Vampire Diaries: I’m Thinking of You All The While


Fast-paced, jam-packed, and undeniably controversial, the season finale of The Vampire Diaries raises a very serious question: Where do we go from here?

There was a lot of death in this episode. Jo, Liv, Elena (sort of). There was also a barrel full of plot: Tyler found his inner puppy, Bonnie finally refused to sacrifice herself for someone else, and Kai 1) became a vampire, 2) got bit by a werewolf, and 3) was decapitated by Damon. All of which occurred after he caused massive chaotic evil.

In fact, so much happened that it’s hard to process. The episode felt rushed: just think of Stefan and Caroline at the wedding, then with their necks broken, then in the back of Enzo’s car, then in the shipping yard with Mama Salvatore. That all happened in about 2 minutes of screen time, and was likely even more disorienting for us than it was for them.

Although an extra 30 minutes—maybe an extra 60—would have helped the pacing, the core challenge couldn’t be ameliorated by more time: what do we think of this massive re-set? And, can this show survive all of these changes?

Everyone has had their life changed. Stefan and Caroline are on the road to coupleville. Damon lost the love of his life (well, at least the last 60 years or so). The Heretic vampire-witch hybrids are a new Big Bad. Matt has lost his bro, Tyler. And Alaric lost his beautiful wife and two unborn children. (As Billie asked in her review last week, “does this mean we're getting Matt Davis as tragic ‘my bride died at the altar’ guy next season?” Yes. Definitely yes.)

All those changes are welcome. Perhaps even needed. But I quibble at the obvious fridging, since, aside from Kai, only women died, and often just to create “tragic ‘my bride/soulmate/blonde honey died at the altar/at a hospital/in a barn’ guy.”

Elena’s “death”—that is, her Sleeping Beauty curse, which puts actress Nina Dobrev on ice until she agrees to guest-star in a series finale—was unsurprising, as we’ve known about Dobrev’s departure for a while now. The mind-walks that Stefan and Damon facilitated for all of Elena’s friends were quite sweet, and a great way to pay homage to, if nothing else, the sweetness and enthusiasm that Dobrev has brought to the core character of TVD for all of these years.

(The mind-walks also raise a serious question, though: is Elena conscious, or aware of the passage of time, while she’s asleep? OMG!)

With Elena out of the picture, I assume Caroline will take center stage. I welcome that—I mentioned the idea of Caroline as protagonist in my review of the sixth season premiere—but I worry that we’ll get a love-triangle retread. And more Bonnie marginalization. And more sad Alaric. None of that sounds scintillating.

The flashforward at the end of this episode might indicate some exciting changes. (My first thought was that TVD was going to do a bunch of crossovers with The Walking Dead.) Damon has turned into the sort of broody guy who is good on rooftops. Matt is a cop. Mystic Falls is a disaster. That sounds interesting, and if the random commentor on some other site is correct, we might even get a seventh season with Lost-like flashforwards and flashbacks. Here’s hoping!

Will that be enough? I’m not sure. TVD has been in decline for a while, and I’d really like to see the seventh season go out with a bang.

Bites and Pieces:

• How do you know you’re watching a show on The CW? When everyone wears miniskirts to a funeral.

• I’m glad Kai is dead.

• I am really, really unhappy about Jo’s death, and I wish one of the resident vampires had tried to save her life with vampire blood.

• Enzo continues to exist on the corners of the plot, connecting our heroes to the even-more-disconnected Heretic threat. I assume that will gel more in Season Seven.

• The dancing scene was very awkward. According to the credits, they used doubles.

• Many thanks to Billie for covering the last few episodes of TVD for me. Thank you!

I'm not sure how to rate this. How many women in refrigerators?

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?)


Billie Doux said...

Total agreement with your review, Josie. I knew they couldn't kill off Elena and they couldn't logically have her skip town and be human with her brother, either, so what did that leave? But I still hated it. Mostly because no one established that Elena wasn't breathing! wasn't aging! wasn't conscious! (especially after all that goodbye hand-holding with everyone in the cast, plus psychic dancing). I thought it was creepy and uncomfortable and a transparent way to, as you said, bring Nina Dobrev back for the series finale.

