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The Vampire Diaries Review: One Wrong Turn

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Let me start by saying this about "The Departed," The Vampire Diaries season three finale that most definitely gave fans plenty to talk about for the next three months:

That was a beautifully shot, very well done concluding few minutes.

From a bloody Damon Hulk Hogan-ing up and fighting back against Dark-laric; to Dark-laric falling dead and Damon realizing why; to Actual Alaric proving, via a pep talk to Jeremy, that not all ghosts on TVD are useless; to Stefan swimming to Matt's rescue; to Elena dying; to... yes, the awakening that ended it all.

Great stuff all around. But a bit of a mess to get there.

Elena in Despair

Indeed, the finale felt a lot like the back half of season three. There was A LOT going on, but without much of a direction.

Elijah popped up and offered the group a deal. Sheriff Forbes and Mayor Lockwood told Tyler and Caroline they had to flee Mystic Falls. We jumped back in time here and there. Dark-laric apparently used the non-corrupt police force to track down Damon.

Rebekah made an appearance. Bonnie cast a spell. Matt drugged his ex. Elena acted far too happy for 6:45 a.m.

It felt like disjointed chaos. It was never clear where everything going, especially as one seemingly big event after another - Elena choosing Stefan, Tyler revealed to be Klaus - took place long before the closing scene. There's nothing wrong with mystery, of course. I'm certainly not advocating that the show telegraph its conclusion.

But there is something wrong when the season finale, the episode to which the past number of weeks should have been building, lacks a flow, like a great many recent storylines were really nothing more than a giant bait and switch to get us to that final moment:

Elena as a vampire.

To me, that's where Julie Plec and company set their sights a long time ago - and everything else was merely a distraction. This is a fascinating development to be sure; I positively cannot wait for the season four premiere, but one terrific payoff doesn't necessarily make up for weeks on end of Elena oscillating between brothers, or the confusing use of Esther, or the back and forth on when or why the Salvatores wanted to kill the Originals.

Again, Elena is a vampire. It doesn't get more intriguing than that. But, man, it took some serious red herrings to get us there.

Dark Side of Alaric

What will it all mean? Will she remember Damon's shocking flashback cameo now that she's turned? Will that influence her choice of Stefan? Will she embrace the change and grow more self-confident, like Caroline?

Or will she fall into a stupor, robbed of her future and made into something she never claimed she wanted to be? Questions, questions and more questions abound.

In other, WTF-did-that-really-just-happen-news from the finale?

  • Alaric was killed.. again! Man, TVD. What did we ever do to you? It wasn't enough to say goodbye to Matt Davis once, in one of the greatest scenes in show history, you had to force us to do it again.

I think this one may stick, however, and while Alaric is simply The Man, he hadn't been featured in any main storyline until he went dark and, once that took place, it was really only a matter of time.

  • Klaus was saved... again! Color me confused on this one. Bonnie chose to save the Original because that meant her loved ones would stay alive. Makes perfect sense. So she body-switched him into Tyler? Where does that put Tyler? Is it just some kind of soul thing? And Klaus is in Tyler's body, but Tyler is still there somewhere, too, and if/when Klaus ever is removed from Tyler, then he'll die... because his body has burned up?

That's how I read it at least. It's far from clear.

Know what else wasn't clear? My TV screen as I tried to watch through tears caused, of course, by Caroline's tears. Candice Accola blubbered away brilliantly here, just moments after cracking us all up with her curling iron line. If Tyler is actually dead, I fear for this beautiful vampire's mental well-being.

  • Elena chose Stefan. This was overshadowed by that whole turning-into-a-vampire thing, but I bought her reasoning. She played it safe, essentially, selecting the guy who made her "glad to be alive," not the one who "consumed" her being. Fair enough. There's fear that goes along with total consumption, while there's safety in mere happiness.

But the love triangle was laid on a little too thick once again. I'm sorry, but Stefan thought he and Damon were dying and one of his first thoughts was how he felt bad Damon wouldn't make it back in time to say goodbye to Elena? Sort of cheesy, sort of hard to believe.

  • The scene where Elena was "forced" to choose because she happened to be in the car was, well, lame. And nonsensical. Was she equally far from each? If so, couldn't the brother have just met her someplace in the middle? And don't vampires run REALLY fast anyway. Quite contrived just to prompt a decision from poor E.

Talk about a great deal to digest, Vampire Diaries fans. We'll go through it all tomorrow again in our TVD Round Table.

My overall take for now: the show stumbled a bit this season, it wobbled a lot on the finale in order to get where it wanted to go, but... Klaus as Tyler; Bonnie harboring (and responsible for) this dark secret; Alaric dead and gone; Elena as a vampire. All shocking moments, all leaving me wanting a lot more Mystic Falls. Is it September yet?

What did you think of the finale?

 

Review

Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (1037 Votes)

Matt Richenthal is the Editor in Chief of TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter and on Google+.

