The Vampire Diaries Season 4 Report Card: B-

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The beginning was awesome. The end was shocking. The middle... left a bit to be desired.

Before we think too long and hard about The Vampire Diaries Season 5, let's stop and reflect, TVD Fanatics. From Elena's adjustment to Stefan's plunge, it's time to analyze the ups and downs of The Vampire Diaries Season 4.

What worked? What failed? What overall grade do the 23 episodes deserve? Read through our Report Card below and then weigh in with your take...

Elena Gilbert at Graduation

Best Episode: "Memorial." A candidate for best episode of all-time, from the well-filmed action inside the church to the surprise appearance of Alaric at the end. One of the few installments to not end on a cliffhanger, this taut hour combined suspense and sentiment in a way only The Vampire Diaries can pull off.

Worst Episode: "Into the Wild." Way too much Professor Shame yammering and far too little accomplished for an episode that was meant to be a climax to The Cure storyline.

Best Performance: Nina Dobrev. She showed fear and confusion as a newly turned Elena; confidence and strength as the character accepted her new undead status; cold-hearted bitchiness after her humanity was switched off; and an outpouring of tears, anger and sadness once it came back on. An impressive, season-long whirlwind of emotion from the actress.

Worst Performance: The dude behind Silas. It's almost as if he was just impersonating other cast members every week!

Best Spinoff Idea: The Originals. We were skeptical at first, but consider us hooked. Though we still think our own 'Ric and the Dick brainchild has real potential too.

Unsung Hero: Matt Donovan. He came up big at the funeral. He helped train a hunter. He got Elena's humanity back. All while logging double shifts like a madman! Oh, and there's a 90 percent chance he will get in Rebekah's pants this summer. Score one for long-maligned Matty.

Biggest Shocker: The reveal of Stefan as Silas' doppleganger. A close runner-up: That time Bonnie smiled.

Most Beautiful Blonde: Caroline and Rebekah (tie). Come on, like we could choose?!?

Hopes for Season 5: That Damon and Elena stay together; that we never hear from or see a ghost in Mystic Falls ever again; that Katherine is killed; that the show can tell a slightly more consistent, all-encompassing narrative. The Cure arc was really all over the place, relying on leaps in logic and culminating in a side character being force fed the elixir. The Silas storyline, meanwhile, may have stunned viewers with its conclusion, but it failed to catch on as any kind of gripping arc for the duration of the season.

Overall Grade: B-

YOUR turn, TV Fanatics: What grade would you give The Vampire Diaries Season 4?

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Vampire Diaries Quotes

You want a love that consumes you. You want passion and adventure, and even a little danger... I want you to get everything you're looking for. But for right now, I want you to forget that this happened. Can't have people knowing I'm in town yet. Goodnight, Elena.

Damon

Damon: You know what they are? Children. Like lighting a candle's going to make everything OK, or even saying a prayer. Or pretending Elena's not going to end up just like the rest of us murdering vampires. Stupid, delusional, exasperating little children. And I know what you're going to say: 'It makes them feel better, Damon.' So what? For how long? A minute, a day? What difference does it make? Because in the end, when you lose somebody, every candle, every prayer is not going to make up for the fact that the only thing you have left is hole in your life where that somebody that you cared about used to be. And a rock with a birthday carved into it that I'm pretty sure is wrong. So thanks, friend. Thanks for leaving me here to babysit. Because I should be long gone by now. I didn't get the girl, remember? I'm just stuck here fighting my brother and taking care of the kids. You owe me big.
Alaric: I miss you too, buddy.