This review contains spoilers.
7.22 Gods And Monsters
So we’ve finally reached the end of our first Elena-free year of The Vampire Diaries, and it’s been a perplexing year for the show. Not a series that could ever be described as consistent, season seven has been more up and down than most (which beats completely down), and this finale really just sums up that journey.
Gods And Monsters is such an odd episode for season seven to end on, because it’s actually a very average episode of the show. I’d go as far as to say that it’s the least eventful finale of the entire series, and that’s even stranger when you consider that the penultimate episode featured the kind of big, sweeping emotional moments that we’ve come to expect. Here, it’s one big conversation outside locked doors followed by a decent cliffhanger.
While I’m not a huge fan of Bonnie’s huntress curse or the show’s choices when it comes to portraying her need to kill the rest of our main characters, what it did at least succeed in doing was highlighting the biggest strength of the show right now – Bonnie and her relationships with Damon and Enzo.
Whether it’s down to Candice King’s real-life pregnancy this season or not, Bonnie is now the indisputable female lead of the show and, unlike Elena, she’s allowed to exist outside of romances. You could definitely see the Damon/Enzo conflict as a love triangle of sorts, but it’s so much more nuanced and interesting than that descriptor suggests. The huntress storyline is not my favourite, sure, but everything surrounding it is pretty wonderful.
It’s just that previous finales have done better with tying all of the various threads together, and here we get Caroline and Alaric’s daughters siphoning magic from the Armory and Matt continuing to be pissy about everything. The season’s structure has meant that we’ve only really had half a season with these things, and that’s not enough time to get emotionally invested.
That goes especially for Matt and Alaric, who have morphed into plot devices where endearing characters used to be. Matt’s story arc at least smells vaguely of his old self, but Alaric is just a sad obstacle for Stefan and Caroline’s romance. No one was tired of that relationship yet, anyway, and I doubt that writers brought Alaric back from the dead just to then have him be someone else’s accessory.
I wonder where both of them will be next year, as Matt appears to have left town and Alaric and Caroline will have to renegotiate child-care responsibilities. If that’s the end for Matt, it’ll be sad, but this year clearly demonstrated that the writers have run out of ideas for him.
But that cliffhanger was pretty exciting, eh? Those who have read my reviews of the show for the past couple of years will be able to guess how I might feel about a Damon/Enzo team-up in any capacity, and this is pretty much what I’ve been dreaming about for forever. They’re evil and they’re doing evil things, yes, but they look like they’re having a hoot and a half.
Sure, it’ll probably last two episodes before the writers get bored and introduce another antagonist, but for now we can wonder what kind of beastie was living in the Armory’s vault. Plus, extra points for effective use of an Elena (voice) cameo!
So, yeah, Gods And Monsters was as weird and uneven as the rest of this season, but it also demonstrated that there’s still plenty of magic in this ageing show about vampires and witches and werewolves. Those kinds of shows are a dying breed right now, but The Vampire Diaries keeps on reinventing itself as if it’s the easiest thing in the world to do so. For that alone, we should all keep on appreciating it.
Whether season eight is the show’s final hurrah or not, it’s more than proven it still has more to offer. See you in a few months!
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Requiem For A Dream, here.