The Best Episodes of The Vampire Diaries

Last Updated: Nov 19, 2018

As the school year begins, Elena Gilbert is immediately drawn to a handsome and mysterious new student, Stefan Salvatore. Elena has no way of knowing that Stefan is a vampire struggling to live peacefully among humans, while his brother Damon is the embodiment of vampire violence and brutality.

The Departed

#1 - The Departed

Season 3 - Episode 22

Determined to protect his sister, Jeremy makes a decision that will change everything. In the harsh reality of the present situation, Elena longs for simpler times when her parents, Grayson and Miranda, and Aunt Jenna were still alive and her biggest concern was her relationship with Matt. Stefan and Damon leave Mystic Falls together on a mission, but soon split up when Elena needs one of them. Caroline and Tyler are forced to make a life-changing decision. Finally, Bonnie makes a secret deal that has heartbreaking consequences.

star 8.60
896 votes
Directors: John Behring
Writers: Brett Matthews, Elisabeth R. Finch, Julie Plec
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Founder's Day

#2 - Founder's Day

Season 1 - Episode 22

Founder's Day has finally arrived, and everyone is busy with last-minute preparations for floats and fireworks. Stefan is uncomfortable with Damon's new attitude toward Elena, but Elena is more concerned about repairing her relationship with Jeremy. Jeremy is worried about Anna, but not sure he's on board with her latest plan for the future. While Caroline is enjoying her day as Queen of the celebration, she also tries to help Matt and Tyler get their friendship back on track. Finally, although Damon and Alaric do their best to stop him, Johnathan Gilbert sets a plan in motion that brings Founder's Day to an end amid chaos, destruction and death.

star 8.39
852 votes
Directors: Marcos Siega
Writers: Bryan Oh, Andrew Chambliss
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The Sun Also Rises

#3 - The Sun Also Rises

Season 2 - Episode 21

With the arrival of the full moon, Elena tries to prepare for whatever Klaus has planned and Tyler faces his second transformation. The terrifying events quickly spin out of control, despite an unexpected act of courage. Finally, Damon admits the truth to Stefan about a terrible new development they must face...

star 8.39
772 votes
Writers: Caroline Dries, Mike Daniels
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Graduation

#4 - Graduation

Season 4 - Episode 23

On Graduation Day, Mystic Falls is overrun with ghosts intent on settling old scores and fulfilling their supernatural destinies. Damon’s life is in danger after a ghostly encounter, while Matt and Rebekah join forces to battle a ghost determined to find the cure. As everyone gathers for the graduation ceremony and the ghosts converge, help comes from an unlikely hero. Caroline receives a touching and unexpected graduation present, and Bonnie’s plan leads to the closing of the veil. Elena makes a decision about the Salvatore brothers and faces an epic confrontation with Katherine. Finally, Stefan discovers a horrifying clue to the mystery surrounding Silas.

star 8.38
1,025 votes
Directors: Chris Grismer
Writers: Caroline Dries, Julie Plec
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I Was Feeling Epic

#5 - I Was Feeling Epic

Season 8 - Episode 16

With the fate of Mystic Falls at stake, Stefan and Damon must fight their greatest enemy for one last battle. Series Finale.

star 8.37
2,371 votes
Directors: Julie Plec
Writers: Julie Plec, Kevin Williamson
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As I Lay Dying

#6 - As I Lay Dying

Season 2 - Episode 22

Mystic Falls screens "Gone with The Wind" in the town square, and Damon's memories of Katherine in 1864 mix with the reality of present-day Elena. Stefan pays a steep price after trying to prevent a tragedy, and Sheriff Forbes makes a dangerous mistake while trying to keep everyone safe. Multiple lives hang in the balance as the consequences of the sacrifice ritual play out to a horrifying conclusion.

star 8.35
783 votes
Writers: Turi Meyer, Al Septien, Michael Narducci
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Homecoming

#7 - Homecoming

Season 3 - Episode 9

On the night of the Homecoming dance, Rebekah opens up to Elena about why the evening is so important to her, leaving Elena with conflicting emotions. Caroline and Matt are both shocked at Tyler’s behavior throughout the evening. The night takes a surreal turn when Klaus puts his latest plan into action. Determined to outsmart Klaus, Damon enters into a dangerous partnership, leading to a terrifying turn of events.

