Arabian (arabian) wrote,
Arabian
arabian

8.16 - 'I Was Feeling Epic, Part II' (The Vampire Diaries)

And here is the second part of my REALLY long post.

Previously on "PART I

Bonnie was ready to give up on life—and she is still so young—but Enzo was just not having it. That is true love; that is selfless and beautiful and just so very right. He held out his hand and pulled her back to life when she was ready to give up.

And it was Enzo's presence, his hand on her shoulder, his reminder that she wasn't alone that kept her going when she felt her magical reserves running low. As she fought, as she told the very depths of Hell itself that she would do this, she could do this. That it could not have her. After she had decided to live, to fight not only for herself, but for her friends, for her town, Enzo was there to provide emotional strength, to help her keep going.

 
 

He was the first reservoir of power that she drew from and he reminded her that she was not alone, she was never alone. Standing with her was not only her (our) beloved Grams, but the other Bennett witches of the bloodline. Going all the way back to the first witch, Ayana, who helped Esther make the original vampires. There was also the Witch of the Five—the Bennett who sacrificed herself to create the five Hunters whose purpose was to hunt down and kill vampires. Along with them, we saw Lucy Bennett, the lovely Lucy whom we had been introduced to all the way back in early season 02. Lucy who had had been blackmailed, used and tricked by Katherine to hurt her own family without her knowledge. And, upon finding out about Bonnie, she had turned on Katherine… and had not only helped our group, but had given Bonnie sage wisdom that set her on the path to her destiny. Finally, the Bennett witch who was there when the bell was created to destroy Hell itself, Bea Bennett. There she was, standing right by Bonnie's side, lending her strength in seeing the destruction wrought.

 
 

I will not lie, after watching the episode twice, and multiple rewatching of various scenes (and even more watches during gif-making), this scene with the generations of Bennett witches remains my favorite of the entire episode. It was just so powerful, so thrilling, so emotional, and so beautiful. It was just so freaking awesome. All the Bennett witches standing there, hand in hand, chanting the spell over and over, their voices in unison growing louder and louder. The determination on their faces, the faith radiating from their very beings, a chain of power created from their magic… a magic that came from good being wielded for the sake of good by so many that had sacrificed themselves in the name, in the duty of doing good. And here they were, their spirits joining to combat the very evil of Hell to send it back to its depths to destroy itself with its own power. And then together with all their combined might, the Bennett witches—channeled through Miss Bonnie Bennett—surged forward and literally sent Hellfire back unto itself. Amazing.

 

Bonnie: I'm gonna save the world. [One hour later...] I did it.
Yes, Bonnie. Yes, you did!

What she did not do, at least I choose not to believe, is what Julie Plec claimed the others on the writing staff decided upon in this post-finale interview.

Ever since Episode 305, I've quietly shipped Bonnie and Matt. Linking the Donovan/Maxwell bloodline with the Bennett bloodline in the flashback episode we did earlier this year was my effort at trying to make—what do we call them, 'Monnie?'—happen. If you lose your epic love, you're not meant to go without love. You can still be happy, have a partner in life, have children, have a family. I thought, "The two people who have fought so hard to save the town and these people should get that." I thought it would be nice if they had each other. There was a pitch on the table where they had kids and a white picket fence and everything was dandy. Ultimately, everybody else thought it was sexier that—with Enzo being her ultimate soulmate—that she could just go on and take dozens of lovers and enjoy the world until it was time to move on.

Firstly, ah ha! I was, in fact, not delusional reading into stuff with Matt and Bonnie after all… even going back to "The Reckoning" in season 03! I wrote this in the write-up of that episode:

So, uhm, erm, are they chemistry-testing Bonnie and Matt? *Sigh* I can sorta see something happening because Jeremy is all caught up in this Anna/Vicki stuff, and Matt and Bonnie find themselves turning to the other, maybe something bad happens, Bonnie and/or Matt feel betrayed and whoops! The Vampire Diaries briefly remembers which network it's on and they fall into bed together. Yeah, I can see that happening.

So, yeah, there's that. Obviously at the time, I was not exactly down for anything tip-toeing near the idea of romance between Bonnie and Matt for several reasons. Firstly, I loved my sunshine and puppies couple that was Bonnie and Jeremy despite Jeremy being a major dumbass with regards to Anna at the time (although, I totes understood where he was coming from). Secondly, the idea that yet another duo in the group would pair off romantically was so predictable and CW-ish, that I couldn't help but roll my eyes at the idea. Finally, at the time, I was not the biggest fan of Matt Donovan. (I know! Shocking!) In fact, I preferred the character of Tyler to him. (I KNOW! SHOCKING!) It wasn't until the mid-way point of season 03. It was literally the midway point; episode 11, "Our Town" is when I really began to enjoy the character and then episode 15's "All My Children" is when my love was solidified. Obviously, my hankering for a romantic connection between my beloved Bonnie and my marvelous Matt has become quite the thing over the last few seasons. And little hints continued to tease that yearning. Such as Plec's referenced flashback episode with the Bennett and Donovan connection. Yeah, that one really got me hoping.

[Enzo will] still probably come back for good. But, but, but… if he doesn't… maybe we'll get a hint of a future with Matt! PLEASE! Pretty, pretty please! I mean, I cannot be the only person who watched their final scene and saw something there. Right?! […] Even his allusion to his forefather's closeness with Beatrice Bennett was a great, little bit. He offered her a bit of a tease, a story that she'll want to hear someday, something to distract her. (Oh, and I totally noticed that Bea is the first Bennett that we have met who had the same initials as Bonnie. And, Matt's ancestor and Bea totally had a thing for each other. Uh huh.) *sigh* Lastly, there were a few shots that just screamed "couple," including that gorgeously shot, final forehead kiss. If this means nothing, I will cry! (OK, not really, but I will be very bummed.) [...] maybe Matt and Bonnie will be the Maxwell and Bennett who have a happy ending whereas Ethan and Bea weren't able to.

