So producers may have said that this episode was going to have Elena choose. And producers may have mentioned that it was going to feel as if no one is safe. But those things don’t exactly translate to “the triangle is over” and “no one is actually safe.” The fact of the matter is: we got a finale in which the triangle is going to be as fierce as it has ever been and only one person passed — the obvious choice, seeing as we couldn’t have our characters dropping left and right. Albeit, “Klaus” died, but he didn’t really. What his soul has to do with his bloodline is beyond me. But regardless, he’s sticking around. And quite frankly, it was a choice I very much favored.
For one, it was something I did not see coming in the slightest (not the keeping him alive, but how). And secondly, are we finally getting progression in the ‘Bonnie Bennett is an actual character’ side of things? She actually, quite seriously and perhaps in a meta way, told Damon and the audience: “Hey, maybe give me a freakin’ second to be a character before a plot device?” (Quotes may be paraphrased, which is a paradox.) And although when she told Klaus that she saved him for herself, I was still a bit disheartened — seeing as that’s always Bonnie’s excuse and they were trying to make it something it wasn’t — I still very much feel vindicated. It’s not Evil Bonnie in any which way, but at least it’s a Bonnie that speaks and stands up for herself. For this reason alone, I may actually be extremely excited for a season four of The Vampire Diaries. (Let’s disregard the fact that it made zero sense for Bonnie to keep this a secret and that Klaus still is not dead.)
If not for that, then definitely because of the tensions that ran high during this installment. It’s insane that some of these people wouldn’t have been like “We are getting the Eff out of here” by now. And Jeremy and Matt (Regular Beings to the rescue!) teaming up against a group of vampires and lone-hybrid Tyler was the right kind of tension that’s sort of missing for the show lately. Coupled with Bonnie’s realization that she has been used as a crutch, the dynamics in Mystic Falls may finally be shifting into something thrilling without having to hire a bunch of guest stars.
Well, actually, the dynamics are shifting…in a huge way. Because Elena is no longer human. Unfortunately, this twist wasn’t too shocking (I talked about how this was the only solution this week in my review of last week’s episode), but it is most definitely going to shake every storyline up. For one, no one will be out for Elena’s blood anymore. And truthfully, that has mostly been every single story to date on this show. What else is there if not this?
I think, rather disappointingly, this shift in Elena’s being is mostly going to be used as a catalyst to amp up the triangle. And, quite frankly, I’m sort of done with it at this point. I mentioned previously that the triangle did need extra oomph, and I was excited when Damon and Elena shared a kiss in January. But then, Elena did a 180 and completely related everything she was doing with Damon to what it meant for Stefan and her relationship with him. She also, basically, stated it aloud in this episode as well when she was on the phone with Damon. Neither of these things helped develop an actual triangle, at least not for me personally. How was I to believe that Damon could be a viable option if Elena continued to make reference to every feeling she had for him to how it would end what she has with Stefan?
That said, clearly, the show has just set up an endgame here and we’re just supposed to watch Elena’s choice for “right now.” I mean, the show was spelling out to you about love that consumes you and who had first dibs on Elena, apparently. Truthfully, it’s just…ugh…a less than ideal situation. So who the hell cares whom met Elena first? That completely belittles the triangle in the first place. And having Elena say “Maybe if we met first?” is a slap in the face to either side of this. It says that whatever Stefan gave to her only meant something because he met her first; it says that whatever Damon gave to her is lesser than that because he was second in line. Triangles aren’t about who saw who first; they’re about unequivocally loving two people and struggling with what both of them bring to the table. Anything less is absurd; and basing a lot of it on chronology from the show’s perspective and Elena’s is like saying that nothing either relationship went through and has overcome really means much since then. When Matt asked, “You feel like you owe him?” it felt exactly that way. (By the way, apparently Elena’s been fickle about relationships since 2009. And also, disregard what she said last season about wanting a normal life, because she didn’t want that with Matt.) Elena put a lot of her choice in Stefan being the one who made her want to live again after her accident — something anyone else could have done if she had just met him first (and yes, I know Damon met her prior to the accident). But I love the fact that she owned up to having to let one of these brothers go. They deserve at least that much.