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Allison-berry-barbieri

Also, Klaus's open eyes, set in a desiccated face, mutely staring at Bonnie and Damon...CREEPY! I loved Elena's little speech to Matt (you know, while he was watching her to see if the roofies were going to kick in). Brought tears to my eyes. I also think it's noteworthy that she mentions that consuming love, as it becomes so poignant when we later learn about Damon and Elena's ACTUAL first meeting...when he tells her:
"You want a love that consumes you. You want passion and adventure, and even a little danger... I want you to get everything you're looking for….�
We have not seen the last of Delena yet...not even close. When Alaric stakes Klaus, I could feel Bex’s devastation and Damon’s fear for his bloodline. Absolutely FEEL it. Awesome scene. Kudos to Claire Holt, truly.

Allison-berry-barbieri

When Elijah shows up to make a deal with Elena, we revisit the central theme of the triangle that Damon makes choices for Elena, while Stefan sits back and lets Elena make her own choices. I kind of think that this theme also shows that Damon will do anything to save Elena, even if it means she hates him for it, while Stefan won't risk losing Elena’s affection. But arguments have merit, but I think Elena’s survival should be left up to Damon. Oh, BTW, I LOVED Damon's speaker-phone argument, hilarious! So, Blondie and the hybrid are going to run, huh? Don’t they think they can take out the council? And, at this point as they discuss running together, is Tyler really Tyler or is he already Klaus? Um, is it REALLY a good idea to leave Bonnie with Klaus? And, of course, Damon thinks it's a good enough idea to agree to Bonnie's request. Honestly, I actually feared that Bonnie was going to allow Klaus to drink her blood or something... I didn’t anticipate the spell she did, though, in hindsight, I should have realized something shady was about to happen..

Allison-berry-barbieri

As the show opens, it’s nice to see Elena smiling! And great to see Sara Canning as well :-) A few minutes later, when the bros are talking to Jeremy we get an awesome Damon line: "Have I told you lately how much I appreciate you not being the dumbest brother on Earth?"
I kind of wish it was Damon that went back for her, but it's fitting that it was Stefan. Once the friends returned home, I thought for SURE that the Caroline/Elena exchange was foreshadowing Caroline’s imminent demise. Glad I was wrong! Up next is a nice little flashback moment that reminded me how Bonnie was once normal and not quite so tragic. It was nice to see the kids in school doing normal things, and it’s nice to get a little bit of insight into Matt and Elena’s relationship. Next we see Evilaric offering beer and a “stake� to Jeremy. He tries to convince him to join Team Vampire Hunter. I LOVE me some Salvatores but, were I Jeremy (and Jeremy were not a fictional character), I might actually agree with Alaric. The vampires have done nothing but kill him, endanger his sister and sort of screw up his life. There was a moment in which I genuinely worried that Jer might fall in line with Evilaric's plans.

Allison-berry-barbieri

@Jennifer Renee Beatley
She woke up in a morgue. Pretty sure Elena was dead.

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@Katharine 2.0
It's true Elena did not say she chose Stefan because she met him first but she said if Damon was first she may have picked hiim.

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WOW! That's all I can say. But why wasn't more said about DAMON MEETING ELENA FIRST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Also, I would like to point out, Elena DID NOT say she chose Stefan because she met him first. She said he came into her life at the time when she needed someone and she fell for him. I don't think we should assume that if Elena met Damon first, she will fall for him. She said, maybe. Both Damon and Stefan love Elena and they would've made different choices for or about her. I think that's another reason why she's torn. Stefan always gives Elena her free will. Damon always makes choices that will make sure Elena will be alive. She's an 18 year old human being and not perfect. I don't think she even knows who she totally is. So, chill with the judgements.

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@mich67...Yeah, I'll still be watching...I'm a glutton for punishment. I'll still be watching, too...for laughs.

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So yeah, turning would have worked best emotionally and shockingly in the s1 finale, with exact same scene, but with katherine instead of becky. In my opinion though, if Elena turned in S1, it would be too soon. I think S3 is okay but the writers could've done better. I expected more from them. Season 1 was the best and they brought it to that level. It's disappointing that S3 (when Elena turns) is not one of the best. I do agree that it'll be more shocking and emotional if Katherine caused Elena's 'death'

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I'm glad Meredith gave Elena the vampire blood. I hope it's from Damon's line. So that if one original from the bloodline dies, they all dies.
I don't like the twist of Klaus as their bloodline. I hope this will change in the future. Some mix up the writer would create. They're good with that. I was hoping for Rebekah or Elijah to be the bloodline. Klaus is just too predictable.
All in all, I think it's a great finale. Not the best among the three. But it was amazing. I love how Matt is like a brother to Elena. And I hope Matt and Jeremy will be a family. Since both of them are alone now.
In the world where The Vampire Diaries exists (i assume news travel fast among vampires), I wonder what Katharine would feel or think if or when she finds out that Elena is turning to a vampire? Cause when Elena was a human, Katharine might have a shot with either one after a century or so but now that Elena is a vampire, she might not have that shot anymore. haha. Poor Katharine. I love her though.

The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 22 Quotes

You want a love that consumes you. You want passion and adventure, and even a little danger... I want you to get everything you're looking for. But for right now, I want you to forget that this happened. Can't have people knowing I'm in town yet. Goodnight, Elena.

Damon

Our life is one, big proverbial coin toss.

Damon

The Vampire Diaries Season 3 Episode 22 Music

  Song Artist
So-what So What Pink iTunes
Low-vs-diamond-wasted Wasted Low vs Diamond iTunes
Shadow-rewind-airplane Airplane Shadow ReWinD iTunes
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