by Amy Yen
Slow clap, guys. That was kind of…incredible. I will admit it, I thought it was probably going to be a mistake not to make last week’s insane sacrifice episode the season finale, but once again, Kevin Williamson & Julie Plec proved me wrong. “As I Lay Dying” was a breathtaking end to a fantastic season and against all odds, The Vampire Diaries has truly become one of the most compelling dramas on television.
Where to start? I thought the Damon storyline was handled really well. I’m so glad, besides the obligatory moment where, in his delirium, he bites Elena while flashing back to his time with Katherine, they mostly avoided retreading the Rose arc, with Elena being in danger. The final scene with Elena & Damon was quiet & lovely & just perfect. It so wonderfully captures why we would root for these two. I know Twitter basically exploded because of “the kiss,” but it was really well-done, as usual, on Nina Dobrev’s part. She was saying goodbye.
Meanwhile, the Stefan and Klaus storyline sets up nicely for season 3. It’s a really interesting place for the character to go. We saw a glimpse of Stefan-on-human-blood back in season 1 (I remember him being about 3.5 times more interesting than normal). It will be really interesting to see whether the show dares to keep him away from Mystic Falls for long & how Elena will react to Stefan, unleashed. Remember, it wasn’t that long ago that Elena admitted that, as much as she loves Stefan, she doesn’t want to commit to forever to be with him. Stefan, like this, in a way embodies what she must fear the most about becoming a vampire.
Two more storylines I want to touch on (SO MUCH happened in this episode!). Jeremy getting shot…wow. Did not see that coming. I liked that it was the sheriff that did it, as much as she drove me crazy this episode. At the end of the day, John’s ring isn’t going to help stop a bullet from a gun being held by Liz Forbes. There’s something so grounding about that. I didn’t see the Anna & Vicki thing coming…consequences! I’m glad it looks like Jeremy will get his own supernatural subplot next season. Like he said, there’s only so many times he can tag along & be worried about Bonnie & get shut out of the action just because he’s just a human.
The only subplot that bothered me was the sheriff & Caroline. I was really skeptical about the whole Matt & Liz subplot in the last few episodes, just because of how removed it was from everything else happening. I thought they did a decent job weaving it in, just by throwing another complication into a really packed finale. But it still felt like kind of a retread on that wonderful scene earlier in the season (Caroline even references it) when Caroline tells her mother everything & her mother accepts her & she has to compel her to forget anyway. I half-expected the sheriff to stake her when they hugged (tells you what kind of show you’re watching), but instead it just felt kind of disconnected. I half want to see more follow-up on this, but mostly I kind of just want them to move on. Still, it will be interesting to see how they deal with all these people now knowing what they know next year.
I want to conclude by addressing the American television viewing public, which is forever ignoring all the great advice I’m constantly trying to give them & spending their time watching an alarming amount of terrible VH1 reality shows. Please ignore the CW’s criminally awful attempts at marketing The Vampire Diaries. Yes, it looks like a Twilight knock-off. Attractive vampires fighting attractive werewolves, attractively. (To be fair, this was an actual storyline, but I swear, it was really well-done, I SWEAR!) I was skeptical too. But the show is actually really fun, moves at a break-neck pace, has strong acting & complex, complicated characters and is just really good, really compelling drama.
So yeah, come season 3, make it a part of your life.
More random thoughts on “As I Lay Dying”:
- Elijah, you fool! You’re lucky you’re so pretty, because for someone who is so calm & reasonable-seeming, you have an emotional weakness you can drive a truck through. Luckily, it’s clear this isn’t the last we’ll see of him, or Katherine for that matter.
- I really liked Alaric in this episode. I liked that he was bitter about being shut out of the goings-on last week, even though he has to know there was probably nothing he could have done to save Jenna. I liked his continued strange, strong friendship with Damon (“Neither of us are drunk enough for this conversation”). I really liked his moment of lightness with Jeremy at the end. Even though Katherine is no longer stuck in his apartment (which I thought would have been a natural device to drive him to move in to the Gilbert house), I hope that Alaric becomes Elena & Jeremy’s legal guardian next year. I feel like at this point, he should have more stakes than just his loyalty to Damon. Alaric as a character has so much potential, I really hope they give him more to do before killing him off, as seems inevitable at some point.
- Really, Gone With the Wind screening, complete with cosplay? Really? I know Mystic Falls is in the south, but seriously, do places where stuff like this actually happen actually exist?
- I just want to say, I never really liked Bonnie that much. Or, I should say, I never really liked Kat Graham. Something about her interaction with fans when the show was first becoming popular rubbed me the wrong way. But seriously? She killed it this season. Her scene tonight, with Jeremy lifeless in her arms (“I love him”), was played just right. She’s totally won me over.
- The music in this episode was ridiculous, even by CW standards. At times it was so loud, it was drowning out the dialogue. A good score can be its own character, but they’re trying way too hard to sell CDs & it’s just another reason why I hate that this show is on this network.
- PS: I think I’m going to write a post after the finale, but just want to say, Parks & Recreation right now? Could. Not. Be. Better.
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