Let's get this out of the way up front:
The Vampire Diaries Season 5 has run out of new stories to tell.
There was very little plot to the latest installment, with the entire hour dedicated to luring Katherine to the Salvatore mansion in order to kill her. Once and for all. Seriously. For good this time. They mean it.
And while the ending was unexpected and beautifully executed (more on that in, like, half a minute), where did it leave us?
With Katherine dead (a storyline point that's been teased to, well, death for years now) and with Elena injected with the Ripper Virus, meaning we now get to see her act like Damon has been acting (times werewolf) and now will witness yet another character deal with some sort of odd transformation.
There was Matt with Gregor inside him... Stefan struggling with PTSD... Damon going all Ripper... Katherine being Elena... this season has been a constant loop of characters acting out of character for one reason or another.
We're in desperate need of a new twist here, of raised stakes, of a new villain. You can't come quickly enough, Markos!
(Quick nit to pick: Wouldn't Bonnie have known Katherine was never really dead because she never passed through her? This is clearly why the writers kept Bonnie away for so many weeks... but wouldn't her friends have expected her to go running to them with a high-five or something once Kat went to The Other Side? Wouldn't they have checked with her to make sure Kat was a goner?)
Okay. Sorry. The general complaining portion of this review is now over and we can focus on this episode purely for what it was... because it was extremely well done.
We got to hang out with our favorite heroes and heroines and listen to them playfully banter with each other (don't worry, Katherine used a calculator) and not-so-playfully taunt each other (You're a joke, Damon/Says the guy pining for the girl who slept with Klaus.)
The Katherine-Nadia farewell was touching, perfectly acted and expertly made viewers feel sympathy for the vampire who was about to finally die.
And Katherine's goodbye to everyone? What is there to even say?!?
- Matty Blue Eyes is the "best night she never had."
- Bonnie, she'll see on the "flip side."
- She really did make Caroline better by turning her.
- Damon will see her in Hell.
And apparently he really will.
It was a bit strange and a bit forced to have her talk to Bonnie before departing (is this what happens to all supernaturals? We know they pass through Bonnie, but they can just dilly and dally and chatter away until then?), but then it was a bit AWESOME to see her sucked away.
Producer Caroline Dries has confirmed that Katherine was taken to a "dark" place and that she isn't coming back.
It's a bold move, considering how TVD focused so much on Katherine over the past several episode, seemingly trying to redeem her.
The Vampire Diaries Season 5 Episode 15 made it clear: not even all the snark in the world can save a lying, manipulating murderer who will do anything to survive. It can't save her from an eventual death - or from a very dark, permanent fate.
Heed that lesson, readers, and, in closing, heed this one, Caroline: You made some decent points in your speech and all. But saying you made a mistake merely "weeks" ago - especially when that mistake entails scorching hot forest sex with the hybrid who killed your ex's mother - isn't exactly a strong defense.
So... what did everyone else think of this outing? Are you shocked Katherine is actually gone? Happy? Relieved? In stunned silence over how it went down?
Are you glad Katherine is dead?
We have two weeks now to let it sit in and, in the meantime, check out this promo for The Vampire Diaries Season 5 Episode 16: