the hair. Plus 3.
* “I have no idea what that means.” —Sheriff Forbes, we feel you. Plus 12.
* “I’m new to this whole emotional switch situation.” I love Rebekah. I forget how long she has been alive for because she’s been in a coffin a lot, but it’s awesome how the Originals think this humanity switch is totally ridiculous. They’re like, Why don’t you just deal with it? Seriously, try dealing with it. Plus 10.
* “If you’re waiting for an apology, you’re not going to get one … If I feel bad, I feel everything.” We were bummed not to see Caroline and Elena reconnect, but we understand the reasoning, here. Plus 4.
* “This wind is weird.”—Matt Donovan. Plus 2. Why not.
* Kol came back! Because we waste (cherish) our lives on Twitter, we are aware that he has a huge fan base. So plus 10 for you guys!
* “I’d like to graduate high school a human.” Wouldn’t we all, Matt. Wouldn’t we all. Plus 4.
* That scene with Silas tormenting Bonnie was pretty intense. Kat Graham was excellent in this episode, and we loved how taking a turn at Silas gave Paul Wesley, Candice Accola, and Matt Davis a chance to really shine. Our guys never disappoint! Plus 7.
* “Bitch.” Ha. Those girls. Plus 3.
* “I can’t move on, and I don’t want to.” Nina Dobrev was wonderful here. That is so much of grief — the refusal to let go because letting go means the person is really gone. Sometimes we hold onto the pain because the pain is all we have left. It was a beautiful moment. Plus 20.
* Grams! When we saw Grams on the screen, we just wanted to fall into her arms and have her rock us and hold us and tell us everything was going to be okay and possibly read us Goodnight Moon. Plus 4, because at least Bonnie got some love out of it.
* Elena sorta felt human in that scene with Kol? Why did the blood on her face not heal? Isn’t she still a vampire? Isn’t that the point of everything? Sigh. Minus 7.
* JEREMY!!!!!!!!!! Jeremy! Jeremy! Jeremy! Plus 100.
* “Bonnie, I don’t know what to say.” “You don’t have to say anything.” #Friendship Plus 20.
* Bonnie died. We have a feeling it’s not going to be as simple as it appears, but still, she is dead. Minus 30. Like we said at the top: Death has consequences.
Damon won this round. He got the cure AND got his best brosef back. Now the question is … can he get the girl?
All right, you guys: This is it. We’re heading into our finale next week, so it’s time to TALK. Who will get the cure? Who will spend the summer snuggling? What will Paul Wesley’s face do?! (Be specific on the last one, please).
I’m here: @RebeccaASerle