Happy Graduation Cupcake!
While I’m excited for The Originals, this episode actually gave me a craving for a different spinoff – something like, The Other Side, maybe? I mean, Lexi, Alaric, Kole, the witches – these guys made the show fun again! I was, in fact, much more bummed than their best friends seemed to be when each one slipped away. At least Bonnie got some sort of a farewell – but of course, our biggest concerns with her (i.e., that her power would kill her rather than empower her) came true in an pretty amplified way. Not only did she die as punishment for her strength, but she got a kind of double, definitive death, giving up her life to save the guy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy to have Jeremy back. He’s actually become a surprisingly mature voice of reason on the show! But in an episode heavy-handedly exploring the theme of selfishness and self-sacrifice, it’s exhausting to me that the ultimate sacrifice is paid by the only strong black woman on the show in order to save the life of a white man.
So let’s talk about this selfishness for a moment, because we’ve been talking about it all season. Kole of course highlights the selfishness of our main characters at the beginning by putting into words something you and I have been frustrated by all season – these supposed heroes are really just exploring self-interest to an obsessive degree. Cut to Lexi shimmying to some classic Bon Jovi (awesome!), and Stefan admitting he’s done for the moment…his only alternatives: getting drunk of grooming his hero hair (really, those are his only alternative?!). And then, of course, we have the cure being passed around like candy (seriously – doesn’t anyone consider just hanging on to it in the event that it might be needed in a future apocalyptic scenario? I know teenagers are all about immediate gratification…but seriously?!)
In light of all this, the heroes of the show then become The Originals – Klaus allows Tyler to return because, while Tyler is Caro’s first love, he intends to be her last (seriously, I’m loving the chemistry between those two…Elena and Damon paled in comparison – I even yawned during their big scene!). And Rebecca saves Matt and then whisks him away to see the world (on that note, 2 questions: first, I couldn’t figure out why Rebecca didn’t pull that switcheroo move right away or why the hunter didn’t anticipate it and second, why was Klaus’ blood the only thing that could save Damon? Why didn’t anyone give Rebecca a call for a little help??).
On a cynical level, my sense is they’re trying to make these Originals more likable for the spinoff. In terms of story, I like that last season’s Big Bad is this season’s hero. I completely agree with your assessment from last week that this show uses Buffy’s themes and imagery without living up to its wisdom – nevertheless, this Big Bad escalation and de-escalation seems to be one theme they’ve borrowed that – intentionally or not – leaks over a little bit of its original heft (just a little, mind you). When the bad guys become good guys to make way for new bad guys – you can’t help it, there’s going to be a little maturing to the world in which the characters operate.
Fun cliffhangers: Catherine is human now?! Ok, cool plot twist and I’m excited to see her handle that…but all along I’ve wondered how great the cure really is when it seems to me like she could just get turned back into a vampire with a single bite? Is the cure an immunity as well? Or is this an easily rectified problem if the cure is foisted upon someone against their will (also, again – huge waste of the cure, friends…argh!). And, of course, the big reveal – Stefan is Silas’ doppelganger! This promises some adventures for the kick off to next season – and if Elena’s swinging to her bad boy love side, perhaps Silas/Stefan will be able to win her back (he’s bound to be more interesting that drippy Stefan!).
But at this point, I can’t quite get my head around the longer-view implications of this…Stefan has always been the double for this pretty ancient, mythical-type dude? Stefan exists to balance nature and immortality in general? There might be other Stefans out there (ugh, please don’t let them show up all of a sudden!). In one sense, it seems good that Stefan is going to get a little alone time now at the bottom of the quarry – that’s just a whole lost to process about yourself!
So what do you think, K – will we cover next season of this show, or switch over to The Originals…?
Here’s where the mystery of me comes full circle –
Thanks, again, Natalie, for getting this conversation started, especially around what was, I thought, a pretty great season finale. Did it lure me in as much as last season when Elena woke up a vampire? Not quite. But then again this season was more enjoyable overall, despite a heavy dose of Elena fatigue. But I’ll probably keep tabs on next season just to see Klaus finally woo Caro to his team (and yes, that chemistry was pretty fantastic) and to see how Matt does with his first vampire love, and whether or not Elena grows tired of Damon once she finally has him. But most of all, because I just can’t believe that Bonnie is gone for good, which makes me think that there must continue to be some link between The Other Side (and yes, I’d definitely watch that spin off!!) and Silas. That is, I wonder if there won’t be some way to get Bonnie (and Alaric??) back or at least more involved once there is a way to challenge Silas’ original immortality spell. I have no idea how this is supposed to work given the metaphysics of the show, but I’m going with my gut here.
This episode was just fun, and you are so right that most of that had to do with the expanded cast of old characters. I just can’t believe every episode wouldn’t be better with Alaric in it! I am also intrigued by the prospect of our cast of current characters fracturing. Matt and Rebekah on a post-graduation road trip! Stefan going who knows where! Elena and Damon settling down to some kind of domestic bliss with Jeremy (awkward!), who once again has to keep the biggest secret ever. Caro trucking off to college with mini-fridge in tow and maybe Tyler nearby (or maybe she’ll choose a school near New Orleans?!). Whatever else it means, graduation is supposed to mark the prospect of new and expanding horizons. I am pretty excited to imagine what might happen to this crew if Mystic Falls is not the center of it all. Then again, I am pretty sure they’ll all enroll in community college or find their way, one by one, back to the MF orbit (and yes, feel free to read those initials however you’d like). After all, they’ll have to figure out that Stefan is really doppelganger Silas and then rescue Stefan from endless drowning/starvation (and just how does that work?).
I find it nearly impossible to believe that Stefan is somehow the current incarnation of an ancient Silas doppelganger force. “Nearly” because Elena did give a pointed speech about how he is the worst of all possible vampires and the one who got the “short end of the vampire stick.” Was this paving the way for some coming revelation that as Silas’ doppelganger Stefan is particularly ill suited to vampirism. Or rather, too suited to it and therefore too angsty in his own skin? And yes, you could be right, maybe doppelgangers will attract next season!
For what it is worth, only Klaus can cure a werewolf bite because he is the original hybrid, but that only made his showing up that much more romantic. I am not sure how Caro will respond when she finds out Hallie is carrying Klaus’ baby, but at least this episode he did a great job laying claim to being a stand-up guy.
I hate to draw the comparison too closely, but The Originals spinning off from The Vampire Diaries does seem a bit like Angel spinning off from Buffy. I always wish I had watched those latter two simultaneously. Is there reason to think the same about the former?
Maybe we can get a triple.