Prior to the airing of The Vampire Diaries first season finale, the show’s creator, Kevin Williamson, admittedly, set the bar pretty high for himself. By all accounts, The Vampire Diaries had a freshman season most television shows only DREAM about . . . a cast that was both beautiful AND talented;
a show concept that, in the age of Twilight and True Blood, was pretty much guaranteed to be a ratings dynamo with the core 18-49 TV viewing demographic;
sharp and snappy writing, and brilliant plotting that was genuinely unpredictable, without a single “jump the shark moment.”
Stay cool, Arthur Fonzarelli! Your services will not be needed here this season!
After its midseason hiatus, The Vampire Diaries truly came into its own! No more lame diary writing scenes and voiceovers, no more “Damon as crow” CGI-laced images.
We all have to “eat a little crow” sometimes . . .
The show had become a lean-mean plotting machine, with each subsequent episode besting the one before it, both in terms of shock value and sheer greatness.
As if there wasn’t enough pressure on Williamson to produce television gold this week, the show creator himself decided to up the stakes. In a number of interviews he gave before the finale, Williamson promised a season-ending episode that would literally stop hearts! E! Online and Entertainment Weekly both teased that the show’s finale, entitled “Founder’s Day,” would offer fans no less than EIGHT cliffhangers, a car accident, two major deaths, and a shocking first kiss . . .
We can dream, can’t we?
To be honest, going into this finale, I was a bit worried for my good pal Kevin. After all, he and I go WAY back to the early 00’s, during his Dawson’s Creek days.
Pacey and Joey, forever!
Oh, hush up, Dawson!
So I really, really didn’t want my old friend to fail. And yet I feared that he would. I mean, who could live up to ALL THAT HYPE?
Answer . . . this guy!
I am happy to report that, this finale did, in fact, deliver! (Did it EVER?) It was truly everything all those spoiler blogs promised, and so much more!
I did have one complaint though . . . There were no Shirtless Salvatores!
Nor were there any open-shirted Salvatores!
Not even was there a Salvatore in wife-beater tank top!
Not a single bit of skin to whet our appetites until next season. Kevin, honey, I love you, but that’s just plain cruel!
Clearly, Dawson agrees!
Excess clothing aside, surprisingly, the finale still left me an extremely happy girl. (And that’s saying a lot, especially considering how much I love my shirtless men!) So, without further adieu, on with the recap!
“I’m Here to Eat Cotton Candy and Steal Your Girl”
Tonight’s finale started innocently enough. It was the day of the Founder’s Day Parade, an event that probably looked a lot like your high school homecoming parade. That is, if you were lucky enough to go to high school with super hot vampires, and if your school had a substantial wardrobe budget for historically accurate dresswear from the late 19th century. (Come to think of it, it probably didn’t look like your school’s homecoming parade at all . . .)
Our heroine Elena, with ringleted hair and a gown that made her look suspiciously similar to her (heretofore seen only in flashbacks) vampire doppelganger, Katherine, rode the high school’s premiere float, along with her escort, the no longer blood-crazed, Stefan,
as well as the recently plotline-light couple, Matt and Caroline.
The CW is still paying us . . . We might as well make ourselves useful.
And then Damon magically appeared . . .
And boy was our newly out of the “Elena-closet” lover boy an emotional rollercoaster, this evening! When we first see him, he is very much the cocksure badass we know from early Season 1. When Stefan questions him about why he’s at this event, he remarks, in classic Damon fashion, “I’m here to eat cotton candy and steal your girl . . .” (By the way, do vampires eat in Vampire Diaries’ world? Because I’ve never actually seen it happen . . .)
Julie Cotton Candy
Unlike many television characters who find themselves on the outskirts of a love triangle, Damon is NOT a silent piner! From the moment Isobel called Damon out on his love for Elena last week, he has made sure the world knows his feelings! Starting with Stefan. After having been surprisingly civil to one another these last few episodes, Damon and Stefan really went at it this week. Snarky comments flew through their air like boomerangs in the Australian outback.