star 8.34
808 votes
Directors: Joshua Butler
Writers: Evan Bleiweiss
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The Last Day

#8 - The Last Day

Season 2 - Episode 20

Damon is willing to go to extraordinary lengths to prevent Elena from being a victim of Klaus’ plan to break the curse. Damon’s actions put him at terrible odds with Stefan and the tension that started brewing between the brothers over their differing opinions of how to help save Elena’s life blows up into full-scale conflict. Tyler returns to Mystic Falls after receiving a disturbing phone call. With the full moon marking the arrival of the sacrifice ritual, Stefan and Elena spend a romantic day together — afraid it might be their last.

star 8.31
768 votes
Writers: Andrew Chambliss, Brian Young
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Dangerous Liaisons

#9 - Dangerous Liaisons

Season 3 - Episode 14

Elena is surprised to receive an invitation to a formal ball, and when Damon and Stefan hear the party is being hosted at Klaus’s newly renovated mansion, they both insist on attending the event with her. Caroline and Matt also receive invitations to the ball from unexpected admirers. At the elegant party, Elena learns of a horrifying plan that could lead to numerous deaths and she must decide who she can trust with her new information. Caroline discovers a side of Klaus no one would have suspected. Finally, after an evening of violence and dashed hopes, Damon finds a new way to cope.

star 8.31
829 votes
Directors: Chris Grismer
Writers: Caroline Dries
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Home

#10 - Home

Season 5 - Episode 22

Heartbroken by an unexpected tragedy, Damon is focused on holding himself together, while pushing Bonnie harder than ever to find a way to stop the disintegration of the Other Side. Elena takes matters into her own hands and demands that Liv and Luke help her, but Liv refuses to cooperate until Caroline provides her with some personal motivation. Sheriff Forbes is horrified when Markos uses violence against Tyler/Julian to prove that Mystic Falls is now under the control of the Travelers. With new information from Sheriff Forbes, Damon comes up with a dangerous plan that relies on split-second timing from Jeremy and Matt. Liv’s off-hand remark regarding Stefan gets a surprisingly emotional response from Caroline. As conditions on the Other Side worsen, Bonnie takes the opportunity to settle an old score. Finally, Damon’s plan causes a massive explosion in Mystic Falls, and everyone is caught up in the confusion, leaving a trail of heroism, sacrifice, relief and despair.

star 8.29
1,071 votes
Directors: Chris Grismer
Writers: Caroline Dries, Brian Young
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Memorial

#11 - Memorial

Season 4 - Episode 2

Elena tries to cope with the extreme highs and lows that are part of becoming a vampire, and Stefan and Damon almost come to blows while arguing about what is best for her. Damon decides to help Elena in his own way and asks her not to tell Stefan. A stranger, Connor Jordan, arrives in town and begins questioning Sheriff Forbes and Mayor Lockwood. Connor’s actions quickly convince Stefan that they are dealing with a dangerous vampire hunter. Jeremy and Matt are surprised to see a girl they used to know, April, has returned to town and is enrolling at Mystic Falls High. At a town gathering, Elena comes close to losing control until Caroline steps in to help her. Finally, Damon confides his feelings to an unexpected friend.

star 8.29
974 votes
Directors: Rob Hardy
Writers: Jose Molina, Julie Plec
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The Reckoning

#12 - The Reckoning

Season 3 - Episode 5

Despite all that has happened, Caroline is determined to see that Elena, Bonnie, Matt and Tyler all enjoy a traditional Senior Prank Night before the school year begins at Mystic Falls High School. However, when uninvited guests show up, it doesn't take long for the evening to take a deadly turn. Damon convinces Jeremy that he can use his new connection to the other side to help find a way to defeat Klaus. Finally, Klaus deepens his hold on Stefan and uses him for increasingly violent and dangerous purposes.

star 8.27
817 votes
Directors: John Behring
Writers: Michael Narducci
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Know Thy Enemy

