The Vampire Diaries season 5 finale review: Home

Review Caroline Preece 18 May 2014 - 08:45

The Vampire Diaries' season 5 finale utterly redeemed the show in Caroline's eyes. Here's her review of Home...

This review contains spoilers.

5.22 Home

Holy crap! Just when The Vampire Diaries had fooled us all with its apparent complacency, willingness to coast on its love triangle and inability to make character deaths matter, it delivered Home – a season finale that single-handedly redeems the last two years with one brave, gut-wrenching sequence. Season five has been a frustrating experience for fans, and that doesn’t change, but it’s largely forgotten when a show going into its sixth season can deliver something this powerful. Did they just kill one of their stars? Does this mean no more ghost episodes (good riddance)? What the heck are they going to do now?

The Vampire Diaries has always, to some extent, been about Elena’s shifting affections towards the two Salvatore brothers but, in recent seasons, it’s also been about the inability to let favourite characters permanently ride off into the sunset. I’m cautious about accepting the end of this episode as anything remotely permanent, especially given that the last time I had this visceral a reaction to the show was back when Jeremy was killed and Elena burnt their house down (we know how that ended), but surely doing away with The Other Side permanently will remove the writers’ favourite shortcut to guest appearances?

That’s the big question that hangs over this finale and the season six premiere, as the promise of killing Bonnie and Damon for good leaves us in a strange position. If they’re not really going to die then I can’t see the show surviving for too much longer but, if they go through with it, then we’re going to be watching Vampire Diaries without one of its central, most beloved characters. Damon is an incredibly popular, and important, presence on the show – one third of the love triangle and our resident redeemable anti-hero. I said last week that killing off your main character usually gets some attention, and how right that thought was.

I began watching this episode with my usual lowered expectations, not knowing what to expect but anticipating yet another ‘epic’ showdown between the group and whatever mystical coven were currently hanging around Mystic Falls (they honestly blur into one after a while). What was delivered, however, was a really strong finale that suddenly made the show about the characters again. Even Bonnie, who has always been used as a day-saving plot device in past seasons, was given something a lot more substantial to do – merging her usual role in things with a movingly heroic ending.

But it wasn’t just Bonnie – everything mattered again. I don’t know if it was nostalgia at seeing Alaric again (series regular for season six!) or just the shock of being surprising by Vampire Diaries again, but even moments like Jeremy not reaching Bonnie in time, Lexi sacrificing herself for Stefan one last time and Luke putting his sister above the group felt so well thought-out, moving and important. Somehow, they didn’t even distract from the main event – Damon failing to return from the other side and Elena’s subsequent devestation (bravo, Nina Dobrev) – instead adding to the drama of it all.

There’s a chance I’m giving the show too much credit but, even if we do end up seeing Damon and Bonnie back in a rebuilt Mystic Falls next season, that shouldn’t diminish the impact of this episode. Every now and again, a series past its prime can make faithful fans sit up and pay attention again, and that’s what Home did. It’s been far too long since people have been able to get excited about the show, which used to be one of the best and bravest shows on the air once upon a time.

This potentially marks a return to form, despite being far too late in the day for such things, and promises a lot more to come in its upcoming sixth season. See you there for more Alaric, more Steroline and potentially, possibly, maybe less Ian Somerhalder.

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, Promised Land, here.

Follow our Twitter feed for faster news and bad jokes right here. And be our Facebook chum here.

Disqus - noscript

Home was one of the best Vampire Diaries episodes. It was thrilling and surprising and shocking and many more 'surprised' adjectives I don't remember.
But first things first. The unfortunate thing with Bonnie was the fact that they let her fade in the background and come up only to save the day, like it is perfectly said in this article. Bonnie had much potential to grow beautifully as a character on her own, but sadly, it didn't happen.
So, in Home they really made her shine in her last moments and I'm glad they did.
Also, I hope Steroline doesn't happen, their friendship is amazing, I'd hate to see it ruined by yet another one of Caroline's attempts at romance. We know how that will end (Tayler, Matt etc). Klaroline on the other hand... That's a relationship I can't wait to watch blossom and last. Klaus had told her once "Tayler was your first love. I intend to be your last.". I'm taking that as a future promise between them.

It's Tyler, not Tayler... Totally agree about Klaroline tho! Brining back Alaric & Klaus would be kick ass! I've never been keen on Elena & Damon.. In fact Elena has become my least favourite character in the show. I swear the camera crew are out to get her with all that double chin action :-/ She is a much better and more interesting character in the earlier seasons.. You would think she'd get better, not worse!

I have not watched a single episode of VD. This review does not make me feel that I have been missing anything.

I stopped watching after the whole real world Ian and Nina thing went south and the show's creatives (or actress??) decided that the same should happen onscreen.

TVD is a soap opera though. I don't even know why it's called "Vampire Diaries" any more.

Anywho, I might binge watch this last season just to see Damon being heroic. And of course Matt's back as Alaric next season (might be worth the watch). Sadly, Cult only became really interesting and well-acted in the final few episodes (when it was too late to be saved from the chopping block). I can't imagine Cult has been a good resume mark for him. It's at least good that he added CSI to it. He's a fantastic actor and Cult really didn't make him shine very well with the bad dialogue and stunted scenes. Maybe, on TVD, people will be able to see his true talents again???

Last season was so much better...cough cough KLAROLINE

liar

This episode was amazing! And while I completely agree that Damon and Bonnie's deaths were a much needed twist, I cannot imagine TVD without Damon. That just wouldn't be the same show. He is my favorite character and the reason I watch the show, so without him I would stop watching. And there is already news on the internet that he will be returning to shoot with the rest of the cast this summer so I know he will be back. But I am torn. How will they bring him back without making it cliche? I am tired of nobody really dying on this show. There is always a loophole or spell that saves the day. I hope they creatively do this and do not just fall back on the spellbooks or The Other Side not being destroyed somehow. That would ruin what this episode has built up. I also hope, PRAY, they do not make Damon and Bonnie "Guardians" like in the book. That would be corny and horrible. I guess I will just have to wait until October to find out!

Also, Steroline should not happen. I love their friendship and I really, REALLY want Klaroline to happen! Klaus just cut out Cami in The Originals so hopefully this opens him back up to Klaroline happening!!! That would be awesome!

i think this should have been a big finish. as in end of the series. why? this leaves the rest of the people alive to mould their lives and be strong for each other while mourning the loss of Damon and Bonnie. The Other Side is permanently destroyed, this should mean that Damon and Bonnie SHOULDN'T come back.

Frankly i think they should end the show because the entire season 5 was frustrating. I was like sooooo...another villain again, BORING (travellers). Who would they bring in season 6 again??? its just pointless, because there'll always be bad people and so far the only person remotely capable of stirring up trouble is Enzo (who's interested in Caroline who has to make up her mind about Tyler and maybe Stefan). The Love triangle between Elena and Stefan and Damon has been extinguished for a while now, Elena has Alaric for strength now, and she can find love again.

If they decide to continue with a season 6, it will take a while to make fans sit up again. This kind of series doesn't need an unrealistic 'happy ending'. To me 'Home' was and should be the end to this series... they specialise in cliffhangers... epic to end it with one.

Just my take though. Bravo to them.

It was an incredible finale but i refuse to watch TVD with Damon gone, he was by far my favourite character and the chances of him coming back look pretty slim. I have never cried this hard for a tv show i'm so upset

Does anyone remember the simpler times, when Katherine was their biggest problem?

It's *Bringing, not Brining...

Sponsored Links