Sure, the word is tossed around ever-so-loosely in Hollywood, but there's really no other word to describe Thursday's episode of The Vampire Diaries' "1912" episode, which we were lucky enough to screen at the CW hit's Paleyfest panel. Seriously, it's that epic and contains one of our favorite plot twists the show has ever pulled on its ready-for-anything audience.
While we won't spoil the episode (we're not life-ruiners!), here are five things you can expect from the flashback episode...
1. Ruh-Roh, Alaric's in Trouble: Fear not, Alaric (Matt Davis) fans: Your favorite teacher-by-day/vampire-hunter-by-night is not dead. Duh-doy! In the beginning of the episode, Ric finds himself behind bars. As for Meredith (Torrey DeVitto) pulling a gun on him at the end of the last episode? Let's just say it wasn't a dream sequence.
Also, fans of the history teacher will be happy to know we learn a bit more about Alaric's life before he ever came into Mystic Falls (memories!), including some information about his time at Duke. It seems even men beyond the Salvatore brothers have interesting pasts...
2. Elena Opens Up: One of our favorite scenes is actually a conversation between Elena (Nina Dobrev) and Matt (Zach Roerig), who spend a lot of the episode playing Sherlock and Watson (aka getting their detective on!). In the scene, Elena finally touches on her feelings for both brothers and it's really insightful for the viewers...and Matt, who may or may not still have feelings for his first love. Perfect writing is perfect, y'all! Kudos to executive producer Julie Plec who penned this episode, by the way.
3. Blood Brothers: Have you been missing the deep and meaningful scenes between Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) that have nothing to do with Elena? Then prepare to luuuurve this episode, because it's all about the Salvatore brothers' love-hate relationship. When we catch up with the boys in 1912, they haven't spoken for 50 years and it's an understatement to say things are tense. As for the present, Damon tries to help his baby bro with his control issues, which leads to some of Damon's best one-liners ever. Seriously, don't take a shot every time Damon says something funny/witty/awesome in this episode because you will end up in the hospital. Fact.
4. Shippers' Corner: OK, OK, we know we have to give Delena and Stelena fans some info, so here you go: Elena shares one major scene with each brother, but we think her brief yet important scene with Stefan will have a bigger emotional impact on the characters and the couple's group of fans.
5. Reveals and Revelations: The Mystic Falls serial killer is revealed! Yes, the murderin' fiend going after members of the council has a connection to the flashbacks in 1912. We repeat: One of our favorite twists on the show ever. It's that good.
P.S.: Caroline (Candice Accola) and Bonnie (Kat Graham) don't appear in the episode, but their situation with Abby (Persia White) is addressed. Also not in the episode? Klaus (Joseph Morgan), who is probably off sketching horses or something. Don't worry, his sister Rebekah (Claire Holt) is lurking around, eager to interrupt Stefan and Damon's bonding at the bar.
The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8 p.m. on the CW.
Don't forget to check back with us tomorrow for our exclusive interviews with Ian, Nina, Paul and the rest of the cast!