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Vampire Diaries – “Founder’s Day” – review
Now THAT is what a season finale should be! This episode had everything: danger, violence, double-crossings, two-timings, make-ups, mayhem, and more. And it left us on a cliffhanger that is yet somehow not a cliffhanger (a feat most impressive), and Season 2 is confirmed so we’ll see what happens next in the fall, and in the meantime what happened on Founder’s Day and what did I think about it?
Basically, the tomb vampires are out to take revenge on the Founding Families and plan to do so at the celebration that night after the parade. Uncle Jon has a contact who feeds him this information, and so he sets up a plan to use the Gilbert device to reveal all the vampires, round them up, and burn them as they had been meant to burn back in 1864. Anna infiltrates the circle in order to work against them and passes the word to Damon, who sets off to try and stop Jon’s plan. But because Bonnie had lied about de-spelling the device, Damon and Anna both are caught—Damon by Jon himself, however, so his vampirism isn’t revealed to anyone else in the town. Stefan escapes only because Alaric shields him from another hunter. Jon stakes Anna before he sets the basement on fire (WTF? Dick move, Jon, she was so spunky and awesome and sweet), and Damon escapes only because Bonnie pulls back the flames long enough for Stefan to run in and get him out.
So I have to say that Bonnie has redeemed herself from last week…barely. Not because she had a great plan for how to kill all the rogue vampires but not Stefan and Damon, but because circumstances worked out in such a way that they could be spared, and she compromised her moral stance to save them both. For Elena, who maybe is still her best friend and whom she may start to treat as such again. So even if it’s as much by luck as by design, Bonnie’s okay by me again. And her chat with Stefan about protecting her town was pretty bad-ass. I wouldn’t cross Bonnie, either. Good thing Damon seems to have reformed himself.
Speaking of healing friendships–Matt won’t forgive Tyler for the making out with his mom and then punching him out fiasco until they are in a wreck. Tyler had been affected by the device and couldn’t drive, and in the aftermath Matt realizes that beneath it all they’re still friends. Then Matt gets to figure out what he feels for Caroline underneath it all, because she had some internal damage from the crash and ends the episode in surgery while Matt sits in the lobby with his head in his hands. Poor bastard can’t catch a break!
So on the whole Tyler and Mayor Lockwood were affected by the device front—how much did any of the sheriff’s deputies know? Because they were picking up people no questions asked, including the damn mayor! So I’m guessing they weren’t actually briefed about it being a vampire hunt, just told to pick up anyone who collapsed? The fact that the Lockwoods did reveals that the show is definitely using the supernatural family heritage they have in the books, which has been hinted at a couple times already this season. Although since that heritage is not vampire, I thought it was especially interesting that they were affected by Emily’s spell along with the vampires. Does that mean she had something to do with it?
There wasn’t really a whole lot of Stefan this episode; it had a much stronger focus on Damon. He’s the one figuring things out and being proactive. Stefan’s just sort of there, until the end when he has to go rescue his brother. A lot of subtext with Damon came up, though. He makes light of Isobel’s comment (about being in love with Elena) to Stefan in a goading way, but not with Elena when she tells him to knock off the flirtation and the trying to make Stefan jealous. “Don’t make me regret being your friend,” she tells him. His reaction is decidedly ambiguous. His giving Jeremy a talking-to for being rude to Elena was hilarious—“You don’t get to talk to me that way,” ha! He also has some really great moments at the end, first talking to Jeremy and then to “Elena.” His admissions of guilt and perhaps regret were poignant, an acknowledgment that he’d changed from being the hardened guilt-free morally bankrupt vampire to being almost human, feeling things again, and having a sense of kinship and responsibility to other people in the world. I loved how sincerely surprised he was when he was saying “that means somewhere along the line you decided I was worth saving…thank you.” Very well played, Mr. Somerhalder. (Also, speaking of well played, Mr. Somerhalder—your PSA about the oil spill was beautiful. Not sure if it ran nationally, but if that was just a local Louisiana spot then even better played to take the time to do that.)
As far as Jeremy (who also can’t catch a break!) trying to kill himself after drinking Anna’s blood goes—do boys EVER use pills? Statistics show that’s how girls do it. Males usually suicide by violence…they want to make sure they die. The pill thing seemed unrealistic, like it’s meant to give him time to get saved.
Now, about that ending that I didn’t mention above. Oh, the ending.
First, was anyone actually surprised that we have Katherine back in Mystic Falls? I mean, it’s what the whole season seems like it has been building up to, and it seemed like just the kind of twist that would come up in the season finale to make it a cliffhanger (like one of my friends literally texted me before it started about that probability). It didn’t feel right when “Elena” let Damon kiss her—and I think Damon wondered, too, because that look he shot back at the house seemed suspicious rather than full of wonderment.
Second, the chopping off Jon’s fingers thing. THAT was unexpected. Hard core, but then Katherine is vicious, isn’t she? I wonder if she came for Jon simply to eliminate the trail back to her or as some part of her master plan—or if it had to with (as I predicted last week) him trying to include the Salvatore brothers in the dead burnt vampire head count? Did she do something similar to Isobel for her part in it?
As I said in the opening, though, somehow this doesn’t feel like a cliffhanger ending to me. The tomb arc is completely finished, Damon got out of the basement alive, Anna’s dead. I mean, I know Caroline’s in surgery, and Jeremy’s upstairs with an overdose in his system, and Elena’s about to run into the kitchen where her evil-vampire-ancestress-doppelganger is killing her father, but…somehow it feels like a good stopping point. The end of one story and just a hint of what the story to come will involve. Well done, team, all around!