- 08.12 – "What Are You?"

So clearly I am right *there* with Julie Plec, uh huh, and not so much with the others in the writers' room. Harrumph! So, yeah, I'm sticking with my preferred ending (and Julie's), thank you very much. Yuppers, just because we didn't see Bonnie, Matt, their kids and that white picket fence, doesn't mean that it didn't happen *after* Bonnie traveled the world, sampling her share of lovers in different ports. As far as I'm concerned, the show left both of their endings pretty much wide open, so I very much choose to believe that those two did eventually find one another. Obviously, Matt was not leaving Mystic Falls, and considering all that Bonnie had been through there and had done to save the town, she was going to come back after her adventuring days. And who would be there waiting but Matt. Uh huh. Yup, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. Unless The Originals does indeed get at least another season and Zach Roerig shows up to get a happy ending with Rebekah—but ugh, considering how they continue to horribly miswrite her, I don't see that happening. My Matty would never want to be with the callous, human-murdering, vampire that she's portrayed as on there. *sigh* It's OK, though, he'll have his happy ending down the road with Bonnie. Oh, yes, he will. I believe; I do believe.

As for now… he had a happy-ish ending in his career and with his family at least. And it was a beautiful one. Now, anyone who has been reading my thoughts on this show for a good while knows that I'm not a particular fan of Vicki Donovan. However, I will say that I loved, absolutely, completely and totally loved, what we got with Vicki and the whole Donovan family. I loved that the presentation of Vicki ringing that bell was shown as one of heartbreak and relief. She wasn't evil. She wasn't even really trying to hurt the town or anyone in it, especially not her brother. (Even though I had surmised the possibility that Vicki might hold a grudge against Matt based on their last interaction in season's 03 "Smells Like Teen Spirit.") Yes, the intentions behind the ringing of the Maxwell Bell were evil, but those were Katherine's and she was using Vicki's torturous existence in Hell to manipulate her to get her to do her dirty work.

What was so beautiful—well, after the first somewhat darkly amusing scene between Damon, Vicki and Matt—was that Peter and Matt understood the circumstances. Neither blamed Vicki and instead of holding her actions against her they used Bonnie and Stefan's plans and sacrifice as an opportunity to make amends and say goodbye. Peter and Matt themselves were grateful that Vicki would be able to escape from Hell. And all three of them were being given the chance for peaceful, loving closure with each other. I truly found the scenes among the Donovan family so good; they were emotional and powerful, highlighting one of the strengths The Vampire Diaries has always had: The importance of family.

 

Also highlighted was the importance of friendship because just as we saw Vicki (and others, of course) find peace with those who were still living, we also saw that she (like others, such as Tyler) found her peace in the afterlife. There she was watching her brother, the Sheriff of Mystic Falls, bask in the gratitude of the town, while their father looked upon with pride. And by her side was Tyler Lockwood, our favorite hybrid-human-werewolf-vampire- cockroach-spirit.

Now, speaking of that moment, I'm of two minds seeing those two together at the end there and I'm fine with both viewpoints. I can see it either in a romantic sense that in the afterlife, the two did at last find themselves making it work. After all, Jeremy was Vicki's second choice. Tyler was the one she wanted, her white whale, the one she yearned for. On the other side of things, Vicki truly was the first person that Tyler tried to be the better person for. Unfortunately, she just happened to die—OK, she was fed vampire blood, killed, and thus turned by Damon… and then staked by Stefan—the very next day. So while Caroline, and then Liv, got the full benefits of seeing the kinder, gentler, less douchebaggery-Tyler Lockwood, it was Vicki who first reduced the douche.

 

The other option is that the two were just pals hanging out watching a shared someone that they both love (a sibling, and a best friend) in a triumphant moment. After the ceremony was over, Vicki headed off to wherever her happily ever after was, and Tyler found Liv and dragged her away from hanging with Luke. I'm fairly OK with either scenario. Now had the Liv and Tyler love story not been as short-changed as it had been, I would be more pro-Tyler and Liv forever in bliss!, but as their romance was kinda undermined as the season 06 advanced, I am fifty/fifty on it. And on this show, if your character's names are not Damon and Elena in kissy-kissy-face-ness, friendship over romance pretty much always wins in my book.

Ooh, speaking of friendship! Aww, it wasn't much, but I got me some Matt and Damon to close the series out. (Yes, I will always and forever take what I can get when it comes to my precious Matt and Damon besties-ness, OK!) There they were working together to open the episode, figuring things out—if one counts Damon "killing" Matt's sister one, two times and Matt's response being only a frustrated "Damon!"—as figuring things out together. (Spoiler alert: I do.) Totes, it was so like a friend saying "Dude!" to another when they do something, you know, just kinda mildly annoying. (This is my truth, I choose to believe it. Give me this.) Finally… aww! We got one last crack from Damon insulting Matt's lack of competence. Yup, a sign of true bestie-love from Damon Salvatore there. I will miss my Matt and Damon interactions. Ian Somerhalder and Zach Roerig have damn fine chemistry. Erm, you know what? So did Michael Trevino's Tyler and Penelope Mitchell's Liv, so yeah, I'm going to 70—nah, 75/25… oh, screw, it… Tyler and Vicki weren't holding hands. They're just buddies watching over their mutually-loved Matty. Vicki's got some after-ever boo, and Tyler has Liv. Yuppers. See… *sigh*

 

*sigh* Anyhoo, back to best friends forever… namely, Elena Gilbert, Bonnie Bennett and Caroline Forbes. Starting at the top of the episode, I must say that I adored the opening scene between Elena and Bonnie—even if I'm not quite sure why Elena is suddenly in this in-between world between life and death for our Scooby Gang other than the fact that the actress portraying her is available for this episode, but, OK! (Hmm, yeah, OK, that's the reason.) Still, the scene was just gorgeous. Bonnie in her golden maid of honor dress brushing against the leaves as she walked by. The mild confusion on her face turning to surprise when she saw the ornate bed, decked in luminous white. When she saw Elena lying on that ornate bed. Surprise turning to joy. And Elena opening her eyes, bewildered as she awoke in the forest—sleeping beauty, indeed—and then her bewilderment turning to happiness when she saw Bonnie. It was such a lovely, lovely moment.

