The Vampire Diaries 5.22 Review: “Home”

other side

Longtime fans are no strangers to jaw-dropping season finales on The Vampire Diaries but I think you can all agree that this one is the most memorable so far.  The conflicting emotions alone are enough to torture us until it returns in the fall.  On one hand, I’m still processing the major deaths (which are obviously a big point of contention) but when I really think about them in the context of the last few years of the show, death has lost its shock value.

Deaths earlier in the series used to be permanent.  Vicki, Lexi, Isabel, John, Jenna, and Alaric all died within the first 3 seasons and they all stayed dead.  Sure, the writers would tease us with Vicki, Lexi, and Alaric making appearances every so often since then as ghosts.  That was fine and even exciting at times when we’d see Alaric pop up when we’d least expect him.

In the later seasons, Jeremy and Bonnie cornered the market on dying and coming back to life through whatever loopholes in the show’s rules would best serve the storyline.  In season 4, we mourned right along with a very distraught Elena over her brother’s death.  It certainly seemed permanent when she burned her family’s house down with Jeremy’s body inside it.  By the end of that season, Bonnie and Jeremy were flip-flopping as her efforts to bring him back to life literally killed her.

As Bonnie told Jeremy when she called him last night, she already died before her graduation.  This year of her being the anchor to the Other Side was a gift, and even though she lied to him about the possibility of Liv being able to save her, at least they were able to spend her last days happy together.  I’d bet that her death will stick this time especially because her Grams made a mysterious deal of her own to take care of her after the Other Side collapsed.

I’m very curious to know if the show will delve further into heaven and hell.  It seems like a strong possibility since Damon and Bonnie were presumably going into the light and not being sucked away into the darkness.  At least this way we’d still get to see them in some capacity but since no official word on the future of Ian or Kat has been released, nothing is known for sure.  Maybe this is the last we’ll see of Bonnie, and since Damon was holding her hand he’ll be taken to this version of heaven.  I could see that happening, and maybe he hasn’t earned his eternal peace yet so either he’s rejected, or he is accepted and he fights to find his way back to Elena.  He has to come back, right?  The show has never followed the book series religiously but something similar has happened there.  I personally haven’t kept up with them but I might just have to catch up over the summer!

Another pretty big question is posed by this finale.  When Tyler returns through Bonnie from the Other Side, he thought his hug with Caroline felt weird.  He tested a theory and cut his hand but it wasn’t healing.  Does this mean Tyler’s no longer a hybrid and just a werewolf?  Or is he a human?  Wouldn’t that mean Stefan, Elena, Enzo, and Alaric are all human too?  That would leave Caroline as the only vampire left on the show, which could be interesting.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t crying when Damon and Elena were saying their goodbyes even though they couldn’t see each other.  Nina has always done an amazing job, this season especially when she played 3 doppelgangers at once and now with her extremely emotional response to Damon being left behind on the Other Side.  That scene after Damon left her and Alaric showed up to console her was probably my favorite because it reminded me that Alaric is actually back!  Matt Davis is confirmed as a series regular for season 6, and I couldn’t be happier.

Sheriff Forbes played a big role in Damon’s master plan of ridding Mystic Falls of the Travelers for good.  She got on Markos’ good side to get him to trust that she only wanted to throw them a party at the Grill while Matt and Jeremy opened the gas lines underneath, setting the stage for Damon to blow them all to pieces.  How Liz can actually survive this blast is beyond me.  When Damon was looking for his own body in the Grill, he found her unconscious under the rubble.  Alaric assured him she’ll be okay, so I really hope his next stop after that hug with Elena is to the Grill to save Liz.

Enzo also made the cut through Bonnie before Luke stopped Liv from the spell that was slowly killing her.  Speaking of the twins, how disappointed are you that they survived?  They aren’t necessarily the new Big Bads, but they’ve definitely got targets on their backs for what they did.

Stefan’s original doppelganger Silas’ appearance in this episode was random.  If Katherine hadn’t been seen being swept away into the darkness after she died, I would’ve been expecting to see her pop up and hitch a ride back to the living.  Katherine is most recently being joined by Markos in that great unknown, thanks to Lexi’s ultimate sacrifice when she fought Markos off from grabbing onto Bonnie just in time for the black winds to pick him up.  This may or may not have been the last time we see Lexi.  She made it a point of emphasizing that maybe the reason she’s been stuck on the Other Side is because she hasn’t “earned her stripes” to move on to whatever comes next.  That goes along with my own theory that now that Lexi’s also been taken into the heaven side of all this, the show should absolutely explore the extremities of heaven and hell next year.

This all leads me to one last question to sum up this finale and the season as a whole.  Part of the fascination and beauty of a supernatural show is that exact freedom to play around with the rules of life and death, but do you think The Vampire Diaries has “cried wolf” too many times to make us believe in the finality of death?

[Photo via The CW]

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