'The Vampire Diaries' Review: 'The Walking Dead'
Silas failed as a villain. The best villains this season were the vampire hunters. In next week's epic season finale, the vampire hunters will threaten the town's vampires in their pursuit of the cure. Nonsense needed to happen for the vampire hunters to make their triumphant return, but the nonsense is worth it. Season 4 may not totally be a weird homage/ripoff to the entire Whedonverse if the nail the finale.
One of the trademarks of TVD, after the surprising twists and crazy character deaths, is their rockin' penultimate episode. Two years ago, I thought the penultimate episode of season 2 was its season finale because of the insanity of the episode. "The Walking Dead" isn't a crazed 41 minutes of television that tricked me into thinking it was meant to conclude the season. "The Walking Dead" is crazed, though. Elena's really mad for awhile, but then she isn't. Bonnie seems to get a great victory over Silas until she gets greedy. The brother's work together. Caroline tries to cut her hands off because Silas is a twisted baddie. Kol comes back to Mystic Falls to kill Elena during the temporary lifting of the veil, which allows Rebekah to complete her transformation from evil original to, uh, not-evil original. Alaric's back and drinking bourbon while giving Damon love advice. Silas does his best The First impression again, and then Bonnie finally goes dark for forty seconds before she dies.
The action ramps up in the final act. The vampire hunters return en masse, pissed off and all because they were killed by vampires. Bonnie awakes from her spell and learns from her Grams that she's dead. Bonnie's death, whether or not it lasts is up for debate, was horrible not because the show lost a character but because it was horribly written. TVD's been a mixed bag this season. Bonnie's never been a well-written character. The writers forget about her for weeks, pair her up with a dude to give her something to do, and then they have her perform magic in the finale. I found myself appreciating her series arc during "The Walking Dead." I remember the innocent girl who told Elena about what she did in her kitchen one night that involved magic, and I remember her curiosity about her ability. Of course, curiosity kills a cat, and magic eventually kills Bonnie Bennett. Bonnie's arc meandered for long stretches, but the writers consistently improved her magic prowess. Prof. Shane taught Bonnie the deadliest form of magic: expression. Expression was used to manipulate her. Shane and Silas made her feel dependent on them to control it. Magic's often used to tell stories about addiction. Instead of a drug or alcohol addiction, a character's addicted to magic. Silas and Shane were like socipathic AA sponsors. Grams is the right sponsor for Bonnie. She teaches Bonnie about the other side of expression. Expression is a manifestation of one's will--Bonnie's controlled it the whole time; she just didn't know it. I love the idea of magic transforming from an addiction like dependency into a tool of empowerment. Buffy concludes on magic-as-empowerment and Willow, a former magic addict, is glowingly white during the spell. I felt disappointment when Bonnie immediately decided to permanently bring back the dead. Martin got greedy once with stocks and so, too, did young Bonnie Bennett. Now she's dead. I think.
The dead don't stay dead on any genre shows really, but especially on The Vampire Diaries. Lexi's appeared more since her death than she appeared alive. Hell, most of the characters are dead. "Memorial," which is the second episode of the season, dealt with loss. The second-to-last episode of the season brings the theme of "Memorial" back. Alaric's hanging around, drinking liquor, which is great. Elena needs closure, though, and closure means Jeremy will return to help her gain closure from the tragedy. For most of the episode, Elena's the same as she was during her switch off spell. She's mean to Stefan and Damon, a bully to her friends, and so intent on killing Katherine that she nearly kills Bonnie. Elena won't apologize because she doesn't want to feel bad. The wave of grief that awaits her will crush her. Kol finds her and beats her, and threatens to kill her for her brother killing him. Moments before, Elena knelt on her brother's grave and told him she gave up. Moving on is impossible. She can't do it, and she wants to die. Jeremy saves her in time. Stefan snaps Kol's neck before he overstays his welcome. Elena and Jeremy have their moment to say goodbye, to heal, and to cathart. Jeremy's appearance helps Elena return to her old self without the massive flood of emotions that'd send her to a psychiatric ward or to local police, out of guilt and remorse. No, Elena won't pull her hair out over the waitress. She was only an extra.
Silas' last stand as the villain of season 4 brought back The First stuff without abandon. Bonnie saw the monster of Silas followed by Stefan and then Caroline. Grams told Bonnie she didn't realize how deep Silas went into her head. Silas' face is never seen. He took many forms but never his own. There are multiple readings of the scene. I'm drawn to the idea of Silas as a tragic character. Aside from the plan to send all the dead supernatural folk to the other OTHER side, Silas was a sad guy mourning the death of his wife and who went a little mad. I mean, his ultimate plan is to cure himself and then kill himself. Silas is sort of as an example of what Elena might've turned into if she continued to exist with her switch off. His true form is a stone with his face hidden. Silas lacks form, an identity. Abject sadness ruined the lives of 33 people. Silas did suck as a villain. The writers ripped off The First in Buffy, and I had flashes of Adam in tonight's episode. I tip my hat to writers for never showing his face. It's a nice touch.
Graduation Day is approaching for the Mystic Falls teens. Of course, they don't attend school, but graduation's a rite-of-passage, a symbol of moving on. Elena doesn't want to move on, but she has to. The world moves on. If she doesn't move on, she'll turn to stone, bitter and old and evil like Silas. The return of the vampire hunters should provide an entertaining distraction on graduation day. The show chose to show Caroline and Elena mailing graduation cards, and the show emphasized the splintered friendships. The idea of moving on is the takeaway of the episode and of the season. The bad guys are distractions now. Characters have talked about moving on for months now. How long ago was it when Stefan promised to move on after Elena's better? The dead come back and need to move on after the spell ends. Bonnie's gonna need to learn to really move on next week. So, yes, indeed, the series will move on to something new next week. It's only natural.
-Matt's committed to graduating as a human. I wondered would Vickie appear. Alaric told Damon some don't want to return to Mystic Falls. Vickie falls into that category. The last time she came, Matt told her to leave. I'm also down with Matt/Rebekah. Claire Holt's been great during Rebekah's transformation from spiteful bitch to protector of ALL.
-Kol's my second favorite original. Many fans dislike Kol. The character sucked last season, but he was amazing in his brief season 4 stint.
-I cracked up after Sheriff Forbes said she didn't know what the hell Damon was talking about when he explained the nonsense Silas plot. The writers know how ridiculous this stuff is.
-Let's hope TVD contrives a way to keep Matt Davis around next season. Cult failed miserably. Matt Davis doesn't have job. Have Alaric drink magic resurrection bourbon next week.
-I thought I saw the mascot of Mystic Falls wearing Chef's hat in the gym poster. No one from the show reads these reviews. If any one from the show does in fact read these reviews, please confirm or reject the Chef's Hat question. I guess it's too late to introduce a half-animal/half-Chef mascot for Mystic Falls High.
-Brian Young & Caroline Dries are the credited writers. Rob Berry directed it.