A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×16 (It was good to see you, one last time)

TVD 8x16

 

SUMMARY

While Vickie continues to ring the bell, Matt evacuates the town as Damon and Stefan confront Katherine who intends to watch the town finally burn. After recovering, Bonnie helps Alaric and the twins return to the armory and discovers Alaric’s “hail mary” plan to destroy hell with mystical energy. She intends to use the hellfire to do the job. After informing the brothers, each of them wants the other to leave town to survive, but it’s Damon who uses compulsion to make Stefan leave, finally atoning for all his past sins. With vervane in his system, Stefan leaves but returns with a syringe of his blood and injects Damon, turning him human. With the help of witches from the past, Bonnie funnels the hellfire back through the tunnels engulfing both Katherine and Stefan. In the aftermath, Stefan encounters Elena within the spell and gives her a message for Caroline before saying goodbye. Stefan finds Lexi in the afterlife as the two embrace. Some time later, Bonnie finally counteracts Kai’s spell and Elena finally wakes up. She reunites with Damon and Caroline as the group move on with their lives. Alaric and Caroline open the school with Jeremy assisting and Caroline receives a check and a letter from Klaus hoping one day they meet again. Bonnie begins a life of traveling and Damon and Elena continue their lives together. Further in the future after lives past, Elena reunites with her parents and family as Damon returns home to find Stefan welcoming him.

 

THE END

 

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Eight seasons later, all diaries have been written and the group from Mystic Falls have each fulfilled their lives to the fullest. They indeed saved the best for last, marking the way for the spin-off to conclude in ways we’ve yet to see. But for now, Elena finally returned to Damon, and Stefan made the ultimate sacrifice for the good of all. The series finale contained an insurmountable warmth that took its time to carefully examine the pieces that made these characters become the best they could in understanding and in compassion. Everyone said good-bye in their own way, continuing their lives as they should have, and well after. The concluding moments were given a very Lost-esque ending, but those are the ones that matter, when characters and find the ones they’ve lost and be with those they love. Once you make a family, you’ll find them even at the end. A crisp and heartfelt episode, that made every fan lament in happiness and thankful for the journey these vampires, witches, werewolves, doppelgangers, sirens, gypsies, and humans gave us. A damn fine job ending this series.

 

THE GOOD

I have to say, not an ounce of this episode was wasted. Everything leading up to the climactic finale with Bonnie pushing the hellfire into hell was crafted with a lot of care. Right down the witches that came to help Bonnie give her the strength she needed. It culminated in the destruction of Katherine, who maintain the final role of the villain and rightly so. Her plan went as far as it could, the rest was left to the group to turn the plan back on her and so they did. Now that hell is destroyed, all souls are free to roam and move on as intended.

 

Damon and Stefan’s war of brotherly sacrifice had come to a head with Damon seemingly winning that argument only to be undone by Stefan’s guile and ultimate sense of purpose. We knew Damon wouldn’t be the one to go, after all, he had to see Elena again and there was no way that wasn’t going to happen. The moments that led to and from were captivating and drew in the bonds that made them so memorable as characters. Each were willing to be the martyr, but Stefan won the unspoken duel. The rest was left to fate and a hope that one day they’d see each other again.

 

Nina’s dual run as Elena and Katherine scores as usual. She was the original sarcastic villain, always the jealous fit who tried to find every loophole and ability to exist in and around the afterlife. Elena’s return was as though she never left at all. Two seasons and the young actress didn’t skip a beat. Her natural charisma and heart came through complete with Katherine’s raw hatred of both brothers. One would think the two would have crossed paths one last time, but it wasn’t in the cards. Still, Elena returning capped off the show as it was meant to. Welcome back, for the final time.

 

Of course everyone (Almost everyone) returned to cameo in the finale making this a monumental good-bye including Lexi, Jeremy, Vickie, Tyler, Liz, Elena’s parents and aunt, and everyone else who affected their lives. Thank you for giving them a chance to do that, and do it in a way that really capitalized on those tears that likely came for the entire fanbase. It was one of the warmest sendoffs out there.

 

THE BAD

The only no-show was Elena’s biological mother, Isobel, played by Mia Kirshner. I thought she might walk through the door with John, but sadly, I guess she wasn’t available for the scene. That’s okay. Isobel didn’t really play that big of a role in Elena’s life and though she was compelled by Klaus to perform a lot of villain acts, I’d like to think she redeemed herself in some capacity. In any case, I felt there were no other flaws on this episode whatsoever.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

I’ve been saying it for years and when Stefan walked out of the school and saw Lexi out there waiting for him, I had my moment, that necessary moment I wanted since Lexi’s last appearance. She was always my favorite vampire on this show and seeing her one last time was the perfect sendoff I needed personally. Thank you for that. And reuniting her with Stefan was also very appropriate. Excellent goodbye to those who thought she was awesome.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Ever the tough one, but this cast did a lot so let’s give it to all of them. Stefan made the ultimate sacrifice, Damon made the choice to try, Bonnie held off the hellfire, Matt and his father said goodbye to Vickie, Caroline chose to be with her daughters along with Alaric. Everyone played a part to make the best of an ending to this kind of drama and without the cast as they were, none of it would have happened. Thanks to the team of Mystic Falls for delivering that last momentous push to stop evil.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

I would have thought Katherine might have gained some semblance of Cade’s power as the new ruler of hell, but being the new ruler doesn’t mean being powerful as Cade was, since he was a psychic and Katherine wasn’t. I get it, but still seemed strange that she couldn’t actually put up a fight against the Salvatore brothers.

