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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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I liked this season finale. But although I think that Stefan and Elena's kiss was sweet that's pretty it. Nothing else. I guess my life is enough boring that if I was Elena I'd take a risk to be with Damon anytime even if it wouldn't last longer than a few months. Sorry but from all characters I've ever seen on tv and movie screen Stefan is the most boring character ever (and it's really NOT Paul Wesley's fault much). I've always liked all moments with him when he was a ripper but otherwise I really don't need him to be there. Not that I hate him I just don't care about him at all. But at the same time I'm sure why I love Damon and Elena. This my love and obsession is still there because of Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev. No matter how they tried to hide it their chemistry is there even onscreen. Actually they're already the third couple I support as much onscreen as in real life. And although people say that most real life couples don't have much chemistry all my three couples have it. They're the reason why I love this show and I actually started watching this show because of Ian (huge LOST fan here) and his chemistry with Nina (yeah because I've just seen a few video clips on youtube maybe silly but true).

Allison-berry-barbieri

through a book if you didn't like something? NO! You'd read until the end. Now, if they series ends in a crappy way, it's okay to feel cheated or get a bit miffed...but even THAT won't warrant anger towards REAL people over fictional characters and stories. 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?

Allison-berry-barbieri

Also, can I just say that I am a Delena shipper. But, I totally get why Plec and Co decided to do what they did in having Elena pick Stefan. He was her rock in tough times and Elena lost everything...he was there for her in her human life when she didn't want to live. Damon was not a stable choice for Elena. And Plec said that this is only half-way through the story...with the triangle as the main premise of the show, she is sure to go back to Damon at some point. Personally, I'd like to see Damon as end-game for the series, but the Stefan choice really does make sense with the story if you think about it. He's going to have to be there when she transitions. He is the person that helps her through things.
Also, I really can't believe the way fans are attacking the writers and show runner over a choice made on a TV SHOW. People are just ridiculous. It's not real life, people! Just enjoy the story (or don't). You don't even know the ending yet...would you get pissed halfway through a book if you didn't like something? NO! You'd read until the end. Now, if they series ends in a crappy way, it's okay to feel cheated or get a bit miffed...but even THAT won't warrant anger towards REAL people over fictional characters and stories. 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?

Allison-berry-barbieri

5. If there WERE no ambulances and Stefan took her to the hospital anyway, shouldn't he have high-tailed it out of there with Elena before she woke up in the morgue?? 6. Why didn't Damon try to bite Elena during their first meeting? Is it because she looked like Katherine? I mean, he was pretty bad-ass in Season 1. Doling out love advice? Kind of out of character, even if it did add into the story-line. 7. So, is Tyler in Klaus' body or are they sharing Tyler's body? How is Klaus going to overcome the nasty burns that stake gave him?

Allison-berry-barbieri

Questions I need answered after ruminating on this episode a few days: 1. Did Elena know she had vampire blood in her system when she asked Stefan to save Matt? 2. What was stopping Elena from just unbuckling her seat-belt and swimming out herself (other than the need for her to die to complete the story-line). 3. What was Stefan doing on the bridge anyway? Did he have a feeling Bex would go after Elena? Was he running out to stop Matt from taking her out of town? 4. Why did she go the morgue? Even if Stefan didn't know she had vampire blood in her system at first, surely Meredith told him at some point. They both knew she wasn't DEAD dead. Wouldn't some hospital workers freak out to see the dead girl from the morgue stroll out later? Did ambulances and police officers go to the scene of the accident and bring her to the hospital? If so, won't they FREAK OUT when they see her alive later? 5. If there WERE no ambulances and Stefan took her to the hospital anyway, shouldn't he have high-tailed it out of there with Elena before she woke up in the morgue??

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very disappointed by Bonnie. once agn she ds a spell to help th bad guys. shameful. nd cldnt she use matt. the man hs NO DEPTH. hes a lurking human pest. klaus myt hve powered hm wth sme fire. hpe tyler cmes bck hes th only reason i myt wtch season four.

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Just few little things that bothered me in the last episode.. First,I really wish Klaus had died.. instead of being transfered to Tyler's body. Second, I understand in a way why she picked Stefan over Damon, it was unconditional love, but she will always caring Damon with her, she can't shake him. & Now that we know for a fact he met her first, hopefully as a vampire she remembers that & it changes her min.d Third, the end scene with Elena's eyes opening as a vampire was indentical to Bella's eyes opening at the end of Breaking Dawn part 1. Yes, Elena does become a vampire in the book, but the show is nothing like the book. & Forth, I hope that turning her doesn't screw up the show, the way that killing Marisha off of the OC screwed up in that show and only gave them one more season. I love TVD that much & I want it to go on for more than just one more season. Tho now that Elena's a vampire I really don't see it going past 4 seasons :(

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Elena makes the easy choice and for stupid reasons. What happens in the car does not make sense, or it means Stefan does not love her how it's supposed, because, although Damon's overprotection is a little exagerated, if you love someone you don't let her die, no matter what happens next. What Damon says is true, it doesn't matter is she hates you, what matters is that she is ok. Stefan does not let her make their choices because of respect but because he doesn't want her to get mad at him. That's a very weak character and a very selfish actitude. I hope that now that Elena is a vampire and she will have her feelings intensified she will choose wisily. On the other hand, she will remember all the things she was compelled to forget, so maybe she will reconsider things.

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Finally, even that it broke me that Elena chose Stefan over Damon still I managed to unterstant that she wasn't ready yet to be with Damon and that she needed to be with Stefan after all that she went through and all that loss cause she needed a safe and secure choice plus they're still in the middle of there journey which I'm enjoying immensely and like Julie Plec said:" Elena as a character will continue to evolve and change, as will our boys, as will their feelings for each other and for her. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.". I want to add that this was an amazing season and I really can't wait to see what's gonna happend next.

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2nd what really pissed me off was Stefan's inability to make a choice and saving Matt's life instead of the life of the girl that he love out of respect for her decisions which is something I can't understand and the concequences of his actions are that Elena is gonna turne into a vampire cause of Meredeth treatment (vampire blood) for Elena which means that if Elena didin't have vampire blood in her sistem when she was drowning she should be dead by now and I really don't want to think how it would be when Damon finds out that his brother sacrificed Elena's life cause he was respecting her decision.