And yet, not a single punch was thrown! In fact, Damon’s and Stefan’s encounters looked a bit more like “girly catfights” than, “macho man brawls.” This made the interactions between them all the more adorable.
Catfight! Ladies in your corners!
In other news, Damon confronts, Witchy (and Bitchy) Bonnie (who, thank goodness, is no longer sporting those awful bangs we’ve seen on her in past weeks) to “thank” her for curing Ancestor Gilbert’s “invention” of its Vampire Torture properties. The scene is particularly interesting, since we learned last week, that Bonnie only pretended to do this . . .
“I can turn you, Jeremy.”
Poor Jeremy Gilbert. It seems like this guy is an Angst Magnet. Having recently re-learned about the tragic and bloody death of his erst-while girlfriend, Vicki Donovan . . .
Jeremy now has another dead body on his hands, his new vampire girlfriend Anna’s mother, Pearl.
Having initially balked at the idea of turning Jeremy, Anna, now truly alone in the world, offers to turn Jeremy for real, going as far as to offer him a vial of her blood for safe keeping. (Speaking of blood vials . . . remember when Angelina Jolie used to wear one of those around her neck? And make out with her brother? Good times!)
To a sincerely angry and depressed Jeremy, Anna extols the virtues of vampirism in a way that we heard echoed by nearly all of the vampires on this show. “You can turn your feelings off, whenever you want. It won’t hurt so much,” she explains.
And, I’m sorry, but I call BS right here. Because, really, is there anyone on this show more emotional than the vampires? First you have broody Stefan, who, though usually even-keel, gets a single drop of human blood in his system, and quickly becomes a raving lunatic.
Then there’s Damon, who alternates between making snarky comments, to breaking characters’ necks for no reason, to mooning over his sweetheart.
(He looks hot doing all of the above, by the way.)
And now, we have Anna, who has gone back and forth throughout the season between needing Jeremy and wanting to be left alone, wanting to turn him, and wanting to protect him from vampire kind.
If THIS is vampires turning their feelings OFF, I’d hate to see them with them turned on . . .
Ummm . . . did I just say that? Because I totally take it back!
“The Eye Thing”
Later, Elena stops by the Only Bar / Social Establishment in Mystic Falls and runs into Damon. In a fabulous scene you may have seen posted on YouTube or, perhaps, on this blog, before this episode even aired, Elena confronts Damon about “Stefan’s concerns” regarding Damon’s “feelings” for her. Initially, Damon plays it coy, as if to say, “I have no idea what on earth you are talking about.”
However, Elena has his number, and calls him out on his “flirty comments” and signature “eye thing,” (which I could watch on continuous loop for hours, by the way).
In fact, I think I WILL!
And yet, things start to get truly interesting, when Elena says these words to Damon, “Don’t make me regret being your friend.”
At this point Damon’s face falls noticeably. Some might say, it’s merely because he has been explicitly tossed in the “friend zone.” However, I think it is something more. As callous as Damon might appear to the outside world, he truly loves Elena, and would much rather be her friend than nothing at all. He nods imperceptibly, and probably for the only time this entire season, we watch Damon pine, just a little bit, as Elena walks away to talk to her brother.
Elena tries to smooth things over with Jeremy, but he basically tells her to go to hell. Damon hears this and promptly goes into full protective boyfriend mode, threatening Jeremy that he better be kind to his sister, “Or else.”
At which point, Stefan magically appears . . .
. . . and surprises us all, by openly admitting to Jeremy that, although Damon may have been the one to erase his memory, it was Stefan, and not Damon, who ultimately killed Vicki.
From a Whisper to a Scream . . .
It is not until the night of the Founders Day fireworks that the poo really hits the fan! Here, we learn that the hidey hole vampires are back with a vengeance! (And we thought they were gone!) After all, thanks to the “Founders” these guys have been stuck underground since 1864, with nothing to do but be pissed off! So, understandably, a lot of them have anger issues.
