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?


Editor Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
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Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (1039 Votes)

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

Sarah silva

Elena decided to sacrifice herself and had Stefan save Matt as she did not want Matt to die as that would be another person sacrificing themselves for her as Matt had the best intentions when he tried to take her away from MF.
However Elena did not think of the consequences her dying would have on Jeremy so I think she new she had Vampire blood in her system.
Also for those that do not think that Tyler did, I am 99% sure he did, when Bonnie put Klaus in Tyler's body "Tyler" had to go somewhere and so he was out into Klaus and the look in Klaus' eyes when he was set on fire was actually Tyler! So Klaus will be forever stuck inside Tyler.


LOL, why is everyone so excited that Damon saw Elena first? Hello, what does that change? 1. He thought she was Katherine. 2. He talked about all the things Katherine wanted in life - passion, adventure and danger, what made him think Elena would want the same? 3. He compelled her to forget him....stupid if you ask me, cos WHO WOULD CARE? Elena would have probably forgotten about him the next day, and if she didn't who would she tell? Her parents? Ok, all she knew was his name, Damon....he never said Damon Salvatore...and there could be 10000 of guys with that name. He wasn't in any danger of ANYONE FINDING OUT that some dude named Damon was in town...Srsly did the writers come up with that last minute or what?


Big shocker Bored now has a boat load of posts on here and I have skimmed over what they wrote as it is the same stuff over and over about how they hate this show, that the characters suck! Well for the 100th time stop watching this show. You really make it unenjoyable for those that like the show and like a place where the FANS of the show can come and comment and have a nice experience. One thing I will not miss over the summer is you!
I think this was a great finale, it was full of shock, sadness and some laughs.


I wonder what's gonna happen when Elena remembers all the things that Damon compelled her to forget (i.e. when they first met, when he told her he loved her) now that she's a vampire and the compulsion wears off. Will she choose him then or stick with the safe choice Stefan? I for one cannot wait for September to get us on the path to discover this answer. I thought it was a great finale. :)

Sarah silva

I loved this episode!
I read an interview yesterday with Nina and she said that at the table read for the finale and she said they were all emotional and then when they filmed the finale the writers decided to change the ending. So I am curious as to what the original ending was supposed to be, would Matt have died then instead?
One of my favorite moments was when Elena and Damon were on the phone and Elena was telling him she is choosing Stefan and that it was because they met first and maybe if she and Damon had then it would be different. I knew at that moment that she actually had met Damon first and I am glad we got to see that moment. You can tell that if Damon would not have compelled her that she would have fallen for Damon first. I am still team Stefan though.
Oh Bonnie, I knew that Damon should not have left her alone with Klaus. So Tyler is dead as he was in Klaus' body. So next season we will have TyKlaus.
I never liked Rebekah and I really did not like her last night causing the accident and killing Elena. If Rebekah would have listened to them they could have told her that they would find a way to kill Darklaric. I knew that they would make Elena a Vampire eventually but I was really hoping we would get a couple more seasons of her as a human.
I cried when I saw ghost Alaric talking to Jeremy. One thing I laughed at was when Elijah was making a deal with them and said he would stay away for half a century so that Elena could live out her life, I guess he was only expecting her to live until age 68.
I also think Damon was great tonight he was super funny when he was talking in the car to the group and then on his cell in the storage locker talking on his cell and then when Alraic found him and Damon's reaction. I am looking forward to September and how Season 4 will all play out


...Damon is my favourite character on the show since ep 1. The flashback and the fact that he is the one who met Elena first prove how amazing and selfless he is. Damon has been there for Rose and Alaric when they died, so the thought that Damon would have died all alone with no one by his side, killed me. The scene with Alaric and Jeremy at the end was touching.
I'm sad that Elena is a vampire now. She never wanted this but it will be interesting to watch how she will cope with that in the next season. It will also be interesting to see how she will react when she remembers her first encounter with Damon and Damon's confession that he loves her from 2x08.


Overall it was a good episode. I'm glad that Klaus isn't dead. I enjoyed watching the old Elena with her family and Jenna, I really miss Jenna. I am disappointed that Elena chose Stefan. After everything that she has been through I understand why she is making the safe choice, because if she chose the love that consumes her she would risk losing everything and Elena repeated several times that she has lost so many people. So she is not willing to take the risk.
I love Damon, so my heart broke watching his reaction when she rejected him. It seemed to me as if he was expecting it. It's no wonder on this show every girl chooses Stefan over him for some reason. I love Stefan too, but after all this DE build up in 3 seasons and after this season with so many DE scenes that were IMO more intense and much more emotional than all of the Stelena scenes combined, it was a huge letdown that Elena chose Stefan. Ian is a great actor, Damon's face when he thought that Elena was dead killed me.
Damon is my favourite character on the show since ep 1. The flashback and the fact that he is the one who met Elena first prove how amazing and selfless he is. Damon has been there for Rose and Alaric when they died, so the thought that Damon would have died all alone with no one by his side, killed me. The scene with Alaric and Jeremy at the end was touching.
I'm sad that Elena is a vampire now. She never wanted this but it will be interesting to watch how she will cope with that in the next season. It will also be interesting to see how she will react when she remembers her first encounter with Damon and Damon's confession that he loves her from 2x08.


Guys it's called throwing bones.. Even though she met Damon first does that change anything? In the moment if life and death she realized she wants Stefan. This triangle needs to end already. It will always be Stefan and Damon knows it. If she wanted an all consuming love that she was compelled to have she would be with Damon. Damon does not allow her to have freedom.. Let Damon move on already. Stefan makes her want to live.


actually, this was the first episode i really enjoyed after 3x05. it reminds me of the old days when every episode left you wanting more. can't wait for season 4. i hope elena turns dark because there should be complications when a doopelganger becomes a vampire. and then she should go shopping with katherine and pretend to be twins!
candice accola was excellent, i almost cried too.
even though i love damon, i do think it was too soon for elena to pick him. she's not over stefan and everybody knows that.


OMG, this episode was amazing! Elena finally chose Stefan and that was so great. She loves him so much and finally realizes how much better he is for her than Damon. You can see it by the way Stefan always lets her make her own decisions and Damon could care less about what she wants. It was so great that she finally became a vampire too, so she can be with Stefan forever! I just hope that Stefan is not going to feel guilty about not saving her first and go into self distruction again, because Elena wanted him to save Matt, not her.
Cannot wait for season 4!

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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.


Our life is one, big proverbial coin toss.


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