The thing I loved the most was Tyler, after six years of being a total waste of a character, biting Kai. I only wish he'd killed him.

I'll keep watching next season, mostly to see Damon and Alaric as drinking buddies again and watch Caroline organize everything to death. But I think I'm ready for this show to wind itself up and come to a close.

And you're welcome. :)

The Fearless Freak said...

I was done with this this show at then end of last season, then they sucked me back in with the 90s prison world and I kept watching. Watching this episode, I knew I was completely done this time. During the dream talking, where it should have been so sad that Elena was telling her friends how much she loved them and wanted them to be happy, I was bored. I just didn't care about anything the characters were saying or doing and that is the signal to me that I'm no longer immersed in this world and should give it up. :( It is sad that the show drug on this way and maybe I'll try it again in the fall and hope it gets better (and finally ends), but for now, I've deleted it from Hulu.

Katie Hart - Freelance Writer said...

I actually really enjoyed this episode, despite its devastation. I feel like the writers made a good choice with how the show dealt with Nina's departure - and showed some character growth along the way. Elena sacrificing herself for Bonnie felt like a great way to recognize that Bonnie has done that same for her so many times. Damon got to show that he really cares for Bonnie. The goodbyes, especially to those she will never/may never see again (Bonnie, Alaric, Jeremy, Matt), made me cry.

moonspinner said...

I found the episode underwhelming... most of everyone else did, too if the ratings are any indication. You'd have thought Nina's finale would have garnered more viewers.

The magic battle between Bonnie and Kai that had been building up since the start of season 6 were 2 spells and Bonnie being thrown into a wall? How... epic. Why did Bonnie go chicken? That is not Bonnie Bennett. Bonnie could stand up to Kai when she had no magic but now, the moment he heals himself, she drops her stake and says, "oh no"? It was just a cheap way to make her a damsel for Damon to save.

As much as I loved Damon being a decent person and not killing Bonnie... I chafe at the idea that this is some great sacrifice for Elena. A sacrifice would be all the times Bonnie had literally died to save her friends, without any hope of coming back. If Kai's spell meant that Elena was going to die without any hope of return... Elena would be making a sacrifice. If Kai's spell gave the girls a choice of who would get the 60-year time out and Elena chose to go before Bonnie... then she'd making a sacrifice.

As it stands, what Elena - and apparently Damon - is the choice not to kill Bonnie. As if Bonnie's life is owed to Elena.

Who else found it creepy the way they are so insistent on that span? Bonnie is 19, right? She could live to 90 or a 100. Is Damon going to come knocking on her door the moment she turns 79?

moonspinner said...

Oh and one more thing that underwhelmed me... I'd been expecting Kai to turn into a vampire since the heretics were first brought up. And he does, but other than the coven dying, it doesn't change anything about him. There werewolf bite seemed to slow him down... until he just sucked up the magic of the venom. For a newbie vampire, he has amazing self-control - no blood lust whatsoever. We don't even see Kai's vamp face. Budget constraints? Well, that doesn't explain the fact that he doesn't even try to bite Bonnie after asking around for blood a literal second before she shows up.

Laure Mack said...

Great review, Josie. I basically agree with everything you said. So I'll just add this....

There were parts of this episode that rubbed me the wrong way, but watching Caroline, Elena and Bonnie during their mini sleepover made me tear up Which is something TVD hasn't done in a very long time. That's gotta be worth 2 dead women in the refrigerator. Maybe 3.

Mallena said...

Trying to remember anything that Elena did this season that was interesting. Nope, can't think of a single thing. This show would be better if both Damon and Stefan had just let her go and everyone could have met other people and had other romances or adventures. Didn't enjoy the long goodbye scenes, besides Nina's beauty there is nothing that appealing about her for me. I did like her portrayal of Katherine and she had some fun as a vampire. Hope every episode next season is not about how every character can't survive without Elena. It probably is.