#13 - Know Thy Enemy

Season 2 - Episode 17

Elena and Alaric both lash out at John when Isobel’s unexpected arrival leaves Jenna devastated. Bonnie works with Damon and Jeremy to find the spell they’ll need to harness her ancestors’ power. A heartbroken Caroline doesn’t know what to do about Matt. Stefan and Damon realize they have a new secret weapon.

star 8.27
738 votes
Writers: Mike Daniels
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The Last Dance

#14 - The Last Dance

Season 2 - Episode 18

As the high school prepares to throw a “1960s Decade Dance,” Elena starts receiving disturbing messages from Klaus via an unusual source. Bonnie tries to reassure Jeremy that she is strong enough to help Elena, but a worried Jeremy asks Stefan for advice. Caroline talks Matt into taking her to the dance. Expecting Klaus to show up at the dance, Damon and Alaric attend as chaperones, but Klaus is playing a complicated game that keeps them on edge. Finally, Damon comes up with a new plan of action that shocks and upsets everyone.

star 8.27
771 votes
Directors: John Behring
Writers: Michael Narducci
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Klaus

#15 - Klaus

Season 2 - Episode 19

Stefan and Damon are furious when they discover that Elena has defied them both to make a new ally and take control of the plan to out-maneuver Klaus. Disagreement over how to protect Elena leads to growing tension between the Salvatore brothers. Meanwhile, Stefan has his hands full trying to keep a confused and frightened Jenna safe. Flashbacks to 1491 reveal Katherine’s introduction to Elijah and Klaus, along with the origin of the moonstone curse. Elena learns shocking new information about Klaus’ motives.

star 8.25
765 votes
Directors: Joshua Butler
Writers: Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec
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Do Not Go Gentle

#16 - Do Not Go Gentle

Season 3 - Episode 20

Alaric finds an unexpected ally to guide him on his dangerous new path, while Damon and Meredith try to figure out what their next move should be. At the school’s 1920s Decade Dance, Bonnie asks Jamie to go with her and, at Caroline’s suggestion, Elena asks Stefan to be her date. Caroline is pleasantly surprised when Tyler shows up at the dance determined to sweep her off her feet, but Klaus does his best to come between them. The dance takes a deadly turn when Damon and Stefan realize they need the help of Matt, Jeremy and especially Bonnie to undo a spell that could prove devastating for everyone.

star 8.24
777 votes
Directors: Josh Butler
Writers: Michael Narducci
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The Ties That Bind

#17 - The Ties That Bind

Season 3 - Episode 12

Bonnie believes her recurring dreams about Klaus’ coffins will tell her how he can be killed. The dreams also lead Bonnie to a reunion with her mother, Abby, whom Bonnie hasn’t seen for 15 years. At Abby’s remote farmhouse, Bonnie and Elena meet Jamie, the young man Abby took in years earlier. Bonnie’s sudden appearance catches Abby off-guard, but she does her best to explain the past. Tyler turns to an unexpected ally in his quest to regain his free will. Damon is intrigued by Alaric’s new friend, Dr. Fell, and Klaus continues his bitter negotiations with Stefan over control of the coffins containing his family members.

star 8.22
761 votes
Directors: John Dahl
Writers: Brian Young
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The House Guest

#18 - The House Guest

Season 2 - Episode 16

Katherine’s mind games are getting on everyone’s nerves, but Damon, Stefan and Elena realize that her knowledge of Mystic Falls history will help them stay alive. Frustrated with her relationship with Matt, Caroline finds a new way to get his attention. Alaric makes a surprising confession to Jenna, and Katherine makes a different kind of confession to Damon. Stefan and Bonnie try to convince Jonas and Luka that they should all be working together, but Jonas’ lack of trust leads to a violent and fiery confrontation.

star 8.22
768 votes
Writers: Caroline Dries
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Ghost World

#19 - Ghost World

Season 3 - Episode 7

As Mystic Falls prepares to celebrate the traditional Illumination Night, the town is invaded by spirits of the dead. After a particularly violent encounter with an angry spirit, Damon asks Bonnie to find the reason behind the ghosts' surprising power. Elena convinces Jeremy to use his connection to the other side to help her find a new way to reach Stefan, leading Jeremy to a terrible choice. Finally, Alaric discovers a long-hidden clue to the past.

