Arabian (arabian) wrote,

7.22 - 'Gods And Monsters' (The Vampire Diaries)

Here I am with my write-up for The Vampire Diaries season finale. A wee bit late, but only about three weeks, and for a season finale, that's actually pretty good for me. (I normally run in the months!)

Warning... there is a whole lotta not so positive before I get to the happy, I love-my-show-so-much you're used to from me. Just wanted to give that heads up.

I waited a few weeks before rewatching the finale and writing this up because, well, it wasn't my most favoritest ever. Actually… it was my least favoritest of any Vampire Diaries finale ever. I wanted to make sure that was based on the episode itself and not the circumstances of my watching it (rushed in the wee hours of the morning before I went to work, quite tired, anxious about whether I would see Elena in any form or not, etc.). The rewatch answered the question. Yup, it's the weakest of the finales ever… but I don't think it's the fault of the episode's writer, Brian Young, especially.

Huh? You're thinking, me giving Brian Young the benefit of the doubt? I know, right! Hear (read) me out.

See, the first half, heck make it three-quarters, of the episode was really good. The dialogue was excellent. The flow was great, the character work really well done. I was absolutely drawn into the dilemma they were facing and feeling that beautiful sense of family and community. It was awesome. I loved how all of the pieces, all of the relationships—the broken and repaired bits—that had been building all season were playing out. Matt and Bonnie, Bonnie and Enzo, Stefan and Damon, Damon and Bonnie, Caroline and Stefan, Caroline and Alaric, Matt and vampires. Again… awesome.

But then came most of the final quarter and there my issues were. *sigh* And it was so very obvious WHY the issues were there. This finale felt like it was originally mapped out as a series finale, but then had to be reworked (along with the last three episodes to dovetail) into a season finale. I mean, come on, based on the Alaric and Caroline scene, and the last two Matt scenes especially, they felt like goodbye forever to these characters. They totally did.

Now, I said it wasn't Brian Young's fault, but I said "especially." And that's key. It's not all on Young because series finale/season finale… but, he does hold some of it. Yes, he does. I know that Caroline Dries is leaving The Vampire Diaries {sobs incoherently} after this season (as is Young), but *sigh* why, erm, then why couldn't she have written this episode before she left? *double sigh* Moving on.

Another point to series finale/season finale is the whole evil in the vault. Because here's the thing… it really just was not built up enough for the characters on the show to justify AN ENTIRE EPISODE BUILT AROUND IT. Think about it. Sure, we, the viewers, saw what was inside the Armory. We saw what Virginia told Bonnie about it in the flashback and we saw what happened after Bonnie spell-locked the Armory all up. However, the group did not see any of this. No, no, no, no.

Our fearless Scooby gang were instead simply going on what some chick in a mental institution (that's right—a *mental institution*) said and, oh, right, Alex whispering sweet nothings of warnings to Enzo. Yeah, Alex, the scary lady who tried to kill them, kidnapped them, tortured people, and lied to them for three years. Seriously, that is ALL they were going by. That is ALL that Bonnie spell-locked up the whole Armory based on. For serious. When you really think about it… it's like, for real, peeps? Like really reals?!

So Caroline's big—'Stefan, wait...' And Stefan's—'No, tell me when I get out...' And then her running into his arms (still... Awww! ♥) was based off of information that Stefan and Caroline didn't *really* know beforehand, and Caroline didn't know afterwards since she hadn't been inside the dang place. And, again, even Damon said it: "I've seen worse." {shrug} And HE HAS! So has Stefan. Heck, Stefan's inflicted worse. A LOT WORSE.

So to justify all of this 'Ooh, I'm so scared! We're all so scared!' of this big bad in the Armory when they really haven't much to go on for the freaking finale is, well, pretty sad. And then on top of that… I'm gonna just quote myself from above:

[…] it really just was not built up enough for the characters on the show to justify AN ENTIRE EPISODE BUILT AROUND IT.
Because it really, really was not. Seriously we pretty much spent an entire episode of Damon Freaking Salvatore standing outside a building or in a dark room, while the other characters were driving in cars or standing outside the same building. AN ENTIRE FREAKING EPISODE! How is this an episode of The Vampire Diaries? How is this a SEASON FINALE of The Vampire Diaries?!