 

The loveliness was dimmed, of course, by Elena's realization that the Bonnie standing before her looking very much as she had last seen her was a sign that just maybe seventy-some years had not passed. What was still lovely though was the selflessness of Elena immediately coming to the fore. Even in this in-between spiritual world Elena Gilbert is thinking of her friend and her future, her untapped potential for love, for life, and for more Bennett witches. Never mind that if Bonnie dies, Elena will be reunited with Damon, with her brother and her other friends. But it's not Bonnie's time, not yet. Even if she's "ready."

 
 

Fortunately not only Elena, but Enzo were both there and not ready to let her go gently into that good… day. Instead she was led back into that not-so-good night of the real world of Mystic Falls where Caroline (and Stefan) were waiting for her. And, aww, then we saw the other pair of the trio besties in a beautiful moment when Bonnie and Caroline just dove into each other's arms so tightly. And then she let Caroline know that she saw Elena… because of course she did.

 

Later in this episode we had another even more heartwarming scene between Caroline and Bonnie that just made me smile and flail a bit with joy over how much I love their friendship just as much as I love Bonnie and Elena's. While telling Caroline that she was going to save the world (and she did) without going into specifics, Bonnie also took the time to tell her something more important. She told her that she loved her. And it was beautiful, and we got another sweet hug. *My heart.*

There was another great scene with Bonnie, this one with Elena, although I did like the spiritual woods scene better. That is probably because this scene included the explanation for the solution to the cure. On one hand, I had to laugh at how it was simply a matter of Bonnie telling Elena that she's finally gotten good at that magic thing. Uh huh. On the other hand, one might say that is a wee bit of a cop-out. I mean, after all, Bonnie *did* die briefly. Her heart *did* literally stop… so, uhm, why not just go with that? You still could have had Elena trapped by Katherine and Kai in the high school boiler room. On the other other hand, if one looks at the resolution to Sleeping Beauty cure from a character perspective, it's pretty fabulous. Bonnie being able to break the spell made perfect sense when you look at what she did earlier. Well, actually, not even so much at what she did (although, that was impressive), but rather that in doing so, she *realized* that she could do it. That was what was so powerful about the Hellfire scene and the aftermath moment; it was about realizing Bonnie realized that she do it. One has to think back on what she did and realize that the other Bennett witches weren't actually there. Bonnie wasn't actually channelling their magic. She didn't have the magic of every Bennett witch helping her, chanting alongside her. Bonnie was actually doing all of that by herself. That is why we had that final shot of her standing all by herself saying "I did it." Because SHE, BONNIE BENNETT, did it. All by herself.

Throughout the entire series she has been questioned, her ability has been questioned, she has, in fact, questioned herself. Katherine even mocked Bonnie's ability in this very episode. She has lost her magic here, there, at various points. It's been taken away from her because she abused it, or she's lost it because she didn't believe. Bonnie went this whole season without having any. But now, for the first time, she was shown fully, completely that, yes, she is THAT strong; she is that powerful. She CAN do it. She is a descendent witch of one of THE oldest (if not the oldest) witch bloodlines out there and she now knows how to channel it. And she finally, fully believes in herself. So an easy answer to the Sleeping Beauty cure from a plot point of view? Sure, but from a character standpoint? Beautiful. And, even taking away the lightweight plot solution, the rest of the scene between the Bonnie and Elena was quite, quite lovely still. There were bittersweet notes, such as when Elena simply said: "Where is he?" She didn't even have to say his name, Bonnie knew that Elena was asking about Damon. *Oh, my heart.* But what I took away most was the love between these lifelong friends, reunited again, the smiles, the hugs… there was such happiness; I loved it.

 

However, I do wish that we had gotten an Elena and Caroline hug as well. *sigh* It's just frustrating that Caroline and Elena seem to be given short shrift. They certainly did in the season 06 finale—no goodbye scene between just Caroline and Elena, they only had a few seconds before Bonnie joined them while Elena shared goodbyes with everyone else important in her life as well as people not so important like, uhm, Tyler? Again, in this—and being the series finale it was the literally the last chance on this show—there was no special moment, no reunion that was just for Caroline and Elena. And it was even more glaring because Elena had not one, but two with Bonnie. *double sigh* At least we got this lovely moment with them...

 

The joy in Elena and Caroline's expressions was just beautiful. And while the rest of that scene may have quickly become about Damon and Elena (so not complaining about that), we did have more with Caroline and Elena very soon after. When the two were sitting on the bench with Bonnie, the focus and discussion was almost entirely on Elena and Caroline. So there was that and while it wasn't just the two of them, it did still highlight their friendship. Coming so soon after her awakening, there was Elena making sure that she delivered Stefan's final message to his wife, giving her best friend that final gift of love from her husband.

I had referenced above when talking about Stefan and Elena's goodbye that I appreciated that the Stefan and Caroline-ness was saved for later to focus on bringing the series' origins full circle to a close. This would be the later that I was thinking of… *sigh* Again, my damn breaking heart… "He got my message." She said, with a brilliant smile on her face, through her tears. Oh, Caroline.

 

There was so much that I liked about the show choosing to save that message from Stefan about Caroline until later in the episode. For the afore-mentioned final, definitive closure it gave to the Stefan, Elena and Damon triangle, and also because of how it did give at least a bit of a connective moment of friendship between Caroline and Elena. Finally, what I did love about Bonnie being there as well is that the three girls are like sisters, a family unit and the message that Caroline gave Stefan was that she understood. (And my goodness, I loved, loved—heartbreakingly *loved*—that "I understand.") What she understood was that Stefan was choosing to sacrifice himself for his brother, for his family. And that is what we were seeing with the three girls, in that scene, on that bench… family.

