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Genre: Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Romance
Episode Name: Graduation
Air date: 5/16/2013
Summary: On Graduation Day, Mystic Falls is overrun with ghosts intent on settling old scores and fulfilling their supernatural destinies. Damon’s life is in danger after a ghostly encounter, while Matt and Rebekah join forces to battle a ghost determined to find the cure. As everyone gathers for the graduation ceremony and the ghosts converge, help comes from an unlikely hero. Caroline receives a touching and unexpected graduation present, and Bonnie’s plan leads to the closing of the veil. Elena makes a decision about the Salvatore brothers and faces an epic confrontation with Katherine. Finally, Stefan discovers a horrifying clue to the mystery surrounding Silas.
Ever since the notion of dropping the veil between the living and the dead was raised earlier in the season, The Vampire Diaries fans have been speculating about what that might look like. It turns out that it looks just as it sounded, with friend and enemies alike returning to the show just in time for a big showdown next week. Is it a little unimaginative? An exercise in fan-service, even? I thought so and, as nice as it is to see Jeremy, Lexi and Alaric back in Mystic Falls, their collective return doesn’t really mean anything going into the finale.
The whole episode was dedicated to it, too, with each old face’s return announced via swelling music and an expectation of surprise, despite the audience having several weeks warning that these characters would be popping up again. Alaric is the most missed of the three, with only a small cameo in the season four premiere since his death last season (his return here might have something to do with Cult’s cancellation), but it still didn’t have the impact I was hoping for. It especially doesn’t help that there was an almost identical situation last year – The Vampire Diaries really needs to stop relying on characters that’ve already been written out.
Of all the returning characters, Jeremy was by far the most important to the current state of the show. Elena has her feelings turned back on but was channelling her emotions into the hatred of Katherine, so seeing her brother again is completely necessary for the character to move on. We’re all tired of sad, weepy Elena, including Elena herself, and the chance to say goodbye to Jeremy will hopefully usher in a more assured heroine for season five. He’s also pretty handy with a crossbow, which I guess will come in useful during next week’s graduation day showdown.
And let’s hope that whatever the writers decide to give us in the finale is a heck of lot more exciting than the climax to Silas and Qetsiyah’s storyline. Bonnie using magic to solve everyone’s problems regularly bores me to tears and, while I appreciate the efforts the show has gone to in realistically granting our resident witch new and increased power via expression, it’s essentially the same plot device they’ve used before. That said, it’s nice that one of the Salvatore brothers didn’t have to guilt her into doing it, as is usually the case, and having her Grams return at the last moment also brought things full circle.