 

Klaus’s letter reads “Dearest Caroline, I have often imagined the paths your life might take, but your chosen future is more noble than I ever fathomed. Please accept this contribution to your virtuous cause. I do look forward to thanking you in person someday…However long it takes, Yours, Klaus.

 

This was our one and only link to The Originals and it does bring some speculation that maybe we’ll see Caroline in an episode toward the end of its final run. I’d like to think someone from TVD will show up in TO, and Caroline is probably the person who it should be. After all, she’s the last vampire standing on this show, very strange considering if I was given a choice on who that would be from way back in season 1, I probably wouldn’t have picked her. Funny how that works out.

 

It’s interesting wondering what kind of occupation Damon would have undertaken now that he’s human. During a “flashfoward” Damon suffered the human fatigue of boredom and longed for the vampire life again, yet as we see him now, grown, mature, and saturated by those he cares for, I can imagine he became someone who Elena was proud of, whatever that thing ended up being.

 

OVERALL SCORE

10 out of 10. The team behind the show did their best to produce a finale that clutched at our hearts and brought finality to the group in nearly every way possible. Katherine’s last note of vengeance of denied to eternity and Stefan finally carried with him the burden of sacrifice he had been longing for. Damon’s return to humanity and reuniting with Elena was the moment everyone needed to see since everyone speculated their coupling and it was given to us along with a multitude of cameos and cherished moments to fill a whole soundtrack with. As this chapter closes, there’s one last story to tell in the world of vampires, but for now, the Salvatores and the citizens of Mystic Falls say their goodbyes to us in harmony and love. Their best episode because they helped make us care and in turn cared back. Thanks for the memories and all 8 years of neck-snapping craziness. Thanks for reading. We’ll see you next time on The Originals.

 

 

No more words

 

 

 

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×15 (Waaaaaay too much fun handling that skull there, Damon)

tvd-8x15

 

SUMMARY

Stefan and Damon plan to bring Katherine out of hiding by initiating the wedding between Stefan and Caroline. Together, they gather Katherine’s bones and with the help of Matt’s father, fashion a dagger capable of killing her. Meanwhile, Alaric and Dorian research an alternate plan by destroying hell completely with psychic energy. Enzo convinces Bonnie to attend the wedding and share in Caroline’s happiness as Alaric brings the Gemini twins to attend the wedding as well. Matt’s mother, Kelly returns to Mystic Falls though it is revealed that she returned from hell in a limited fashion and is helping Katherine enact of plan of her own. Prior to the wedding, Kelly attacks Peter and after, sets off an explosion during the reception that encapsulates Bonnie and the twins in a house. With Enzo’s help, Bonnie discovers she still retains magic and allows the twins to siphon her allowing them to escape. Before Kelly succumbs to her expired time, she reveals to the group that not only did Katherine escape but so did Vicky, who is shown returning to the Maxwell bell and begins striking it. Stefan watches in shock as Bonnie collapses from the bell’s initial strikes.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Only a handful of moments remain as The Vampire Diaries revel in the machinations of one silent and observant Katherine, ruler of hell. The wedding theme came and went, more as a plan to lure out the enemy, but also as milestone marking the union of Caroline and Stefan. The moments were crisp and elegant in both the reflective moments and the somber background of looming events. Still absent is the lovely Nina who will only appear in the final episode, as the lone hero and villain colliding one last time. If there’s one thing this show has defined for its watchers, is that they won’t leave you without a colossal moment to shock and awe you. Does that end with Bonnie’s death? I think not. It’s only the beginning.

 

THE GOOD

Let’s start with the subterfuge of making us believe Katherine was observing the wedding and aftermath when in fact it was Vicky, complete with the curly locks familiar to young Katherine, hell’s new look. For reasons oddly considered, her involvement in the destruction of Mystic Falls makes perfect sense. After all, her death by the machinations of old-school evil Damon sparked some early controversy regarding the vampire with an obsession. Who better to convince her to wipe away the slate by annihilating the town that nearly forgot her? Revealing that instead of a watchful Katherine was a fantastic move, bottom line. The hits continue to rise and there’s no shortage or stoppage of great moments leading to the last. Will Vicky actually chime the last strike, or will she be stopped in time? How fast can Damon run?

 

The more Enzo delights in Bonnie’s presence, the more obvious it becomes that those two will exist in that dimension together forever. It’s poetic and tragic, but simultaneously necessary for Elena’s appearance. The spell placed in her only had one way of ending, and the sad truth is unless magic itself is removed completely, Bonnie won’t make it out of this series alive. And in the tale of love, she may not want it any other way. Enzo needs her, and she needs him. The world is there for them to be together, and like all love stories, when it’s powerful, it’s destined. There may be deep sadness by the group, but Elena’s return will be the silver lining.

