Tor.com content by

Ashley Wells

The Vampire Diaries’ 10 Greatest Moments

Let’s be real: there’s no way I could narrow down the best moments from The Vampire Diaries to only ten. Most shows take a whole season to get through all the plot points TVD blasts through in an average episode. Even the side quest, flashback, or road trip episodes are guaranteed to yield a great Damon nickname, a bonding moment between former enemies, or a new insight into a character we thought we knew.

So, as we head into the last five episodes of the show’s final season, please consider this a representative, non-exhaustive sample of my favorite instances of the tropes and plot devices that make TVD such a treasure…

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We Are All Eleanor: Affirming Life After Death in The Good Place

Everyone in the Good Place has lived an exceptional life — everyone, that is, except Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), who arrives there seemingly by mistake after dying in a freak shopping-cart accident. She is, as she charitably describes herself, “a medium person,” but once she’s in the Good Place she wants to stay, so she enlists her soulmate Chidi to teach her how to be good and hopefully earn her place there. What makes The Good Place (just picking up from its mid-season break on NBC) so brilliant is the ways it explores the moral ramifications of this dilemma without passing judgment on anyone, even Eleanor. She’s arguably the villain of the story, yet we sympathize with her because she represents all of us “medium” people.

In the pilot, Michael (Ted Danson), one of the “architects” of the Good Place, explains that each person’s destination after death is determined by the sum total goodness or badness of every action of their entire life. Most of us can get on board with this concept, which makes no mention of belief in or allegiance to a deity. Eleanor herself listens to this explanation with equanimity, even as Michael goes on to explain that only the very best humans who have ever lived make it into the Good Place—not even Florence Nightingale qualified.

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