Recap: ‘The Vampire Diaries’: Beginnings and endings
“It’s Mystic Falls; nothing bad ever happens here.” – Elena Gilbert, sophomore year
Well, at least we now know why bad shit started happening in Mystic Falls. Elena uttered the words that are the TV equivalent of chanting in Latin and opening up a Hellmouth. Doesn’t she know that you never say stuff like that? That’s like saying “I’ll be right back” in a horror movie. YOU’RE NOT COMING BACK, DUDE.
But all kidding aside, I really enjoyed this episode. Which I know is basically like me saying, “Yeah, breathing is cool. I enjoy it,” because I love every episode of this show. But when you’ve got one of the best writing staffs on television, what do you expect?
‘The Vampire Diaries’ is one of the most consistent shows on TV in the sense that week after week you know it’s going to be amazing. You might not have any idea what is going to happen – and believe me, that’s a good thing – but you know when you sit down to watch an episode that you’re going to be entertained, you’re going to be knocked on your ass and you’re going to find yourself threatening the lives of Julie Plec’s unborn children if she so much as thinks about hurting another beloved character. It’s just what happens. And we viewers love it.
There was a lot of speculation about what would happen in tonight’s season finale, aptly titled ‘The Departed.’ And while I truthfully was a little upset that there was no Mark Wahlberg cameo, I think this show still went out with a bang. Again.
There has been talk for weeks about who Elena would ultimately choose, about which brother she would decide was more important to have in her life. Would she choose the sweet, romantic, beautiful stable relationship she has with Stefan? Or would she choose the passionate, dangerous and uncertain road with Damon? Let me tell you, I might have to redo my Pacey Witter theorem, because this show’s handling of the love triangle is brilliant – it blows every other triangle out of the water.
For weeks Elena has said that she didn’t know who to choose, that she couldn’t stand having to say goodbye to one brother when she’s lost so many people already. But for all her talk, we were assured that Elena would choose by the end of the episode. We were assured that the writers weren’t going to try to pull a fast one on us by having her choose herself. And I guess you can’t really say we were lied to; Elena did choose a brother – it just seemed a little half-hearted to me.
She chose to return to Stefan, and by extension to Caroline and Tyler, after finding out that Evilaric had staked Klaus. Homegirl actually decided that it was better to let Damon possibly face death all alone in order to return to Mystic Falls where her life expectancy was considerably lower. This, bear in mind, is the same girl who wouldn’t leave Damon’s side in last season’s finale when he was dying from a werewolf bite.
But while Elena chose Stefan, (after telling Damon that she never un-fell out of love with Stefan and that she cared about him which was why she had to let him go – by the way, does that sound familiar to anyone else?) did she really choose him? Based on the fact that Elena is now in transition (I’ll get to that in a minute), it seems to me we have a whole new chapter to this love triangle. In fact, I might even go as far as to say this is an entirely new beginning to an entirely new love triangle.
But before I delve into that hot mess, and before I forget, let’s discuss the fact that Elena is now a vampire.
To be honest, everyone saw this coming. Everyone touted it as some big twist, but it was only a matter of time before she joined the ranks of the undead. Granted, I actually wish she would have finished high school first (oh whatever, it’s not like anyone in Mystic Falls actually bothers to show up for school anymore), but what the hell, now is as good a time as any, right?
I know that Elena turns in the books (I never made it past the first book, FYI), but when you compare this story to that of other vampire shows – it’s ballsy. There’s not a chance in hell Buffy Summers would have ever become a vampire. And there’s no way I’d ever see Sookie Stackhouse becoming a vampire on ‘True Blood.’ But Elena Gilbert is now in transition and the sky is once again the limit in terms of storytelling. There’s a lot of ground to cover with this new development. What does this mean for Elena? For Jeremy? For Alaric? For her relationships with the Salvatore brothers? How will she be the same? How will she be different? Will she resist the change? Like I said, this new development has opened a lot of doors and brought to light a whole new slew of questions begging to be answered.
So Elena chose Stefan, but that’s the choice weak, human Elena made. Who is to say that Vampire Elena would make the same choice? As with Caroline’s neuroses, Stefan’s righteousness, Damon’s reckless passion and Alaric’s protectiveness, I think it will be interesting to see what pieces of Elena’s personality become magnified. Personally, my money is on her stupidity. She’s never seen a bad decision she didn’t want to make. Just kidding. Kind of. I have no idea what part of her personality will show through next season. I only know that Human Elena might have chosen the stable relationship she had with Stefan, but there was a part of Elena that craved the passion that came with choosing Damon. And becoming a vampire will most assuredly bring that desire to the forefront.
But what else does her human death bring? Well, for starters it means that all of the compulsion Damon had worked on her will have been wiped away. Elena will now be able to remember that speech he gave to her in her bedroom in “Rose” when he selflessly gave her up because his brother was a better man. She will also remember that she met Damon first.