To further complicate matters, Creepy Uncle John (who I guess we now have to refer to as “Father John,” since he seems to be Elena’s Daddy) . . .
I SO HATE THIS GUY! (How the heck did Elena come out so NORMAL with Wackjob Bio Parents from Hell, John and Isobel?)
. . . has decided to reenact that lovely old 1864 flashback, where the townspeople rounded up all the vampires and burned them to a crisp inside an abandoned building. Except now, he has the “invention” to help him out. He also, at first glance, has a traitorous vampire on the inside to help things along, Vampire Anna . . .
But all is not as it seems, because Vampire Anna is playing both sides. She warns Damon of the respective plans of both the hidey hole vamps and Uncle John. But before, Damon can rescue Stefan and “his girl,” Uncle John breaks out the crazy invention, and we finally get to see what it can do. It’s a bit disappointing that the “invention” turns out to be nothing more than a dog whistle for vamps.
Turn it on and vampires crumble to the ground incapacitated, by what looks like nothing more than a super intense migraine.
As the invention “plays,” we watch as Anna, Damon, Stefan and the Hidey Hole vamps immediately fall to the ground. This is not surprising. What IS surprising is that the Mayor of the town is affected too, as is his son, Tyler . . .
. . . who, while driving with Caroline and Matt, swerves upon hearing the sound, and gets into a massive car crash, leaving Caroline extremely wounded. “But they aren’t vampires,” claims the Mayor’s wife / Tyler’s mother.
So what are they? If you’ve been reading online interviews about the show, it should be no secret that Tyler comes from a family of werewolves, a fact that will undoubtedly be explored in greater detail during Season 2 of this show.
Who knew Ancestor Gilbert’s crazy invention extended to ALL supernatural creatures? (How very True Blood of the show’s creators!)
All Hell Breaks Loose
In a scene eerily reminscent of those Civil War-era flashbacks from the Blood Brothers episode, Uncle John decks the town Sheriff, and proceeds to round up all the writhing headache-suffering supernatural creatures of Mystic Falls, tossing them into an abandoned building, which he promptly douses with gasoline. Vampires Anna and Damon are inside, as is the Mayor of the Town. Stefan, however, somehow manages to avoid the frey.
If you recall, up until this point, Damon used to be on the Mystic Falls Vampire Killer Council. Me thinks he won’t be invited back next year . . .
Elena sees Uncle / Father John entering the burning building, and tries to reason with him, explaining that she knows he is her father.
Don’t worry Elena, Father’s Day sucked for Luke Skywalker too . . .
Elena hopes that her admission will soften John’s heart . . . not so much. The Evil Creepo Dude enters the building and STAKES ANNA . .
. . . giving us our first major (and very sad) death of the episode.
The second death belongs to the Mayor, also killed on the scene, at the hands of Damon himself (having woken from his headache). He does this, presumably in hopes that when this is all over, his true identity will not be exposed to the town. (Did NOBODY else in Mystic Falls see the Extremely Hot Man writhing on the ground? Unlikely . . . Sorry Damon!)
Outside the now-burning building, Elena, who has come to realize that her friend Bonnie is a total poopyhead, who lied about curing the vampire torture invention, confronts her fairweather friend. The two duke it out a bit over the merits of dating and befriending vampires. Then Bonnie starts mumbling some witchy hoo hah. We worry she’s merely doing this to speed up the death process for the Grandma-killing blood suckers she hates so much. However, she surprises everyone by stopping the burning, and allowing Damon to get free . . .
The Aftermath and the MAJOR OMFG Twist . . .
Meanwhile, at the hospital, Caroline remains in critical condition, and one of the eight cliffhangers of the episode is thereby revealed.
Looks like you got a storyline, after all, Candice Acola . . . but probably NOT the one you wanted, huh?