And isn't that the heart of what The Vampire Diaries has always been about? Family. Yes, indeed. Therefore it made perfect sense that the three families we saw in the Pilot were reunited in some form or another in this final episode. The Donovans in the aftermath of the town's deliverance, there stood father and son, alive and no longer at odds, and the daughter and sister, once a broken girl, now whole and finally resting (standing) in peace. The Salvatores, two brothers torn apart by women—one gleefully determined to have them both, or maybe just the younger, all to herself even if she destroyed them in the process, another desperate to save, again, the younger, even if it meant destroying the older—but in the end brought back together by their indestructible love for one another.

Finally, the first family that we were introduced to, the Gilberts… by way of Elena, especially, but also Jeremy, and by marriage, Miranda's sister, Jenna. And it was absolutely fitting that just as we came full circle and reached closure on the triangle in every way, so was the case (with one exception) with the Gilbert family. Their story began in tragedy. Elena telling herself that she would be fine, that she was fine and that today would be different, she would begin to move on with her life after the deaths of her parents. And, of course, we know that that tragedy was just the beginning. Within the next few years the deaths of her aunt, her uncle (daddy) and her brother (and then not) was to come… and so much more. However, now in the afterlife, Elena found not only peace with her true love—Damon Salvatore, who also found peace with his family, Stefan—but she also found peace with her family.

 

And it was so beautiful. So filled with joy. And with Jenna! You know, I expected to see Jeremy and the ghost, spirit, whatever you want to call it of Grams and Liz… but I was not expecting to see my precious Jenna. My beautiful, gone-too-soon Jenna! Yes, of course, I should have been anticipating it, I know… but I was not, silly me. But there she was, on the Gilbert family porch {*sigh* the Gilbert family porch} with her sister, Miranda, and with her niece… and, my goodness, with Uncle Daddy John Sark! Yes, Jenna wasn't the only with her sibling. Grayson was also with his brother, John. That means that John found peace in the afterlife and was accepted fully as a member of his family. Even more than that, the smile and hug that he and Elena shared… why you'd almost think that the lifetime full of happiness that Elena experienced (plus the sacrifice that John had made for her) was enough to ease her distasteful feelings for him in life. Erm, yeah, thinking on that smile and hug, I'm thinking it did indeed.

 
 

JENNA! SO HAPPY! Look at how happy and full of love they all look, all huggy and smiley! ♥ ♥ ♥ *big happy sigh* JENNA!

OK, moving along… I have spoken often of the parallels and callbacks that The Vampire Diaries uses aplenty in brilliant and powerful ways. In this finale, the show went above and beyond in recalling scenes, lines and visuals that suggested moments from earlier episodes. I have already referenced several, but there were many more. There was a parallelism with Stefan's funeral to Bonnie's that we saw in season 05, episode 04's "For Whom The Bell Tolls." Both of the funerals took place in a wooded clearing with loved ones placing items of connection between them and the person they lost on a designated spot.

 

I spent a bit of discussion above on the lovely scene between Elena, Caroline and Bonnie on the bench in the graveyard (although Bonnie was just there offering silent support). What I did not mention was that Elena offering comfort to Caroline over a Salvatore brother lost was a parallel to Caroline offering comfort to Stefan over the other Salvatore brother lost on that very bench in the season 05 finale.

 

There were also quite a few callbacks to the very first episode. Before Stefan went into the light to find his peace, he ran into Elena in the hallways of the Mystic Falls high school just as he had all the way back in the Pilot. (Fortunately, this time, there was no awkward Boys bathroom exit involved.)

 

There were also a few Elena and Damon callbacks, one way more clearer than the other. The first was Elena's reaction to seeing a crow. In the Pilot, she was mildly bemused. Ahh, but this go-round, there was just the hint of a smile on her face. Also, *aww* we had a lovely callback to Damon watching Elena and her sensing his presence when she was writing in her diary in the cemetery. Back then Damon was just a shadowy, barely visible figure and Elena was uneasy, knowing that she was being watched, unable to find the source and not liking it. Now… well, the smile on her face when she looked up and saw Damon standing before her, his gaze resting upon her, was beautiful.

 
 

Speaking of couples I love, there was one more Pilot callback (thanks florencia7, can't believe I missed it!) Stefan and Caroline's goodbye was said outside a row of lockers in the Mystic Falls high school. Caroline first saw Stefan… while she was standing in front of a row of lockers in the Mystic Falls high school. *This show!*

 

It was a small thing—and I could be stretching this a bit as it certainly is a common form of vampire-killage—but when Damon snapped Vicki's neck, I immediately flashed back to when he did so all the way back in "Lost Girls." The shots aren't exactly the same, but comparable enough in the similarity of the close-up right before the snap and the long-shot of her fallen body.

 

I talked plenty above about Bonnie, Grams and the plethora of Bennett witches whose spirits helped her take down Katherine's Hellfire. Here I wanted to point out one specific point that brought to mind one of my favorite Bonnie-related moments of the entire series. Bonnie was working on sending the ghosts back to the Other Side—this would be in the seventh episode of season 03, "Ghost World"—due to the seedier elements that were coming through (hello, Frederick). It wouldn't just be the naughty ghosts leaving Mystic Falls, though, all of them would. One of those that would be going bye-bye was Anna who had been making some time with Bonnie's honey, Jeremy. Anyhoo, Jeremy and Bonnie had discussed that bit o' betrayal; she had made it clear she needed her space and Jeremy had left. Later, Bonnie was alone, sadly gazing into the fire when suddenly someone took her hand. At first I thought it was Jeremy—and, truth be told, I wasn't very happy about it—but no, it was Grams, staying behind just a bit longer before returning to the Other Side to lend one final show of support. It was a beautiful moment, like I said, one of my favorites. In this episode, Enzo told Bonnie she wasn't alone and suddenly Bonnie felt her hand being held… and there was Grams. And I was immediately brought back to that instant that I had loved so much in season 03.