Wait, what? Yep. Tonight’s episode was full of crazy. Turns out Elena met Damon before her parents died. He was charming and handsome and told her that she wanted a love that consumed, that was passionate, that held adventure and even a little danger – also known as every word that’s ever been used to describe himself. And then he told her he wanted her to get everything she was looking for before compelling her to forget that they’d met. And while he erased her memory in “Rose” because he didn’t want her to know how he felt since he was essentially giving her up, this time he just didn’t want anyone to know he was back in town.
What this means for the show, I can only guess at. But I have to say that I’m really looking forward to seeing how becoming a vampire will affect this love triangle. And whether or not it means Alaric will stay a moldy corpse.
We knew that Evilaric’s life was tied to Elena’s human life. But I doubt Esther would have considered what might happen should Elena become a vampire. She was kind of counting on Evilaric to rid the world of vampires, not let new ones be created. And though we saw him collapse at the end (I am choosing to believe Damon’s tearfulness was because Ric was dying, not because he realized that it meant Elena was also dying – Team Bromance Forever!), and we saw him appear to Jeremy in ghost form (to tell him he would never stop protecting him – AWWW) , there is still hope in my heart that we have not seen the last of Evilaric or good old regular Alaric either.
I know what you’re all thinking: Kaitlin is in denial. But you know what? Whatever. I am GREAT at denial. I refused to believe Sirius Black was dead until I’d read the last word on the last page of the last ‘Harry Potter’ book. In fact, part of me still thinks he’s alive. So I’m going to choose to believe that we’ll see Matt Davis’ handsome face again on ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and not just as a ghost. There really is a lot of potential for great storytelling as far as his character is concerned. Because even though he only existed for a couple of episode, somehow Evilaric was one of the most complex characters this show has ever seen. He was also the sanest person this show has ever seen.
It takes a great writer to make a villain likeable. It takes an even greater writer to make you understand the villain’s thought processes and to agree with them. Last week we saw that Evilaric still wanted to help Elena – he wanted her to see that by choosing to allow vampires to remain in her life, that she would never be safe. He wanted to help her make the right decision – the same decision Matt and Jeremy came to this week – that she needed to have a lot fewer vampires in her life, that she needed to hightail it out of Mystic Falls. And though we knew that if she’d actually listened that the show would be over, it was nice to know that someone in that town had some common sense. And that continued in to this week’s episode.
Recognizing that even if he killed all of the vampires, as long as Elena was alive he would be too, Alaric said something incredibly selfless for a vampire. He told Jeremy, “Lock me up, have Bonnie put a spell on me like she did Klaus. Let Elena live a long, healthy, human life. When her life is over, mine will be too.” If those aren’t the words of a man who truthfully cares about the well-being of Elena, then I don’t know what is. And it’s for this reason that I think if by some chance Evilaric comes back to life with Elena’s own awakening, I hope the writers plan to give him a redemption story. There is so much left unsaid regarding his character.
This post is already extremely long and I still haven’t even mentioned the fact that Klaus is now in Tyler’s body. Where Tyler is I have no clue. I’m assuming he’s still in there somewhere, right? I have to admit, I didn’t see that one coming. I thought for certain that Klaus would be OK because the stake would have only killed his vampire side, not his werewolf side. And I had assumed the same would have happened with Tyler. I didn’t think they’d actually kill Klaus, but I didn’t actually see this coming either. I was just hoping that everyone was wrong and that everyone was part of Elijah’s bloodline – because who wouldn’t wish to be part of Elijah’s family tree? He’s clearly the best Original and the Original with the best hair (sorry Bex). But what does this mean now for Caroline? I certainly foresee Klaus pretending to be Tyler with her. In fact, I’m putting money on this exact storyline. Any takers?
I’m going to wrap this up before it gets any longer. I’ll end it with just a few stray observations:
- Seeing Sara Canning again made me extremely emotional about Aunt Jenna’s exit last season. I wish there was a way for her to come back for a bigger piece of story.
- IS MATTY ALIVE? THAT’S REALLY ALL I CARE ABOUT. I know Stefan saved him first (at Elena’s insistence – something I’m sure Damon is going to FLIP about next season), but we never really found out if he’d gotten him out of the truck in time.
- Speakerphone Damon is my favorite Damon.
- “I over honey-ed.”
- The thought of Damon and Stefan not being together when they die makes my heart hurt more than anything else this show has ever done.
- “Perhaps that will finally teach him some manners.”
- “Have I told you lately how much I appreciate you not being the dumbest brother on Earth?”
That’s a wrap, guys. Season three is over. I’m sad and I have absolutely no clue what I am going to do all summer without my favorite show. What did you guys think? Did you call Elena becoming a vampire? Did you see the Klaus twist coming? Are you also in denial about Alaric? And more importantly, did you want to strangle Elena as much as I did when she decided to go back to Stefan and Mystic Falls?
Note: Photo courtesy of the CW.