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The Vampire Diaries cordially invites you to the beginning of the end

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Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Mumbo jumbo time: Supposedly, the way to defeat Katherine is with a dagger made of her own bones (just like with Cade). Great. Good to know. Now, how exactly did Katherine become the Queen of Hell? Did she use her regular powers of manipulation to get a promotion in Hell, or… ? How does any of this work? Is there paperwork? There must be paperwork, because Hell, right?
  • Damon: “The woman that started this whole mess is back to try and end it.”
    Stefan: “I wouldn’t say it was all a mess.”
    Damon: “What are you talking about? Look at the path that she sent us down: Ripper sprees, the Originals, the cure, Silas, the Other Side.”
    Stefan: “I’m just saying—”
    Damon: “Prison world, Gemini twins, Heretics. Don’t get me started on: dopplegangers!” Well if we’re ranking messes, I don’t know how you don’t have Travelers on this list. Especially since they mention the Travelers earlier in this episode! Heretics definitely belong on this list. Speaking of, I completely blanked on who Valerie was once Alaric mentioned her, which pretty much explains season seven in a nutshell.
  • Drunk Stefan is a lightweight. Now that must be Hell.
  • “Be happy, Caroline.” Did we really need closure on the Alaric/Caroline relationship? Because then the episode has Alaric reminisce about how they all became family through their loss, so we have remember how that all definitely started with Caroline as one of his students. You can’t remember one thing and forget the rest, Alaric.
  • Unfortunately, I could not get into the actual emotional beats Stefan and Caroline were hitting during their sham of a real wedding (it can be two things) because of how much of a cluster it was, but I certainly found the entire wedding scene amusing in its own way. Maybe it was Bonnie walking Caroline’s daughters down the aisle after Caroline complained about not having anyone walk her down the aisle. Maybe it was Caroline wearing Katherine’s necklace and no one worrying that something terrible could happen. Maybe it was Damon doing the entire ceremony out of order. Actually, it was all of the above. However, I still very much support The Vampire Diaries taking a throwaway line from the pilot, actually having it come to fruition, and getting an episode title out of it in its final season.
  • Nothing makes sense when it comes to Hell or Bonnie’s Basement (what I call her not-quite-Hell for Enzo), but at least it all makes for the unexpectedly sweet moment of Bonnie dancing with Damon, then Enzo, then “returning” to Damon without even skipping a beat.
  • You know what? Kelly Donovan truly didn’t deserve to go out like that—either here or two years ago—especially if Matt and his terrible grown-up hair could forgive his father (who somehow makes it out of this episode alive). And you know, all of his vampire friends. But Melinda Clarke is obviously up for the task of playing evil, desperate Kelly, and she absolutely wins with her wedding toast to all.
  • The trouble with this episode and the Katherine of it all is the lack of true suspense. First of all, there’s the fact that the publicity for the show’s final episode has revolved about Nina Dobrev specifically being back for the final episode. So, no dice here. Also, this episode sadly gives away the Vicki “twist” by doing the obligatory guest star credit for Kayla Ewell. Angel perfected the super secret surprise guest star by actively pushing to put certain names in the end credits—more shows should really take note.