 

Another little moment that was such a sweet, well, bittersweet, gift to Stefan and Caroline fans was the snow globe with a miniature Mystic Falls that Caroline set on Stefan's grave marker in remembrance. When Bonnie was left in the alternate world all on her own for months on end, she chose to cling to her sanity in many ways. One of those was by remembering happy Christmas times and one of those happy Christmas times was when the girls involved the boys in their gift exchanges. Caroline was none-too-happy that she got Stefan because all he got her was a Mystic Falls snow globe. *sigh* Yeah.

 

Yup, yup, yup… lots of parallels and callbacks in this finale and of course, I loved it. In addition to the above mentioned ones, we saw Tiki's grandfather! Remember him all the way back from early season 01? He was at the carwash and remembered Stefan from the 50's. We also had the twist in the storytelling revealed in a flashback—Elena telling Caroline what Stefan had told her—as had been done in both season 03's "Homecoming" (episode 09) and season 04's finale, "Graduation." Par for the course and keeping the parallelism on point, all three twists involved Elena, Stefan and Katherine. Not so significant, and again, this could be one that was just me and was not intended at all, but when we saw Elena wearing her scrubs I thought of Tara in her scrubs from "We Have History Together" this season. I thought of her because of how she had reminded Damon of Elena. Again, I don't know if that one was intended or not, but it struck me.

Finally… the first time we heard the voice of Elena Gilbert it was a diary entry. She was speaking of a hopeful future, of things getting better. She was looking forward for the first time in months, forcing herself to put a smile on her face. And the last thing we heard of Elena Gilbert Salvatore's voice was her speaking of her life, and talking of what a happy one it was. She spoke of the ups and downs… of how love made it all worthwhile. In the beginning she was forcing herself to believe that she could be happy again. In the end, she spoke of how she was happy again.

Phew! And I do mean… phew! Onto randoms…

- Erm, why was there no reaction at all from Elena when Bonnie said she could "be with Enzo now?" The last time Elena saw him, he was still more or less on the outs with the rest of the gang, held on only by his past connection with Damon and flirt-a-thon with Caroline. Erm, yeah.

- Hah! Matt telling one of his deputies that the town has to be evacuated because of a gas leak, followed by the perfectly dry delivery by Zach Roerig of "Yeah, again," cracked me up.

- Hahahahahaha! I must admit that when I saw Stefan reach down and pick Elena up and do the hero-carry with her, I was like 'Really? We made it through eight freaking seasons without having that happen and now in the very last episode of the series it happens? REALLY?!' Ugh! And then… and then… BWAHAHAHAHA! He failed to actually save her. Heeheeheee! Chortle, chortle. Giggle, giggle. Teeheehee! {Snort}

- I was a tad confused by Stefan telling Damon that he could have "quite literally an eternity with Elena" because, well, he can't. Uhm, Steffie? Elena is human now, once Elena awakens from her Sleeping Beauty spell, she'll only live an ordinary human life not an eternity. Silly Stefan.

- This shot was gorgeous and powerful. It truly was just Bonnie Bennett, a young, singular witch on her own fighting the power of Hell—and its Queen—and she began that fight as the Hellfire rushed through the doors and Bonnie held it off with her power. The beginning of the scene as presented here was beautifully directed and set the stage for what was to come.

 

- Speaking of Katherine…

Matt: You're gonna believe Katherine Pierce? She's a liar!

Poo! Matt dissed Katherine. OK, fine, I can't exactly blame him, but still… poo!

- Hah! Stefan used vervain. Like I said above, of course he did. Although, I didn't like how Stefan still looked compelled in the beginning of his flashback. It was a cheap tactic that was used to fool viewers, but I'm not sure what the point was as it was only for about two seconds, so… uhm, yeah, kinda cheap and pointless, but whatever.

- So, the cure was indeed just the one vial after all that back and forth and doing the math discussion that really just made it more confusing. Ugh.

- Whee! We got to see Elena in Damon's bed one more time!

 

- One of my favorite moments was literally a few seconds long but it just meant so very much to me. After all that has happened between them in the past, all of the hate, all of the discord, all of the angst and disapproval… *sigh* To have it be Caroline be the one to turn to Damon with such joy on her face, happy not only for Elena, but for him that he was finally getting his girl back was just, aah, it was so beautiful.

 

- And beautiful on a completely different level was seeing bb!Jeremy again! Jeremy, Jeremy, Jeremy! Yes, of course, I would have loved to see more of him. And I'm not quite sure why we didn't see him in the final Gilbert afterlife scene of peace—unless Jeremy passed into that good light after Elena, hmm, I guess that works. However, we saw him, he was adorbs, and that is enough for me considering all of the awesome that we did get in this finale. And, hey, there is a potential spin-off with the Salvatore Boarding School For The Gifted and Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) could totes be in that.

- As befitting a show called The Vampire Diaries how could it not end with a series of diary entries? Matt, Bonnie, Elena, Alaric and Caroline letting us know what has been going on. Caroline, sweet Caroline… who is being watched over by Liz. *sigh* I knew, I just knew that we would see Liz somehow in this finale. Marguerite McIntyre is the only recurring guest star who has been in every season and I had zero doubt that I would see her. That did not stop me from tearing up when I did. *double sigh* My heart. Oh, Caroline, Oh Liz! {sobs}

 

- I loved that Elena explained exactly what I've been saying (literally) for years about why she sees Stefan with rose colored glasses.

Elena: That's my life. Weird, messy, complicated, sad, wonderful, amazing and above all, epic. And I owe it all to Stefan. When I met him, I had lost my parents and I was dead inside. But he brought me back to life. And I'm going to live it as best I can, for as long as I can.