 

THE BAD

Kelly had an odd place throughout the episode, both as a distraction from Vicky’s presence and as a general nuisance among the group. I’d forgotten about her and her role long ago and struggled to remember if she actually died on screen or behind it. After she explained the situation I understood which also led to her rant over Damon’s responsibility for killing Vicky. I suppose no one else would have made the same impact, but at the same time, the impact just wasn’t there until we all realized who the woman behind the curtain really was.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

The Vicky reveal. I’ve stated my opinion in the past about supporting Vicky over Caroline as a the vampire who should have been long-lasting. This moments brings a lot of that first season full circle, something I’m glad is kept in house with Katherine as the final villain and not someone like Cade who made such a small impact on the season as a whole. Without a single line, she delivered the killing blow that may see Bonnie into the afterlife. I’m anxious to see if she’ll stop there or find some way to forgive the man who turned her to begin with.

 

CHARACTER MVP

It’s a bit of a Damon and Enzo split. Both characters supported their loved ones effectively and remarkably. Enzo was more spirited in love and confidence while Damon remained passive but authentic. His toast to the late Liz Forbes was a shining moment that illuminates Damon’s charisma and loyalty toward close friends. Enzo has somehow turned the tide with his love for Bonnie and for that I applaud his character making a difference in someone’s life that deserved happiness. They both earned it.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Based on the one brief moment shown in the final episode, we know Elena wakes and everyone isn’t on fire. Therefore it’s basically safe to say that Vicky won’t make that last strike and Bonnie’s heart will stop long enough for Elena to wake up. Whether that means Bonnie will or won’t recover remains to be seen. I guess it all depends on whether this shows wants Enzo and Bonnie to cling together now or if Enzo’s spirit will watch for years to come.

 

I can’t truly imagine any more characters succumbing to death unless Katherine herself kills Elena, which would endcap this series in a way that the Salvatores will never expect, and possibly the audience. While death scenes are a means to give us tragedy and heart-crushing moments, what’s important is whether those characters have learned the life-lesson they were meant to learn. Did they fulfill the act the show needed them to and at the end of the day, is their life complete as we understand it? If the answer is yes, then anyone can die in the final episode including the brothers themselves.

 

Okay, let’s get this theory out and about even though I haven’t purposefully looked for it online. Is Elena actually Elena, or will it be Katherine posing as her when the big wake-up scene happens? That’s the first trick Katherine played at the end of season 1 and it worked perfectly. It stands to reason that history may repeat itself and the real Elena is trapped somewhere, or worse. Katherine is reliably the smartest most devious character on this show, we all know it and she won’t just show up without making the kind of entrance that really sells the return. Having her pretend to be Elena one more time is perfect and I support that possibility. And it will really piss Damon off.

 

While The Originals has its own mythology to tell and not too long ago I thought bringing Hayley in would be cool to have, I also think having someone be in the last season of The Originals will be equal to or better. Some characters may have a story to tell outside of TVD and I wouldn’t mind watching them progress into the spin-off to satisfy that storyline. Who knows, it could really shake things in New Orleans.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. The Vampire Diaries is being careful but very smart in the last few episodes it had. Tonight, it shook up the status quo once more and brought one more old character into the fold, someone who is capable of destroying the town and that is the missing element the finale needed, widespread upheaval. It may be cut short, but the threat is there and the town is as much a part of the family as are the individuals. One last party wouldn’t be against the tradition of this show, but I hope before things are said and done, the group face real fears and dread before saving the day. Caroline got her wedding and Damon got to play with Katherine’s skull, the rest is semantics toward bringing Elena back. But will Katherine instead emerge from the coffin for one last scare? We shall certainly see. Thanks for reading. One more to go.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×14 (That was a lot of 90’s references)

tvd-8x04

 

SUMMARY

After Kai bargains his freedom from Cade using Elena, Cade sends Damon to retrieve the dagger from Kai. With Stefan’s help, they stop Kai but when Stefan reveals his plan to use the dagger on Cade, Damon intervenes to protect Elena. Meanwhile, Kai is held at the armory but his siphon power allows him to escape as he subdues Caroline and hunts for the Gemini twins. Stefan knocks out Damon and confronts Cade alone while Alaric uses the bell to incapacitate Cade. It almost works until Alaric is called back to the armory to stop Kai. Damon arrives and Cade forces him to choose between saving Stefan and Elena whose coffin is on fire. Damon chooses himself as Cade makes him stake himself. Afterward, Cade meets Damon in the afterlife but is found by Bonnie who attempts to stop Cade with her psychic powers. She struggles until Stefan successfully stabs Cade with the dagger, ending his immortal existence. Alaric and Kai fight in the caves until Caroline recovers and stops Kai. Damon later convinces Stefan to stay and atone with those he loves which causes Stefan to return to Caroline and propose to which she accepts. Kai is later seen in a new dimension created by Bonnie for his eternal torment. Before she leaves Kai informs her that he lost a bet in believing he’d be the next ruler of hell after Cade when in fact the new ruler is Katherine. Bonnie tells Damon and the two realize the vengeance they’re in for when she finds them.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

