19. Marching into the woods to find Stefan (3.02)
Season 3 Elena Gilbert may have been my favorite Elena Gilbert. Pre-vampire, but a little more worn, a little smarter, and still as loyal as ever. Season 3 picked up later in the summer after Stefan and Klaus left Mystic Falls together, as part of a deal Stefan made with Klaus to save Damon’s life at the end of season 2. When Elena catches wind that Damon has been tracking Klaus and Stefan without her, she’s not thrilled – and enlists Alaric’s (and Tyler’s) help to track Stefan herself. When they realize Klaus and Stefan have been tracking werewolves, she tells Alaric she’s heading out to the Tennessee mountain range where they’ll be next – and he can either come with her or not, but she’s going.
Of course, he calls Damon along the way, who meets them there and tries to drag Elena home but, stubborn as ever, she refuses. Even with a pack of werewolves living in the woods and Klaus – who still believes her to be dead – roaming around, she doesn’t care. Whatever it takes to find Stefan and convince him to come home to Mystic Falls, she’ll do – with or without anyone’s help.
(Naturally, of course, they help.)
Sure, not all her plans were well thought out, and she could be too stubborn and too rash at times – but it was all part of her loyal, lion heart, and for that, I can’t help but love her.