A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 7×16 (Even vampire-hybrids are allowed the Thelma and Mary-Louise ending)

TVD 7x16

 

SUMMARY

In the present, Damon helps Stefan escape Rayna at the news station, but she later escapes Damon. When Valerie arrives and helps Damon recover from werewolf toxin, Damon abducts her and gets her to admit that she held off telling Stefan that she could switch the pheonix scar between them because she wanted see the world with Stefan. Various flashbacks show her and Stefan running around the world. Rayna converses with Stefan on the phone multiple times about how she is psychically connected to him through the scar and while being held by Alexandria and the armory found Stefan to be a nice guy but has to follow through with killing him due to the blade’s purpose. Meanwhile, Nora and Mary-Louise are being held by Alex as Nora is shown Mary-Louise is being experimented on with pills that are fatal to witches. Given no choice but to help Alex for a cure, she’s sent to retrieve Enzo who Alex believes helped Rayna escape. Enzo meanwhile captures Matt and realizes he’s the one who let Rayna escape because at some point in the past, Stefan was responsible for Penny’s death. Nora intervenes but Enzo convinces her that they’ve been set up. Matt escapes as Stefan nears their location having thrown away the blade to buy time from Rayna’s pursuit. Damon, realizing he can’t fix the problem his own way relents and allows Valerie to use a spell to switch the scars but Rayna catches up to Stefan and stabs him, absorbing his soul once more. Nora and Enzo attempt to foil Alex’s prisoner exchange and are told that there is no cure for the witch pills and Mary-Louise will eventually die. The two flee with Rayna giving chase and throwing the blade into their car. Nora and Mary-Louise perform a spell to destroy the phoenix stone and sacrifice themselves knowing they’re doomed. Damon and Valerie arrive to find Stefan’s body and Damon swears he’ll make things right.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

This episode was in serious disarray from a storytelling perspective. From beginning to end, there was no cohesive sense between the motivations of several characters and everyone appeared to have the wit of a turnip. On a whole, we were introduced into too many plot points that overlapped in the strangest ways, barely giving conclusion and killing off characters that, while might be good on paper had little to offer in sentiment considering they were evil to begin with. With only a few bright spots to consider and Stefan being the most blindsided of the bunch, tonight’s episode of TVD launched itself into a frenzy of drama that alleviated hardly any original plot from before the break with the only saving point being that we’re finally caught up to the 3 year mark.

 

THE GOOD

It may sound harsh but Nora and Mary-Louise had to go. Their sudden departure reminded me of Jin and Sun from Lost toward the end of season 6 with Mary pleading for Nora to continue on but Nora finding she couldn’t without her. There’s tragic heartbreak there and it’s recognizable and noble that they tried to end their lives on a good note, by inexplicably helping destroy the phoenix stone, an act no one was sure was possible until now. With the exception of Valerie, the heretic plot is essentially extinguished and considering how long it took for us to get there, it couldn’t have happened any sooner. Nora might have been redeemable, but Mary certainly wasn’t unless she was on her deathbed, which she was. Whether their final act truly helped the Salvatore’s remains to be seen.

 

THE BAD

Too many overlapping plots with no sensible connection or conclusion. Every character seemed to have a purpose but for characters like Enzo, Matt, Alex, and Stefan, we really didn’t get the whole picture and are left still wondering why anything is happening. Enzo is hung up on these pills that hurt and kill witches. That will somehow connect to Bonnie, but for now we don’t know if she’s affected or what. Stefan had some flashback part to play with Penny’s death, but we don’t know why yet which is very annoying because it’s a very loose plot that really doesn’t need to fit with any of this. I have no earthly clue was it is that Alex is trying to do, if she’s really gathering artifacts and experimenting then what is her end goal? And how did Stefan end up at the landing field along with everyone else? It was a mess, it felt like a mess, and no repeat viewing is going to clear this up because it’s fruitless.

 

I also don’t think it’s necessary to now do flashbacks of the last three years because we spent the last 16 episodes doing flash-forwards and now we’re switching roles. It’s too disjointed and there’s apparently more mystery to unravel with Stefan while he was gallivanting across the world with Valerie. Moving forward, the plot should remain linear and focused on a few major arcs, not six.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Nora and Mary’s sacrifice at the end. It was more or less a logical conclusion that the stone would be smashed or destroyed at some point to render the blade inert and it finally happened. It cost the lives or unlives of two heretic vampires but might have bought time for Damon to devise a plan to save Stefan who at this point could be existing in some ethereal plan beyond the stone’s prison. Kudos to the two for having enough power to accomplish that task.

 

CHARACTER MVP

There really weren’t any good-natured characters showing up tonight aside from Stefan. As always, it barely goes to Damon because he went through once more a selfless moment that came too late when he decided his brother was worth losing Elena for. These two are practically the Winchesters of the vampire world, always redefining and rediscovering how important their brotherly bonds are. Damon simply can’t exist on his own, either Elena or Stefan need to be there to help him cope, exist, and understand how not to be evil. What little progress he’s made thus far, it’s always just enough to earn him the continued spot as MVP.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Damon really sold the look on his face when Rayna told him that switching the scar would inevitably damn him from every seeing Elena again when Rayna died of old age, taking Damon with him. Truly priceless scene considering he usually thinks of everything.

 

Looking back, I have no earthly clue how Stefan will be or is responsible for Penny’s death. Clearly Matt is vengeful and more than usual. He’s turning into the one human who exists to be a thorn in the main character’s sides and it’s unfortunate because he’s been filled with as much tragedy as anyone on this show.

 

We’re still vaguely glossing over the fact that Enzo and Bonnie ended up in love and with Enzo hard-pressed to discover the root of Alex’s agenda and the endgame with those witch pills, I’m left wondering why any of this is important at all and who the villain(s) are on this season. Everyone has a sob story and a reason to perform evil acts, but no one is really taking the mantle of “Villain of the season.”

 

In the present, we were last left with Caroline in New Orleans. Does this mean she’ll eventually run into Klaus or anyone on The Originals, or will we next see her back with Alaric or somewhere else entirely? I don’t expect nor want to see Stefan and Caroline mend their ways. He belongs with Valerie, until they decide to kill her off, which is certain to happen by this season’s end.

 

With the stone destroyed we’re now left wondering what happened to Stefan and every vampire trapped within it. Does this mean the souls are free to inhabit other people or are they trapped in a new dimension of chaos and hell? Rayna may not be linked to Stefan anymore but we did get a glimpse of him in pain through her eyes. This is definitely the most interesting result of the entire run through this kaleidoscope.

 

OVERALL SCORE

5 out of 10. The Vampire Diaries thrives on overlapping drama and character tragedy, pushing the limits of our “heroes” with how far they’ll go to save those they care about and themselves. Here, we have too many incidents happening and not a lot of breathing room with the exception of a few flashbacks that aren’t really relevant to begin with. The plot was never truly cohesive and it’s a complete guess as to where it will go next. That could be a saving throw because in creating upheaval of that caliber can only mean either a clean slate or an even more complicated one, but with Stefan a focal point for saving, I imagine it will go one of two ways: More awkward flashbacks detailing the motivations of supporting characters going rogue, or a fresh take on Stefan’s inner turmoil that could help settle what path he needs to take should he survive this ordeal. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

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