If the evil in the Armory was that big a deal, why wasn't that pushed during the whole Armory story? Instead we just got bits of it that our characters seemed to only peripherally know about it. Why wasn't Rayna—who was awesome, I want to point that out again—tied to that part (the evil in the vault, I mean) of the story in some way? Again… clearly, whatever bs is being sold in the press, when this season was broken down, far enough into it… they thought this was the final season. That's obvious enough by the lack of cohesion and repetition of pieces in these last three episodes.

And then you look at the whole season and some of the arcs that looked to be heading somewhere that covered the series as a whole like Stefan's 'let it go' which was obviously about him needing to let Damon live his life separate from Stefan. Instead it became about *just* the stupid mistakes that Damon had made after Elena had been put under the Kai spell. It became about Stefan needing to let Damon go so Damon could make mistakes and Stefan not cleaning up those messes… and, that works for *this* season, yes. Sort of… if you squint and just take it from Damon's self-loathing point of view and Stefan's holier-than-thou point of view. (Still love you, boo!)

However… I really do not think that was the intention overall; it just didn't read that way. I truly believe it was supposed to be about the greater series arc. And by shrinking it down to just this season's arc, it failed to acknowledge the changes and better man that Damon had become in seasons 03 through 06 (especially 05 and 06). *sigh* I have to remind myself, though, take the series as a whole… take the series as a whole… it's a process, there's another season to go. They can still go there; they can still play this out, I know, I know. It's just frustrating because they were building to that understanding with the 'let it go' and it was beautiful and brilliant and I believe it was sacrificed by a less-than-brilliant writer in what should have been a beautiful scene between my brothers Salvatore.

The hug was beautiful; the sentiment was beautiful. The love was there… the words just didn't work. It felt like a rough draft. It felt like the 'let it go' was slotted in to fit with what had been established earlier in the season to reach some kind of conclusion since it was the finale. But that 'let it go' didn't feel earned in this way, in this conversation. Certainly not as written in that way. And, I'm sorry, but it pisses me off because I LOVE Damon and Stefan; I ADORE their relationship and I WANT scenes like this to be done *right.* This was not done right.

Also not done right, the letting go between Alaric and Caroline. I couldn't quite put my finger on it the first time I watched the episode, but I figured it out on my rewatch. We got the back story episode with Stefan and Valerie, Matt and Penny and Enzo and Bonnie so the goodbye with the former, and love stories with the latter two had emotional resonance, but Caroline and Alaric without the back story of seeing their "perfect family" play out, well, there was no there there.

When Alaric was talking about those "moments," and Caroline was talking about what she wanted ("the perfect family") and Alaric said that he knew she didn't love him like he loved her... all of that was absolutely "tell" without the "show" because, well, they never showed us. Not even a glimpse of those three years with them. Therefore, it just felt empty... there was no emotional connection with these two as a couple, even if it was a platonic couple, they were a mother and father together, that was real, but they didn't feel real at all. "Kill 'Em All' which had so much repetition could have been used as a flashback episode for Alaric and Caroline since that was the episode that featured the two vampire-hunting together. Yes, yes, we got Matt and Penny flashbacks, but it would have been fine to combine the two. And we needed that in order to feel anything when they ended, even if the romance wasn't real, their family was real. At least they say it is. Hell if we know because we saw nothing of the growth of it.

Don't get me wrong, I certainly was not a fan of Matt and Penny, but I did feel something in their scene in this episode because we did see some of their back story. We did get to know them at least to some degree. And I may have not cared for them, but there was something there that I could unbiasedly say: They were real. Alas, I still really wish that they'd cast someone else in the role of Penny. It's not that Ana Nogueira is a bad actress. She's quite good. I just didn't enjoy her or feel that she and Zach Roerig had any connection at all. It's a shame because the scenes in the flashback story with them were actually really good, as well as some of their "present-day" scenes when we first met her. And in this episode, I actually loved the dream-state scene. I just didn't like the character because the actress didn't connect, and the actors had zero chemistry. Yeah, such a shame, because that could have been a sweet, tragic little love story there. Ah well.

Oh, and, double the ah well. Ah wells? The Alaric and Caroline goodbye is actually where the episode began to lose it's strength, pulling me out of just watching it and instead begin critiquing. (I had begun to a bit during the Stefan and Damon scene outside the vault, but I was still mostly with the show.) We moved straight from Alaric and Caroline's 'it's over' to Matt saying goodbye to Penny in his delirium (oh, look! something else they've done recently—in "I Went To The Woods" with Stefan and Damon when Stefan was at death's door). From that we hopped right on over to Caroline and Stefan's reunion. (OK, fine, I did love that, I will not lie, but I'm not in Pollyanna mode yet.)

