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?)
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