Well, The Vampire Diaries definitely reminded us all exactly why we keep coming back to watch it this week. Despite all of its crazily written plot twists, and over dramatic “epic” romances, “The Sun Also Rises” managed to both literally and figuratively rip hearts out.

The episode started out on a good leg, with Damon and Katherine’s awesome “goodbye” scene and dealing with his wolf bite, Caroline and Matt dealing with Tyler, and Elena dealing with slowly breaking it to Jenna that she was going to be a vampire.

Towards the middle somewhere, though, the episode took a turn to its classic TVD side. It was full of tragedy and self-sacrificing that all just seemed like a little too much. Elena blamed herself over and over, Bonnie offered to sacrifice herself twice, Stefan decided to sacrifice himself, and Jenna managed to again make a situation that wasn’t specifically about her and make it all about her. Seeing an episode that the entire season had been building for go down in such an over-the-top way was disappointed.

Then things got amazing. Right around the time Damon and Alaric had their bonding moment, the episode went from trying to force epic, to actually being epic. Ian Somerhalder and Matt Davis work so well together; Not only are their scenes together good on the eyes, but they always pack the right level of broody-man emotion. Throw Kat Graham into the mix, and the scenes of the crew preparing their great rescue were some of the most well executed this season.

Jenna’s character has never served a dramatic plot purpose that has really caught our attention, but for whatever reason, her death was one of the saddest TVD has managed, and with all the deaths packed into just two seasons, that says a lot. Elena’s reaction, Jenna’s fear, Jenna’s purpose –it was all very raw and heart wrenching to watch.

And just when we thought that if one more person offered to give themselves up to die we would all vomit, John did it. But John’s was the only sacrifice that made perfect sense, and fit perfectly, and despite the fact that his character is always touch-and-go as far as whether or not we actually like him, his death packed a punch. The letter, and the ring, combined with the cemetery scene and the gorgeous cover of Bon Iver’s Skinny Love by Birdy playing the background made the death’s of two B-list characters seem very hard-hitting in a really memorable way.

Speaking of memorable, there is not a single Matt/Caroline or Tyler/Caroline that can rightfully say they did not appreciate this episode. Poor Matt has been in this awkward stringing along place for so long that to see him keep doing it was serving an injustice to a relationship that once held a very dear place in our hearts. Him finally standing up and saying he couldn’t do it anymore at least showed he has some backbone, though it left their relationship on good enough terms that it can in no way be considered the last angsty scene we will see from them. However, not even Matt can deny the supernatural creature chemistry that always happens with Tyler and Caroline. Her trying to talk him down last episode, the cuddle on the couch at the end of this episode (he was definitely naked right?) and the way they both talk to each other just makes me want to give them their own show and watch them do their snuggle, giggle, cry thing for hours.

And because The Vampire Diaries can never just tie things up and end them, there is still Damon to worry about and his Tyler Lockwood wolf “nip.” Though despite the fact that this show loves its cliffhangers, we can’t help but feel not as worried as we should for Damon for exactly the reason Stefan pointed out: they always find a way.

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Layne Morgan is a Blast correspondent

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