It felt like a checklist of 'Things we have to do before the series is over!' It was all: Caroline/Alaric, check! Moving on. Matt/random girlfriend, check! Moving on. Stefan/Caroline, check! Moving on. It didn't flow or feel organic at all. Tsk, tsk, tsk. I expect better of you, my beloved show.

OK, one more negative bit (with a cool! thrown in first) before I get to the yay!positive stuff (I know… FINALLY! Where have you been?!). I thought it was a nice touch there with Enzo when he almost died with Bonnie. (No, not that he almost died.) It was such a beautiful and selfless act that paralleled but on the flipside of how he died as a vampire with Stefan back in season 05 in "Man on Fire." I didn't catch it at first, but did on my rewatch. It may not have even been done on purpose, but knowing this show, it's certainly possible that it was. I thought that was cool.

*sigh* (And here comes that negative...) On the other hand, it was yet again another retread of what we saw with Damon and Bonnie from the episode RIGHT BEFORE. She was THISCLOSE to killing him and he was being all 'forgive yourself, I don't blame you, blah blah, blah' at the end and then just when it was about to happen, someone else stopped her (Matt with Damon, Damon with Enzo). Yeah. In other words, these last few episodes REALLY showed me that when this season was originally broken down (and through three-quarters of it) they thought this was it. It's pretty clear they were obviously filling in blanks last minute that were probably set with series ending stuff. Uh huh.

OK then... as for all of the negativity that I have spewed about this episode (and it honestly pains me to have this much negativity to spew about The Vampire Diaries—let alone a Vampire Diaries finale {gasp}—I just do have to blame Brian Young. Yeah, so much for not lowering the boom on him, huh? A better writer could have tweaked some of the issues I did have. The Stefan/Damon conversations outside of the vault? Yup. The Alaric/Caroline conversation could have made the lack of show less obvious by not pointing out ALL OF THE THINGS we weren't shown.

The complete and utter lack of transition between the Caroline and Alaric scene to the Matt and Penny to the Caroline and Stefan scene may not have been on Young, but Michael C. Allowitz has directed some pretty great episodes and, yes, editing can make a difference. Perhaps there were massive scenes cut in between, but I dunno. If I'm right and it was changing a series finale to a season finale (along with changes based on the last few episodes as well), yeah, I do believe a better writer could have done a better job. We'll never know though. I wish that wasn't the case. (Why couldn't Caroline Dries have written this?!??! Or at least co-written it with him? SOBS!)

*deep breath* Don't get me wrong, a good portion of that standing and driving around featured great dialogue, great character work, great interaction—which I referenced above. It's just… well, "standing and driving around" for nearly 42 minutes is not really what I expect from The Vampire Diaries. I expect more... because this show 98% of the time delivers more. (Explain again to me why they let Brian Young write the freaking finale on his own? I don't understand; I really, really don't.)

OK, that's it… no more Negative Nellie, Positive Pollyanna has come out to play now. Wow, I am sorry that there was so much negativity. I did really love the first 25 minutes or so of the episode, and then the last 5 minutes. And the only scenes I flat-out didn't like were the Alaric and Caroline scene and the Damon and Stefan scene outside the vault. Regarding the Alaric and Caroline scene, well the less said, the better.

And to be honest, with the Damon/Stefan scene, I can't really say I didn't like it because the acting was so good and they hugged and they were both so sincere and the love was so real and beautiful and I LOVED that. Did I mention that they hugged?


Ahem. Also, while it's easy to just look at it from our *all-knowing* points of view and get frustrated, I do have to remind myself that just because we know that Damon has cleaned up Stefan's messes so very often, it helps to remember that in THEIR minds, especially Damon's... Stefan is the one always cleaning up Damon's. *sigh* And to be fair, Stefan did clean up Damon's this time around with the whole taking of the mark, etc. Ack, but that brings me back to just *this* season and not the whole series… and I start to travel down the road of Nellie and not Pollyanna and I'm not going back there, so… deep breath.) So yeah, overall I can't say I didn't love it because my brothers Salvatore. I just thought it could have been better.