I had been holding out hope that Katherine would make one final appearance ever since the scene when Georgie was pulled into hell occurred. The situation was too eerily similar and called for the theory outright. Now we know for sure that Nina will be once more both Katherine and Elena in the final episodes of TVD. As far as the climactic finale with Cade and Damon’s sacrifice, it was an awesome convergence of moments mostly there for Damon’s most prolific act as a sacrificial hero. Stefan got to deliver the killing blow to Cade and also swear featly to the great Caroline…er, I mean propose to the woman he loves. Our wedding episode is finally on the horizon and the promise of greater evil to arrive. All in all, it was not too shabby of an episode which included a few zingers from Kai and a new torturous hell for him and him alone.

 

THE GOOD

Damon’s reached the pinnacle of his character, he might have a few more drops of solace before he and Elena are reunited, but for now, I’d say he’s hit the peak of his development. When he’s the one passing the wisdom of atonement to Stefan, you know the world has gone crazy, but in the grand scheme of vampire experience, he’s right in every detail. If anyone believed for a second that Damon was going to be permanently killed this close to the finale, then they were tricked, because it wasn’t going to happen. I will say that his majestic reappearance was completely ridiculous, but this show can seriously do what it wants as there are only two episodes left. His body was staked, it shouldn’t have been healed regardless of Damon’s soul getting thrown back into it.

 

Kai embellished the nature of his evil and for that, he gives all his scenes more flavor than what we’re used to seeing and that really pompous villains with sarcastic quips. At least Kai is referential and amusing to a fault. His original death was sudden but adequate; however this new ending for him is much grander and returns him back to the mental anguish he had been condemned with since his first appearance. The scope of this punishment is much more deserving even though he thought he’d have the last laugh.

 

THE BAD

Cade should have thought forward enough to bring hell on earth. But that would have been too expensive and so the closest we got was the potential annihilation of Mystic Falls by way of 11 bell chimes. There should have been more with this wicked villain, but there wasn’t. He was nothing more than a very personalized bad guy who was more concerned about the solitary punishment he wanted to give rather than the global one. I promise had the situation called for a moment of Armageddon, Katherine could still make an impression through that fiery drama. Aw well. Cade served what little purpose he had in putting Stefan back on the right course. Now nobody is afraid of hell.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

There was a few that stood out, but you can’t deny the chilling atmosphere brought on by Damon’s calling of Katherine’s name as Bonnie peppered the act with her own warning on the subject. You couldn’t have asked for a more captivating segment, the kind fans need to really feed into that delicious moment when the most devious vampire makes her return to rattle the Salvatore’s one last time. Now we can theorize that Katherine will kill Caroline by the end. Unless this show wants all the happy endings.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Damon absolutely deserves it. In choosing himself, he relents on that happiness and confronts hell face forward, something he had been dreading the entire season. This culminated into act of staking himself, something we probably never thought we’d see. And he didn’t really think twice on the matter. Using a piece of Elena’s coffin has some poetry in it, but suffice it to say, he put his best vampire foot forward and stuck it where it counted instead of using some clever loophole or trick to stop Cade. Hat’s off to the man for staying true.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Those 90’s references include the following:

  • Kai sung the instrumental version of Guns N Roses “Knockin on Heaven’s Door” which was from the album “Use your Illusion II,” produced in 1991.
  • Kai said to Caroline “Hello Clarice” a reference to Hannibal’s line to Clarice Starling in the film “Silence of the Lambs” also in 1991.
  • Cade tells Stefan to “Go to hell” in which Stefan replies “You first”. Now this is a rather cliché line, but more importantly it’s the same lines used in the film “Lethal Weapon 3” when Riggs confronts and kills Travis in the finale. This film was released in 1992.
  • And finally…Kai’s song of choice in hell was “Two Princes” from “The Spin Doctors” off the album “Pocket Full of Kryptonite” which debuted in 1991.

If the bell had the ability to disrupt Cade, why didn’t he have someone dismantle it? Did he forget that it was still around after it brought him back? And come to think of it, why did it have any affect on him at all? Maybe this is why he never had it rung 12 times again by Matt or his father. Seems oddly convenient it could hurt him at all.

 

Alaric knows now that the armor needs to be emptied before of all that magical stuff before it becomes a school, right? Who technically owns that property now that everyone in that family was killed off?

