Katherine returns!

The Vampire Diaries Season 8, Episodes 14 and 15 (“It’s Been a Hell of a Ride” and “We’re Planning a June Wedding”)
Chris Wood, The Vampire Diaries

If you thought that The Vampire Diaries could not possibly fit in another villain beyond Cade for the protagonists to destroy, you would definitely be underestimating this shows ability to cram an immense amount of plot into just a couple episodes. In “It’s Been a Hell of a Ride” the gang kills Cade and only moments later reveal that someone took his place as the leader of Hell. In fact the show has managed to bring back a lot of old villains and long forgotten characters in just these last few episodes (was Kelly Donovan high on people’s lists to see again?). It feels like a TVD greatest hits, sadly minus the Originals since they were too busy on their own show.

Of course it makes sense that the person who took over Hell would be Katherine. Her being the architect of many of the conflicts in the early part of the series, having her be the final villain really brings the entire thing full circle. Not to mention she is also the only reason that any of them are vampires. If you recall when Katherine died back in Season 5 she never went to the Other Side, she got swept away into another unknown dimension that we now know is Hell. But considering she is the ultimate survivor, she hasn’t spent the last few years getting tortured, she has more than likely been doing the torturing. The exact mechanics as to how they killed Cade is very unclear to me. It involved more of the psychic dimensions that I still don’t really understand but essentially Bonnie, Stefan, and Damon worked together to bring him down.

Of course it is not all just bringing back familiar faces. Stefan doesn’t know how to forgive himself, much less attain Bonnie’s forgiveness for killing Enzo. He contemplates leaving town and trying to make up for all the bad he has done by doing good elsewhere. But really that is just running away so he doesn’t have to face the people who know what he has done. Damon convinces him to stay, telling him that if he really wants to make up for what he has done, he needs to be there for his loved ones. Bonnie is still unwilling to forgive Stefan which is very understandable. She almost doesn’t come to his and Caroline’s wedding though she ultimately decides she doesn’t want to miss out on Caroline’s happiness. She is still holding onto Enzo who encourages her to forgive Stefan. By making him become human again, Bonnie destroyed the most evil part of Stefan ensuring that he could never become a ripper again.

I don’t know why the show constantly punishes Bonnie. She helps to save everyone else, always putting herself last and she is the one that ends up losing out on happiness. She now has to watch her best friend marry the man she loves, something Bonnie will not get to do, and that man is the one who murdered the love of her life. She is the most morally centered person on the show and a (on and off) badass witch. Yet she suffers more than anyone else. Enzo eventually convinces her to let go of him and focus on living her life now. With only one episode to go it seems unlikely Bonnie is going to get much of a happy ending which is cruel. Sure Bonnie is young and has plenty of time to fall in love again. Certainly their stories don’t end when the show does but given all that she has gone through, some glimpse into a happy future for her would be a nice way to end it. On the bright side all of this psychic stuff seems to be pointing to her getting her magic back so at least she can be a witch again!

Candice King, The Vampire Diaries

Stefan and Caroline do actually get married, even if it was mostly a trap for Katherine. These two have been up and down so much over the last few seasons it was becoming doubtful that they would actually tie the knot. And I am just now realizing that this is the only (successful) wedding in the entire series. For a show with a lot of romance, they have been very short on the happy endings. I guess when you are an immortal what really is a happy ending? Of course Stefan is human now and Caroline still a vampire but they don’t seem too concerned with that despite all of the vampire-human relationship issues we have seen throughout the series. They use their wedding in the hopes of trapping Katherine who wouldn’t be able to resist ruining Stefan’s wedding day. But she doesn’t interject and they go through with the ceremony anyway. Katherine of course had other plans and she manages to ruin the reception.

There is only one episode left! In some ways it is hard to believe that I have made it this far and in other ways it has felt like I would never get here. I was happy that Cade was dealt with before the penultimate episode but I wish that he had been sooner. The returns of all these old characters are fun but could have been given more space if Cade had been destroyed a little earlier. At this point in the show I don’t care about any villains, I just want to know what happens with everyone. But in the next episode we will discuss everyone’s fates and whether they feel deserved or not.

Episode Grades: “It’s Been a Hell of a Ride” 6/10, “We’re Planning a June Wedding” 8/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Kai traded Elena’s coffin to Cade in order to get out of Hell. Which I guess he did but Bonnie puts him in his own prison world, without a celestial event for an escape, forcing him to listen to Spin Doctor’s “Two Princes” on repeat. I can’t think of a better ending for Kai.
  • The premise of the other Vampire Diaries spinoff, Legacies, is set up in “It’s Been a Hell of a Ride” when Alaric says he wants to start a school for Josie and Lizzie since they aren’t fitting in in normal school and can’t control their magic.
  • Though Caroline has to throw her wedding together in like a day, it is absolutely gorgeous. Even on short notice, Caroline always knocks it out of the park.
  • Damon lends Caroline Elena’s necklace for her wedding to have a piece of Elena with her, but it is the necklace that Stefan gave Elena which makes it a little weird.
  • Kelly causes an actual gas leak at the Lockwood mansion. I think this is only the second real one?
  • Also Kelly died two years ago and no one knew.
  • Katherine’s final scheme is to destroy Mystic Falls and everyone in it by getting Vicki to ring that bell.
  • Episode Titles: “It’s Been a Hell of a Ride” is a Damon line from Season 1, Episode 20 “Blood Brothers”. “We’re Planning a June Wedding” is a Caroline line from the Pilot when she first learns who Stefan is.
  • Body Count: 3, Stefan kills Cade in “It’s Been a Hell of a Ride” and Katherine kills two random towns people in “We’re Planning a June Wedding”.

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