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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User Rating:

Rating: 4.7 / 5.0 (1039 Votes)

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


Thank you for understanding where I'm coming from. I see your perspective, I do. I realize that the worst thing for Elena to feel at this point is knowing that someone else has died yet *again* because of her. I understand why she pointed so furiously at Matt and I realize that she'd rather die then let anyone else die because of her- especially if she can stop it. I *admire* Stefan for respecting Elena's intuition and her faith in people (like Elijah) and am mostly irritated at Damon for trying to be so domineering. That is Damon's one true fault- I see that. If Elena and Damon ever end up together that is the one thing that will always be a thorn for them until Damon changes himself.


The day after the "day". I`m still in shock. Well i know the stupid books at it was in it`s core no surprise. But the lost of human Elena hurts me more than i`d ever imagine. I`d loved her for her attitude to stay human, growin old and havin kids. All this is gone. And even that the Stelena fanbase can be lucky that she chose Stefan, i think Delena and Stelena lost both in a way. A good portion of the love of both Salvatore was Elena`s humanity. She reminded them what it`s like to be human. They find both humanity in her and pure love. I`m pretty sure things will change for both teams. But i`m not sure if they will love "vampylena" the way they love her as a precious human..So many loss


Ok. But pick Damon in the end!!!


well i think that she should pick damon!!!!!! although i understand her obsession with stephan i think that damon has always been the best for her. Season Finale: 10\10


i was crying non stop…if it were me, i would have chosen stefan, because he is her soulmate he is the love that gives her a reason to keep living and that is what love is, the kind of love that gives you hope in the darkest of moments. ive experienced love that consumes you and its not the best kind of love, because you completely lose yourself in the process and you forget who you are, stefan always allows her to choose for herself where damon always thinks he knows better than she does at making her own choices. i feel for damon, but she belongs with stefan, because no matter who met her first, you cant decide who you love in one second, stefan won her heart in all fairness because he gave her a reason for living again. elana might be a moral compass for damon, but stefan is her moral compass and he is the one that her heart truly belongs to…damon still loves katherine and he always will, she was his first love. that will never change and elana is not katherine… but one thing is for certain the creators of TVD seriously know how to murder our emotions…


All i can say is that Caroline is going to be pissed at Bonnie with the
switch.Glad that Damon and Jeremy get a goodbye with Rick.


First, I've said it before and I'll say it again, Elena doesn't have to choose one brother or another, she could easily have both, there's no reason she couldn't. Second, I called it last episode. Klaus is back once again, just like I knew would happen. God, will we ever be rid of the villain that's long LONG overstayed his welcome? Third, it's FINALLY happened. Elena is now going to turn into a vampire. All I can say about this is it's about damn time. Maybe she'll actually be useful for something on this show besides the damsel in distress for once. I am going to be royally pissed off if they overturn this and either call Bonnie and prevent her turning or turn her back to human later, I doubt they'll pull that though.


If the situation had've been in Damon's hands he yes would have saved Elena but she would've not only hated him but more importantly herself and what kind of life would that be for her to live. Stefan made the right choice, for Elena and just the right choice as a person. Elena has been saved enough it was time for someone else to get saved.


I don't know why so many people think that Stefan was wrong to let her make the choice for him to save Matt. 1. Elena woudn't have ever forgiven herself if Matt died in her place and that guilt would probably be worse than death or life as a vampire. 2. The world doesn't revolve around Elena. Yes the show revolves around her for the most part but in the real world Matt was on the side of the car Stefan opened Matt was unconcious he needed to get out of their sooner than Elena so he was the right choice to take out first. maybe Elena didn't even think she was saying hey just save Matt she was probably thinking no get Matt out of here and come back for me. Why don't vampires swim as fast as they run?? If they did Stefan could have quickly gotten Matt to the surface gotten back to Elena and everything would have been all good. I really think Stefan didn't assume that Elena was gonna die. She was still conscious when he went down there so he probably thought he had enough time. If the situation had've been Damon in his place he would have saved her and Matt would have died leaving Elena to hate herself not just Damon and that hate for herself isn't something she would overcome. Stefan did the right thing hands down.


I have mixed feelings about this episode. I knew the direction that they were going with Elena as soon as she made a miraculous recovery in the hospital. I have also thought for a while that Damon never had a chance, which makes me mad because of all of the small Damon and Elena moments that are in the majority of the episodes, I feel like they wanted us to root for them. I was most surprised by the whole Klaus-Tyler deal. I think that was my favorite part of the episode, in fact I had to watch it again so I could try to figure out just when Klaus took over. Maybe I like Damon so much because I agree with a lot of his reasoning. I would always choose the person I love over anyone else even if they hated me for it. I never understood the problem with Damon giving blood to Elena in S2 because she would have still had the choice to complete the transition.

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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