 

I do hope they give enough of an explanation for Katherine’s return that she has both motivation and ability to wreck shop when she returns. Not that I would ever complain to have Katherine back I just think it could be a weak argument that she just happens to be “next in line” after Cade’s fall that would make it feasible for her to rule hell after his death.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Cade’s story is done and now we have a few more dimensions which includes one that Enzo is currently stuck in. If the romance fits, Bonnie will end there with him when she eventually passes which brings anyone’s guess as to how Elena will be brought back outside of that specific condition. Things could get very murky in the finale notwithstanding Katherine’s revenge which we’re all just happily waiting for. Tonight’s episode was a gift for Damon to face his fears and make choices that put him as one of the truer heroes on the show regardless of his historic and violent past. The Salvatore’s deserve peace in their own rights and soon they’ll either achieve it or die in the attempt. Now that Damon’s already done that, we’re ready to see if Stefan will follow, or live happily in matrimony with Caroline, who is absolutely ready to marry that guy. I expect a lot of subplot wrap-ups next week and plenty of good byes. Who knows, maybe we’ll get an extra cameo or two, and for the sheer will of it, I’m hoping Lexi is one of them. Thanks for reading. Two more to go.

 

 

No more words

 

 

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×13 (This fall, from the producers who brought you TVD comes, The Cannibal Divas)

tvd-8x13

 

SUMMARY

Kai bargains with Damon that if he can fully escape hell, he will bring back Elena. Meanwhile, Bonnie discovers that Enzo still exists within a pocket dimension she created psychically after he died. When she finds him through Cade’s help, Enzo warns her that Cade is searching for him. Outside of town, Dorian holds Stefan at gunpoint and makes him dig a grave while remembering that Stefan killed his family years ago to prove himself to Klaus. Dorian shoots Stefan but regrets it and calls on Matt for help. Stefan is saved but tells Caroline he intends to find his atonement alone which frustrates her. At night, Caroline meets with Alaric and the twins as they begin showing signs of hostility and magic using. Damon tries to convince Kai to bring back Elena as a means to redeem his soul, but Kai instead siphons Damon to the point of death and leaves with Elena’s coffin to an unknown location.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Going through the motions, TVD begins putting all the remaining pieces in place for whatever finale it intends to draw out. Twice Stefan takes a wound to the gut and both teams he’s stabilized. I’m sure he’ll be radically right as rain by the next episode. Kai, always the humorous villain of sorts steals his moments if not a bit overzealous and hyped on all the caffeine known to man. Enzo’s pocket dimension can mean a lot of things moving forward with all the hells and heavens there can be, but I doubt this will get much more scientific then who has more psychic power, Cade or Bonnie. The twins and their tempers are likely associated to Kai’s return, but whether it’s that or a greater disruption in the magic paradigm we won’t know until next week, possibly. All this and the everlasting tease that Elena is inbound. Not a bad episode, but not the greatest either.

 

THE GOOD

Bonnie is quickly becoming the one character who has a shot at defeating Cade, notwithstanding the dagger that Damon found and proclaimed as the killing weapon. It may not be as simple as stabbing him with it because that realm of hell he created may continue to exist forever, but therein lies the infinite realm of possibilities between Bonnie’s psychic draw and Cade’s infernal machinations. I’d like to think this battle between them could become epic, but it should come down as a total team effort by the cast to rid Cade and probably Kai too at this juncture. There’s individual strength, and Enzo and Bonnie’s love may be the key to bringing everyone together on this final ride.

 

Kai is still a fun character to hate and laugh at. Always behind on the pop-culture loop, but forever jaded as the odd-villain out. Bringing him back to release Elena was probably the best call they could make that didn’t involve Bonnie’s death, however there’s always a chance that’s still going to happen if the only way for Bonnie to be with Enzo is to die. Why else would she have been so enthralled by him if not to present a situation like this? Kai may in fact be the red herring here.

 

THE BAD

Stefan’s atonement felt oddly out of place. He’s still in rough shape, physically and mentally, still new to being human again and full of regrets. He doesn’t want to let go but he can’t exist with happiness knowing there’s too many he hurt out there. It’s self-induced limbo, the heart of all sullen masochism. So long as there’s those out there who won’t forgive him, he won’t forgive himself. What seems contradictory is that he probably should have let go when Cade went to him. He instead remained stubborn and came back, only to tell Caroline he needs to whine and dine alone. She has every right to be upset with him, and if it doesn’t set him some great big decision to assist in the finale, Stefan’s subplot will just feel a bit like filler.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

As entertaining as Kai is, I think what stood out was Bonnie’s ability to find Enzo in the dimension she created. There’s a lot of potential in what she can do and with what Enzo’s going through, it stands to reason that whatever trials they are going through, their love will transcend through it, much like Damon is trying to with Elena and Stefan is with Caroline. Bonnie’s crisis though has a bit more weight to it because it directly conflicts with Cade the main villain. I do like the fantasy element to it all and am wondering how far they intend to take it.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Let’s give it to Kai by simply being Kai. He’s easily still a loose cannon, able to be good-natured and then evil at the drop of a hat. He’s perfect ambiguity driven by the goal to survive. He won’t put his trust in anyone but his own hands and now that he still has power, he’ll manage it however he can to keep away from Cade’s hell. Everything he’s doing makes sense from his perspective and with Cade being a very bland and uninteresting evil-doer, Kai is a good back-up bad guy to have on hand.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Kai is playing the convenient card and ends up right where he needs to be, first in Mystic Falls and then in the caves where Alaric and Damon were. I guess he still knows how to do locator spells. But in all fairness to Cade, why can’t he know someone’s missing and where he is? If Cade can sense and appear where Stefan is dying, why can’t he show up where other humans actually are dying that Damon is killing for Kai? Consistency maybe?

