The Vampire Diaries season 4 episode 22 review: The Walking Dead

The Vampire Diaries relies upon returning characters once again in its penultimate episode of season four...

This review contains spoilers.

4.22 The Walking Dead

Ever since the notion of dropping the veil between the living and the dead was raised earlier in the season, The Vampire Diaries fans have been speculating about what that might look like. It turns out that it looks just as it sounded, with friend and enemies alike returning to the show just in time for a big showdown next week. Is it a little unimaginative? An exercise in fan-service, even? I thought so and, as nice as it is to see Jeremy, Lexi and Alaric back in Mystic Falls, their collective return doesn’t really mean anything going into the finale.

The whole episode was dedicated to it, too, with each old face’s return announced via swelling music and an expectation of surprise, despite the audience having several weeks warning that these characters would be popping up again. Alaric is the most missed of the three, with only a small cameo in the season four premiere since his death last season (his return here might have something to do with Cult’s cancellation), but it still didn’t have the impact I was hoping for. It especially doesn’t help that there was an almost identical situation last year – The Vampire Diaries really needs to stop relying on characters that’ve already been written out.

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Of all the returning characters, Jeremy was by far the most important to the current state of the show. Elena has her feelings turned back on but was channelling her emotions into the hatred of Katherine, so seeing her brother again is completely necessary for the character to move on. We’re all tired of sad, weepy Elena, including Elena herself, and the chance to say goodbye to Jeremy will hopefully usher in a more assured heroine for season five. He’s also pretty handy with a crossbow, which I guess will come in useful during next week’s graduation day showdown.

And let’s hope that whatever the writers decide to give us in the finale is a heck of lot more exciting than the climax to Silas and Qetsiyah’s storyline. Bonnie using magic to solve everyone’s problems regularly bores me to tears and, while I appreciate the efforts the show has gone to in realistically granting our resident witch new and increased power via expression, it’s essentially the same plot device they’ve used before. That said, it’s nice that one of the Salvatore brothers didn’t have to guilt her into doing it, as is usually the case, and having her Grams return at the last moment also brought things full circle.

Which is fortunate, because it looks as though Bonnie will be leaving us for good once the veil is reinstated. After two fake deaths last week, I thought for sure that the show would find a way to wiggle out of Bonnie’s untimely death, but interviews with those in the know have confirmed that, though ghost Bonnie will be able to graduate with her friends and participate in the finale, she’ll be permanently dead after season four comes to a close. Of course, as we’ve established, this doesn’t mean she’s gone for good, but a moment of silence seems appropriate.

As for the other hanging threads, Damon is currently in possession of the cure, with Alaric telling him “go get the girl”. Does this mean he’ll give it to Elena or take it himself? The latter would certainly make for a more interesting season five, but wouldn’t make much sense for the character or his relationship with Elena. There’s no sire bond anymore, so surely they can just live happily ever after as two of the undead? At least now, with Lexi even pushing for a Stefan/Caroline union, the love triangle may finally reach some sort of conclusion.

But first they’ll have to deal with the two dozen sacrificed innocents – which includes twelve pissed off witches – recruited by a resurrected Kol. That’s not even including Connor, Vaughn and Rebekah’s hunter boyfriend so, even without Silas up and running, there are plenty of threats for the gang to deal with. They were all killed by our central characters in some way or another, so graduation day might not go as smoothly as Caroline is hoping. Season four has so far been devoid of any real excitement, so a big, grand showdown sounds like a refreshing to finish things off. 

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, She’s Come Undone, here.

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