That is exactly why Elena continued to see him in the best light possible no matter what and this is why it has made perfect sense to me.

- I loved Isobel Fleming Saltzman a lot. However, I completely understand why we did not see her in the peaceful afterlife. I'm not saying that I don't expect that she didn't have her peace. I'm sure she did, and I'm just as sure that eventually she and Elena found their way to one another. I just understand why we didn't see it. Elena's relationship with John was completely different. She knew him her entire life, yes, as her uncle, but still, she knew him. He was a part of her family, and he literally gave up his life for hers. Isobel was pretty much next to nothing to Elena in the limited time Elena knew her. If we were to have seen Isobel watching anyone it would have been Alaric, but that role was taken by Jo.

- Thank you, Vampire Diaries gods, you may have fallen down on your jobs quite a few times in this department, but I will give you this: For the very last full solo close-up of Ian Somerhalder, you did good. You did damn good. He looked BEAUTIFUL!


- So I was wrong. I really thought that he would see the town of Mystic Falls celebrating another Founders' Day, but alas it did not happen. In retrospect, I don't really see how they could have fit Founders' Day events in so it does make sense. With the references to the Founders in the previous episodes, I wonder if that was the original plan but it was one that was dropped, but the dialogue and props (such as the Founder's Day flyers we saw) were left unchanged.

- Ugh, stupid wigs, Nina Dobrev just couldn't wait three weeks to cut her dang hair?! There was a reason that we got so many close-ups of Elena where the top of her "hairline" wasn't visible. Uh huh. Don't believe me, look at the gifs with her and others and notice how it's cropped out while the person she's speaking with, well, we see the top of their head. Uh huh.

- My biggest episode critique is the fact that we weren't given a single moment of Elena with Alaric and Caroline's girls. Not even a dialogue-less moment of Elena holding her hands out to them in a long shot during a montage. I was really looking forward to seeing Elena with Lizzie and Josie. {pouts}

- Regarding all of the many, many returns we got that were so very, very welcome, I did read that Bianca Lawson (Emily), Malese Jow (Anna) and Joseph Morgan (Klaus) couldn't be in the episode because of scheduling conflicts. They did get around Morgan's absence nicely, and Julie Plec did realize that Anna not popping up made sense as she did find her peace with Pearl in "Ghost World." Alas, not having Emily as a part of the Bennett witches was a bit of bummer. I imagine that she was originally slotted to be by Bonnie's side in place of Bea. Ah well, Emily (and Bianca), you were missed.

In conclusion, was it perfect? No. I really did not like the wig on Nina Dobrev, but that was no one's fault but hers. OK, well, would extensions have been that expensive? {shrugs} Also, I wasn't very happy that Caroline and Elena didn't get a hug. And, yes, especially, I would have much preferred a longer, more meaningful reunion for Damon and Elena—some actual dialogue between them would have been pretty damn nice too. However… those are my only complaints. And for a series finale for a show spanning eight seasons that is not bad… not bad at all. And, honestly, I do think that (but for the wig-situation) those issues were mostly a matter of time. If only the finale had been two hours. *sigh* Why, oh, why couldn't we have had a two-hour finale? *double sigh*

If it had been two hours, we would have had time for Elena and Caroline to have interaction between just the two. We would have had something, anything, with Damon and Bonnie {sniff, sniff}, Damon and Elena would have probably gotten that proposal scene in a flashforward, not to mention some more meaningful present-day interaction. We likely would have gotten more Jeremy, maybe Matt and Damon, Damon and Alaric, Alaric and Elena, Elena and the twins. Ah well. Maybe we'll get to see some of that in the *eighteen!* minutes worth of deleted scenes that hopefully will all be on the season 08 DVDs. Regardless of all of that we did not get, it doesn't take away from all that we did get and all that we did get was beyond splendiferous.

As a die-hard shipper, obviously, I would have liked more Damon and Elena (see above), but as a fan of the show overall, I was thrilled because it showcased exactly *why* I love this show so much. It was about the friendships, the families and the town of Mystic Falls and how it brought them all together. When I first watched the episode, I teared up a little bit which surprised me because I expected that I would have been bawling all over the place. However, I realized after talking to a few friends that I was still somewhat numb, not quite accepting that this was it. When I rewatched it the following morning, my reaction was more as I had expected. I began crying during the Donovan bell tower scene through to Caroline telling Ric to stop the car and leaving that message {sobs} for Stefan and then on and on. I just began crying anew with every epic moment.

Overall, this episode was… well, this may seem an underwhelming word, but I don't think it is, I think it fits and that says a lot: Satisfying. The key word for this finale is satisfying. And that is a very tall order for a series that has been on the air for eight years. It is so easy for a show to lose their way, lose track of the threads that wove the tapestry of their characters, their storylines, their romances, their relationships, their bonds together and when it becomes too much or too convoluted over the passage of time to let them fall to the wayside or rewrite them. And when those final episodes come and especially the very last, many of the above are just flat-out ignored. Not so in the case of The Vampire Diaries, all the history and the relationships that mattered were honored. Of course, I wouldn't have expected anything less from my beloved show.

Now as for the season overall, with this being its final, I can't quite judge it on its own merits because it is part and parcel of a whole in a way none of the other seasons were. I will say that with its conclusion, I can easily say that, yes, The Vampire Diaries is my favorite television series of all time. Despite my adoration of the show, I will also admit that, yes, it obviously is not perfect. And that brings me back to this season because, like seasons 03 and 04, it had some major inconsistencies that the others did not. I put that down to the fact that Julie Plec was—if not on paper, in reality—the show's sole executive producer for those seasons and this final one. In seasons 01 and 02, she was working alongside Kevin Williamson. In season 05, she was working with Caroline Dries—in seasons 06 and 07, it truly did seem as if Dries was running the show. Sadly, as I have mentioned mournfully more than once throughout this final run, Dries left after season 06. Yes, Williamson returned to the show in this last year, but he clearly was only involved in the premiere and the finale. That is a shame simply because as talented as Julie Plec is—and I do think she is very talented—based on some issues in each of her more-or-less solo seasons, she tends to allow at least one considerable discrepancy to creep in.