 

Did Damon move Elena’s coffin from the house to the crypt? Did anyone? I might have missed how that thing went from point A to point B.

 

This may be a long shot, but how interesting would it be if Hayley somehow showed up near the tail end of the finale to help bridge the gap between TVD and The Originals. She’s the only character capable of crossing over given the finale and she needs a lot of help to find her cures for everyone. You’d think they’d maybe give it a shot for all time’s sake.

 

Will Bonnie in fact be a descendant of Cade in some capacity? There aren’t any direct signs that point to this other than both being psychic, but maybe that reveal would have already come out if that was the case. It shouldn’t hold any bearing other than a slight distraction if they decide to go that route. Bonnie at this point will do almost anything to save Enzo, assuming that’s even still an option at this point.

 

OVERALL SCORE

7 out of 10. Kai brought some levity to an otherwise topsy-turvey emotional rollercoaster of an episode. The big take-aways here are that Bonnie does in fact have the power to create new realities like Cade and Enzo is in one. Stefan has this fool’s quest to atone on his own, and Damon is back to obsessing over Elena’s return because as always she’s his only real shot at happiness. When Elena does come back, she should probably do the same thing as Stefan and bail town to wander the earth. Maybe even Jeremy should cameo just to really confuse things. A generally mild episode with some moderate moments of climactic building. Don’t shoot or stab Stefan in the stomach anymore, that’s starting to get tired. And don’t show Elena in the final promo of the series, just let her come back naturally on screen. Thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×12 (Headless Kai is…not so headless)

tvd-8x12

 

SUMMARY

Now human, Stefan flees after killing Enzo but is later pulled over and arrested under suspicion of murder. Caroline finds him at a precinct and compels the police to release him as they search for the wounded woman Stefan used to switch deeds on the house. Meanwhile, Damon is told by Cade to retrieve Matt’s ancestor’s journal or lose Stefan at midnight. Damon arrives at the armory where Alaric and Dorian help Matt reach into the past through hypnosis and the Donavon necklace that links him to his ancestor. Within that hypnosis, Matt discovers are the sirens were trapped after his ancestor and a Bennett witch helped keep Mystic Falls from being destroyed by the bell that Cade manipulated for his own dark purpose. Damon steals the book and returns it to Cade as Stefan and Caroline save the woman. Bonnie reunites with her estranged mother and discovers she may have a connection to Enzo still, but her mother burns Enzo’s body believing Bonnie was suffering a horrific spell. Later at night, Damon returns to Alaric and shows him in the caves that a dagger forged from Cade’s ashes is what will destroy the devil. Kai suddenly appears relaying a different set of plans. Stefan goes to Bonnie’s house to apologize about Enzo, but is subdued by a hooded figure.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

Human Stefan and actually dead Enzo, who would have thought they’d stick with their plan after one episode? This may be a long con considering the finality of the situation, but suffice it to say, tonight’s episode slightly repaired some bridges while keeping the core of loss intact. Bonnie’s grief is overshadowed by a sense that she can still reach Enzo in the afterlife, but right not it’s playing very much on the backend to Stefan’s newfound humanity and Matt’s elevated importance with the key to killing Cade. TVD is properly escalating the sense of dread and continues to throw in key surprises in the name of old villains and heroes, this time from the crazy witch-man himself, headless Kai. We have zero information on his resurgence, but one can fathom it has to do with the afterlife and its ever-shifting temporal mechanics and dimensional weirdness. Not a bad turn out tonight, better than average, but quite less impacting than last week.

 

THE GOOD

If some of Elena’s blood can cure one vampire, imagine what a whole 10 pints could do to the remaining cast. Stefan is the example with how becoming human prior to the ending climax will work for the main cast, a prelude to the idea that everyone should be human by this series end. Their vampire stories have always had tragedy embedded into their hearts and I can’t think of one reason any of them would remain bloodsuckers if each human love had an expiration date. After Cade’s fall and Elena’s rise, we’ll hopefully be seeing everyone make some tough choices and return to that human world with marriage and togetherness intact, leaving the Originals to wrap up the supernatural world with their final season. This fits and there’s no real reason to unfit it.

 

Matt’s ancestral backstory continues to intrigue and enlighten which includes a reveal on how Sybil ended up trapped and Ethan as well. I’m fuzzy on how Seline found her way out, but I’m sure that’s loose thread that isn’t quite as necessary to tie up at the moment after all, Kai is back! The charismatic villain returns but more than likely on the side of good. If anything is to be trusted by next week’s promo, he’ll be a big key into returning Nina back on the show.