Like their scene outside the Armory. That may be surprising for some to read, but I liked that one. Stefan was right on pretty much every account, but so was Damon, both in their own ways. Damon was afraid that he would do something so terrible that Elena wouldn't be able to forgive him when she awoke; but more than that—and this is what Stefan doesn't realize—Damon was afraid that he would do something so bad that it would lead to Stefan or Bonnie having to pay for his actions. So, yes, it was fear… but the fear wasn't just for the reasons that Stefan believed.

As for Damon's definition of love, yup, that's what his definition of love is… and you know what, Steffy-poo? That's Elena's too. She'll do anything, risk anything to save the ones she loves. And you don't realize it, but it's yours too. Because you'll do anything, risk anything for the one you love the most too… aka: Damon. But you keep leaving the fantasy because that's who you are. And the thing is Stefan was also right when he said that he wouldn't want to be Damon. So right. He would be a TERRIBLE Damon. The worst! He should never be Damon. Stick to being Stefan. Just let Damon be Damon. You be you, boo.

Especially when you're you with Caroline. That's the best you of all. ♥ ♥ ♥ I did like me those Stefan and Caroline scenes. And I'm going to choose to just ignore the surrounding stuff I didn't like about it and just concentrate on the sunshiny goodness of my Stefan and Caroline. See… so pretty.


This is what we should have had all season long. *sigh* Stefan looking all puppy-eyed and adoringly at her. Making their cute little jokes at each other. But being all sweetly concerned. And adorable and perfect. They are so adorable and lovely. And THIS is what and who Stefan and Caroline are.

Sweet and lovely and adorable.


And this is what Damon and Elena are. Even when she's not there… they still bring the hot and sizzle and heat. Yup. Oh, Damon, we can see where your mind is at now can't we? Boy was clearly thinking of mostly Elena sexytiems at the end there. Can't blame him. It has been about four years at this point.


*Sigh* So, yeah, this is what I said in my write-up for the finale last year.

Elena's presence will still absolutely be felt as I mentioned above. Elena's name is going to be mentioned a lot I have to imagine. Again, we still hear about her parents and Vicki and other characters that left years ago. Elena Gilbert will NOT be forgotten and Damon and Elena's love story will continue to be a significant part of Damon Salvatore's story."
I think it's a safe bet to say that I called it. Yeah. Definitely. I think there were two or three episodes that didn't mention Elena by name and of those, only one didn't actually reference her.

Characters who were just introduced this season knew who Elena Gilbert was, how important she was to these people and that she was the love of Damon Salvatore's life. Diary entries were written to her regularly. She was referenced constantly. She was referred to in the first person, in the present tense. She was all but a regular character who may have not been seen physically (well, except for that one time when Damon thought he burned her dead, and, in this episode with Damon's flashbacks—see above and below), but her presence was way, way, way totally felt.

Yeah, totally called it. Hehehehehehe.

Oh, and by making Damon totally the evil (possessed by, whatevs, same difference)… the show has now managed to come up with yet another reason to keep Damon love-interest free (beyond appeasing Damon/Elena fans—and you know, actual logical story-telling reasons). Sure, there might be evil sex, but it won't be Damon, it will be thousands-year old evil from the vault sex, not Damon. Have I mentioned how much I love this show? And how unbelievably awesome they are and how unbelievably awesome and amazing it is that they have kept Damon and Elena's love story completely sacrosanct despite the leading lady haven't left the show what will now be two seasons ago? SO. AWESOME. AND. AMAZING. YAAS!

Also awesome and amazing. OMIGOD! It finally happened. It only took seven years, but we finally got it. I knew it was coming; I knew it. Well, I told myself I believed, but I didn't really believe it would happen. So much that even though it happened, I didn't realize it until I was talking to someone after the show had aired and it only hit me then. All my talk about the whole point of the 'Damon sucks and everyone hates him' episode (actual episode title "One Way Or Another" - 7.18) was to open the door to Damon allowing himself to be vulnerable to those around him,and to allow others to start seeing that Damon is not TEH EVUL!


Caroline acknowledged that Damon did something selfless, that Damon actually did the right thing. This is huge. Yeah, yeah, Damon has done selfless things before and has done the right thing many a time. Damon has actually saved Caroline's life, her mother's, her boyfriends' (plural) and right in front of her own damn eyes. But here's the thing… Caroline was never able to remove the blinders from those damn eyes before to see it. And that was the point of the last batch of episodes. That was part of what even happened tonight.

