So, basically, I’m a huge fan of this episode. And the following review is more like a conversation with my own mind. I apologize.
Where has this episode been all season long? Quite sincerely, I mean that — The Vampire Diaries finally felt like it “returned” tonight after four months of being an over the top soap opera with the supernatural element. (The keyword[s] there being “over the top,” which is how I would differentiate it.) And yes there still was that pesky, little triangle that we had to deal with in this episode. The show basically thinks it’s the main reason you’re watching; I know a lot of us aren’t mainly watching for the triangle (including people who wish I’d stop talking about it in my reviews, apparently…), but the show is all like “Nope! You’re watching for the triangle! Here’s a cliffhanger about how one of the brothers is going to leave Mystic Falls!”
Oh, what suspense! Will one of the series regulars who have appeared in every, single episode and are integral to the plot no longer be on the show!? I don’t know what will happen!
(Sorry, I just have a problem with that “suspense” sometimes.)
I don’t know what irks me more, that Elena really is that special to both of the Salvatore brothers (I feel like they’ve both classified Katherine in that sense; and also that final scene was…well, it happened), that they seem to tie their humanity to her existence, or that at this point, I don’t even know what differentiates both brothers. This is something I’ve been struggling with for about two weeks now when people went on a comment party in my review: what is the difference? what does Elena find attractive in one that she doesn’t in the other? does she remember her speech about not wanting to live forever? It appears that history is just repeating itself. Both brothers are completely enamored with a Petrova doppelganger — and now the doppelganger wants to keep both of them. At least she finally admitted it, which is something I believe she definitely owed the brothers. What will the outcome be this time, considering that Katherine apparently chose Stefan? Personally, I don’t think there’s been enough Damon and Elena moments to truly classify the triangle as “over” during the next episode. Like, I think they needed to do an episode that truly evaluates what Damon gives to Elena, rather than having people stating what it is. Sure, we got one Delena episode and then one Stelena one, but the Delena one was still an extension of what it meant for Stelena in some weird way. That’s not even remotely “fair” (as Caroline put it last week, or I believe she did). Even Elena thought she owed it to Stefan to tell him what happened during the trip — when in fact she’s supposed to be discovering what it is she wants without having to “report back” to Stefan, because it’s not as if he’s giving her permission or something or as if Damon is the alternative to Stefan. Obviously, they’re both each other’s alternatives but he should exist, to Elena, as his own entity. I think that’s part of the reason why I haven’t “gotten it” yet. (Just choose Matt, homegirl.) Does any of this make sense? And at this point, even though I know the show is basically yelling at me that everyone is dark, I would rather have cliché “good” and “bad” cutouts to differentiate the Salvatores. At least that way we’d know that they satisfy respective traits of her being (as I’ve been told the books did quite well).
Speaking of good and bad, how awesome was it when Abby mentioned that doing this kind of spell could make her tap into dark aspects of her? For one, at least Bonnie finally somewhat told her off. (I thought Caroline was going to pop up to do that for her again.) It’s truly just small moments like these that we (nay, just me and people in the comments it seems) were asking for, writers. To develop her just a tiny bit. For that, I’m not even mad that she was just doing spells the rest of the episode. This episode serviced Bonnie more in five seconds than the previous three seasons. And as I’ve mentioned before, it’s extremely important to do that because Bonnie is the writers’ plot eraser[*] — and not developing her character creates a large audience of people who are just extremely ungrateful whenever she seemingly saves the lives of anybody they care about, because they think of her as that character who muddles up the screwed up moral compass on this show in the first place. It’s a mess. Secondly, how amazing would it be if Bonnie turned dark and there was some real internal struggle with the group? If the audience wants to hate her…well whatever, but let’s create that plot where there’s actual reason to do so. And for the rest of us, we’ll just appreciate the badassery that comes with it.
[*] Which they basically admitted. “There’s always a way to undo a spell.” Well of course there is! Just write a Bonnie scene, duh.
