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These days, we don’t treat The Vampire Diaries as nicely as we possibly could. But there was a time when The Vampire Diaries was on my list of favorite television shows. I think it’s also safe to say that there was also a moment in time when The Vampire Diaries was one of the best shows on television, completely un-ironically. And whether you’ve been watching the show begrudgingly for the past couple of seasons or not, watching 100 episodes of any series is a huge feat. It’s also a huge feat for any show to get to that point. So why not bask in some of the glory days?

Before we get to episode 101 tomorrow, let’s recount the good times. Here are some of my favorite moments over the past four and a half seasons of The Vampire Diaries (in chronological order):

1. Stefan kills Vicki

[youtube https://youtu.be/EdDIdOq_Hqc]

The beginning of The Vampire Diaries was definitely not some of the best television ever. It was overtly cheesy, and there was a lot of fog and crows. It was strange. But everyone recalls episode seven — the episode where The Vampire Diaries undoubtedly changed. It all cemented with this scene, where Stefan kills Vicki after Damon made her a vampire. This was a show that was willing to kill off a character at any moment. Ah, remember those times?

2. “Hello, John. Goodbye, John.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnQ3gdC9QFs]

“Founder’s Day” still remains one of my favorite season finales of any show I’ve seen. It’s exactly what a finale should be, and I personally don’t think that even this show has topped it since then. Instead, it’s opted for more emotional finales, for whatever reason. But these final five minutes of “Founder’s Day” were, for lack of a better terms, everything. The tension between Damon and Elena was palpable. Then, she goes inside and — twist! — that’s not Elena. It’s Katherine! She had been talked about all season, and now here she was in the flesh. And, damn it, if that’s not one of the best ways to introduce a character in present time.

3. Caroline becomes a vampire

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJxMxwOyoqg]

I’ll be honest with you, I was not the biggest Caroline fan during season one. But things changed drastically in the beginning of season two. That’s because Katherine decided to kill Caroline. “Game on.” Caroline becoming a vampire is one of the best character tweaks in recent memory. She quickly became one of the best characters on the show.

4. Damon kills Jeremy

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCyToS1cxks]

Of course, these days, Jeremy dying is a running gag (at least it is for me), back when Damon killed Jeremy the first time, I freaked.

5. Stefan and Elena break up

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uKvYbRYiIU]

Two words: my creys.

6. Damon tells Elena he loves her

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hm9NYdGc9Is]

This is just one of those well-constructed sweeter moments that The Vampire Diaries used to pull off so well. There was something so humanizing about this moment that truly fleshed out Damon’s character.

7. Elena kills Elijah (But he ain’t dead!)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n5u5S-ccUY]

Up to this moment on the show, it felt like Elena was mostly a passive character (har har!), but there was such a shift in her character during this moment. I still don’t understand why most of Elena’s plans include her harming herself, but that’s neither here nor there. I also very much love the moment we realize Elijah really isn’t dead. That scene stays with me whenever I think of The Vampire Diaries.

8. Elena and Stefan’s phone call

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LFC0DdcPUW0]

Stefan decided to leave with Klaus in order to save his brother, which resulted in this wonderful, little scene between him and Elena. He wants to tell her everything, but he can’t. So he just settles for the sound of her voice.

9. The Closet Scene & Stefan compels man to drink blood

[youtube https://youtu.be/bU5H_PsrZCI]

Similarly, this scene with Elena finding Stefan’s crazy Rippah closet is a favorite of mine. He knows she’s in there, and Klaus is thisclose to finding out. One of the moments The Vampire Diaries does suspense really well. Episode three of season three was pretty great in general. I also love this scene where Stefan makes a man drink blood, which is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever seen on TV.

10. Elena stabs Rebekah in the back

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrNJFzheLe8]

Once again, Elena stabbing an Original is on my list! It’s just a great scene to remind us that Elena does things once in a while.

11. Damon and Elena’s real first kiss

[youtube https://youtu.be/oooRg8oCBVM]

This is practically the last moment in the series where The Vampire Diaries was able to convey its typical sweet angst-ness without being over-the-top and cheesy. And I loved it. I did!

12. Stefan’s “I’m sorry” beheading

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rpvab2gVkSQ]

Creepy. Tragic. Two things just blended together so well in a season where Paul Wesley was having a lot of fun stretching the acting muscle.

13. “I haven’t lived at all”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aip9Gr-wk-o]

It’s no secret that Rebekah became one of my favorite characters. With every episode, they seemed to flesh out her character a bit more. She was one of the more three-dimensional and consistently written characters. Or maybe it was the performance. Or maybe both!

14. Elena vomits blood

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Upuq8EeDd_U]

This is the most disgusting and awesome thing ever.

15. Klaus kills Tyler’s mom

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwN8vYayObk]

The ending of this episode was kind of marvelous in all of its gratuitous gore.

16. Crazy sex.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qhi2V960-ok]

“The sex was good because you’re crazy. Crazy sex is always good.” Scratch that, every scene these two shared in this episode was gold.

17. Elena sets house on fire

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nxjYWlHpJUE]

To be honest with you, I’m not the biggest fan of this scene. I just like the end of it, where Damon, Elena, and Stefan are walking away from a burning house all badass. That’s really it.

18. Basically everything Quetsiyah ever said

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoI7yaWzAMs]

The true bright spot in season five, for me, was Quetsiya/Tessa. Everything she said was golden, and the actress knew just how much to ham her up. She insulted everybody, she put spells on people for no reason. She made season five fun, when most of it has dragged.

OK, now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite Vampire Diaries moments ever?

Michael loves TV. You can find him at home, where he spends all of his time watching TV with his best friends couch and cable access.