Vampire Diaries: Home

“This list is getting uncomfortably long.”

In M.T. Anderson’s dystopian YA novel Feed, there is a fictional streaming TV show called Oh? Wow! Thing!. The joke, of course, is the pure inarticulateness of that title and what it implies about the media-induced dumbing down of America. And yet Oh? Wow! Thing! pretty much sums up my reaction to this finale. Or maybe it is Wow! Thing! Oh?

Last week’s ambivalent cliffhanger—Stefan’s death—was little more than a new wrinkle in Bonnie’s bizarre plan to turn the Travelers’ trick against them: killing all the Travelers, overloading Bonnie as they went to the Other Side so that Liv, doing the Travelers’ spell, could allow Bonnie to bring back a long list of people, including Enzo, Lexi, Stefan, Elena, Damon, Tyler (de-Julienned), Luke the twin, and Alaric. Because why not? Thing!

Oh? Of course, it didn’t work perfectly. Lexi sacrificed herself to save Stefan, and may have ascended to a higher plane, if the white-lightiness is any indication. Damon didn’t make it back before Luke put the kibosh on Liv’s spell. Bonnie was, as we all suspected, lying about the possibility of her surviving the destruction of the Other Side.

Or was she? (Thiiiiing?) Grams was so cryptic that I suspect she has a plan to save Bonnie. I suspect that, since Bonnie and Damon were holding hands, Bonnie will accidentally bring Damon back to life. Maybe he’ll be a human, or something twisty like that. I’m so convinced the show can’t live without either Damon or Bonnie that, like last week, I’m having a hard time believing my eyes, even though it was a beautiful shot, and even though I like the idea of Damon, Bonnie, and Lexi kickin’ it in heaven. Or, maybe not. Perhaps this is the re-set that that TVD needs.

Then again, an injection of Alaric is all this show has needed since Season Three. But Alaric without Damon? Wow. That’s hard to believe. And is Alaric still a vampire? They reminded us that he was envamped when he died. Tyler’s not a hybrid anymore. Is he just a werewolf? Is Elena still a vampire? I can’t wait to see how this all shakes out next season. Thing!

But it’s not just about how this episode ended. Getting there was more than half the fun. There were many excellent conversations, especially Damon’s speech to Elena that she couldn’t hear (so reminiscent of “Rose,” when he confessed his love, then compelled her to forget. How far they’ve come!) Damon risking a half-sacrifice was impressive, but I was most touched by his willingness to stick around to help Sheriff Forbes, who has always been a friend to him.

Let’s take a second to admire the symmetry: Damon got stuck on the Other Side because he, without much thought, did the right thing. Stefan accidentally slipped from the Other Side to Over Here because he, without much thought, helped Bonnie. They both wound up where they didn’t want to be because of their own altruism.

But my favorite moment in the whole show, more than the beautiful final shot, is this:

• Matt: “Can we talk about the irony of blowing up the only place dumb enough to hire us?”
• Jeremy: “I’m sure the Salvatores will make a generous contribution to help fix it.”
• Matt: “Yeah, if they can come home. No one said killing the Travelers would get rid of this anti-magic thing. Although Mystic Falls might be a half-decent place to live again. No more vampire attacks, half-crazy blood rituals, you know? Safe. Like it used to be.”
• Jeremy: “Yeah, except I wouldn’t be able to invite my girlfriend over.”
• Matt: “There are worse things than having to visit your girlfriend in college over the weekends. It’s called normal.”

Unlike the fade-to-black that has ended every other episode of TVD, this episode ended on a mid-sentence fade-to-white just like the finale of Lost’s fifth season. For those of you who still haven’t watched Lost—well, just go do that over the summer—but know that it was a really iconic moment that signaled a huge, mysterious reset. For that matter, there was also a major reset in the final of Angel's fourth season, also called "Home." There’s no way TVD would be willing to take risks as big as the risks taken by Lost or even Angel, but the visual allusion indicates the potential for some radical, and welcome, changes that might offset the unevenness of this season and give the show a chance to create the normal/insane balance that made the first three seasons so appealing.

Bites and Pieces:

• Jeremy: “Whenever I hated you less, there was no magic.”