In season 03, it was the nature of Stefan's humanity switch being on or off or on or off or on or… well, you get the picture and how that switch affected his actions or didn't or did or didn't or… well, you get the picture. In season 04, it was a matter of whether Damon's sire bond over Elena controlled her actions or didn't. It was exactly what Damon said, as in the exact, technical meaning. But, wait, no, it wasn't that… it was what Damon implied when he said something to Elena. Erm, no, not that either. Really it was what Damon wanted. No, nope, no, what it really, *really* was was what Damon said that he wanted even though it really wasn't what he wanted. Or, I don't know… something, something—writer X wrote this Y episode and writer Y wrote episode X, maybe? I guess. I'm still not sure because there was absolutely zero consistency (bingo!) in how the sire bond was employed.

An aside… by the way that is why, in my canon, Meredith actually used some of the older vampire blood she had already stockpiled to help Elena that she had been using prior to heal people—Damon's blood had just been added to her stash. After all she never specifically said that she used Damon's blood. As for that *one* time that Elena did listen to Damon supposedly due to the sire bond? It was after she'd spent some alone time with Professor Atticus 'hypnotism-is-my-thang' Shane. Why? Because Klaus wanted Elena to get the cure so he could have his hybrid-making blood bag back. I still think the original plan was for Shane and Klaus to be working together but when The Originals came about that plan was dropped, thus the Shane/Klaus angle was scrapped as well.

Anyhoo, returning to the season at hand. In season 08, things were inconsistent and muddled with regards to the cure and what exactly it was that Sybil did with Damon's memories of Elena. First, it seemed like she replaced Elena with herself in Damon's memories. Then, it appeared as if she simply erased Elena from his memories. However, a few episodes later, she was bringing Elena up to Damon casually as someone who might see him in a bad light and that would/could affect him? It made no sense. It was… hmm, what's the word I'm looking for? I know! Inconsistent. In addition, there was the whole issue of Damon being blamed for something that he categorically did *not* do (1) and furthermore being blamed for something that he actually stopped from happening (2).
    (1.) He did not kidnap Lizzie and Josie. He had absolutely nothing to do with Lizzie and Josie being kidnapped. He was a ride-along victim of Sybil the Siren, not tagging along with Seline the Siren for funsies and/or her partner-in-crime. His mind was still under some form of control by Sybil and therefore could not just walk away. Despite that when he found out about the kidnapping of the twins, he spent all of their time together trying to convince Seline why it was a bad idea to sell their souls to the Devil. And then he came up with an alternate plan. Yes, it helped him, killing two birds with one stone and all that… but it still saved the twins.

    (2.) It was Damon's idea, Damon's plan to offer up his and Stefan's souls to Cade in place of the twins. Yes, this would keep Damon (and Stefan) out of Hell, but—and this is a pretty damn big 'but'—he got the twins out of Cade's sight line. Their souls were no longer being sold to the very Devil himself for all of eternity.
And what did he get in return for that? Alaric murdered him, while Matt stood over him watching the murder take place. Originally, I was OK with that happening because I figured that Ric didn't know the circumstances since Stefan—per usual and absolutely in character—had kept quiet about the specifics because he was mourning his happy with Caroline. Plus, Damon made a comment to Ric about regretting the beating he was giving him considering the deal he had just made… and then nothing. No follow-through, no recognition from anyone, not from Matt, nor from Ric (especially) that they had literally murdered Damon. In Ric's case, his supposed best friend, and the guy who had literally come up with the plan to save his children's very souls. Damon received no apology, no gratitude, not even from Stefan for putting Damon in that situation in the first place. I was very disappoint… to put it mildly. And despite the fact that Damon's very real anger about it—his repeated use of the word "murder" when talking about it after the fact—led me to believe along with the comment to Ric that there would be repercussions. But nope, nothing… again, not even a dang apology. {shakes head} Very disappoint.

Also, as of now, I still think that the whole Bonnie and Enzo having the truest love that ever loved was too, too much and that Bonnie just wasn't Bonnie enough with regards to her friends. She wasn't not only there for Damon, but she wasn't there for Caroline either. However, I am still hopeful though that in the aftermath of the last handful of episodes that their love story will work much better upon rewatch. I'll weigh in on that when I do my series rewatch follow-up post.

With all of that said, those were my only negatives. The rest of the season was good, so very good. Caroline finally put her issues with Damon to rest. She realized that he has changed. She realized that if her mother, and if her best friends (Elena and Bonnie) could love him (albeit in vastly different ways), it meant something. She understood that if a man she was going to marry (albeit if not because she was in love with him, but because they "shared" children) considered him a best friend, and if the man (his brother) she was in love with and did marry loved him so very much… he simply could not be the evil monster that she continued to see him as.

And an evil monster he was not, and even though it took way too long, we saw that none of our Scooby Gang saw him as such, not even Matty-blue-blue. Even though I don't believe that Matt has held Damon's killing of Vicki against him this whole time—remember he chose to blame Katherine instead of Damon in season 05's "500 Years Of Solitude"—bringing it all back to Vicki made perfect sense. What I think happened—and I think it was absolutely brilliant—is that by killing Tyler, Damon re-opened that Vicki wound and the sway that Damon held over Matt was lessened by not only that but also by the attack on his newly-found father. In weakening the love/faux-hate relationship between the two, and bringing Vicki back into the fold, it allowed Damon the opportunity to apologize to Matt for what he had done to him. It also gave Matt the chance to forgive Damon and put them on equal footing. Ah! My bbs, I love them so much.