Another one follows shortly after. A newly free Damon comes to see Jeremy, and admits to him that Anna is dead. The two share a sweet and gut-wrenching moment, brilliantly acted by them both, in which they discuss, love, vampirism, and, of course . . . you guessed it . . . turning off one’s feelings.
Surprisingly, Damon even goes as far as to apologize for how he treated (and ultimately turned Vicki). Damon then offers to remove Jeremy’s memories again, but Little Gilbert declines. The last time we see Jeremy, is staring forlornly at the mirror, drinking Anna’s blood and swallowing a mouthful of pills. Will he die? Will he turn into a vampire? Or none of the above . . . It looks like we will have to wait until next season to find out . . .
With all of their friends rescued, Stefan finally has time to confront Elena about Damon’s purported feelings for her. She assures him repeatedly how much she loves him. And yet, me thinks thou doth protest to much . . .
Be afraid Stefan, be very afraid! – Love, Elena Cotton Candy (See what I did, there?)
Back at the Gilbert house, Damon is waiting outside Elena’s doorstep when “she” arrives home.
In yet another heartfelt conversation (And this episode had a TON!), a wistful Damon discusses the nature of his desire for redemption. He feels fortunate that Stefan and Elena saw something in him, worth saving. The two lean close to one another and . . . wait for it . . . SHARE A HOT KISS! At first it is small and chaste, on the cheek. And then not so chaste, complete with hands around necks and fingers in hair.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a good screencap of these two hotties . . . so look at this picture and imagine Isobel as Elena! (Or YOU as Isobel . . . because that’s fun too!) 🙂
And at that moment the entire TVD watching population shares a big fat O, if you know what I mean . . .
In classic style, of course, that “O” is interrupted by none other than Useless Aunt Jenna, who forces “Elena” to come inside (and I don’t mean in a fun way, either) .
(But note the “invitation,” because it’s going to become important, in just a few brief moments.)
As the two leave, Damon strokes his mouth, and you just know the memory of that kiss will take an eternity to erase. And I would have been content for the episode to end right there . . . but BOY was there more! “Elena” heads to the kitchen and meets up with Evil Uncle / Father John, who tries in vain to explain his actions to his vampire loving daughter. By way of a truce, he offers to cook a meal with her. She complies . . . by grabbing the knife, and cutting off his hand containing the ring of immortality! She then STABS HIM IN THE CHEST!
And her then face gets all veiny and puffy eye baggy! We know that look! That’s not Elena at all! It’s her doppelganger, Vampire Katherine!
“I’m back bitches! Thanks for inviting me in, Useless Aunt Jenna!”
Dun Dun Dun!
At the end of the episode a non-veiny and non-eye baggy Elena arrives home, calmly leaving a message for Stefan on her cell phone (I love you, blah, blah, blah). She is completely unaware, of course, of the carnage into which she is about to walk.
“Hey, Kev W! What gives? Why are you always picking on me? Haven’t I been through enough?”
A potentially dead biological father? A potentially dead or vampiric little brother? An angry Aunt Jenna who thinks she’s a cheater? A lovestruck Damon who thinks so too . . . but likes it?
Throughout this series, I’ve always totally envied Elena Gilbert’s life. During this episode’s concluding moments, for the first time this season, I didn’t envy her . . . AT ALL!
So, there you have it folks. A brilliant end, to a brilliant first Season. It’s truly been a wild and amazing ride recapping this fabulous show. And I sincerely thank all of you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing it with me. (Especially, Amy over at Imaginary Men, who shared my obsessive fangirl love through many a comment and email, and was still willing to speak to me, after our failed liveblog event.)
And to show you all my thanks, I’d like to leave you with these lovely gifs, that may help ease the pain of a Salvatore Brother-less summer . . .
(The people over at Gif Soup are officially my NEW BEST FRIENDS!)
Until next season . . . (or until they start airing the reruns). Bite ya later! 🙂