(2.22 “As I Lay Dying”)
I wake up in the middle of the night with heart palpitations because I’m turning 28 in a few months and I have no idea what I’m doing with my life, have no illusions that I am a responsible person, and haven’t yet mastered the delicate balance of both paying bills and buying groceries in the same week. Despite all that anxiety (and knowing how to fix it!), I can’t give up silly shows like The Vampire Diaries. It’s just too gloriously fun. I feel less bad about this because one of the patients where I work, who is almost twice as old as I am and whose life I very much envy, is also way into this show. We talk about it whenever she comes in, so you could say that it’s part of my job to watch this show…
Never mind, just fun.
But, I’ll admit, not the shocking season finale I was expecting. The previous episode was more of a high-stakes thrill ride, but that isn’t to say that “As I Lay Dying” wasn’t top-notch TVD. (And yes, I was trying to see how many clichéd phrases I could get into that sentence, thanks for noticing.)
Damon is dying from his werewolf bite, trying to make amends and end it all without the debilitating hallucinations, but Stefan wants to save him, so he locks him the cellar, has Bonnie talk to the unhelpful but chatty dead witches, who let it slip that Klaus can save Damon, so Stefan’s off to Alaric’s apartment. After his completely unexpected betrayal, Elijah has been keeping an eye on super-Klaus (um, you would think these people had never seen Underworld) and now that everyone is human looking again, bargains must be honored; it’s time for a first vampire family reunion. Too bad for Elijah, Klaus means for that reunion to be in the pent-up realm of the rest of the siblings. Everyone who isn’t drunk Alaric is watching Gone with the Wind in the town square, but keeps getting up during the movie (rude) to chase after a fevered Damon, because Caroline’s mom let him escape. Gotta find him, because Stefan agrees that in exchange for Klaus’ blood, the cure Damon needs, he will become Klaus’ little pet. But Klaus wants drinks-human-blood-and-murders-everyone-in-sight Stefan, so Stefan has quite a few blood bags to down before Klaus will hand over the cure. Jeremy should have stayed out of the Damon hunt, since Sheriff Liz shoots him dead, despite her vampire daughter’s attempt to save him. (But this is a season finale, so of course Jeremy is going to die and come back.) Bonnie goes bugging the dead witches again, and after a tearful “but I love him!” they make Jeremy all alive again, but warn that there will be a price. Stefan pays enough that Klaus gives Katherine the cure, and she actually delivers it to a brink-of-death-Damon, who has just had a really nice heart-to-heart and kind of icky kiss with a devoted but still-in-love-with-Stefan Elena. Damon’s going to live, but Katherine lets them know that Stefan gave up Elena, and everything else, for the cure. But is Stefan really that upset about it all? He did look mighty evil/happy when Klaus made him chase and kill some random girl as a final test before they left town. Oh, and Jeremy’s price for resurrection? That would be: being stalked by dead vampire ex-girlfriends Vicky and Anna.
One episode people, this show moves quick.
Honestly, it was Damon and Elena’s conversation on his bed while he was sweating to death accompanied by heartfelt pop music that (again) made me realize that I just might be a bit too old for this show. While watching I could just imagine that 10-15 years ago I would have just swooned at how romantic but doomed it all was, but today it’s more along the lines of “Damon you ass-hat, bitch is leading you on even when you’re dying and Elena if you want to hit that then just admit it and deal, stop being so damn wishy-washy!” When Katherine, selfish schemer and unending turncoat, voices sentiments closest to my own opinions (“It’s okay to love them both, I did.”) it’s a bit of a reality-slap reminding me that I am not the target audience of this show. Teenage girls are (pretty much) watching to see which brother Elena picks, I’m (pretty much) watching to see who dies next.
But one of the (many) advantages to not being a tween is that I have the wherewithal to welcome evil Stefan as the wonderful plot development that it is (you know, instead of bemoaning the fall of the golden boy). It’s completely within Stefan’s character to this point to be willing to sacrifice himself for Damon, but the nobility of the act somewhat diminished with Stefan’s pained delight in each successive blood bag he devoured. The more enjoyment he took, and don’t kid yourself that he didn’t enjoy killing that girl at the end, the more we got to question if Stefan was so eager to forfeit his abstinent life and his lady love because he really did miss being an evil killing creature of the night. And really, while there is a balance than can be achieved, I will pick kill-y vampires over talk-y vampires.
Of course I have to ask, now that Elena and Jeremy have no living relatives and no legal guardians, Rick is going to step in to fill the void (but let’s be honest, despite her very sad end, Jenna was a total deadbeat “parent” so he doesn’t have much to live up to), but how exactly are they going to explain this to any sort of child services agency? At some point someone has to notice the state of affairs besides the Sheriff and the Mayor. But now that the Sheriff and Caroline are sort of reconciled (meaning that she isn’t trying to shoot her daughter with wooden bullets) maybe she’ll help Elena and Jeremy continue their highly-unsupervised lifestyle.
Not that Jeremy doesn’t have people watching over him! Okay, being haunted by dead exes as the consequence of rising from the dead (in I presume a not-zombie-way), neat twist I didn’t see coming. It worked perfectly though. Jeremy got shot because he was unwilling to let Bonnie leave him behind when running out to do dangerous stuff and despite not protecting him, she gets to have him back. Therefore it makes sense that he would have to live with the people he didn’t protect, that they would come back (in whatever way they have) too.
So, though not as action-packed a finale as I could have asked for, all in all it was a genuinely satisfying end to an exciting season and an intriguing set-up for the next.
The TV Girl