Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW ©2011 The CW Network, LLC Photo: Uncle John Gets Involved in Season 2, Episode 21: "The Sun Also Rises"

3. Uncle John finally redeems himself.
Yeah, yeah, yeah: We know evil Uncle J was supposedly always acting in Elena’s best interest. But we didn’t believe it until Jeremy read the end of the diary entry and it became clear that John was going to sacrifice himself to save Elena’s soul. Seconds after his daughter-niece woke up human, John collapsed in the driveway. Dead. We’d be lying if we said we were sorry to see him go. But we are glad he left Elena his invincibility ring. As much trouble as she gets into, she’s going to need that thing.

2. Bonnie Bennett: Witch of the Year
With one kiss, she knocked Jeremy out. A nod of her head was all it took to lock Alaric in the house. We were impressed. But we were blown away when Bonnie stepped into the clearing in the woods. That’s why we say this: If you didn’t rewind that scene where she telepathically kicked Original Vampire butt, then you should not be allowed to watch this show. Just saying. For like the thousandth time this season Bon-Bon saved the day. No, she didn’t get there before Klaus drained Elena. But she made sure she wouldn’t have to. Smart!

1. Elijah, man of his word?
“This whole plan is contingent upon your honor, Elijah,” Stefan told him. Ever since he showed up in Mystic Falls, Elijah has seemed like a man — er, vampire — of his word. Turns out, he wasn’t. Everyone else did his or her part in the Catch Klaus plan. But the minute he was supposed to follow through and actually kill his brother Klaus, Elijah paused. With his hand wrapped around Klaus’ heart, he listened to what his lying big bro had to say. And he believed him. “I’m sorry,” he told the gang before he grabbed his brother and vamped away. Guess Damon was right after all. We were fools to believe Elijah.

Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW ©2011 The CW Network, LLC Photo: Jeremy Stands Alone in Season 2, Episode 21: "The Sun Also Rises"

7. The Gilbert journals save Elena’s soul.
While the adults were trying to figure out who would die first, Jeremy and Bonnie were speed-reading through the Martins’ grimoires and Elena’s great-great grandpa’s massive diary library. Bonnie hit the jackpot with Triple G Gilbert. Not only did that dude get around, he also wrote stuff down, including an incident where a mother figured out a way to save her dying child from becoming a vampire. Bon-Bon and Uncle John jumped on that spell immediately. And even though we knew they couldn’t turn Elena before Season 3, we still exhaled a collective sigh of relief.

6. Matt breaks up with Caroline.
After the whole Tyler-werewolf incident, our favorite busboy was spent. “I get it. This is your life now,” he told Blondie. “But you know what my life is, Car? My life is an absentee mom and a bunch of bills to pay. And school. And a job. And it sucks sometimes. But it’s my life and I think that I just want to live it without all this.” Sad thing is, he meant it. For reals.

5. Aunt Jenna goes out swinging.
She lived as a vampire for less than an hour but what a valiant life it was. After she watched Klaus kill Stefan, Jenna knew there was no escaping the O.V. So she did the next best thing: She tried to take someone with her. When the witch Greta released the circle of fire spell around Jenna so she could approach the sacrificial area, Jenna went for the witch’s jugular. It was a heroic move. But it didn’t save her. Klaus staked her as Elena watched, and just like that, she was gone.

4. Elena is the queen of composure.
Which is worse: Watching a man stab your aunt or (almost) kill your boyfriend? Our girl E suffered through both tonight. But she never let it break her. Sure, she shed a few tears. (Who wouldn’t?) But there was no snot-sob boo-hooing. She never begged or tried to run. No matter what happened she always pulled it back together. Even at the end when she shushed Stefan then calmly walked over to Klaus — to her death. We ask ourselves: Could we do that? The jury’s out.

Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW ©2011 The CW Network, LLC Photo: John Occupies Himself in Season 2, Episode 21: "The Sun Also Rises"

You know you’re in for a killer episode when somebody dies before the first commercial break. Seriously. “The Sun Also Rises” was a bloody mess. Six people bit the big one by the hour’s end. Six! Okay, so maybe two of them came back to life (or undead living). But still, that’s a mother of a body count. That’s why we’re rewatching now. In case you aren’t, here are 10 things you need to mull over before next week's BIG season finale.

10. Rest in peace, Lady Wolf.
We kind of feel bad for Jules. The only reason she was in town was because she was looking out for her dog Tyler (who came back to Mystic Falls against her advice). And what did that get her? The First Casualty of the Night Award. Captured by Klaus as “backup,” Jules found herself dumped in the woods next to Aunt Jenna and Elena, smack dab in the middle of a beef she didn’t start. She tried to bite her way out of it. But Klaus snatched her heart out. Literally.

9. Stefan sacrifices himself.
Maybe it was love. Or maybe it was penance for dragging her family into this mess in the first place. Either way the nice Salvatore was not going to let Elena watch Klaus kill her aunt. So he sacrificed himself. “Make the trade: Me for Jenna,” he said. And Klaus did. Only not as Stef planned. The Original Vamp stabbed the young bloodsucker in the back then broke his neck, saying, “I have other plans for your boyfriend.”

8. Tyler’s bite was worse than his bark.
It was, as Damon told Stefan, “more of a nip really.” But already Ty’s werewolf cooties are eating their way up Sir Salvatore’s arm. Did you see how woozy he got as he walked to the door? Our sexy Damon! Apparently the venom from the werewolf bite is spreading much faster than it did with Rose. And it’s not fair. Right?