Do you remember the Community episode “Social Psychology”? It’s the one with the Duncan Principle. Professor Duncan, played by a still-shaggy John Oliver, runs an experiment on unwitting students to prove his hypothesis: that waiting endlessly for a payoff that never comes will drive you crazy.
This episode drove me a bit crazy. It made me wonder if it was all worth it. The time spent each week watching the show. The time spent reviewing it. The relationship of the quest for closure to the near-certainty that I don’t really care what the closure will be. Whether or not I should paint my nails in a gray neutral or go with the more traditional red. Whether or not I should avoid ever reviewing another show that looks like it will continue for eight seasons, given that the writers of this show—a show I used to love so much—seem to have either given up or turned us all into unwitting victims of a vicious psychology experiment.
Are people still watching this show? If I weren’t reviewing it, I wouldn’t. I’d occasionally browse recaps online and tune in for the finale out of curiosity. I wonder if you, Dear Reader—yes, you! I’m talking to you! Hi!—are doing just that. If so, you might want to know the following:
Stefan and Caroline move up their wedding date in order to lay a trap for Katherine, who is both Queen of Hell and presumed to be in Mystic Falls.
Damon presides over the wedding. Caroline looks beautiful. Her daughters are supercute. Alaric gets some mopey moments sans bourbon as he considers what a disaster his life is now and has been for so long, thanks to his ad hoc, bloodlusty “family.”
Kelly Donovan, Matt’s mom, shows up. If you, like me, adore Melinda Clarke, then this was kinda fun. If you haven’t watched The OC and therefore have not developed an affection for Melinda Clarke, it was probably a wet fuse.
Until…dramatic voice…wait for it…It turns out she’s evil. She died, went to hell, and escaped during Cade’s death. Katherine tasked her with blowing up the wedding.
More specifically, Katherine tasked her with blowing up the reception hall adjacent to the outdoor wedding, putting only three people at risk: Bonnie and the mystical Gemini twins. The fire is a wet fuse, too, although it did explode. Its purpose is to make Bonnie realize she has her magic back. And she has to let Enzo go in order to save herself.
• I think I like Enzo and Bonnie so much because he is the only person that asks Bonnie to put herself first. If she can just internalize that idea…
• When did Bonnie get her magic back? Does it matter? Do we care?
• Bonnie also looked beautiful.
But it turns out that Kelly Donovan was just part of a larger scheme: there was a sultry, recently-enhelled vampire in town, too. It just wasn’t Katherine—it was Vicky, Matt’s sister and one of Damon’s earliest kills (in terms of show-time, not Civil War times). As part of the Maxwell bloodline, she can ring the Big Bell.
And she does. To bring Hellfire.
(We don’t see the Hellfire.)
But the Bell does knock out Bennett witches, so Bonnie drops.
Cut to black.
It was an effective ending, I suppose, since now we have to tune in next week to see if Bonnie survives. But it was also oddly staged: with Damon and Matt busy interrogating Kelly Donovan, Stefan was the one near Bonnie as she fell. It should have been Damon.
And logical—as well as directorial—inconsistencies abounded. Caroline got her somethings old, new, borrowed, and blue. One was Katherine’s necklace, one was Rebekah’s talisman. Creepy. Damon listed all the Big Bads he and Stefan had lived through, but didn’t mention his own mother. Alaric didn’t go to the wedding and didn’t drink.
Small quibbles, perhaps useless quibbles, but quibble is all we can do when we’re waiting, waiting, waiting.
Just 45 minutes to go.
(Note: the "parrot who works at the bank" line is Oliver's own description of his appearance from some episode of Last Week Tonight.)
Josie Kafka reviews The Vampire Diaries, 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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