‘You are the first one of your kind, and you feel like no-one before…’
When Klaus killed Jenna I was the first in line, behind Elena of course, to quite happily see him staked with a big ol’ hunk of white oak. Yet here we are, with two episodes to go before the finale, and now I’m desperate to see him survive. That is one of the greatest thrills of the show, it takes everything you think you know, and feel, and then flips it on its side. Just when you’re convinced they’re going to go one way they take the opposite route. These writers know how to continually shock and surprise their audience and better still they make it look easy.
To name but a few crimes: Klaus murdered Aunt Jenna, used Elena as his personal blood bank to create an army of hybrids and drove Stefan to his darkest self. Yet as we draw nearer to the finale I’m biting my nails nervously worrying what his fate will be. And it’s not solely because Joseph Morgan is madly charming and charismatic in this role (though, isn’t he just?) but the writers have really taken the time to explore the character. Now we understand Klaus, relate to him, even sympathise with him because ultimately, thousand year old vampire or not, he knows what it is to feel human, to feel truly alone.
I guess what I’m saying is I’m glad they allowed him to be more than just the bad guy. He’s a murderer with a sensitive side… he’s an artiste, don’t you know and he likes horses too! But seriously, he’s become one of the best characters on the show, more than a villain, more than a man with a maniacal laugh or a baddie twisting his moustache. We’ve been able to explore his motivations, understand what’s led him to this point and now we find we care.
And it’s not just Klaus that we care about, it’s Rebekah too. The Original who, just a few weeks ago, tried to off Elena. Yet she is also the girl who wants to be liked, to be loved, to feel wanted and ultimately just to live. I mean really live and experience it all, to finally stop running. And if it didn’t break your heart just a little when she told Esther ‘But I haven’t lived at all!’ then I’m sorry, but you may be a robot. I haven’t even touched on fan favourite, the so-called “moral Original” Elijah, but you can be sure I’m not ready to lose him either.
Over all this season has reminded us that it is never as black and white as good versus evil or heroes against villains. There is good and bad in everyone; never has this been clearer than in the Salvatore brothers. This year we have seen the darkness in Stefan and a witnessed a softer side of Damon, making these characters much more complex and compelling individuals.
I’m not saying the writers are doing anything radically different, but what they’re doing, they’re doing well. They’re not afraid to take risks, and break the rules sometimes, and the show flourishes because of that. When you’ve watched a lot of shows of this genre you begin to expect certain patterns in the storyline and things can often become a little predictable. I’m very much used to the Buffy method: expect a “big bad” or an obstacle to be introduced in the beginning of the season and by the finale this obstacle will be overcome or the villain destroyed. That’s never really been the exact formula The Vampire Diaries has followed. The show constantly subverts audience expectations, even when it comes to its baddies. Exhibit A: Mikael. I thought Papa Original was going to be around a lot longer. He could’ve been a big threat to our favourite Mystic Falls residents. He certainly had the potential to be a formidable enemy, however, he was killed very quickly, perhaps even a little too hastily. As for Klaus I still can’t decide (someone make me a pro and con list Rory Gilmore style, stat!) whether it would be better for the show to kill him or keep him.
However, I admit that for a while I just assumed this season was leading up to his downfall. Now I’m not so sure what the writers are going to do. I know I’m not quite ready to let go of Klaus yet – love to hate him and hate to love him. In fact many fans have found themselves rooting for him or Rebekah or Elijah, or all three (Four? Do we care about Kol?) siblings. Normally we’re told exactly who to champion: the heroes of the piece, the Elena’s and the Bonnie’s of the TV world. However, in this case, we’re genuinely conflicted as to who should live or die. The fact that some of the Mikaelson’s, as well as Team Elena, might not survive the season makes for a much more climatic outcome and paves the way for an ending with a big emotional payoff. I’ll be truly sorry to say goodbye to any of the Original family (Ok, ok! I didn’t lose too much sleep over Finn…) and that is a testament to the wonderful writing of these characters and the terrific actors who inhabit their roles.
I never expected to find myself rooting for the Mikaelson family, but that’s what I love the most about The Vampire Diaries. It’s finding yourself surprised by a character or the twists and turns in the storytelling. That’s what keeps me coming back for more. A series that on many occasions has caused me to exhibit embarrassing behaviour, namely flailing my arms around in shock and often shouting “TWIST!” – usually as a reaction to the last 15 seconds of any episode. As we build up to the series finale I’m expecting there’s only more of that to come and I can’t wait. Bring it on Vampire Diaries!
P.S. I almost titled this post ‘my gush fest over the Originals and how awesome this show is’, but instead I went for a U2 song. So there ya go.