My other bbs, Stefan and Caroline, were also mostly fantastic this season. Yes, there were a few issues, but other than the still inexplicable Caroline giving Stefan the engagement ring back until the twins were found, the issues make perfect sense in retrospect. We were being set up to realize that Stefan and Caroline were not endgame in the sense of a happily ever after. {sobs} Still, that doesn't take away with how beautiful and wonderful just about everything else with them was. The engagement, the moving in together, the family discussions, the beautiful, wonderful, perfect wedding, the beautiful, wonderful, heartbreaking goodbye. Ahhh! My heart. I loved them so much.

And you know who else I loved so much? So damn much? So, so, soooo damn much? Damon and Stefan Salvatore. The Brothers Salvatore. My Brothers Salvatore. *sigh* We finally got there. Willing to sacrifice everything and anything for one another. Their happiness, their girl, their future, their life so the other could have their happiness, their girl, their future, their life. My goodness, it was so beautiful, their belief in, and their love for one another. Oh, and I loved the structure of the season with regards to the brothers. The first part had Damon pushing Stefan away while Stefan tried so hard to save his big brother, believing that it was possible. As we reached the middle section, their positions reversed and it was Stefan pushing Damon away, while Damon began to push and try to save his baby brother, knowing that if anyone could be saved, it was Stefan. Finally, in the end, there stood the two of them, believing the very same thing about the other. Both pushing, both trying so hard to save the other, both believing that they could be saved and both believing that the other deserved it. Oh, my Salvatore brothers, I love you so, so much. (And, yes, I'm tearing up as I write this.)

Also so good… the twins. I will admit that when those two little girls were introduced early in season 07, I was not overly thrilled. I wasn't impressed with their acting—yes, yes, they're children, but I've seen very good child actors—and I was worried how having young children on a show like this would upset the balance. I am happy to say that my fears were entirely unjustified. Unlike most television, The Vampire Diaries wrote these little girls perfectly in character for their age, not only in how they acted, but in how the adults reacted towards them and treated them. And, boy, oh, boy did those two little actresses (Tierney and Lily Rose Mumford) grow on me. I simply grew to adore them somewhere along the line.

Another thing I was wrong about was my frustration with how Cade targeted not only the Salvatore brothers so easily, but Stefan, the Special Snowflake, Salvatore, so definitively. Of course, had I followed my golden rule when it comes to this show, I would have sat back, waited and watched and I would have been rewarded for my patience because, duh! Katherine. Katherine, Katherine, Katherine. Dear Lord, I love this show. That, along with a few other story beats, made such fantastic use of the show's history. Those other beats included how Seline and Sybil's past mirrored so much in Damon and Stefan's relationship.

We also saw the absolutely delicious returns of my precious Kai (!), the magnificent Katherine (!!) and how the selfish evil of their characters woven together was just pure storytelling brilliance that was perfectly true to the both of them. Also remaining true to the show's history while finally—after eight seasons—bringing Matt Donovan into the magical, historical and founding family fold—was the introduction of his father Peter Maxwell. The integration of Peter into the cast through Damon and Sybil, exploring his relationship with Matt, and how that connected to town history and Matt's feeling of less than was a textbook example of melding character and plot. Not to mention—although, yeah, I'm mentioning it—the casting of Joel Gretsch was just top-notch as Matt's father, in resemblance, acting ability, and the chemistry he shared with Roerig and in the penultimate episode and this with Melinda Clarke and Kayla Ewell (Kelly, Vicki) respectively.

Finally, while we may not have had much of them in this final episode, aside from my greedy shipper heart wanting all of the Damon and Elena-ness I could possibly get, and really, did we need anything more to show just how deep, strong, pure and, yeah, epic, Damon and Elena's love for one another was? All season long we have had flashbacks, recreations of scenes, symbols, reminders, other characters bringing it up, new characters bringing it to the fore, Damon regaining his soul purely on the strength of Elena's love and belief in him. Damon and Elena are THE epic love story of The Vampire Diaries.

This final season, even without Nina Dobrev's presence throughout all but the finale, episode by episode, scene by scene continued to strengthen the love between Damon and Elena. Of course once reunited, they had a long and happy life together. It was one they earned and the last handful of years that Damon spent without her was just the waiting period after their hard-fought battles to be together. They spent six years learning, growing, loving, fighting, breathing, being everything to each other to get *to* be everything for each other. And now they are. And forever they shall be.

 
 
 
 

So that it is. That is my show. I loved it. I will forever love it. Just like Damon will forever love Elena and Elena will forever love Damon. The end.

ETA: Heads-up… because I totes could not love this show more if I tried, I plan on doing a slow rewatch in which I will jot down notes (as I have done for previous first-run watches) and write new posts. Some will borrow heavily from earlier done posts, others will have completely new, mostly positive (I'm sure) slants. I am partly doing this because after (finally) doing season 01, I found SO MUCH MORE to enjoy and savor in that season and subsequent seasons by delving deeper. I'm also doing it because in earlier seasons (02, 03 and even 04), I hadn't quite established a rhythm in how I was doing these. Another reason is because up through the end of season 03, I was not only following spoilers, but I was viewing the show pretty much only through a Damon/Elena lens and that was factoring into my enjoyment of the overall show and the story that was being being told. And then until midway through season 04, I was still kinda following spoilers enough that my enjoyment was impacted here and there. Yet another reason is that real life events in season 04 and season 06 affected my pleasure over the course of the last 3-4 episodes of those seasons. Finally, a dear friend of mine will hopefully start watching the show soon and I want her to be able to join in discussion with my updated posts. I am sharing all this to say that I invite any all of of you who are still sticking around with me to follow along with me, rewatching, commenting, etc. :)
Tags: alaric saltzman, bonnie bennett, bonnie/matt, candice king, caroline forbes, damon salvatore, damon/alaric, damon/elena, damon/matt, damon/stefan, elena gilbert, ep discussion-tvd, ian somerhalder, jenna sommers, matt donovan, nina dobrev, stefan salvatore, stefan/caroline, the vampire diaries, tv
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