In the past, I would argue that Elena being turned into a vampire could actually make the triangle something worth rooting for — now we’ve got a girl who wanted to stay human, struggling with both sides of her and doing so with two guys who satisfy both of those needs. These days, I’m not so sure which brother is which (even if this episode yelled out at you, “Hey look, Stefan says ‘whatever you want’ and Damon is all ‘no, this plan sucks!'” which is actually something I’ve been saying for some time now, too). Unfortunately, Stefan has made peace with his dark side, as long as it doesn’t take over him — and I don’t imagine Damon is going to want Elena to go on a killing spree like his brother, either. Despite this, it appears the triangle is just beginning…and this will be the basis of it.
And don’t even get me started on how the brothers think they’re dying and they want to say goodbye…to Elena. Who the hell cares about her? Screw Elena! God, the 180 within this relationship on its own is ridiculous, within one episode. Last week, Stefan went from him and Damon being closer than ever to “Yeah, I’ll leave town in like two seconds.” This week, he’s all, “To say goodbye to Elena.” Shut up. But I’m hoping there are questions here that are yet to be unanswered—like, did Elena know she had vampire blood in her? Did she sacrifice her human life for her friend or did she sacrifice her actual life?
Moving on, it appears that Evil-Alaric tried to define those terms yet again when he told Jeremy to be on “the right side.” That doesn’t mean it’s “the good side,” but it’s something right? And speaking of triangles, how insane is that Tyler/Caroline/Klaus one going to get now that both sides are the same entity? Crazy! But also…I like it.
Overall, I watched this episode hoping that it would help tie in the season as a whole. And honestly, the setup for this episode did feel quite like a season finale. The production values, alone, tricked me quite nicely. The acting was unparalleled. But the episode was mostly a backdrop to the triangle. I’m hoping there was more here — that we got a story of Elena’s life prior to the pilot because it was the last time she was truly human and tonight was the last time she would ever be a human being again. But I’m inclined to believe that this final hour was a microcosm of the season as a whole. Remember season one when everything was leading up to Founder’s Day? This season did not feel like it was leading up to Elena becoming a vampire or…well, anything that happened this finale, truly. That’s probably a good thing, so that you didn’t see it coming (unless you watched last week’s episode). But at the same time, I didn’t except Katherine to show up in Mystic Falls even though the entire season was about her. This season, I thought Matt was going to reach his finality due to his heightened presence. I thought Jeremy speaking to the other side would bring a war. I thought The Originals would be a direct threat. Nope, nope, and nope. I can’t figure out if it’s unfocused or just twisty.
But you know what, I like the gusto. And I liked the episode…as a whole. There was great emotional payoff in some ways. Perhaps one of my favorite parts about the Evilaric storyline is the amount of suspense it gave this show, which was seemingly lacking. Even in this episode we got some of it, when Rebekah was walking the halls of the storage place. I’ll miss that. And if TVD is now a show completely about romances, at least some of those were given their quota of angst and fluff. And even though this season stumbled at points, I don’t think anything can truly keep me from returning to Mystic Falls this, uh, fall. Thank you to the cast and crew for another season of The Vampire Diaries; I’m eager to see what’s up your sleeve for next season.
At this point, I’d just like to thank every one of you reading this right now. Last September, I began NoWhiteNoise just writing Vampire Diaries reviews with about two views a week: me refreshing feverishly. And now, they’ve grown into something people actually wait for — which is beyond exciting, and I am beyond grateful for that. So I thank you wholeheartedly. I’m thinking of doing a review of the season as a whole. But if this is it, thanks for reading my reviews this season and I hope you’ll return (if I’m still reviewing Vampire Diaries this fall — or if not!). Until then, we’re doing a summer rewatch (kind of) and the competition is between Breaking Bad, Buffy, Game of Thrones and Pretty Little Liars. You should join. And if not, stick around for all the other content here!