TV Club: The Vampire Diaries says a final, emotional goodbye

From its very beginning, The Vampire Diaries was obsessed with the idea of good and bad. Stefan was the “good” brother, Damon the “bad,” and the show then used those loose definitions to springboard eight seasons of stories that either confirmed or subverted those initial character sketches. Eventually, especially in the show’s final season, it deepened the idea to encompass the brothers’ quest for redemption, and that’s where things got a bit trickier.

The problem with focusing on the theme redemption for a cast of characters who are, at their very base characteristic, mass murderers is an intensely difficult high wire to balance a story on, and it never quite felt like the writers got a firm grasp on how to make it work. From season to season—and hell, sometimes episode to episode—one Salvatore brother was painted as the worst evil while the other was a …

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