The cast for this show is so vast that it’s unfortunate most of the conflict comes with guest stars entering the small town. It’s why I was — and still am — a fan of the “Evilaric” storyline. Evilaric is, unequivocally, what Klaus should have been from day one but never was. And it was fantastic. Once again, the Originals proved to mostly be a moot point this season (and Rebekah’s gone? noooo!) when the show decided to create the Even Bigger Bad last week with Alaric. Nevertheless, that’s what I want to see: characters I care about in actual danger. (Plus, how awesome was that pencil scene really?) And of course, in true TVD fashion, the twist! Alaric only dies when Elena dies. Well, well. Does this mean that if she were turned into a vampire that he would die, since she technically needs to die as well for that to happen? And I know she may have been a bit dimwitted going to the school alone, but I like her quick thinking when not staking Alaric…and how she figured out why Alaric wouldn’t kill her. (Even I thought it was because his Alaricness was still there but nope.) That said, if everyone is dark then what about Elena — where is her evil? It’s upsetting because, as I said again, I don’t see why Elena shouldn’t just choose both Salvatores, y’know, beyond it being selfish and not really a choice at all.
And even though everyone has darkness, they also have good inside them as well. I mean, that’s why Klaus draws, people. But we got to see that a bit tonight when he somewhat-saved Caroline and told her to go home. That’s a scene where I finally understood his layers (and maybe even understood Klaroline for a second there, whoa!) — which has never been evident when he was drawing with lead, and painting murals, and perhaps tagging a street wall next week if he hadn’t been spelled. And although it was executed nicely in the scene with Caroline, I understand that the show is basically screaming out that Klaus is all alone. It’s not enough that he’s basically just constantly asking Stefan if he wants to hang, but Tyler had to spell it out this episode. Unfortunately for me, I was unaffected by him not-really-dying for two reasons: (A) He’s not really dying. This is True Blood all over again. They love this “villain” so much (quotes) that they want to keep him around so decided sleeping was the answer, besides now the gang has to keep him alive so that they survive. And (B) Because…uh…yeah this should have happened some time ago, really (even though Klaus is the biggest non-threat ever). I think I’m the only advocate for hoping these guys would have been successful in bringing Klaus down. I mean, don’t get me wrong, the scene was brilliantly executed and I was caught up in the moment as well. But…it was time, don’t you think? I’m glad the writers didn’t decide to just have Klaus stick around forever. Somehow the real threat here is the previously substantially irrelevant council who now know that Tyler and Caroline are supernatural.
Overall, this was quite possibly the best episode since 3.09 (which I know a lot of people thought was too fast and made no sense but to me was the epitome of this season), so I’m quite ecstatic and pleased. In a sense it feels, however, that bringing down this villain they’ve been talking up for a season and a half was quite easy. You know, like in the same way that Matt killed and Original and you’re like, “Matt? HE killed an Original!?” Truthfully, I don’t know what’s coming up next, and I don’t know how they will rid themselves of Evilaric. I mean, I guess Bonnie could do the spell again…but that’s obviously not going to happen. And that’s truly the best aspect of The Vampire Diaries: the thrill of the uncertainty (not to be confused with “where the hell is this going!?”). Genuinely, I’m questioning whether or not Elena will turn, seeing as that’s (in my mind) the only way to get rid of him (besides the aforementioned spell, that Bonnie could stop her heartbeat too, that there could be another sacrifice like her father did), and they need to. And with the council developments, it somewhat does feel like no one is safe (Matt is so dead, right?) but we shall see. Who will Elena choose? And does that matter more than the reason she’s choosing whom? I don’t think so. And I also don’t think we’re going to be getting a concrete answer, really, if she does choose. But sometimes the entertainment overpowers the critical thinking.
So thank you for a fantastic installment of TVD, writers et all. I couldn’t be more thrilled for the finale!