Previously on The Vampire Diaries, “It’s Been a Hell of a Ride”
Well, whatever hot streak The Vampire Diaries was on, has ended. Yep, it sailed right into a dumpster and rapidly devolved back into hot garbage. What a disappointing penultimate episode for the series. All the excitement and suspense built around Katherine’s return was for nothing. All the teases of a shadowy, curly-haired woman in heels and leather, only led to the highly regrettable reveal of Vicki Donovan. There’s so much to still be addressed by the end of next week’s episode, it feels inevitable we’ll be disappointed. Looks like it will be easier than I’d thought to heed my earlier warning about not letting the show off easy, even if it delivers a knockout series finale.
Bonnie and Enzo. To be honest, I feel pretty lost about the logic behind what happened with them this week – more on that below. However, despite being surrounded by nonsensical plot, these two still manage to deliver the best emotional beats in the episode. Though it’s not enough, and nothing ever will be, allowing Bonnie and Enzo to find some sense of closure after his quick and brutal death is appreciated. Their romance is easily 110% better than anything else on this show. When they say they love one another, you really believe it. When Enzo realizes he won’t be seeing Bonnie again for a very long time, but that it also means she’ll be living a long and happy life, the complexity of his emotions are clear and heartbreaking. When Bonnie breaks free from the fiery house, twins in tow, and NO ONE comes to comfort her, her silent pain is palpable. Enzo and Bonnie should have been the ones to get married, or enjoy whatever their version of happily ever after looks like.
The way the gang still underestimates Katherine. As soon as they knew Kai had come through the veil, or whatever you want to call it, they should have been watching their backs and anticipating a comeback from anyone and everyone they’ve ever battled. Once they realized Katherine had made her way through, they should have known she’d be coming up with an epic plan and wouldn’t fall for their subpar schemes. Do we really think Katherine is so basic that she would interrupt the wedding at the most cliché “does anyone object” moment? The fact that Katherine seems to care about Stefan as much as I do – zero – is just icing on the cake.
Bonnie and Enzo. What the hell even happened? Bonnie’s new power was never given the exploration it deserves, so the details are super fuzzy on why her and Enzo’s connection is now lost. As far as I can tell, Bonnie still had magic and that’s what made it possible for her to see Enzo. I would have figured she could still see him because her mind literally created an entire realm for his soul, but, ok. Somehow, allowing the twins to siphon Bonnie’s magic meant her connection to Enzo would be severed. I suppose if they drained her completely that might explain why she’s bleeding from the nose and passed out by the end of the episode. These reactions typically happen a lot quicker, though – like when Kai drained Damon. And what about Bonnie’s worry that the loss of their connection would come from her no longer feeling pain? What happened to that angle? It’s going to be a major disappointment if this was their final moment of the series.
Katherine not showing up; what a tease! For a minute there, I really thought the show had bested us. All the publicity surrounding Nina Dobrevs’ return for the finale was the perfect way to conceal the fact that she’d be coming back for the penultimate episode, too. Alas, no dice. Katherine was but a mere presence for the entire episode, with the Donovan women doing the dirty work for her. She has to be around for the finale, right? It can’t just be Elena! Surely Vicki Donovan ringing the bell isn’t the final hurdle the gang will have to face.
The wedding. I really wish Katherine had crashed it. Stefan and Caroline’s relationship has been such a mess and so unappealing for so long, there was no way this was going to be the epic, emotional moment TVD was hoping to deliver. It was such a pathetic event; compelled guests and all. I mean, c’mon, it’s not even June! It all felt very forced and manipulative. Forced because there was no way the show would end without this event, but throwing a wedding in at random while a huge threat lurks over their heads wouldn’t be easily justified. Then, when it’s clear Katherine isn’t going to show, they turn the manipulation up to 11.
The long, dramatic shots of Caroline walking down the aisle, intercut with a sappy, nostalgia-seeking speech from Ric, culminating with swelling, over-the-top tacky music, was absolutely meant to charm us. And the whole thing fell so flat on its face; it was impossible not to laugh or roll your eyes. Honestly, Ric’s speech almost got to me, but then you remember Caroline was once his student – in a high school setting – and the whole he-still-loves-her angle turns into something creepy rather than sentimental. Did we even need closure on the Ric and Caroline arc? His lingering feelings for her felt way out of left field.
The heavy-handed way TVD kept bringing up old shit. First, they referenced the Travellers and later, Valerie’s name came up. Then, in an impromptu bachelor party for Stefan, Damon basically recapped the entire series. These moments, like so many in the episode, were supposed to trigger our nostalgia switches and really hit us with the reality that TVD is so close to being over, forever. Unfortunately, they read more like the “previously, on The Vampire Diaries” segments; the vibe was quick-and-dirty bullet points rather than a touching walk down memory lane. There’s a delicate way to remind viewers of past events and make us feel something, but this wasn’t it.
Kelly and Vicki Donovan. Who cares? Why does Vicki want revenge on Mystic Falls anyways? I get Kelly’s hatred for the town but why her daughter’s? Poor Matt, his family is a true mess. When I wanted his character to have a greater significance to the storylines, this is not what had in mind.
- This week’s title is a fairly well known quote from season one. When Stefan first arrived at Mystic Falls high school, Caroline was immediately intrigued. She joked to Elena and Bonnie that, after getting to know all she could about him between classes, they were already “planning a June wedding.” It is kind of impressive that TVD could take what was essentially a throw away line, and make both an entire plot and title from it all these years later. That wedding was still garbage, though.
- How was Stefan not suffering from a severe hangover? What’s his secret?
- I refuse to acknowledge Bonnie’s fate at the end of this episode beyond saying this: she’s not dead, not yet anyways; TVD wouldn’t have the nerve to kill her like that. Not because they’re not capable of Bonnie torture, but because they can’t seem to leave any main character dead for too long. They’re just not confident enough in their storytelling.
The Vampire Diaries S8E15
"We're Planning a June Wedding"
Starring: Kat Graham, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Candice King, Matthew Davis, Michael Malarkey, Zach Roerig