The Vampire Diaries Season 8 Episode 16 – TV Review
TVD Series Finale Pros/Cons List:
Cons: was shit.
Pros: had Katherine.
Eh, I’ll take it.
TL;DR TVD comes to an overly neat, predictable end. Damon and Elena end up together; Katherine is defeated with a disgraceful lack of fanfare; Matt and his fucking family take up more screentime; cameos abound; Stefan gets in one last act of martyrdom; Bonnie gets in one last deus ex machina; Caroline gets entirely, brutally shafted.
B-b-but Delena! Ugh, shipper names.
So it’s time for The Vampire Diaries to shart out its final act, and, thankfully, Mother Has Arrived: Katherine yucks it up and reminds us exactly why this show, with the exception of Kai’s tenure, has been a horrible disaster ever since she left. Her plan is to incinerate Mystic Falls, and traps Elena’s body (using a spell from Kai. Hot) in the high school. Matt, after he and Peter say some so-so goodbyes to a determined Vicki, abuses his sheriff powers to evacuate the town, while Damon and Stefan wring their hands over who will risk their lives to save Elena and kill Katherine (the plan, by the way, is some “magic does what we say it does” bullshit with Bonnie, somehow having gained her magic back, diverting the hellfire through tunnels to the Armory, then back into the bell, thus overloading Hell with magical energy. Someone has to make sure Katherine is in its path when this occurs, thus the Stefan and Damon debate). They both make I’m Totally Serious speeches, but Stefan always was the ultimate martyr, and hits Damon up with some cure blood at the last second and takes the hellfire hit, leaving Caroline devastated, alone, and with only her untalented children as comfort. Rude. Meanwhile, Bonnie, having successfully saved the day, uses Plot Power to lift the Sleeping Beauty spell from Elena, and Damon and Elena get to live humanly ever after. Blech.
Epilogues include: Damon and Elena getting to live long, happy, mortal lives, then Elena reuniting with all her dead parents and guardians, and Damon reuniting with Stefan; Stefan, after the successful suicide mission, reunites with Lexi; Bonnie chooses to live her life to the fullest, but with Enzo’s ghost creepily always watching over her; Matt gets a bench in the town square; Alaric opens up his stupid Professor Xavier wannabe school, with Jeremy and Caroline on staff; and Caroline, now the only vampire left in the main cast, and sans love interest, is the sole character to get a sequel tease for The Originals.
Step off, bitch. He’s Camille’s. Dead or not.
I mean, this is the series finale for a TV show that was always supposed to be about epic love, and there was no way it was going to leave the fans high and dry. We all knew the schmaltz was inevitable.
But fuck, man. Can you imagine if Katherine had won?
It’s not fair. She earned it.
Why I hate this episode:
You know what’s also not fair? Matt surviving the series. Out of every character that could have made it to the end, fucking Matt, the puny human, got there. Not even Stefan, the male lead, did. There is no justice.
But back to Katherine, what an utter waste of Katherine, in TVD’s final opportunity to showcase the extent of her cuntitude. He plan is so basic and boring. She wants to blow up Mystic Falls with Elena trapped in the high school boiler room. There’s nothing poetic or Machiavellian about that. The boiler room wasn’t important to Elena (right?). It wasn’t intimate, personal, or vicious, which is what Katherine, having had two and a half seasons in Hell to strategise, should have gone for. It was weak.
She also did a piss poor job of evading the bone dagger. Sure, it would only send her to Hell and then she’d jump back to life soon enough, but don’t take the risk, honey. Katherine shouldn’t be this dumb.
So, my inference from last episode that the twins siphoned Bonnie’s psychic dimension was wrong, as it’s kinda just blurted out this episode that Bonnie can use magic again or whatever. And not just magic, but spirit magic, using the power of her Bennett ancestors. Which has explicitly been explained does not exist anymore because it only worked due to the Other Side. Oh, TVD.
Also, when that one Bennett witch took Bonnie’s hand after Sheila did, I legitimately couldn’t remember who she was (she was the Bennett from those pathetic flashbacks where Matt played his own ancestor). Did we really need her to come back?
Bonnie’s epilogue is supposed to show how she’s gonna get her groove back and we see Enzo watching over her, similar to how all the other epilogues have proud, dead characters nodding their approval. But Bonnie seems to actually hear Enzo. So is he just gonna hang around her forever? Because her grand proclamation of moving forward would be in direct conflict with the spectre of her dead boyfriend constantly dragging her back to the past.
