A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×11 (It was over the second Bonnie mentioned the “bucket list”)

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SUMMARY

Cade helps Stefan escape and given two choices offers to find and kill Elena while Damon struggles when presented a similar choice between killing 100 humans or Caroline. Bonnie helps Enzo fulfill a personal wishlist while on their way to a house containing Elena and the cure which is intends to take. Back in Mystic Falls, a time capsule is unearthed that some of its contents prove to be connected to Matt’s family line which Dorien helps decipher. When Damon learns of Stefan’s plan, he leaves town to try and stop him while Stefan manipulates the transfer of Bonnie’s house to another human complete with an invitation. At the house, Bonnie speaks to Damon on the phone and agrees to use the cure to help stop Cade and turn him mortal. Stefan arrives however and kills Enzo before being injected with Elena’s blood, presumably making him mortal. Bonnie then holds Enzo’s desecating body and emits a psychic burst signifying a reconnection to her witch powers.

INITIAL THOUGHTS

You know that moment when you think to yourself “Nah, no one’s going to die this early,” and then it happens. The Vampire Diaries is notably horrible when it comes to convincing the audience it can permanently kill its main cast but Enzo has been an outsider looking in for quite a while. Aside from a routine episode depicting a Mystic Falls event and a struggle to stop a seasonal villain from wrecking havoc among the town, nothing truly became gripping until those final moments when an inhuman Stefan pulled the heart of one Enzo St. John, forcing Bonnie to instinctively save herself by using the cure on Stefan and likely reconnecting to her abilities through that grief of loss. As a whole, the direction and plot is mild at best, but its climax is one for the TVD ages.

THE GOOD

There should never be a shortage of careless looks that Stefan can give. They almost equal the amount of eye-brow raising, eye-popping moments Damon is entirely known for outside of that smirky-smirk. If there was something that Stefan could do to really convince the world his heartless self was capable of anything including killing Elena, killing Bonnie’s love is a close third. The stakes (no pun intended) have to be higher than they ever have before on this show. Giving us a strange villain who is obsessed with souls is fine and dandy, but not there hasn’t been enough real risk until now. Killing familiar characters can only raise that anxiety so far which means Enzo was conceivably next in line, someone who has been around long enough but not quite reached the main cast roster. I’ve disliked Enzo for every season sans this one and for once, it was a moment I shook my head and decided no matter how much he’s grown, it was probably for the best to finally inject some real life into this last season. What makes it unreal is how sudden it was and that was probably the best move instead of making it some awkward self-sacrifice that most of these lovingly vampires are known for.

THE BAD

Cade is laughably un-likable, even for a bad-guy. He’s a demonic villain with no human ties to the world and he can make jokes and be snarky with the best of them, but in the end, there’s no intensity in his purpose and that’s what’s sorely missing in a final villain. What we’re getting is very routine and feels like a season 8 bad-guy out of a 10 season show. Forcing our heroes into impossible decisions is one thing, doing so with the ferocity of a truly spiteful and evil being is what he needs to start displaying. It’s hard to take him seriously when he’s ordering coffee. Maybe this is all a warm-up act, who knows. Everything he’s asking for in his servants seems arbitrary at this point in time.

FAVORITE MOMENT

Who can honestly say the last scene wasn’t the moment where everything changed? We were given three distinct elements that all can amount to several conclusions. Enzo’s heart was ripped out, Stefan has been injected with some of Elena’s blood, and Bonnie is somehow connecting to her powers again. Is any of it truly set in stone? I’ll theorize a bit below. But yes, any fan should be talking about this for the next week while trying to rationalize what’s happened, or enjoy it for what it’s worth. Not everyone was on board with Enzo or Stefan these days and I get that. It creates chaos and chaos is rampant.

CHARACTER MVP

This was still a bit of Bonnie’s journey, mostly attributed to the decision she made to use the cure on Cade instead of Enzo. She was surely mad enough while making that decision, but her heart is and has always been in the right place when it comes to those kinds of choices. If anyone deserves a break from the monotony of death it’s her bar a long shot. And anyone willing to help their love actively complete their bucket list should be considered a keeper for life. Bonnie has grown furiously charismatic and it’s no wonder a vampire like Enzo eventually fell for her. She’s done great this season.

ENDING THOUGHTS

We’ll start with the shocker of Enzo’s death. Is it truly for real? Can Bonnie somehow change Enzo’s deathly fate if her powers have returned? For the sake of this show having some gall, I’m voting to keep Enzo out from returning. These last five episodes need to escalate toward a gut-wrenching finale that will make us remember how this show came and went over the years and sometimes killing characters and giving them their journey’s end is necessary to fit the bill. Rather than come up with scenarios to bring Enzo back I’ll quietly except his passing and remember him and a changed vampire who redeemed himself enough to warrant a warrior’s funeral.

Is Stefan in fact human now? This is tricky. There are online rumblings that it won’t be possible to re-turn Stefan because the cure won’t let him and it’s also possible that not enough blood went into him to fully make him mortal. It’s hard to come down on either side but I will say that turning him human this early seems risky. Unexpected, but risky. Could the amount of blood erase his inhumanity but keep him a vampire? That would be cheap in my opinion since every vampire who got their humanity back did so through emotionally charged moments that they finally connected to. Damon shouldn’t be human, but if he, then I approve because again, this show needs to do more daring things that we won’t expect. I’m all for big changes at this point.

Does Bonnie have her powers back? If so, what can she do and will it be enough to take down Cade? I’ve no doubt Bonnie is fully a witch again out of sheer will. It’s romantic in a big way because grief is a powerful motivator. What’s interesting is the lack of a witch presence this entire season when witches would come in handy against a strange being like Cade. Bonnie will level this playing field in many ways, and who knows, maybe she can affect Stefan and maybe even Enzo in ways she never knew until now. But as always, stick with big decisions and move forward. Don’t tease us death and change and then take it away in the very next episode. TVD doesn’t need to be cheap like that anymore.

It also seems Matt has one more big part to play with his family line being more important than he ever knew. It’s hard to speculate what Dorian is translating and what the necklace represents, but if there’s any more power to be had, Matt will need it to become a real threat to Cade and what he represents. I don’t expect Matt to die during all this, but he has the makings of someone who would sacrifice himself to save the town. He’s quite literally the last human left who is truly human, and so it would be ironic if he turned out to be something else entirely based on these new objects.

Also, bonus points for the ambient build up of music throughout and at the end of this episode. The cheesy lyric inducing drama music has been done to absolute death, and the choice in lamenting Enzo’s fate was epic and served to help really solidify Bonnie’s intense moment she went through. More of that please.

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. What began as a means for Damon to save his brother ended with Stefan shocking the fanbase by eliminating Enzo from the playing board. It quite possibly cost him greatly, but then, that’s how final arcs are supposed to roll. This didn’t deliver with eye-popping excitement until the last moments, but when it did, it was effectively worth the wait. Always keep us coming back for more. No show has had quite the cliffhanger conundrum than TVD which is now finally turning up the heat with a villain who can literally turn up the heat. Great ending that should resonate for a while. Now just follow through and turn everyone up to 11 and we’ll be in for a grand treat. Thanks for reading.

No more words

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