The Vampire Diaries traveled to the TV graveyard just a few days ago, but did it do so gracefully?
On The Vampire Diaries Season 8 Episode 16, Stefan died to save Mystic Falls, while Damon and Elena got to spend a lifetime together, before passing on to be with their loved ones.
Below, TV Fanatics Mandy Treccia, Justin Carreiro and Paul Dailly, react to Stefan's death, Katherine's snark and what those final scenes meant...
React to Stefan's sacrifice.
Mandy: I loved it. I suspected it would happen, but I still wasn't prepared for the moment. It showed how much both brothers have grown over the series. And it brought them full circle. Stefan forced Damon to become a vampire. Now, he's returned his human life to him. It was a beautiful end to their story.
Justin: He did a noble thing, and I am proud of Stefan. Like Mandy, I expected this would happen to the character. It's sad to see him go after all this time, but he made amends for all that he's done throughout the years.
Paul: This was tough. For much of the series' run, he was my favorite character, but he fell off the deep end this year, and I didn't think I would be able to forgive him for the things he did. His death made sense, and I felt happy that he got to reunite with Lexi in the afterlife.
Their friendship has always been a strong point of the series, and I can only imagine them laughing on the afterlife about all the good times they have had in life.
Was Katherine underutilized?
Mandy: I don't think so. Katherine's death played such a huge role in season five, so I didn't feel like we needed to pay homage to her all over again. She returned to cause trouble and ruin lives. But it wasn't about her. It was about everyone stopping her.
Justin: In the context of the final season's story, I think she was underutilized. She was revealed as the true Big Bad, but we only got one episode of her enacting her terror. To make matters worst, she kept getting staked every five minutes. Katherine is a terrifying and powerful villain. I wanted to see more of her for a few episodes and put up a fight.
Paul: I think she was not used as well as she could have been. In many ways, she was a better character than Elena, so I was thankful Elena was not the focal point of the series finale.
I just found it bizarre that Stefan managed to overpower her to hold her in front of the hellfire. You would think that, as cunning as Katherine has been over the years, she would have had contingencies in place if anything went wrong. Also, being the ruler of hell, you would think she would be stronger.
What was your interpretation of the final scenes?
Mandy: Everyone eventually found peace. All the characters we loved and lost over the years are happy. At least the ones who deserve to be happy.It also stressed the importance of family, which reinforced the theme of Stefan's sacrifice, and the show. Being reunited with the people you love most on another plane of existence is a lovely thought.
Justin: I agree with Mandy, it was about finding peace and being with family. Though, I also think it was about living life to the fullest. All of the characters were making the most of their time alive and in the end, they were reunited... in death... with those they loved who were always with them.
Paul: Yeah, they found peace. That was amazing, but it would have been good if we got to see Alaric and Caroline finding peace. Maybe it's because there's the possibility of catching up with them again on The Originals, or another spin-off.
What was your favorite moment?
Mandy: Do I have to pick just one? Stefan and Elena's goodbye deeply resonated with me. Especially once "Never Say Never" began to play. It brought me right back to the pilot. And then Lexi was waiting, and Stefan got to say he was feeling epic. It felt perfect. That's followed quickly by Damon and Stefan reuniting at the end.
Justin: I really can't pick just one moment. The entire end section with seeing Lexi again, the montage of familiar faces like Aunt Jenna, and the brothers being reunited were some of the most touching scenes. I loved it all. (I may have blinked a few tears...or a lot.)
Paul: As soon as I heard "Never Say Never" I felt like I was watching The Vampire Diaries Season 1 Episode 1. It brought everything full circle for me. Stefan meeting with Lexi was everything I could have wished for. Elena finding peace with her family was another standout moment.
What will you miss most about the series?
Mandy: Everything. It's been my favorite show for eight seasons, and it's going to leave a huge hole in my heart. I'll miss the Salvatore brothers the most.
Justin: I'm going to miss the friendships between these characters. We've seen these people back in high school when they were just discovering the existence of vampires. Cut to all of these years later, it'll be sad to not see them together on my TV screen anymore.
Paul: More than anything, I'm going to miss the music. The show had a knack for stellar editing to show off some great music. I'm surprised there were not more soundtrack albums. I'll also miss the ever-changing dynamics amongst the characters. Watching this show for eight years has been a hoot, and I'm not quite ready to say goodbye.
Which character do you want to crossover to The Originals?
Mandy: Unpopular opinion, but I've always appreciated that they mostly kept the two shows separate. That being said, Ric and Caroline make the most sense for a crossover.
Justin: Caroline is the most obvious choice since they teased a possible reunion between her and Klaus. Bonnie is a character who I would LOVE to see visit The Originals. Magic plays a big part on The Originals and with Bonnie now exploring the world, and more in control of her powers, I think she would be an interesting guest or main addition.
Paul: I have to agree with Mandy. Before the series finale, I wanted more characters to be announced to be joining The Originals. However, there's no way any episode of The Originals could top that series finale. I wouldn't have minded if Nina Dobrev crossed over as Katherine to cause problems for Elijah and Hayley, but I doubt she can come back from hell being destroyed.
Grade the series finale!
Mandy: A+. It was everything a finale should be: beautiful, romantic, tragic, and filled with nostalgia. It gave us hope for the characters who could move on with their lives, both living and dead, and it left room for more stories. It was epic.
Justin: I'm giving it an A-. The series finale was touching, emotional, and delivered on giving our characters conclusions to their stories. It's a great ending that tried to balance the story of the earlier seasons and what the show has become now. However, I can't ignore the flimsy plot device of nobody stopping Vicki (they legitimately could've taken her out of the tower!) to cause the hellfire or Katherine being underutilized.
Paul: A. It was one of the best episodes of the series, and it managed to surpass all of my lofty expectations. The Vampire Diaries always came across as a show about a love triangle, but the episode proved it was more about the timeless bond between the two brothers.
I found it surprising that Matt never died. At least he's no longer the token human on the show. Poor Caroline will probably find herself with Klaus in around 60 years.
Over to you, The Vampire Diaries fanatics. What did you think of the last-ever installment?
If you're ready to return to Mystic Falls, you can watch The Vampire Diaries online right here via TV Fanatic. Who needs to move on when you can watch the show until the end of eternity?
Note: The Originals Season 4 kicks off on Friday and will have a two-episode appearance from a favorite from The Vampire Diaries.
Paul Dailly is the Associate Editor for TV Fanatic. Follow him on Twitter.