Many moons ago, The Vampire Diaries Season 2 finale, As I Lay Dying, lulled us into thinking we knew what was going on, and then soundly thumped us on the head with a double-whammy of WTFery that we’ve spent all summer recovering from. Sure, it may not have been the most explosive finale ever given The Sun Also Rises pretty much razed our souls, but the implications were astounding. Are you ready to watch Season 3 unfold, fandom? V3 lands tomorrow night at 8/7c.
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To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from ‘As I Lay Dying.’ (Rookie mistake, I know.) It just seemed that all the events of this season led up to last week’s episode, which truly did have a finale-esque feel (the sacrifice, the deaths, the bite, the Klaus not actually dying, the more deaths). Even while I was watching last night, I wasn’t sure how they’d manage to go out with a bang.
But oh, me of little faith. I must’ve forgotten what show I was watching, because the final ten minutes — capped with the epic last scene — left me shaking in silence on my couch more than an hour after it ended. (Not kidding. I’ve never had such a visceral reaction to a TV show before.)
After last week’s pyrotechnics and tear-filled nightmare, this week’s denouement contained fireworks of the more emotional kind. Exemplifying a trend more recently seen in (dare I mention it?) True Blood, this season gave us its actual finale in the next-to-last episode and then used its final ‘sode to introduce some of the main elements of next season. But next season’s looking AWESOME, am I right? (I am right, just trust me*). *Don’t. It looks pretty good though, I’ll probably watch it.
Although Stefan and Damon sometimes mirror Elijah (Daniel Gillies) and Klaus – both Stefan and Elijah are cleaning up their brothers’ messes in this episode – there is a deep love between Stefan and Damon. “He just sacrificed everything to save his brother, including you,” Katherine (Nina Dobrev) tells Elena (Dobrev). That says a lot about the depth of Stefan and Damon’s bond. Klaus, however, tells Elijah he’ll take him to their family’s bodies and then stakes him. Not cool. Elijah better come out of that coffin next season!
The Meadow of Man Ass
Klaus: Whoooo! Being an immortal murder machine rules!
Elijah: That’s nice. Could you put some pants on?
Klaus: Whoooo! Being able to change into a werepire at will is awesome!
Elijah: That’s great. So, about my family? And, could you put some pants on?
Klaus: Lighten up! I’m still celebrating being completely unkillable, even by you!
Elijah: …This is going to bite me in the ass, isn’t it? And speaking of ass, could you please put on some pants?
Grill: Alaric is drinking away his sorrow over Jenna’s death when his phone rings. Stefan wants his help. Alaric: “Well, you must have me confused me with somebody else. You see, I’m not allowed to help — just idly sit by while my girlfriend gets sacrificed on an altar of blood.” Stefan: “Damon’s dying.” Alaric: “Oh no! Not my boyfriend, too. This week sucks.” That might be a paraphrase.
14) “Neither of us is drunk enough for this conversation.” OH MY GOD YOU GUYS OH MY GOD. Damon’s clearly trying to get Alaric to mercy-kill him, and Ric is not even remotely having it. HE POURED HIM A DOUBLE, YOU GUYS. Refused to kill him, even after Damon brought up Jenna and Isobel. And THEN:
[strangled] “Kill me.”
[strangled] “Screw you.”
TEAM BADASS FOREVER. Damon’s dying of a werewolf bite and Alaric’s still legally drunk, and THEY ARE TRYING TO STRANGLE EACH OTHER BECAUSE THEY ARE BEST FRIENDS. If you’d told me this and Caroline Forbes, Vampire would own my heart when this show started I’d have punched you, but whatever, MY TROTH IS PLEDGED, GAME OVER.
“We’re going to take a page from Scarlett,” [Caroline] says. “We made it through the war. You guys went through hell, and my mom knows I’m a vampire, so basically, it’s like Atlanta has burned, and yet, in spite of everything, we persevere.”
Am I the only one who thinks they didn’t make it through the war at all? They didn’t kill Klaus. Has everyone forgotten that he’s still on the prowl and that their big plan only succeeded in making him more powerful than ever? I mean, it seems Elena and Jeremy are back to sleeping at their non-vampire-proof house again.
A sick Damon is sort of a sad-sack Damon, which is not very surprising because the man does enjoy a nice round of self-pity, even in his most robust of days. His sickness leads to visions of his past with Katherine, through which he realizes he alone is responsible for his lot in life: If he had only refused Katherine, everything would have turned out differently. That this revelation happens while he is in bed being comforted by Elena is of no consequence, I’m sure.
“I know you love Stefan. And it will always be Stefan. But I love you. You should know that,” Damon said. Maybe it was because he knew the show’s death theme was playing for him, but I loved that Damon was able to say that and make us believe he had no agenda. “I do,” Elena said, calmly and quietly holding back tears. It wasn’t “I love you, too,” but it was the next best thing, and again, what he needed to hear. Elena believed he cared for her, believed him capable of caring for her.
