There was a moment in last night's Vampire Diaries when it really looked as though the show's few remaining human characters were reaching a moment of decision. Something that could have propelled the show in a new and fascinating direction, in which they fight the real enemy. Sadly, as with any time people make decisions on this show, sanity did not prevail.
I am referring, of course, to the bit where it really looks like Jeremy and Matt are finally going to take care of business and protect Elena. Jeremy will distract everybody while Matt drugs Elena's tea, pretends to be interested in listening to the 1000th recitation of her "OMG I can't decide which vampire serial killer to go out with" problems, and then stick her in his truck and drive far, far away from all this vampire drama.
There are just two problems with all this: 1) Matt doesn't go ahead and keep Elena sedated for a few days, or tied and gagged until this is all over. 2) Jeremy doesn't do the other sensible thing, which is helping Alaric to kill Klaus and the other Originals, thus ridding everyone of the threat of vampires forever. Instead, Jeremy helps the "good guys" set a trap for Alaric, which backfires horribly — as these things usually do.
The moment in which Jeremy and Matt seem prepared to team up purely to save Elena, and screw all the vampires who get in the way, is a really neat moment of clarity. If you don't count Bonnie, those three are basically the only humans left among the show's main cast. And given that a big point of this season is that Stefan's attempts to go cold turkey on human blood were doomed to failure, it's pretty clear cut that none of these vampires is ever going to have clean hands. (Even if they just stick to stealing bloodbags from the hospitals, a lot of people will die during routine operations because of the lack of transfusions.)
The Jeremy/Matt friendship has been one of the coolest things in the show for a while now, and it was really neat to see them conspiring together — if only they'd actually stuck to it.
Meanwhile, this tantalizing moment of "humans looking out for humans" is intercut with lots of flashbacks to Elena's life when she was busy breaking up with Matt, before the accident where her parents died. It's the first time we've ever seen how relatively nice and simple her life was back then, even though she still obsessed over the same crap.
A big focus of last night's season finale was Elena choosing, once and for all, between the Salvatore brothers — even though both brothers seemed to be agreeing, a few months ago, that neither of them was good enough for her. Believing that either the guy who almost drove her off the bridge her parents died under, or the guy who snapped her brother's neck without realizing he was wearing a resurrection ring, would be a worthwhile romantic option requires just massive amounts of Stockholm Syndrome. And in the end, Elena chooses Stefan, because she met him first. (Even though, we discover, she actually met Damon first, but he compelled her to forget.)
Apart from the love-triangle stuff, most of the episode's events revolve around Evil Rick going around causing trouble. He's hunting the Originals, and stirring up the townspeople against Tyler and Caroline, who plot to run away together. This is the occasion for a series of startlingly bad decisions — Elena makes a deal with Elijah to hand over Klaus in return for her safety, a deal the Originals honor for all of 15 minutes before murdering her. (If Damon and Stefan had just tossed Klaus in the ocean, like they planned, everything would have been fine.) And then Bonnie decides it's a great idea to transfer Klaus' essence into Tyler's body. That way, Tyler is still screwed, but at least Damon and Stefan and Caroline survive. This is clearly in the "will come back to haunt you" realm.
I did like Elena being able to have an entire conversation in sign language at the bottom of a lake, with her dad and then again with Stefan. The girl has some pretty amazing lungs.
So now Elena is a vampire, and the show has pretty much lost its human heart. Next season is going to be all about Elena and Stefan as vampires together, with Damon moping around somewhere and TyKlaus not even pretending to have an accent.
In retrospect, this show went a bit off the rails when Klaus basically got everything he wanted, and the new threat became "Stefan/Mama Original/Alaric will try to take down Klaus." It's still been entertaining since then, but it's failed to follow through on the promise of storylines like Evil Stefan, and the implication that there really might not be any good vampires out there. (Except maybe Caroline. Wouldn't the ultimate irony be the realization that Caroline, alone among vampires, is a truly good and selfless person?) If this show had at least flirted a bit more with the notion that Elena was going to turn away from dating vampires altogether, or that the last remaining human characters were going to turn anti-vampire, it might have made for a much more interesting arc. The show would have had to make the case that vampires deserve to survive, or that they bring something that counterbalances the huge body count. Instead — just like Matt and Jeremy in last night's finale — the show kind of wimped out a bit.