 

THE BAD

Bonnie’s situation is still very much a confusing one, and tonight’s key moments with her really didn’t help shed any light with what happened, where Enzo actually is, and what she did when she ignited during the final scene last week. Her mother didn’t help matters by burning his body, but at least we got clarification that Enzo won’t be returning in any physical means. They teased us with Stefan going to her only to be denied by someone tazering Stefan, someone who either knows he’s human or doesn’t and wants him captured anyway. If we’re going with the hooded figure then I can only guess whoever attacked him is related to someone he recently killed. If it’s someone we know from his past, then it better be a good twist on that, otherwise, they’re wasting our time.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

Even though it felt kind of rushed, I did like the flashback that solidified past events and brought closure to the creation of the help and its transformation into Cade’s use of it. Most all things have come full circle and this is likely one of the last flashbacks we’re getting on this show ever unless more is to be revealed about Cade or another event that can lead to his demise. At the end of the day, someone should cut a definitive history flashback including all of the Original footage as well. There’s some good stuff in there.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Matt’s going to get it tonight due to his dual performance and his heartfelt moment with Bonnie, who, more than anyone, understands the human aspect of loss and what it’s like to be powerless against it. It’s almost ironic that everyone is crying for Bonnie over her loss but not for Enzo himself who hadn’t really connected with anyone else on the show except Damon back in the day. Still, Matt understands and is trying his best to be there for her even when he’s gone through some crazy scenarios as of late.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Damon’s hand-me-the-literal-answer-to-destroying-Cade was entirely a “gimmie” moment that must have been frustrating to write because he had to have a loophole in knowing how to kill Cade even after the book was destroyed. Because we can’t have Cade still worrying about what can destroy him otherwise he’ll keep sending Damon on the hunt threatening to kill Stefan every day until everyone loses their minds on the show. This will essentially give us a slight reprieve from Cade until he decides to up the stakes and try and destroy Mystic Falls again.

 

There’s no telling where Enzo is, but one can fashion that Bonnie did something similar to Cade and unknowingly created some pocket dimension where Enzo’s spirit resides and perhaps only she has access to it which is why he can speak to her. Otherwise I’m not certain what they’re pulling here since the actual veil was annihilated last I checked.

 

At this point, I’m kind of surprised that Caroline didn’t automatically offer up the solution to become human using Elena’s blood. I can’t imagine the dose Bonnie gave Stefan was the only time it could be done. It’s a good moment for Caroline to face because up until now she’s been pretty satisfied with the idea of staying a vampire until the end of days at this rate. She needs more catharsis outside of missing her mother and returning human should help with that.

 

With Kai returned, will the Gemini twins play any more part to this interesting development? Where Kai goes, witch trouble always follows and Alaric will probably do his best not to mention the twins to Kai, who may or may not have dark agendas of his own. After all, if Cade brought him back to find the dagger, maybe it’s all a ruse and he doesn’t plan on helping them.

 

OVERALL SCORE

8 out of 10. Stefan is still human and Enzo is still dead. I honestly expected one of those situations was going to be retconned or rectified, but so far, they’re sticking with these major shockers and I applaud the effort. The episode also held a decent backstory and a small win for Stefan, who was all but in defeatist mode until he and Caroline saved the mother. There’s still a lot of forgiveness to go around, but I doubt any more vampires will be losing their humanity from here on out. Kai’s reappearance is likely a result of Damon’s question to Cade about anyone earning their way out from hell, but the cameos keep coming and with it, more opportunities to fill the remaining season with some awesome moments. Keep them coming and thanks for reading.

 

 

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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.

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A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×10 (Adding Lexi would have made this a solid 10)

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SUMMARY

Sybil helps Bonnie and Caroline enter Damon’s catatonic mind to save him in exchange for the bell while Seline attempts to convince Stefan to force Matt into using the bell and destroy the city for Cade. As Caroline and Bonnie discover within Damon that forgiveness is the key it is Damon himself who must forgive Stefan for all the dark deeds that has happened in their lives. Before Stefan is pulled into this task he compels Matt to ring the bell at 9pm or forgive Damon for killing his sister Vickie which Matt is unable to do. His father attempts to stop Matt but is unwilling to leave or kill him. Stefan arrives and finds Damon inside his mind and returns the forgiveness in less than kind words. Regardless, Damon awakes from his state and stops Matt from hitting the bell its twelve time. Later, Damon apologizes to Matt over Vickie’s death and reveals to Bonnie the contents of the letter he wrote her expressing his reasons for leaving and not wanting to fail her and Elena both. With Stefan captured, Caroline reveals that she will somehow save him. Sybil and Seline meet at a diner and are then greeted by Cade who after hearing the bell ring 11 times has the brief ability to return. He sits with the sirens and promptly lights them both on fire.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

There’s no denying that the tenth episode of this season’s TVD is by far the best of the bunch and quite possibly one of the best in recent memory. One brother’s return to the emotional dawn will inevitably give way to the other, but for now, Damon’s returned humanity has been the high-mark I believe the fans have been waiting for thus far. With a mixed bag of cameos and revelations, we’re given a real heartfelt snapshot of what it means to forgive and move on to brighter moments in the lives of our Mystic Falls family. And if we’re extra lucky, the finality of the sirens is in full effect. Cheers to that.