star 8.21
806 votes
Directors: David Jackson
Writers: Rebecca Sonnenshine
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Ordinary People

#20 - Ordinary People

Season 3 - Episode 8

With help from Elena and Bonnie, Alaric tries to decipher the meaning behind his recent discovery Elena and Rebekah engage in a mean-girl power struggle, until Rebekah finally reveals some of her family's ancient secrets and the violent past she shares with Klaus and Elijah. Damon tries a reckless new approach to make a breakthrough with Stefan, and they're both surprised by an unlikely ally.

star 8.21
820 votes
Writers: Nick Wauters
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The Hybrid

#21 - The Hybrid

Season 3 - Episode 2

Klaus puts a plan in motion that will give him even more power, but even with the unwilling participation of werewolf Ray Sutton, things don’t go exactly as Klaus had planned. Damon and Alaric reluctantly go along with Elena’s new strategy to find Stefan, leading Damon into a dangerous fight with an unexpected enemy. Jeremy turns to Matt for help as he continues to try to understand what the ghosts from his past want from him. Unaware that Caroline is in need of his help, Tyler faces an emotional confrontation with his mother.

star 8.21
813 votes
Directors: Josh Butler
Writers: Al Septien, Turi Meyer
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Bringing Out the Dead

#22 - Bringing Out the Dead

Season 3 - Episode 13

Sheriff Forbes delivers some disturbing news to Alaric and Elena about the weapon used in a recent murder. In the Salvatore brothers’ escalating quest to kill Klaus, Stefan turns to Bonnie and Abby, while Damon reaches out to an old acquaintance for help in setting up an elaborate plan. Intent on a plan of his own, Klaus hosts a strange dinner party, where he reveals another story from his family’s violent past until an unexpected guest brings the party to an end. Meanwhile, Caroline is heartbroken when she is unable to stop a tragedy from unfolding.

star 8.19
801 votes
Directors: Jeffrey Hunt
Writers: Turi Meyer, Al Septien
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Masquerade

#23 - Masquerade

Season 2 - Episode 7

Stefan and Damon decide on a new plan to deal with Katherine at the Lockwood’s masquerade ball. Katherine calls on an old friend, Lucy, to attend the ball with her. Bonnie, Jeremy and Alaric all do what they can to help Stefan and Damon, but Katherine has a surprise planned that none of them could foresee. Things take an ugly turn when Matt and Tyler start doing shots with their friends.

star 8.19
807 votes
Directors: Charles Beeson
Writers: Kevin Williamson, Julie Plec
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Growing Pains

#24 - Growing Pains

Season 4 - Episode 1

Elena awakens on the morning after the accident to find the thing she dreaded most has come true – she died with vampire blood in her system and now must go through the terrible transition to become a vampire…or face certain death. Stefan promises Elena that he and Bonnie will exhaust every possible way out of the situation, but Damon is furious with his brother for letting Elena die in the first place. Bonnie pays a terrible price for her attempt to change Elena’s fate, while Damon takes out his frustration and rage on Matt. In a rare moment of empathy, Rebekah is deeply touched by Stefan and Elena’s devotion to one another. Finally, Pastor Young and the Town Council members begin rounding up the vampires and their supporters, leading to an unexpected tragedy.

star 8.19
1,083 votes
Directors: Chris Grismer
Writers: Caroline Dries
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Our Town

#25 - Our Town

Season 3 - Episode 11

Although Caroline is in no mood to celebrate her 18th birthday, Elena, Bonnie and Matt surprise her with a small party in an unusual location. Damon and Stefan disagree on the best way to handle Klaus , and a reckless Stefan decides to test his theory by taking things to dangerous extremes. Bonnie is concerned when Elena tells her about Jeremy's new plans. At a Founder's meeting, Alaric once again runs into Dr. Fell, who is in the middle of an argument with her ex-boyfriend, the medical examiner. Tyler refuses to go along with Klaus' latest demand, and is surprised when Klaus seems to accept his decision.

star 8.19
757 votes
Writers: Rebecca Sonnenshine
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