The Vampire Diaries season 6 episode 21 review: I’ll Wed You In The Golden Summertime

Knowing what's coming in The Vampire Diaries' season 6 finale next week has improved, not ruined, the viewing experience...

This review contains spoilers.

6.21 I’ll Wed You In The Golden Summertime

Alaric can’t have nice things. We know this. His wife was killed by Damon, his new girlfriend killed by Klaus. His step-daughter then shacked up with said wife-killer, and the guy who murdered Jenna now has his own spin-off. He’s also died a lot, one time almost permanently.

So, when we have an episode that promises to show him human, getting married and expecting twins, it’s a given that something’s going to go horribly, tragically wrong. The show doesn’t even really need to do any heavy foreshadowing, because the audience knows what to expect from a wedding episode – especially Alaric’s.

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So now we’re living with a doozy of a cliff-hanger until this week’s finale – Kai’s back, Jo (and her twins) have been stabbed and our entire casts’ lives hang in the balance.

Rumour has it that this was supposed to be the season finale, so let’s thank Julie Plec and co. for not doing that to us. Knowing that the next episode will see the departure of Elena and Tyler, we can at least go in with our eyes open but, the trouble was, I think everyone was watching those two characters too closely, and so we took our eyes off Jo.

It’s an odd feeling, that expectation of tragedy that hangs in the air, and that goes especially for the Damon and Elena scenes. They spend the bulk of the episode apart as Stefan tries to convince his brother to remain a vampire and, after another story thread stolen wholesale from Buffy (this time Hell’s Bells), he shocks us all by actually deciding to take the cure after all. Crucially, he doesn’t do it before the ceremony, so there’s still time to backtrack.

But it’s a lovely gesture for Delena shippers, with the scene in which Damon reveals his intentions as close to a wedding as these two are ever going to get. As inconsequential as Elena has been for the last couple of seasons, removing her is undoubtedly the end of a massive chapter in the show’s history. Its consequences will be monumental, and so far the lead-up has been handled really nicely.

But we can’t forget Tyler, and this episode saw him do his usual “monosyllabic goon” tour of douchebaggery to every ex-girlfriend he’s had over six years. For a moment I thought we might double-up on bows tied for soon-to-be-over-relationships, but his somewhat sweet interaction with Caroline turned into him being defensive and horrible – much like when they were together.

He’s also terrible towards Liv again, and thank God she’s more adept at giving some of it back. Maybe they’re perfect together but, unless she somehow leaves town with him this week, I guess we’ll never know (I hope she doesn’t leave town with him this week).

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What was slightly disappointing about the episode was Matt’s turnaround on all matters concerning vampires. With everything the show has done with him this year, I thought an obvious beat would see him delightedly react to the news that Elena is now human again. They have a relationship that goes back further than anyone beside the Salvatore brothers, and I’d hate to see it ignored this close to the end.

No, this was ‘Matt the plot device’, helping Bonnie take care of Lily before Kai burst into the ceremony, so his issues have been shelved until such time the show decides to bring them up again. 

The fun of the episode came from an unlikely source – a return of event-planner extraordinaire Caroline Forbes. On the dreaded post-switch amends tour at the same time as making sure everything is just-so for the upcoming murder-wedding, the first feeling the whole thing brought up was joy and relief at having her back. Then there’s disappointment and exasperation as soon as her and Stefan sit down for a chat.

With Delena on their way out, I guess we have to have an annoying on-off couple. That said, neither character can do any wrong in my eyes, and at least their reasons for not being together right now are based in character and story, rather than contrived magical objects and memory wipes.

Knowing what’s to come has done two things – get everyone excited and invested in the last few episodes and forced us all to second-guess absolutely everything the show is doing with Elena. Both of those things are good when done to an extent that doesn’t ruin the viewing experience and, as with past seasons, I’m glad the traumatic action-packed instalment has come a week before the actual finale. This week will be hard, but it will be cathartic and, for Elena fans, it’s going to be the end of an era.

Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, I’d Leave My Happy Home For You, here.

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