 

THE GOOD

The simple nature with Damon is that he finally dealt with his fears and his guilt over more or less his entire run as a vampire. He’s reached that peak where all that’s left is to finally decide how he’s going to deal with his brother and Elena which will hopefully culminate by this show’s end. The path to reach that enlightened state was built through his friends and allies with the exception of notable absences like Enzo and Alaric who in the past were regarded as his best buddies or near about. Having Bonnie and Caroline experience some emotional reunion within Damon’s mind was icing for them as they met they worked through some slight issues of their own however minute they were. These are the kinds of interpretive nostalgic throwbacks that are actually good writing and don’t feel incredibly forced, with the exception of Tyler who really should have been Lexi, but I’ll get to that later.

 

Stefan continued to be rather poignantly resourceful in how he dealt with the possible destruction of Mystic Falls. His state of mind seems less guarded around doing what Cade actually wants and just flooding him with souls whether they deserve to die or not. But putting Matt in a strange compelling state over ringing the bell or forgiving Damon was twisted and appropriate to fit within tonight’s main theme. I like the consistency there and Matt’s acceptance that forgiving Damon over Vickie’s death just wasn’t in the cards what-so-ever. Bouncing Stefan around this much wasn’t an optimal approach but I think given where he ended up the path he took was rigorously the right one.

 

THE BAD

Without Stefan’s humanity, Damon’s speech of forgiveness felt unintentionally hollow. There’s a certain circular logic that comes with each brother facing some fears alone and each one getting to be the bigger character by forgiving the other when they’re at their worst, but here it would have been that much more epic if Stefan had those emotions to share in this guarded reveal instead of mocking it once Damon had finished. We all know this will play out later when Stefan goes through his own last trial to be himself again, but we did get the message as it was meant for us to view it.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Damon recited his letter to Bonnie, word for word. That was very uplifting to see and Bonnie’s tearful response gave them a much needed break in the tragedy that continues to dominate their lives. It’s been awkward over the years watching Bonnie have strange relationships with people like Jeremy and whatnot, but her friendship with Damon and love for Enzo is finally paying off and makes sense. Good writing and a hell of a long wait to get us finally seeing her deservedly happy.

 

CHARACTER MVP

As much as Damon wrapped up the episode with his fantastical denouement, it was Bonnie who correctly discovered the method that was going to return him back to the realm of humanity. It could have taken a lot longer but she really connected the right dots and later finally understood what Damon said in that letter, helping mend their fragile bond as of late. There was a lot of forgiving going on tonight.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Tyler playing a small role in Damon’s guilt was fine for the short-term fanbase, but realistically, Lexi deserved a spotlight here for what Damon did to her and for who she represented in his life. Surely he still harbors guilt over killing her way back in season one. I only hope that maybe if this nostalgia spell this season continues that we’ll see her one last time before this series draws to a close.

 

Cade is wrapping up the plot of the sirens, and rightly so. This could transition into some punishment for them and not death, but TVD has been known to make abrupt calls and kill current villains to replace them with the actual main villain, which is finally about time. Cade should also set the record straight with his agenda in the next episode if he can. We need some form of apocalypse here to maximize on the intensity of the final story arc.

 

One small plot point that wasn’t wrapped up was Caroline’s knowledge that Bonnie wants to use the cure on Enzo. Two things don’t really sit well here, one, why was Sybil able to figure that out based on their situation with merging into Damon’s mind? Something seemed lost there in translation and how would Sybil pick up on such a simple thought like that? And second, is Caroline the bearer of this cure or is she the only one who has an opinion on the matter that it would affect her if Bonnie decided to give it to Enzo? Is it meant for Damon still or who has the most to gain/lose from this situation?

 

Seeing Vickie again continues to bring an old issue I had with this show in that Vickie was unable to handle her transition as a vampire while Caroline was and even thrived more so than most others when she was originally written as one of the worst type-casted supporting friends to Elena Gilbert. I’ll always be cross over how they handled Vickie because I always felt she deserved to be in the role Caroline is in now. But then Jeremy would have had a much different path as well I imagine. Strange things always amiss.

 

OVERALL SCORE

9 out of 10. When the write music and words hit, this show can sing and bring together a mountain of emotional throwbacks which happened here tonight as Damon came back in heroic style to the side of humanity. One brother down and one to go. Cade has come to tie a few loose ends and with any luck will be our final menace from this point forward. Forgiveness tossed around back and forth, cycling from person to person and showing us that nothing is truly forgotten nor are the sins of our favorite vampires. Damon is finally making right in a way that displays how mature he’s become over the years and I think it’s safe to say that his promise to Bonnie that he’ll never leave again is the truth…until Cade or someone else makes him break all his promises again, but that I leave to the final tales of this franchise. Great, almost perfect episode with the realm of vampire storytelling and with all eyes on Stefan now, we’ll see how he finds his way back like his brother did. Thanks for reading.

 

 

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