by Josie Kafka
Eight seasons—and 171 episodes—ago, Billie and I, like many of you, were underwhelmed by the latest Buffy copycat. Since that lackluster premiere, the show has shifted from great to decent to dull, but this final episode brought it to a satisfying close.
Creators Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson masterminded this episode, and their skill shows: just a few weeks ago I noted that recent TVD episodes were slow, with scenes that seemed to drag on—a far cry from the previous mile-a-minute pace that kept this show hopping in its glory days. But “I Was Feeling Epic” is as fast-paced as some of the show’s best.
And it was satisfying—I can’t think of a better word. The plot was a bit murky (why did Vicky have to ring the bell 12 times over the space of an hour?), but I don’t really care. We got to see Katherine, and we got to see her killed numerous times by gleeful Salvatores. Elena returned, Damon is human (wow!), and Caroline finally realized the responsibilities of motherhood.
Stefan’s sacrifice was the biggest surprise, although I rewatched the pilot a few weeks ago, and was surprised to note that it opens with Stefan saying this was “his story.” That planted a seed, and it was nice to see that seed grow into a satisfying—there’s that word again!—end to the Salvatore with the hero hair.
Does it suck for Caroline and Damon? Of course it does. They’ve both lost so much in their lives, and Caroline, in particular, ought to have a shot at happiness. But she still does: as much as some elements of the fandom seemed to ship Steroline, I never really got behind it. I hope she runs the school like a peppy authoritarian and has romantic weekends with Klaus. (Caroline always liked him more than I did, and I support her right to have those wrong opinions.)
Bonnie’s magical victory was the big moment. Having realized she still has her magic (how?!), she managed to funnel the Bellfire (how am I just now discovering that pun…) into Hell itself, shutting down operations and killing Katherine in the process. I love that Bonnie’s Grams was there, and all the Bennett women. It was a powerful nod to the girl-power-via-Buffy roots of this show, and one that let Bonnie live the life she completely deserves.
That Elena and Damon reunited makes me happy, because they wanted it—everyone wanted it—so much. That we saw very little of their lives together is appropriate, as nothing is more boring than a couple in love.
I’m more interested in the afterlife: Elena, after a long life, finds “peace” with her parents, Aunt Jenna, and Sark!, aka her uncle-dad. (I was glad Alaric’s first wife Isobel, Elena’s birth mother, wasn’t included.) Damon’s peace is with Stefan—and since they’re all still in their old Mystic Falls houses, I assume he and Elena can have an afterlife romance, too. Stefan gets Lexi…it all works out.
Perhaps the best part, though, was the acknowledgement that the people we lose are still with us. Caroline had a moment when she sensed her mom; Alaric has a moment when he sensed Jo. Matt got to see Tyler and Vicki. With the Other Side long gone, and Hell a burned-out husk, maybe ghosts can visit their loved ones when they want. It’s a beautiful thought, and a lovely reminder of how this show began: two brothers torn apart by the past, and a young girl struggling to live life without the people she loved.
Bites and Pieces:
• There were some great shout-outs to the pilot, but my favorite was the random crow who reappeared when Elena was journaling.
• Bonnie conquering a huge ball of Bellfire was pretty awesome, too, as the first time she really kicked magical ass was making a bunch of candles flare in the first season.
• How did Katherine get a new outfit every time she returned from Hell? Oh, I don’t care. She’s Katherine.
• You know you’re watching a show on the CW when everyone wears miniskirts to the funeral.
• So, Originals fans: are you expecting Caroline to drop by New Orleans?
I’ve ragged on the writers a lot in the past couple of years, but I’d like to thank them for creating a good show that was sometimes great. I’d also like to thank the actors, who made me care about these people (some of whom were hard to care about) and their wacky lives. TVD didn’t go out with a bang, but it left me satisfied. And now we’re done.
Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, Game of Thrones, and various other things that take her fancy. She's planning on changing this bio soon, since she just lost her longest-running show. When Josie isn't writing, she is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)