THE VAMPIRE DIARIES Series Finale: Bits, Bites and Bye

Please permit me a personal observation: It has been eight years since Stefan first gazed into Elena’s eyes that day in the cemetery on THE VAMPIRE DIARIES.

Having read the books, I admit that I had been taken aback at the casting of Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert. Dobrev’s dark hair and eyes were hardly those of the blonde/blue-eyed heroine of the book. I was a bit old for her DeGrassi years, and I admit that I was not familiar with her work. But, she won me over as she incorporated the best parts of the “book Elena” and made the part her own.

Paul Wesley (Stefan Salvatore) was another matter. I had seen him guest star on several series and had no doubt that he would be a star, as well as a fine actor, someday.

Then, there was Ian Somerhalder…Adam Wayne of SMALLVILLE…the man with the fascinating eyes and wicked smile. There only was a glimmer of how far he could take the character of Damon Salvatore back in those days, but Somerhalder took him far and then some.

The other “kids” in the cast were hardly reflective of their characters in the book, but there was a magic there that was unto itself, and before the credits rolled on Episode 1, I was hooked.

Partially, perhaps, because I was rooting for Julie Plec. We had met a couple of times, in what seems like a thousand years ago, through a mutual friend and again through work when we both were young women struggling to make it in a profession that did not look like us back then. I liked her immediately. I was extremely happy for her when THE VAMPIRE DIARIES took flight and owned the night.

Julie was working with Kevin Williamson, who was working with another mutual friend on DAWSON’S CREEK, and whose penchant for storycraft was fabulous.

This juggernaut of talent ensured that THE VAMPIRE DIARIES could be a success at the moment that Plec and Williamson penned the pilot. And tonight, the juggernaut rolls full (secret) circle as our time in Mystic Falls comes to an end, with Plec and Williamson writing us off the stage.

Dobrev returns as Elena and Katherine Pierce, who schemes to burn Mystic Falls to the ground. Perhaps Katherine is justified. I am not sure what constitutes “appropriate behavior” when your doppelganger’s BFF marries your ex. Having never had that problem before, I must defer to Katherine’s devious judgment and consider it within the realm of acceptability.

I am thrilled that I get one more chance to spend time with Katherine before TVD rides off into the sunset. Yes, I admit it. I love watching actors chew scenery when they do it well. Heck, I even delighted at the trained crow who doubled as Damon in the first episodes.

There is not much in the week’s press release to give any insight into tonight’s episode, “I Was Feeling Epic,” which reads, “With the fate of Mystic Falls at stake, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) must fight their greatest enemy for one last battle.”

The guest cast, however, gives a clue about how epic the evening will be. Returning to reprise their original roles are David Anders as John Gilbert, Erin Beute (Miranda Gilbert), Sara Canning (Jenna Sommers), Kayla Ewell (Vicki Donovan), Arielle Kebbel (Lexi Branson), Jason MacDonald (Grayson Gilbert), Steven R. McQueen (Jeremy Gilbert), Michael Trevino (Tyler Lockwood) and Chris Wood (Kai Parker).

Season 8 guest stars Kristen Gutoskie (Seline), Demetrius Bridges (Dorian Williams), Joel Gretsch (Peter Maxwell), Lily Rose Mumford (Josie Saltzman) and Tierney Mumford (Lizzie Saltzman) return, and Edgar Roche and Sebastian Vegas guest.

In addition to writing “I Was Feeling Epic” with Williamson, Plec directed tonight’s episode.

Enjoy a full night of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES tonight when the series retrospective, “Forever Yours” airs at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on The CW and CTV Two in Canada, followed by the series finale, “I Was Feeling Epic,” at 9:00 p.m.

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