The Vampire Diaries 3.22 Review: "The Departed"

By John Keegan

vampire-diaries-iconI had a feeling what we were in for when the episode began with a flashback to happier times for Elena. And given my prediction in the review for the previous episode, as events continued to converge, I began to wonder how much was real and how much was in Elena's mind. On that note, I'm still not clear, but the end result was one of the most lyrical season finales I've seen in a long time.

I had a feeling that the writers would realize that they couldn't have Elena make a decision between Stefan and Damon without breaking the show, and that the only solution would be to change her status in a fundamental way. Having her drown was a nice touch, calling back to the very beginning of the story, and set up the revelation that she was already dying. Thus the writers neatly take the problem of which Salvatore should sire her out of the equation, by having Meredith give her the blood.

I'm hoping, once the inevitable stretch of episodes dealing with her newfound status is done, that this helps unleash a bit more of Elena's wild side. It's a radical change for the character, and much like Caroline, it should open her up to new possibilities. And since Alaric's legacy is a town council more aware than ever of the presence of vampires and werewolves (and exactly who they are), there's going to be a lot to handle.

The-Vampire-Diaries-Season-3-Finale-The-Departed-Season-3-Episode-22-5I mentioned that the writers took away the problem of Elena choosing one of the brothers, but it should be noted that before everything changed, she did choose Stefan. There will be fallout over that, I'm sure, but Elena's new status could effectively render that moot. It's not entirely clear how Stefan will react to this turn of events. Nor do I imagine that Damon would honor his agreement to leave, now that this has happened. Not out of spite, but out of a sincere concern (well, in typical Damon fashion, of course!). And I contend that the flashback (which was itself a stunning revelation) underscores that Elena and Damon are hardly done with each other.

Meanwhile, there is the misdirection with Klaus, which I suppose is one way to keep an interesting character around and resolve the whole "death of the entire bloodline" issue. And it does justify the season-long "love triangle" for Caroline, Tyler, and Klaus to some extent. It ought to be interesting to see how Caroline reacts to all this. Anything that gives her a better storyline with more screen time would be welcome in the fourth season.

It also means that the Originals are not entirely dealt with, since all of them are still around, and Alaric's Unbreakable Stake is still in play. Part of me wants to see Team Elena and Team Originals finally get along and on the same page, because the arc this season was a mess, and that might help to focus things in the fourth season. Could they band together to deal with the human threat that is mounting?

While I haven't always felt that the season was on track, and I think there were too many moving parts for the writers to keep all the plot and character threads in balance, I can't say that the series is resting on its laurels. The decision to make Elena a vampire now makes perfect sense, and it marks the beginning of a new status quo. I'm certainly invested in seeing where they go in Season 4!

John Keegan is Editor-in-Chief for Critical Myth, a partner site of SciFi Vision.

Latest Articles