Yes, Stefan stopped Damon's plan of getting the twins, but note how Damon didn't try and nab another pilot. Damon just let it go after that. Damon is doing this for Bonnie. Damon is the one who got Bonnie out of the dream-state when no one else could. Damon is the one who made the deal that saved her life to begin with. Caroline has seen or knows about all but the first one. And this is all the point. Damon took responsibility with Stefan outside that vault (annoying writing that didn't quite earn that 'let it go' or not). He still took the responsibility of handling it, mess made of it or not. He didn't make a quip; he didn't quietly walk off and do it without telling anyone or make up some cover story to hide what or why he was doing it. He just laid it all out there.

This is how he is with Elena. This is the side of himself, the openness, the vulnerability that he gives of himself only to her. This is why she trusts him so completely because she knows he deserves it; he is worthy of it. The others do not because he's given them absolutely zero reason to believe it. But now he is showing them who really is. And what he got in return was Caroline finally (*finally*) acknowledging that Damon did the right thing, that Damon did something selfless. What he got in return was Stefan—without any equivocation—saying "It's not his fault."

O. M. G. Yaas! It finally has happened. Damon Salvatore is getting the credit he deserves. HALLELUJAH!

Oh, speaking of this non-fault thingie. Yeah, that evil. I had said that I loved the last five minutes or so. This would be pretty much from Stefan and Caroline's reunion (♥ sunshiny pretty! ♥) through to the end. Damon's "Oh, I'm so forgiven" (HI-larious!, so Damon and just one of his many awesomely fantastic lines throughout the episode—he really did have some great lines… see, Brian Young did do some great work, I just… yeah) to Bonnie. And then hearing Elena's voice calling his name.


The flashbacks to hands holding, caressing her face. Bonnie and Enzo trying to convince him that she's not in the Armory. She's in Brooklyn. But Damon hearing her voice. Elena's voice. More flashbacks to the first time they made love, the first time Elena kissed him in Denver, when they kissed after Damon convinced her he wanted to take the cure and live a human life with her.


She's calling to him. Needing him. Desperate for his help. Again, the first time she kissed him, the first time they made love... quick flashes. Ending on that final kiss we saw, that beautiful, tender kiss.


And he's remembering her, these precious memories of her. So there he goes, walking back further and further into the vault. Joy on his face, in his voice as he asks "Where are you?" And then her voice changes and suddenly she sounds vicious. This is NOT Elena Gilbert. He turns, horror on his face. The screen goes black.

So well done. Yeah, this is the The Vampire Diaries type of finale I know and love. Bonnie arriving, Enzo drawn into the same malevolent evil, and then the desperation of Stefan trying to get to his brother; followed up by the goodbye of Matt (before trying to help) and the three month time jump and the waiting, the waiting and the waiting. Before we see Damon and Enzo and the warehouse of bodies hung up like slabs of meat. Chilling smiles on their faces, blood pooling at their feet. :shivers: So, so, so good. I can't wait to see what's in store next season.

Alrighty then... random thoughts—

- amberfocus mentioned that they might be using twins for the Armory. I was thinking she just meant for the evil in the vault and thought that would be too powerful. Obviously, yup, it would be, so I was right in that, but she was right in that they did use the twins to siphon Bonnie's spell to open the Armory.

- Speaking of the twins, it will be interesting to see how much or how little we see them next season. Obviously they do have some powerful siphoning skills so they will be useful little buggers. My only issue is, well, not to be unkind, but erm, couldn't they have gotten better little actresses? And, yes, they are out there. Eh, maybe they'll recast.

- Matt, even as a human, really is such a hero (fighting to stop Bonnie, even despite his anti-vampire "stance," trying to get out of the truck, even injured). Oh, I felt so much for him. My poor Matty.

- OK, so I love my show desperately, but they had a pretty big glaring plot hole. Like HUGE! Oh noes, how do we open the vault door?! What can we do? Only someone with Armory security clearance can open it? What will we do? I mean, it's not like a bunch of dead Armory peeps are laying all around us with available hands that have Armory clearance or anything! And it's not like the show already made it clear that chopped off hands work perfectly fine in opening Armory-clearance security doors since Bonnie chopped off Enzo's arm and used his hand in a previous episode. DUH!

