The Vampire Diaries Season Finale Review: “Graduation” (Season 4, Episode 23)

the vampire diaries8 The Vampire Diaries Season Finale Review: Graduation (Season 4, Episode 23)

The season four finale of The Vampire Diaries was an emotion packed forty-two minutes that gave us the closure we were desperately seeking, and at the same time opened up a whole new can of ‘what the hell just happened?’ Appropriately titled Graduation, it was the end of one chapter in Mystic Falls history and the beginning of another.

It’s official. Bonnie Bennett (Kat Graham) is really dead. In case the shock of it all, and the still open veil may have confused you. As this season of The Vampire Diaries faded to black, Bonnie faded to the other side – or, more literally, walked extremely calmly there, holding her grams’ hand the whole way. In return for her brave sacrifice, or foolish over-reaching, depending on which side of the Bonnie pro/con debate you land, Elena (Nina Dobrev) will now get to dote on her little brother once again.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I was an avid supporter of the ‘let Jeremy rest in peace’ cause after Katherine used him as Silas food back on the island. There are so many opportunities for characters to be revisited, and it has been a huge benefit to past storylines, but Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) is one character that deserved to not be stuck in limbo with unfinished business for all eternity. After all, he was only marginally supernatural, if that. And, he really was a good kid. Despite my opposition, we now know he’ll be returning in all his human glory. It’ll be pretty hard to explain that one to his friends at school. And, Bonnie being dead – her body hanging out under the school – just complicates the entire situation. It’ll be interesting to see how they cover this up next season.

Luckily, that’s not the only thing that the folk in Mystic Falls will be talking about. In a genuinely heartfelt moment, Klaus (Joseph Morgan) returns to town to give Caroline (Candice Accola) a gift. Tyler is now free to return. It seems impossible that no one noticed his absence besides his close friends. At the very least, his disappearance must have been the topic of idle gossip, and now they’ll have more to say about it. As much as it would give me no greater joy then to see Caroline and Klaus run away to New Orleans together, this is definitely the next best option. It also gave us one final look at the Klaus we always wanted him to be. He may no longer be a resident of Mystic Falls, but he is definitely leaving on a high note.

Klaus has been a character that even when he’s tormenting someone, harboring the worst intentions, you can’t help but want to like him. When he first showed up in Mystic Falls, his arrival was paved in dead bodies. He sacrificed Elena’s aunt to break the curse and finally become a hybrid. He’s killed enough innocents since then to warrant it’s own tally chart. He compelled Stefan (Paul Wesley) into becoming the monster he used to be. The list of his evil-doings is probably longer than the list of Stefan’s victims in Chicago, etched on the wall in his closet. Yet, there’s something so compelling about him that you can’t help but root for him. Now that he’s realized who he can be – Caroline can probably take at least partial credit for that – New Orleans better look out because there’s nothing that seems to stop a determined Klaus, and he’s at the top of his game.

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00686340a1a 459x360 The Vampire Diaries Season Finale Review: Graduation (Season 4, Episode 23)

There was a lot of bad luck going around on this episode of The Vampire Diaries. With an unwanted reunion of supernatural types invading Mystic Falls, someone was bound to have a kink in their day. Let’s start with Matt (Zach Roerig) and Rebekah. Really, this seems like it’s becoming a pretty typical event for young Matt. Being the only human in a group of vampires, witches, and werewolves doesn’t exactly do a body good. Right before his own graduation ceremony, he got to sweat it out on top of an explosive set by Rebekah’s ex, one of the original five, who despite his lack of technological know-how still managed to rig six cars to blow if Matt takes one step off the platform. Lucky for him, Rebekah saved the day. I almost expected her to show up at graduation, participate in a so-called ‘normal’ rite of passage, but no she was a no show for the big event.

Another normal teenage activity, getting your heart broken – again. Something that Stefan should be getting used to at this point. Sadly, it looks like he’ll have plenty of alone time to think about it while he’s trapped in a safe at the bottom of the lake. The whole thing vaguely wreaked like an episode of Angel. If you substitute the lake for the Pacific Ocean and an angry-doppelganger for an angry son, and it’s practically history re-written. Not unlike the center of the Expression triangle being located directly under the school, sounds a bit like a Buffy, The Vampire Slayer replay – trade Mystic Falls for Sunnydale, and the center of the triangle for the hell mouth and you’ve got another uncanny pop culture coincidence..

Despite the lack of an original concept, who saw that one coming? And, better yet, who knew that being a doppelgänger was like a thing now? Both Elena and Stefan sharing one unusual bond, sounds like the perfect way to rekindle a romance.

It is, or was before Stefan found himself in a lock box, nice that we finally had a firm decision about which Salvatore brother Elena was currently in love with. There was some speculation that she was going to go outside the family at some point this season, but Damon deserves a real go of it. Especially since the first time around he had the pesky sire bond hanging over them both. And, it made for an even better moment that Alaric (Matt Davis) was around to celebrate with his best friend. At least now the happy couple will have the summer to fall all over each other before the light bulb flashes on, and they realize that Stefan isn’t just off licking his wounds in Portland. That is, unless Silas decides he’d like to play. In that case, it might take a bit longer for them to notice.

Something they won’t be able to ignore – human Katherine (also Dobrev). It was pretty obvious that if Elena didn’t take the cure, none of the other usual suspects were going to reclaim their human status either. Now that Katherine is in her most vulnerable state, will she stick around for pity protection or head for foreign ground? Chances are she had enough sense to stash away some cash for an emergency – she only had 500 years to build a portfolio. Unfortunately, all of her previous compulsion that kept her safe for so long won’t be effective any longer. She has officially become everything she despised about Elena for so long, but maybe this is the wake up call she needed to stop being such a dreadful witch.

School is officially out, and The Vampire Diaries is on summer hiatus. Half the cast has either been killed this season, or are relocating to a warmer climate. That leaves quite a few spots to fill. My best guess is that we’ll be meeting a new witch pretty quickly on in season 5, and probably a Bennett one to boot – everyone knows that Bennett witches do it better. We already have a villain and a new doppelgänger, all wrapped in one. Tyler will fill the hybrid position when he returns in dramatic fashion, but there’s bound to be some more vampires that want to set up roots in Mystic Falls – maybe even a few vampire-friendly humans will join the ranks.

The big cliffhanger question - what’s going to happen to Stefan? Your guess is as good as mine. Let me know your theories in the comment section below!

Until next season.

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  • Sana Rani

    I’ve begun to hate DE with a passion & this finale with Stefan’s heartbroken look made me wish it was Damon who was in the crate fighting for his life!!

    • Lindsay Sperling

      I’m completely over the game of cat and mouse. I just wanted her to finally make a decision that wasn’t clouded by any bond or outside opinion.

  • InewtoTVD

    Great season finale. Glad for DE and looking forward to season 5 :)

    • Lindsay Sperling

      Season 5 is going to be a whole new show with the Originals relocating to New Orleans. I’m excited to see where this lets them go with the story.