“That is the vampire I can make a deal with.” When Klaus walked Stefan down a very bloody memory lane, I was riveted. We always knew Stefan went dark-side once upon a time, but this for me was the first true evidence of just how truly dark was the side he went to. The way Klaus called him a “true ripper” with almost a tone of admiration and watching Stefan’s reaction as he remembered the past had me dying to get back to any scene with them. These two are going to blow the roof off, fandom; mark my words.
Klaus, on the other hand? Action GALORE. Dude, making Stefan suck down the blood bags with the full knowledge that he has junkie tendencies? I felt like I was watching a vampire version of Se7en! And I mean, that was good stuff–Klaus was so dark, and calculated, and Stefan was so resentful, and pitiful, and then so CREEPY when he started kind of LIKING it (which was of course the point). I mean, killing your brother, yeah, that’s cold. And knowing all along that Katherine was on vervain (which I suspected and was pleased to find was true), and sending her off with Damon’s cure? Tricky. But making Stefan drink the blood and playing straight into his weakness and ENJOYING it? GROSS. And awesome–not of Klaus, obviously, but storywise, and in a big, mythical, legendary, scary, KLAUS™ way? This was good. Necessary.
A witness to the deal Stefan makes with Klaus, Katherine describes it as him sacrificing everything to save Damon. The cost of Damon’s cure is the life Stefan has built in Mystic Falls, his friends, Elena, and his identity as a vampire who strives to be as human as possible and as respectful of human life — refusing to take it for his own sustenance or pleasure and placing value on the sanctity of life (which Klaus has demonstrated he has no regard for). Stefan is trapped in his devil’s bargain: if he broke his deal and refused to do Klaus’s bidding, he would guarantee that his brother, Elena, and everyone else he cares about would be lambs for the slaughter by a vengeful Klaus, a hybrid who can’t be killed. What the heck’s going to happen to Stefan next season? Should migrant villagers the world over say their goodbyes? We’ve heard about Stefan’s dark past and got a first-hand glimpse of it in The Dinner Party, but I had assumed that after he met Lexi and she helped him find his way, his days of being a monster were over. Apparently not: he was such a legendary ripper, wiping out a village as late as 1917, that the baddest of all the baddies had heard about his appetite for destruction.
Speaking of tears, another hats off to Candice Accola and Marguerite MacIntyre for their mom and daughter reconciliation. That was a beautiful scene, and even though it was brief if really had a depth of emotion between those two that we needed to see. It helps to remind us that Caroline is really the only member of the group with a parent still alive, so the bond with her mom is a gift that no one else has the privilege of enjoying.
The finale was remarkable in how well it paralleled last season’s ender, and in the way that it provided a bookend to the second season premiere. If you were to rewatch “Founder’s Day” and “The Return,” and then rewatch “As I Lay Dying,” I think that you would be similarly impressed at the thematic continuity and the clear bookends that frame the season. A particularly striking parallel between the premiere and finale was the fate of Jeremy. The poor boy was killed and resurrected in both the season two premiere and finale, and while the experience the first time was certainly important for the development of his character, this second time promises to be an even bigger deal, with far greater consequences. Plus, Jeremy totally tried to turn himself into a vampire at the end of “Founder’s Day,” because of the fates of Anna and Vicki. And now, at the end of “As I Lay Dying,” these lost loves, who haunted him figuratively, are now about to get literal. I mean, how awesome is this show?
Bonnie saved Jeremy tonight and initially, my disdain for the dead never staying dead resurfaced. It’s not that I want everyone on the show to die, I just feel that endlessly killing people only to bring them back to life is a waste of plot- even if it provides that adrenaline rush that only a show like Vampire Diaries can. But HOLY CRAP, that final scene! Not as good as last year’s, but the reappearance of Vicki and Anna was quite a nice touch- Jeremy can see dead people! Not only a shocker, but an excellent decision- it actually makes Jeremy important next year. When Jeremy was shot by Sherriff Forbes, my initial thought was “well, that kinda makes sense,” since he’s been so dormant for the last part of the season.
It seemed harsh for Jeremy to die considering half his family perished last week, but that still didn’t stop me worrying and for the scene where Bonnie begged for his life to be any less emotional. As with all resurrection spells there was a warning of consequences to which Bonnie wasn’t bothered, I wonder how she might feel when she finds out Jeremy’s two dead ex’s have now returned. To have that as the cliffhanger was a brilliant and ballsy move; to make the end of this season not just about the whole Elena/Stefan/Damon story was pretty fantastic and totally unexpected, and I didn’t realise how glad I would be to see Vicki and especially Anna again. What this means for the story is any ones guess, are they malevolent spirits in the guise of Anna and Vicki? Are they really them? Will he see other dead people?
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