- SQUEE!!! Nina Dobrev did the voice-over in that vault scene where Damon heard Elena's voice! It wasn't cobbled together from previous episodes! I thought when it first began that it might have been done (but I didn't recognize certain words/the way they were spoken) and thought maybe it was new stuff… and then it was confirmed that Nina did sneak into Atlanta and did it. SQUEE!!!!

Phew! So yeah, really good first half or so with great character stuff, tense build-up, great ending, but overall… yeah, weakest finale, but I am still, of course!, very much looking forward to next season for the following reasons.

1. It's The Vampire Diaries.

2. Aside from the first two episodes of the series, really, we've never seen evil Damon. By the third episode we were already seeing Damon's humanity peek through (thank you, Elena!). We've seen Stefan with his switch off plenty of times, Paul Wesley as Silas, and recently, Ambrose, but to get the opportunity to see Ian Somerhalder play evil… especially a flat-out evil Damon (even a possessed one) is something I'm really looking forward to watching. Oh yeah!

Oh, and based on the little bit I've read, it seems like it's going to be a fairly long possession. Not just a handful of episodes, but possibly at least half of a season. That? Would be awesome!

3. Despite the final Alaric scene making it seem as if we were dunzo with the character, Matt Davis is indeed returning and it looks as if speculation that I've had about Ric finding the more adventurous, less 'normal life' side of himself is coming out to play next season. Yuppers, we apparently are going to be seeing Alaric 'Indiana' Jones. Yay! My only issue is that the two actors he has the most chemistry is are Ian Somerhalder and Michael Malarkey. Yeah. On the other hand, the third actor he shines best with is Kat Graham so there's that to look forward to.

4. This is an iffy because I don't know what the deal is yet with Zach Roerig. I originally didn't know whether or not he was coming back because the finale sure played like Matt was gone, gone, gone (yes, I can hear bogwitch's cheers making me go deaf), but then I read that he was coming back and *I* was cheering because I would have been really bummed if *that* was Matthew Donovan's end on the series. After everything he's been through and everything that he's been done to go out like that, never really having much happiness in his life and having lost pretty much all of his friends and never truly bonding with Damon? That's just wrong.

On the other hand, I haven't read anything else to confirm that report and I'm not seeing his name listed on any cast list, so I'm back to being bummed. I want Matt back and I want him to have a good, happy story, damnit! Trying to be positive, I'm speculating on the chance that Roerig *is* indeed coming back (please, please, please!). I still see the very real potential of something happening with Matt and Bonnie especially if the Evil Possession of Enzo (and Damon) does last a fairly long time into the season.

Now who we know for sure is coming back at this point. Ian Somerhalder (Damon) will be back. Yup, I totally called that one wrong. I really thought he'd be done after this season. Oh well, can't complain about more Damon, LOL! However, he's said that this is pretty much his last season now, but he did rescind the comment that it was The Vampire Diaries' last season. Also back, Paul Wesley (Stefan), Kat Graham (Bonnie)—The eight will be her last season, though, Candice King (Caroline), Matt Davis (Alaric) and Michael Malarkey (Enzo). If that's it, it would be the smallest cast they've ever had. Of course (of course!!) I desperately hope that Zach Roerig is added to it. (But damn, that's male-heavy.)

- As for my darling Nina Dobrev, as she is filming the remake of Flatliners, yeah, no way she is coming back next season now—which honestly, I really didn't think she was. However, I still really want to see her more than just a final scene or two in the series finale or Ian's final episode, please! I want to see Elena come back and spend some time with her loved ones, and dangit, I want to see Damon Salvatore as a human for at least an episode or two.

But that's next season. That is still to come. We have now finished seven glorious seasons. Wow. I am sorry for those Damon and Elena fans who decided to not watch season 07 because Nina left. Sure this season had flaws, but every season does. No show can produce 22 42-minute episodes of perfect television, but The Vampire Diaries does a pretty damn fine job, I think, of creating an awesome bunch of them. And, heck, even the not so awesome ones are generally fairly great.

As for the Damon/Elena aspect of the episodes, well, even without Elena's actual physical presence… they were darn Damon/Elena-y. From episode 01 all the way to episode 22… Damon's story was, as it always has been, about his love for his girl and his brother. This time, he just happens to have a best friend he loves like a sister as well now.