Caroline gets the worst of it, though. Despite the fact that all Stefan and Damon had to do was dagger Katherine and then chuck her into the tunnel to be hellfired, Stefan instead insists on standing in the tunnel and holding her in place, which leaves a just-married Caroline with an eternity (the only remaining vampire, remember) of grief. And the fact that he makes Elena, his actual true love until the Delena shippers got in the way, deliver his declaration of I Will Always Love You to Caroline is extra nasty. And then her epilogue is that she just kind of hangs around Alaric at this crummy school for witches. Oprah: “Everyone gets a fan-mandated happy ending! Except Caroline!”
Jeremy’s cameo I think is even worse than the in-name-only Ginger Spice shout out. He is just kind of there at the school as a teacher or something. Jesus. He doesn’t even get a scene to reunite with Elena.
Damon tasks Matt with stopping Vicki from ringing the bell. When it becomes clear she can’t be killed (she instantly reanimates), Matt then immediately capitulates and orders the town’s evacuation. Again, TVD-verse: if you’re going to introduce the solution of locking an immortal in a shipping container and dumping them in the sea, then I’m going to question why you don’t keep using it. Or bury her in cement. Hell, just lock her in a cupboard. She’s not that strong. Figure it out, for fuck’s sake.
The Bennett witch Avengers Assemble moment is too cheesy. And where’s Maya from PLL Bennett?
Oh, and in a final insult, Elena’s happy ending is facilitated by a heinously lazy handwave about the Sleeping Beauty spell. The first problem is the fact that Bonnie mysteriously is able to do magic again at all. And then she breaks the spell offscreen, and when questioned by Elena, she, and by extension the writers, pretty much shrugs her shoulders and offers Elena a slice of Delena 4Eva cake. What the fuck, TVD? You gave us two seasons of “it’s too dangerous to even try,” never had any of the Heretics give it a go of just sucking the spell out, which is surely a lot safer than trying to layer on an undo spell, and then can’t even find some retarded excuse to make it go away? Even the characters posit that Bonnie momentarily dying near the start of the episode could explain Elena’s waking. When the characters are trying to write the logic for you, you know things are a goddamn mess. Jesus.
But it’s not all bad:
But Katherine does use that to her advantage by posing as the supposedly awoken Elena for a couple of seconds before Stefan and Damon cotton on. God, she’s delicious.
Despite her appallingly minimal screentime, and basic bitch plan, Katherine reminds us exactly what went wrong with TVD. A post-script-by-several-seasons vampire soap opera is only as good as its villain. TVD got lucky that Kai was such a hoot and singlehandedly rescued Season 6, because Seasons 7 and 8 were devoid of conflict as their villains were shit. I’ll always be mad that we suffered without Katherine, or any compelling villains, for so long. But thank fucking Christ she came back to finish things up.
And her hair (once she’s out of the Elena disguise), is suitably enormous and evil. Just the way we like her.
Katherine gets the best line of the episode (obv) when she explains that the reason Cade was so hellbent (ah ha!) on having Damon and Stefan as his worker bees was because Katherine put him up to it: “Duh.” Points not only for a classic Katherine delivery, but for also clearing up my complaint over Cade’s stupid decision to want vampires over Sirens for mass murder. Thanks, TVD.
Katherine isn’t the only one to get her time in the final episode cameo spotlight, though. I’m grateful for Jeremy’s return; Tyler gets a look-in; Sheila’s back; Lucy Bennett gets what could be the longest time between TVD drinks as she shows up during the Bennett witch beatdown; I legitimately smiled when Lexi met Stefan’s spirit; Jo watches over Alaric; as does Liz over Caroline; and Elena, in the afterlife, meets up with Jenna, her parents, and even her uncle/dad John. All the gang’s here.
If anyone had to die, I can’t say I’m disappointed it’s Stefan. Because he’s been so adrift and disposable ever since TVD decided Damon was Elena’s true love.
Caroline’s The Originals tease is a letter from Klaus donating a fuckton of money to the witch school. Alaric’s voiceover mentions it’s “the beginning of another story.” I worry that Caroline wouldn’t fit in Klaus’ world anymore (and the tension in their relationship was mostly because of Tyler), but I’m willing to see them give it a go.
Oh, and the final frame of the series is not of Elena, but of Damon and Stefan reuniting in the afterlife. My tear ducts had no reaction, but I can appreciate the gesture. See ya, TVD. We’ll always have Season 2.