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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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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

But, back to my original reason for that post, I just think it's insane that people, especially people who claim to be fans, are so upset that "Elena" (not a real person) chose "Stefan" (Not a real vampire) over "Damon" (another fake vampire)...on a fictional show. I LOVE the show and am actually a Delena shipper, but it's TV for crying out loud! I post on here a lot because I enjoy discussing the show and getting answers to questions I have (kind of like a book club for TV), but I would NEVER consider lambasting an actual human if I was upset about a writing decision. I'd probably just complain about it on here a little and move on. And, if it got to a point that I really hated something, I'd stop watching.

Allison berry barbieri

@Qberry,
I didn't say people can't have an opinion. But people actually post death threats and HORRIBLE things to her and other show writers. My point is the extremes to which people take it. Insulting an actual human over the fate of fictional characters. And, to be fair, Julie Plec doesn't write every episode. My point was that people should not be flipping out over the direction of the show, particularly regarding "the triangle", if the entire story hasn't been told.
Besides, she has been the show runner the entire time, so why do you say she is mediocre now if there was a time you did love it? If you read the interviews with her, you will find the story actually makes a lot of sense and, while there ARE logic fails that annoy me at times, I still think it's a very fun and engaging show.

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@Besides, it's clear Julie Plec is passionate and cares about the show...she honestly seems to want to do it justice and really cares about the story and characters. Why don't people give her a break and let her tell the story? So people are not supposed to say that they think Julie Plec is a bad writer if that's what they think? Get real. I think she's a mediocre writer; caring has nothing to do with ability. This show could be much better if a better writer was at the helm. Not everyone is willing to turn a blind eye to the random plot twists, lousy character development, and the destruction of potentially awesome characters. I still watch the show, but it is no longer in my top ten. In a nutshell, I watch it now purely for entertainment, but I'm no longer in love with it.

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I do agree, however, that it was bad writing and too an extent OOC for Stefan. Because he always puts Elena first. It's a lot of damage the writers have created for Stefan's character so there definitely has to be a good explanation for it (like the compulsion scarring him so that he refuses to take someone else's free will away) instead of it just being a device used to fuel the love triangle and or/cause drama for Stelena next season. While it's natural it doesn't always work that way. In One Tree Hill though Julian wanted to save Brooke from drowning first he ended up saving Jamie first because she pleaded with him. And I found that believable. Here, I understand Stefan's actions and Elena's choice but in the writing it was flawed because I don't know if even Stefan would have been that selfless, if it makes sense?

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DisintegrationD As I said if it was a real life Stefan would have been able to save them both. But it's not.
And if I was good at swimming (unfortunately I'm not) I'd save my husband/boyfriend over anyone else. I think that's normal.

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Everyone is hating on Stefan regarding him saving Matt, buut does anyone think what it would do to Elena if Matt died in her place? How many people have died for her? Imagine how much guilt the girl is feeling at this point. Matt is someone that she loves dearly and you can see in season 3 how much she needs him. A stable, human relationship where there is no conflict or confusion who can just be there for her during this mess. Out of everyone, Matt is the most innocent. He was only involved to save her. Stefan would risk her being mad at him (see Season 2) but he won't take that choice away from her knowing what it would do to her, even though it would have killed him. It was Elena's choice; the same one her dad make. And I can tell you, she would make it again because that is who she is. Stefan will always carry this guilt with him but it was the right choice. It's about time people stop dying because of this girl (Jenna, Abby and company) He probably thought he could make it back to her but he couldn't. As a Damon fan I knew he would have saved her, but that would have been because he couldn't lose her and wouldn't have considered what another death would do to her. Rewatch the episode, you'll see that Elena can abrely function with all this death. Stefan had to make the hardest decision of his life. Many disagree with it but don't call him a coward because he knew he risked her death (which would have killed him) and his brother's hatred (which we've seen he cares about more) It was brave.

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Sorry for one another post : there's a mistake ... boring character from all tv shows and movies I've ever seen (except Twilight). :))

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Sorry I forgot. Stefan is boring character in all tv shows and movies I ever liked and really supported. But in fact Edward is the most boring character ever not Stefan. I really want to care about him.

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Otherwise I liked Tyler - Klaus thing but I really hope that Tyler is still in his own body and it's the same thing like with Alaric's alter ego. Please let Nina play Katherine once again. I love Nina as Katherine :)) I'm going to spend a part of summer watching almost all episodes once again and maybe I'll find a way to like Stefan and Elena more because in my opinion they're cute it's just that I don't support relationships just because they're cute. But I'm not going to change sides I just want to like S/E relationship more. And ofcourse Stefan's character because I like his relationship with Damon.

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continuation
They're amazing together and it's sad that I'm almost (80 - 90%) sure that Julie will never give them a chance. Maybe we'll see their other kisses in s4 and in a few seasons after that but I think that's pretty it. But as long as I'll see them together there I'm quite o.k. with that. But I'll be just upset if they don't give him someone else for awhile. :( (I'd like to have a new character for him because Rebecca is not an option for awhile cause she is the reason why Elena died.)
And yes I think that Damon should learn to respect most of Elena's decisions but I'll totally understand his anger after he will learn that Stefan chose to save Matt instead of Elena. And you know what? It's so clear that writers made this because it was the only normal thing they have been able to come up with to make Elena a vampire. I'm sure that Stefan would have been able to save both at once. Bad move Julie.

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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