• Silas: “I feel like I’m teaching calculus to an infant.”

• Bonnie: “Bygones.” Bonnie is awesomest when she’s kick-ass.

• Winner of the Unintentionally Hilarious Dialogue Award: Lexi saying “This is killing you, isn’t it?...Every person that passes through takes you one step closer to death. What kind of a best friend would I be if you died before Stefan got his brother back?” Or, y’know, what kind of person would Lexi be if she put her own life—already long and well-lived—ahead of the life of a nineteen year-old woman?

• Lexi implied that she ships Stefan and Caroline. Wow!

• Here’s a casting spoiler for next season.

Four out of four all-you-can-eat potato skins. Thing?

Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, True Detective, Game of Thrones, and various other things that take her fancy. She is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)


LaureMack said...

Amazing review Josie!!

I just can't see a way for them to leave Damon dead, and still have any semblance of the show they've built. Maybe that is the is the point to fuel the "reset," but I am having sad mourning feelings. I guess time will tell. I might be bombarding all your reviews next season, Josie, if I do indeed start mourning everyone's favorite Salvatore.

Damon's speech to Elena was very touching.

I am truly shocked Kol never showed up.

I hope next season recaptures what we all loved in the first few seasons.

On a side note... If Damon stays dead, and Stefan takes Lexi's advice about Caroline, it will be the first time in a long while that Elena isn't the center of all story lines/plot points/etc. Katherine would've gotten a kick out of that.

Billie Doux said...

I was so pleased (Alaric) and then so incredibly bummed out (Damon and Bonnie) that I forgot the Grams thing. Alaric without Damon? Unthinkable. I'm deeply attached to Bonnie, too.

The show does need a reset, I agree, and now is a good time. (Actually, last season would have been better, but okay.) So why oh why didn't they leave Tyler dead?

J.D. Balthazar said...

I have an answer to the Tyler question. When he died this time, the magic reverted from him. First he lost his daylight ring, then the vampirism, and then as he reverted to a werewolf his neck snapped. That means he died as a werewolf, not a hybrid.

Since both Elena and Damon made it to the other side, it's pretty safe to assume they were both supernatural when they died (ala no turning Elena back into a human). However, that means that Alaric is probably still an Original vampire. But at least he is no longer the homicidal version of Alaric.

Panda said...

I still don't know what I want from next season, I just wish they had made a better choice with Lexie. I loved that she passed on so heroically, but her death was one of the worst choices the writers ever made, and here was a blatant opportunity to bring her back.

Tyler is a drain on the series, and it stinks that he's here to stay. Why not have it the other way around?

As for Bonnie and Damon, it could mean amazing things for the show. A huge reset, like you said. Even though I'd still miss them like crazy (even Bonnie, weirdly enough), it's the best thing for TVD right now.

A great finale, though. I really am eager to see where season six goes after all of this. I'd love for there to be some major changes, but like you said, TVD isn't as brave as Lost or Angel.

lisa menaster said...

I don't remember Alaric ever becoming a vampire. Can anyone remind me who turned him and how did he die?

topher darling said...

All I want for season 6 is for Damon and Bonnie to come back but have it be a body-switching thing since they were holding hands. This is far-fetched (even for Vampire Diaries) but I'd love to see Bonnie being all snarky and destructive while Damon becomes self-righteous and makes googly eyes at Jeremy.

Josie Kafka said...

Topher, that is an excellent idea!

Mallena said...

I enjoyed this season. All the doppelgangers together was very Orphan Black-y, Vampire Elena was a fun character for most of the season, human Katherine was great. The ending was a bit much, since I don't ship Delena. They are fun together, but it doesn't feel like epic romance to me. Stefan and Caroline getting closer was nice. Stefan crying at the end with her next to him was the only part that got me a little misty eyed.

Marianna said...

I'm not sure if Stefan and Elena are human, but it would make sense because they were brought back to life and being a vampire isn't really being alive. If they are human, that could have some interesting interpersonal effects next season. Stefan and vampire Elena didn't work out, but Stefan and human Elena seemed meant to be together, and not just because of the whole being drawn to each other thing. Plus if Stefan is human and Caroline isn't that creates a complication for Stefan-Caroline shippers.