Sunday, March 12, 2017

The Vampire Diaries, Season 8, Episode 16: I Was Feeling Epic

So Katherine is back and has Vicky ringing her doom bell. Every time Damon kills her she just comes back because she’s already dead

So Damon just stays there killing her every 5 minutes, occasionally switching off with Caroline when he gets bored until such time as she returns to hell permanent because, as her mother has just shown. Hey they could do the same for Katherine. Problem solved!

Except they don’t do that. They act like there’s absolutely nothing they can do to stop Vicky ringing the hell bell. They even get Matt and daddy matt (it’s the last episode of the last season, damned if I’m going to remember this pointless character’s name) to appeal to her. Rather than just, y’know, sit on her.  This whole scene is so bizarre. You literally half more than half a dozen people all fretting because they can’t stop a normal human woman climbing a clock tower and ringing a bell. Hell, Matt and Daddy Matt could just disable the bell?! This makes zero sense.

Bonnie is nearly killed by using her magic to survive the fire but the gang manages to revive her – but not before she has a near death dream all about… Elena. In which she declares herself ready to die for the sake of Elena waking up again. Of course she does.

She’s been gone for 2 seasons. Bonnie I still all about precious Elena.

Oh and Katherine shows up (hi Nina Dobrev, you thought you were free) to tell everyone that Cade was all her fault because even the devil doesn’t get to actually have any agency outside the machinations of the vapid denizens of Mystic Falls. She also intends to kill everyone and exchange lots of really petty relationship barbs with Damon and Stefan and really, these people are centuries old. Get. Over. It.  She’s also run off with Elena’s body

Time for everyone to evacuate Mystic Falls, including Alaric and the girls. Alaric insists that Caroline come with him so the girls don’t lose their mother – which she eventually agrees to. She can’t stay with Stefan – who insists on staying to try and convince Damon to leave but Damon won’t leave without Elena. It’s all very emotional and messy

Thankfully Bonnie has a brainstorm with the help of some research decides she can totally destroy hell – with hellfire (just don’t try to analyse this too hard, it’s Vampire Diaries and the last season) if they burn Katherine up with it; they just have to make sure Katherine is caught up in it when Vicky rings the bell the last time and Bonnie uses the magic she-doesn’t-have-but-does to direct the unleashed hell fire

So who gets to hold Katherine? A Salvatore brother! Stefan and Damon virtually mud wrestle to be the one to sacrifice themselves, each demanding to be the martyr more because each needs the redemption more and enoooooough of this damn theme. Damon resorts to compulsion and, after a fake out, Stefan injects Damon with his blood turning Damon human (of course) and knocking him in a side passage out of the path of the fire (because it works that way and the radiated heat totally doesn’t kill him)

The epic moment comes from Bonnie’s spell in which she invokes a gazillion Bennet ancestor and Oh dear gods WHY WASN’T THIS THE STORYLINE ALL SEASON?! WHHHYYYYY?!

Yay Katherine is dead

Yay Stefan is dead.

Wait… oh, no – sorry scratch that, we’re sad about Stefan being dead. My bad.

Boo Matt isn’t dead. How did he make it to the last season?!

Elena wakes up because Bonnie has now broken Kai’s spell which would have been interesting if anyone had even tried to do this at any point in the last 2 seasons.

And we have the finale. The actual close of everything. We have a reunion with a gazillion characters: Jeremy, Elena’s parents, Liz Thorbes, Lexi: yes half of these are dead but to remove the sting of Stefan’s sacrifice we also have a lot of afterlife scenes. The implication

And I can kind of get why they went there because they didn’t want to end on a low note. But I think a solemn reflection over all of those they’d lost would have been better than just “we were all reunited in the afterlife!” to remove that poignancy in favour of fluffiness.

However, this does allow me my headcannon: Meteors fell on Mystic Falls. Everyone died. Which is why they’re all the same age in the afterlife!

I’ve said from the beginning that this season was shaky. The problem goes waaay back to Black Hole Elena. It was a running joke on this show that everything revolved around Elena (behold this week). But when she left she left a void which nothing really came close to filling. They could have recovered it but centring someone else or another plot line – since all the plot lines recently have orientated around magic rather than vampirism, switching to Bonnie would have made sense – but they stripped Bonnie of their powers and left us with a kind of gelatinous mess – like a person with all their bones removed all kind of wobbly and structure-less. Sure Elena being the centre of everything was annoying but they made her the major load bearing character – and didn’t try to prop things up

Which left us with a season – well 2 seasons really – of the show not really knowing what to do, just kind of throwing out plot lines without the time to develop them. Take Cade – there’s a meaty plot line there but it was completely undeveloped and lacked any and all potential or real explanation

Caroline/Alaric/Children – another plot line kind of flopping around. Bonnie and Enzo? More flopping around without foundation and development.  And these could have been meatier but they weren’t because we just kept throwing more in, especially to drag in irrelevant characters: Gemini coven, Matt (oh dear gods No-one cares so much about Matt for the time spent on him), Alaric – and whose damn idea was it to bring Kai back?! Or we had lots of plots revolving around everyone utterly worshipping Mystic Falls and wanting to preserve it no matter what

The thing is the plot lines that could have been developed – which had foundation: Stefan and Caroline, Damon and Bonnie, Bonnie and magic. These were well established relationships

That ending scene where you had Bonni surrounded by her ancestors – which would link so well to how the Covens have been developed in The Originals WHERE WAS THAT? There was your storyline! There was two seasons of storyline right there – Bonnie and the Bennet witches! Especially with the added motive of bringing Bonnie back by breaking the spell. Add in Caroline and her magical off spring with Stefan and Damon as SIDE CHARACTERS: Damon supporting his utter best friend Bonnie in her journey of self-discovery, Stefan discovering where he rests in Caroline’s life.

Instead we had a whole season – 2 whole seasons – with no real direction, no real development and lots of. Vampire Diaries has ended – but in reality it ended two seasons ago but the zombie of this show kept groaning forwards never able to find enough brains to return to coherence

Inclusionwise, well – there was Bonnie (yes there was Cade – the devil – but he wasn’t even developed enough to be a coherent enemy. And then to have all his activity be put down to Katherine’s manipulations? How utterly undermined! Throw in Dorian, the walking Stefan

Which leaves us for Bonnie… who has been so lost and confused for so long and we’ve written post after post about her because she deserves better, so much better.

We have no LGBTQ characters in this season for which I am sincerely grateful.

This episode was appropriate for the end of not just the season but the end of the entire show: it was full of sappiness and happy-dappy reunions and closed everything down with so much fluffiness and joy and light with every character coming back to wave at us. Which is an excellent way to end a show, it acknowledges everything that has come before, and gives it a send off. Sappy, but appropriate

And it is now over… it’s always a little sad to lose a show after so many season, but I think everyone will agree it was time.