AN ASIDE — Ooh… Damon told Bonnie that he loves her like Elena loves her (like a sister basically). Bonnie and Elena have always been closer than Bonnie and Caroline, Caroline and Elena, and now Bonnie and Damon are like brother/sister. Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham are both leaving the show after season 08. I wonder if miraculously, the CW does renew the show for a 9th season—stranger things have happened—Bonnie will leave with Elena and Damon and start a life wherever they are. Hmm…. Anyhoo, just had that thought. Back to my wrap-up. — END ASIDE

And I'm fine with that because you all know I love me some Damon/Bonnie besties. I'm still not sold completely on Bonnie and Enzo, but we'll see what happens next season. Overall, I really liked this season. Unfortunately, it does rank as my least favorite—even though it features two of my favorite episodes like evar ("Hell Is For Other People" 7.10 aka 'The Damon Episode' and "I Went To The Woods" 7.17 aka 'The Stefan/Brothers Salvatore Episode')—for three reasons.

1. Yes, I've said that we feel Elena's presence all over the place, and that the problem isn't that we don't have a leading lady because we have Kat Graham/Candice King; it's that there's no central love story (beyond Damon/Elena and hello!, Elena's not physically present)… but that's rational logic talking. The number one reason is… no Nina Dobrev, no actual physical presence of my precious, adorable cupcaked-face Elena. WAH! I MISS HER SO MUCH!!


2. The first half gave us the most boring villains ever: The Heretics. Well, that is except for one Heretic who was awesome: Oscar. And they killed him off in the first episode that he was introduced in. Lame. Lily was awful because Annie Wersching is awful. I told you all she was awful. I warned you. It was a great story for the boys' mother, but, ugh, the actress. Ugh, ugh, ugh! Why didn't they cast Claudia Black in the role of Lily Salvatore instead of that dreadful Dahlia on The Originals, damnit! Ugh!!

Lily was awful. Julian was boring until the end before he finally did get more interesting (then he, you know, died), but that might have been just because that was just comparing him to the others. Mary Louise had potential that she never lived up to. Nora was OK, but she may have just only seemed so because all of the other Heretics were awful and Scarlett Byrne (the actress playing her) had really nice chemistry with Kat Graham. Valerie was good, but not great even though Elizabeth Blackmore was a lovely actress… the character just had no spice or, excuse the pun, bite to her, at least not after it was revealed that she was just another past ladylove of Stefan's who never got over his milkshake. And Beau… :shrug: Nothing was ever done with the character. He was introduced as a cipher, he died as a cipher. Oh, and then he died again as a cipher in someone else's body. Malcolm? We barely knew ya.

In other words? The Heretics were no Originals. Rebekah had more awesome in a flip of her hair than the lot of them combined. Except for Oscar. Oscar was freaking awesome. Oscar will never be forgotten!

3. The last three episodes with the repetition and dragging of storyline and lack of build-up just felt like the writers had broken down a final season, not a season that expected another. So we had full-on retreads, conversations rewritten that basically said the same things, almost as if full scenes had been pulled out willy-nilly and quick rewrites had to be slotted in at the last minute. And I think that's exactly what happened.

Still with that said only episode 20 and parts of 22 (sadly) suffered. Episode 21 was awesome, and the last quarter of 22 was awesome. So if I'm right about what happened with those last three that shows just how fabulous the vision and get-it-togetherness the team of The Vampire Diaries has.

Moving along... so what is going to happen next season, I don't know. Julie Plec is still around… presumably she will be much more hands on as Caroline Dries has departed. {{sniff, sniff}} I don't know if someone else is stepping in alongside her. We shall see. I do expect the show to continue to be awesome; I have not been let down yet. Yeah, yeah, I know I said that this was my least favorite of the seasons, but with that said my least favorite season of a Vampire Diaries season is still heads above just about any other television show for me. I LOVE IT THAT MUCH SO VERY HARD!!

Phew! Another season down and this bad boy is just a wee bit over 6,300 words. Go me! (Hey, last season's finale was over 9,000 words.) So I shall see you next season (or sooner… if I get off my duff and write some more season 01 write-ups).
Tags: alaric saltzman, bonnie bennett, caroline forbes, damon salvatore, damon/bonnie, damon/elena, damon/matt, damon/stefan, elena gilbert, ep discussion-tvd, ian somerhalder, matt donovan, nina dobrev, paul wesley, stefan salvatore, stefan/caroline, the vampire diaries, tv

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