The Vampire Diaries concluded season three with one shocker after another: Klaus is still alive... in Tyler's body?!? Alaric is dead and gone... for real this time? Elena is... gulp, a vampire?!?
Oh, yes, there's a lot for our weekly Round Table panel to discuss from "The Departed."
In this edition, regular TV Fanatic staff writers Matt Richenthal, Steve Marsi, Eric Hochberger and Dan Forcella are joined by Ruthie from Vampire Diaries Online. Let's do this!
What was your favorite scene from the finale?
Matt: Caroline crying. Only because the pain it caused me made it clear just how much more invested I am in Forwood than either Stelena or Delena. I predict a problem or two dozen between C-Diddy and Bon-Bon when the former discovers the latter replaced her boyfriend with a murderous Original.
Steve: The heart-stopping final few minutes overall. It was compelling, shocking and above all else, poignant. Apologies for OD'ing on adjectives there, but it's true. Simply amazing filming and soundtrack. Even if the producers clearly watched the end of Breaking Dawn and adapted it for TV, with the final shot of Elena waking up as the screen faded to black, it was extremely well done. I mean, I heard it was similar.
Eric: Alaric coming back to say goodbye to Jeremy. No clue why the Ric (yes, unlike Damon I can call him that) became my favorite character, but last night was a big loss for me. Both Jeremy and I needed to say goodbye to the real Ric after the awesome but evil Alaric has been dominating our screen. RIP, buddy. You will be missed.
Dan: My favorite had to be Damon and Elena on the bridge. It was such a special moment between the two, and it was so sad to realize that he DID meet her first. He COULD have been the one that came into her life at just the right moment. Damon would have been the love that consumed her from now until the end of days.
Ruthie: Favorite scene from the flashback: Matty and Elena kissed!! I know, I'm such a sap... and he said "love ya." Sigh. Favorite scene from the present: The entire drowning scene was done beautifully. I found myself out of my seat, standing two feet away from the television, bawling my eyes out.
Biggest shocker: Klaus taking over Tyler, Alaric dying or Elena turning?
Matt: Going by my initial reaction to it (i.e. yelping like a wounded animal), I've gotta go with Klaus. Most of us foresaw Alaric biting it and no way was Elena actually dying, so some twist had to be coming there. But when Bonnie referred to Tyler as "Klaus." Shiver.
Steve: Klaus taking over Tyler. In a word ... wow. Is Klaus' claim to have originated the Salvatores' bloodline even true? If he is ever removed from Tyler, does he die for real then? Is Klaus more or less inclined to mack on Caroline from the body of his romantic rival? Does Dan Forcella's man-crush escalate or dissipate now that Klaus is embodied by Michael Trevino instead of Joseph Morgan? So many unanswered questions.
Eric: Yet another body switch this season? Yawn. Alaric's death? See: Cult announcement. Now Elena turning? Holy crap! How long have Julie Plec and the other producers claimed they'd never follow the books and turn Elena? Now she has an eternity to play with the Salvatore heart strings and bore CW viewers everywhere. Yay.
Dan: To answer Steve, only time will tell which way my Klaus love turns now that he has taken control of Tyler. Klaus was awesome inside of Ric way back when, but that's probably because Matt Davis is also completely awesome. For the question at hand, Elena turning was the most shocking to me. It's a huge move for Plec and co. to make, which is why I really thought that Elena might actually die. I'm probably really dumb for thinking that they might kill of their leading lady, but in the moment, it seemed more plausible that turning Elena. Shocking.
Ruthie: Definitely Klaus taking over Tyler. Did NOT see that coming at all. And at first didn't understand it, until I watched the episode again. I'm still a little confused actually. Does this mean that Klaus' body is dead? And I'm assuming Tyler is still "in there" somewhere, like when he took over Alaric's body? And Esther with Rebekah? I have a feeling that the stake wasn't left in there long enough, and then just closing the casket put the fire out.
Did Elena make the right choice?
Matt: I'm sorry, but I don't care and I don't think it will matter because the new Elena will remember various things about Damon on season four and go back to wavering between the brothers. And that car scene - should I turn back to Stefan or drive on to Damon? - was SOOOO clunky and contrived. The more intriguing question: Did Elena choose to become a vampire? Did she know that blood was in her system?
Steve: You mean having Stefan save Matty? Definitely. If there's any character the show can't live without, it's the O.G. Mac (Only Grill mac and cheese server).
Eric: Tea over vodka for your final drink? Terrible choice. I know I'm going drunk.
Dan: Breaking up with Matty back in the day? Absolutely, that dude is a loser compared to the Salvatore bros.
Ruthie: I think she did, and her logic was dead on and completely honest. She fell for Stefan instantly and she hasn't fallen out of love with him. Makes sense to me.
Most extreme action: Bonnie spelling Klaus, Rebekah causing the accident or Elena's chipper morning mood?
Matt: If it were me acting that way in the morning, my wife would say it was harder to believe than the Grill giving Matty a day off. But, sure, whatever, Elena was a cheerleader back then. They're always happy, right? It's hard to go with Rebekah, either, because she has always been about self-preservation. This fit in to that theme. I say Bonnie casting that spell because it has such direct repercussions on so many she cares about it.
Steve: Rebekah standing in the middle of the street to send Elena and Matt plunging to their watery graves. She's badass and certifiably insane ... with payback coming her way after vampire Elena builds up some strength.
Eric: At 6:45 in the morning? There's not nearly enough caffeine you could give me intravenously overnight to cause me to wake up dancing.
Dan: It has to be Rebekah, mostly because she did it just by standing in the middle of the road. There was no vicious action that needed to be taken. She was like, 'I'm so bad ass that I can stand here and kill you two.'
Ruthie: Bonnie spelling Klaus was a pretty extreme action, but I still have so many questions about this! When Tyler and Caroline had their heart-wrenching moment in the cellar, was that Klaus or Tyler?
Give this season a grade.
Matt: C. On a very relative scale. This remains one of the best dramas on network television, but the first two seasons set such a high bar. I found the back half especially meandering, I fear death has lost all meaning on the show and I'm sick of the love triangle.
Steve: I'm going with a B+. It might be closer to B- or B by Vampire Diaries standards, but that's the thing ... even with somewhat uneven, haphazard installments like we've seen lately, there's still so much more right than wrong with the show.
Eric: B-. The season of the Originals hardly felt like it brought resolve to its chief baddy. Now when Alaric took over as Monsieur Bad Guy? Things were A material. Getting the town on his side and killing vampires? Now that was a scary threat... that was shortened to two episodes. While Dan's man crush was allowed to run around for a season wooing my Caroline with horse pictures only to find his way into someone's body by season end? What kind of TVD villain arc is that?
Dan: I will agree with you, Eric, that they didn't find enough things to do with the fantastic Joseph Morgan, but I still go with an A- for the season. If I'm grading on a TVD curve, it would be down in the B range, but this is still one of my favorite shows on TV, and that is A level work in my book.
Ruthie: A-. Aside from too many spoiler-y interviews, promos and episode stills, I think this was a pretty kick-ass season. I know, I love good Vampire Diaries spoilers as much as anyone, but I really think they need to tighten it up a bit next season. Several episodes lacked the punch due to the fact that too much information was revealed.