I had to bring myself to a place of sanity and emotional indifference before typing this. This is a review for The Vampire Diaries season finale (TVD S08 E 16); whatever providential power there be knows my heart is as heavy as it can be.
Let’s get started, we have a lot to cover.
The episode picked up from where the last one ended. Bonnie’s in a dream-like transient between dead and alive; there she sees Elena lying on a well decorated bed. Elena soon awakes, her happiness soon turns sour when she recognizes her friend wasn’t yet old and from Kai’s spell could only be here if she was dead. Stefan’s CPR on her physical seemed to work as Enzo appears and drags Elena back to life. Damon and Stefan return home to find Elena resurrected; only that isn’t Elena… Katherine! The evil doppelganger still loves to toy with the boys psych especially Damon’s, what better way to do that if not by playing cross-dressing? It didn’t take Damon long to figure it realize it but then she had already achieved her purpose of taking the joy out of the moment.
What did Katherine want?
Simple. She just wanted to see the whole of Mystic Falls burn with everyone in it. Katherine confessed to have been the one pulling the Devil’s string because of how awesome she was, that was the reason he was so invested in claiming the Salvatores soul for himself. As Katherine put it, “he wanted you because I did.” A line of Katherine I loved was when the Salvatore boys inquired the where-about of Elena’s body and she replied “that’s for me to know, and for you to dot dot dot.”
The Donovans (or The Maxwells, whichever) have had an important story-line this season after seasons of neglect. Vicki who returned last episode couldn’t stop ringing the bell not just because Katherine told her to do so at an interval of 5 minutes to prolong the heroes miseries, but because she was frustrated of the empty tortures of Hell; the place of fiery fire was so frustrating that she didn’t care about burning everyone and everything so she could be liberated into non-existence by Hell’s fire, not even her brother Matty-blue eyes or her father whom she clearly missed after 15 years could talk her out of it. They had a teary reunion but that was all to it – a reunion.
Being the Queen of Hell meant Katherine could keep returning to earth even as Damon continually killed her, thanks to Matt Donovan opening the door between Earth and Hell when he rang the bell earlier in the season. The effect of her short presence was felt almost immediately; it’s Katherine we’re talking about here, nothing less was expected. When Damon accused her motive of being out of jealousy (which we all know), because he and Stefan would choose Elena over her any day anytime, she replies almost instantaneously, that Elena would still choose Stefan over him any day anytime, and not just Elena, she also, and any other random woman who hasn’t had history with the Salvatores, simply because Stefan was the better man. Even after all these time Katherine still knows the exact thing to say to get under Damon’s skin. Though Damon takes his insecurity easier this time, he kills her again.
Caroline who just got married few hours ago was made to leave her husband when Sheriff Donovan declares a gas leak and immediate evacuation of Mystic Falls. Alaric causes her to choose between her children and the love of her life, “I don’t need to remind you what it feels like to stay without a mother,” he said. Stefan makes it easier for Caroline, by convincing her he can’t leave without Damon his brother who can’t leave because Elena’s body’s was spelled to the boiler room of the Salvatore mansion by Kai (for Katherine).
Bonnie figures out how to save the day. The Salvatores love for each other might be the heart of the series and Elena the bind that holds all together, but it is Bonnie who been its strength over its reign for 8 seasons; without her magic they’d have bee =n screwed long time ago. She’s always the one to come up with a plan, to make the difficult choice and most selfless sacrifice, this time was no different. She had a plan to defeat Katherine and take down Hell permanently by re-channeling its flames back into it, with Katherine inside when it happens. This’ where the episode gets tricky, as Bonnie confessed to Stefan.
Stefan, over the course of the series has been a constant hero of the series. His character arc has been the most consistent and he’s always stayed true to his role as hero – except when on Ripper duties. Remember the theory of the cure, how the it works? Good. Stefan used that mythology to the fullest ,and made the ultimate sacrifice, this time, not so that his brother could find redemption, but so that he could get to share his new found light with his one true love. I am sure I’m not the only one who’s thought their brotherly love to be somewhat gay, but well.
Damon failed to realize his brother wouldn’t move about as a human without vervain in his system. After failing to properly compel Stefan to give up the thought of being the martyr to hold Katherine in Hell, Stefan who had removed the cure from his blood injected it into Damon and turned his brother human, correcting the greatest mistake of his long life, turning his brother into a Vampire. Now vainly-human, it’s only a matter of time before his long life starts to catch up to him, so Stefan sacrifices himself to commit suicide with Katherine inside Hell’s fire. After he narrates all these to Elena, he walks out of the door and sees Lexi waiting for him to drive off to their implied peace.
Bonnie showed the most of her magic which has been latent all season in one of the most visually stunning sequence since the beginning of the series. After Vicki launched Hell’s fire, Bonnie, with the help of the Witches of the Bennett bloodline redirect the flames back into Hell. I shouted for joy when I saw Grams (it’s always a delight seeing her), and when I saw Lucy and some other recognizable faces of Bennetts over TVD’s 8 seasons I couldn’t help but hail the Producers resolve to give us a befitting series finale.
After his death, Stefan found Elena (the technicality of this is messed up), and he narrates to her how he died – saving Damon so that she could meet him the new person he had become; the new him which was the same as the pre-vampire him. I believe Stefan knew of Bonnie’s plan to wake Elena up, this must have facilitated his resolve to give Damon the cure and sacrifice himself in the process, selflessly, without a care for his own happiness with Caroline.
Caroline and Damon say their goodbyes to Stefan at his grave site. On leaving they meet Elena at the exit and everyone reunites in tears of joy. Damon and Elena have the hug and share their kiss of passion. The trio whose friendship lived over the course of the 8 seasons talk a little about their lives, and Stefan’s message to Caroline.
Matt got rewarded for his duties as Sheriff with a bench to his honor, and he is considering running for Mayor of Mystic Falls which is a big step for a character that started out as a busboy at the infamous Mystic Grills.
Bonnie finally decides to live her life to the fullest, honoring Enzo by travelling all around the world. Caroline and Alaric set up a school for gifted children, even Klaus makes an appearance in writing by donating $3,000,000 for the upkeep of the school. A lot of old characters make appearances here, Jeremy, Sheriff Liz, Jo, Klaroline, etc.
Damon and Elena got to live a long life with all the shenanigans of life, and died with each finding peace. In the case of Elena peace meant been reunited with her deceased family members – Aunt Jenna, her Mom, Dad, and Uncle John. For Damon it meant being reunited with Stefan, with Damon reciting the last sentence of the series, “Hello brother.”
Over the years TVD has been a great companion to me, with intriguing story-lines and a cast of mostly unknown actors who excelled at their characters they kept me spell bound for the 6 years since I started following it in 2011. I had always dreaded what my life would be like without TVD, and that’s where I am now. I know the pain will go away, but I can’t help but wonder how fast. Most people think pain comes only from persons lost, but I say it comes from the loss of loved ones, and a loved one can be anything, even a TV show. Hearty cheers to TVD, for a life well spent, for keeping me and millions around the world happy and entertained episode after episode, week after week, season after seasons. I wish the cast and crew success in future endeavors. RIP TVD, TVD Forever!