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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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OMG, I felt sad when Elena saying she chose Stefan and let Demon out of her life.
Anyway after Elena turned into vampire maybe some changing will be coming,,,,,I hope :)

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@Jb Because, meredith known as using vampire blood for her patients, salvatore and elena's friends and jeremy won't allow her using that way to save elena..

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Can someone please clear something up for me? Stefan is very strong....he seriously couldn't pull Matt and Elena out of the car in the water at the same time? Really? And why would Meredith keep from everyone that Elena's head damage was potentially deadly?

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Saving Matt sorry

David-and-sabrina-2014

I figured out more of the season finale and I saw that it was a major shocker. The vampires,including Stefan and Damon,are lucky to be alive but the spoilers tell us that Klaus isn't dead. Rebekah spoils up Matt,he drives over the bridge,Stefan comes to rescue Elena like before,but she says to save Matt's life instead. Elena dies and I'm not sure if Dr.Fell gave her what she needs to come back as a vampire(arriving in season 4)or Stefan must've gave her vampire blood before she died out when he got her out of the water next. I feel sorry that Elena lost her parents on this bridge and she died out the same as well. Hopefully that when she's a vampire,she'll still love Stefan when she chose him. I can't wait for season 4.It's going to be an awesome but major startup(just like Breaking Dawn part 1 when it stops with Bella becoming and waking up as a vampire and then coming part 2 with her life as a vampire to face the Volturi).This episode was the most insane and shocking than I've ever seen from out of the other seasons. =O

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And how interesting the part with the bridge ! Stefan saving her intead of the dad/Stefan saving Damon instead of her ! Nicely done. Those flashbacks were FINALLY useful !

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ok, didn't really like the episode... and Elena "turning into a vampire" well, not yet... She has yet to complete the transition which is not a done deal... But what I liked the most was the flashback with Damon ! Which leaves us an open window for Delena ! And I thought Klaus was dead ! Damn, that guy never dies ! Bonnie and Meredith are both in BIG trouble ! Bonnie because she saved Klaus without them knowing about it, and Caroline is not really gonna be happy about it... But where does that leave us with Tyler... And Meredith, well obviously her playing god finally paid off : Elena got turned coz she died, all that because Doc here had to do it, again... Season 4, we'll see because that season 3 wasn't so good...

David-and-sabrina-2014

I don't know much yet of the season finale but it sure looks like it ended insanely wild and cool. I can't believe that my prediction was right of Elena choosing Stefan and now the Stelena fans will rise again. I'm sooooo happy!!!!XD =D Once I found out the rest of the finale,boy will I think it was a shocking but awesome ending. I can't wait for season 4!!! =) XD =D

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OMG i love the vampire diaries and i cant wait to see the 4th season!!!!!!!! I'm so exited

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Well, I’m not condoning death threats—I don’t take any TV show that seriously. If you love the show and think there’s little wrong with it, fine. For me, the writing has deteriorated and needs to improve; and I’m not just talking about the love triangle. They need to step up the writing and the directing and if that means changing Julie Plec or whoever is in charge of writing the episodes (I really don’t care what their names are) then so be it. The show used to be much better than it is now, so whoever was writing it before has fell off their game. They need to know that. But, life goes on and I agree that there’s no need to make death threats over a TV show—that's just stupid.