Shall we do this one last time?
For those of you who don’t know, I got my start in TV by writing “Vampire Diaries” recaps. I was working as an assistant in a job that I hated, and my roommate worked at the LA Times and mentioned that they needed someone to write weekly recaps of a new CW show. When I learned that Kevin Williamson, my all-time hero, was at the helm… I jumped at the opportunity. That evolved into a full-fledged career as a very serious and important television journalist, but no matter how many shows I covered, “The Vampire Diaries” always had my heart. I still don’t really know why, but Kevin and Julie Plec took me under their wing in an extraordinary way, and the cast let me tag along to drinks after wrap and made sure I got into the cool parties at Comic-Con. At the beginning, I felt like an impostor. Like I’d snuck into the cool kids’ secret clubhouse and any day now, someone was going to notice that I wasn’t supposed to be there — even more so when I joined “The Originals” as a writer. It took a while for me to realize that everyone felt a little bit like that, and we were all in it together. As “The Vampire Diaries” draws to a close, I don’t feel like an impostor anymore. I feel like a member of a big, sprawling family.
It’s been a magical ride. I’ve grown up with these people. I’ve become myself with these people. We’ve watched sunrises after long nights and we’ve poured each other into Ubers and we’ve taken embarrassing polaroid pictures and we’ve kicked our shoes off at fancy parties and danced until we were sweaty. We’ve drawn treasure maps with Zach Roerig’s daughter Fiona and we’ve raced boats around Lake Lanier and we’ve been freezing cold and blazing hot and we’ve said things we shouldn’t have and we’ve forgiven and we’ve laughed about it later. We were all together at our favorite bar in Atlanta when Candice King texted to let us know her daughter Florence had finally arrived. We cried while we lit paper lanterns and sent them off into the sky together in memory of our friend Sarah Jones. It’s been really, truly epic, and to say that I’m grateful is an egregious understatement. The thing is, though, we don’t actually have to say goodbye. At the wrap party last month, I felt like I was about to lose something so massive. I didn’t go to bed until the sun came up because I so badly didn’t want the night to end. Then… I got back to Los Angeles, and that week celebrated Hillary Harley’s birthday with Lane Cheek and Nina Dobrev and then ate salmon with Phoebe Tonkin and then spent an hour on the WB lot talking about TV with Paul Wesley and then had a three hour sushi dinner with Julie Plec. The family and the friendships aren’t over, they endure.
What is over, however, is the story. Eight years ago, on a strangely foggy day in Mystic Falls, we watched Elena Gilbert write in her diary. Today will be different. It has to be. And we fell in love. “The Vampire Diaries” bowed tonight, with a masterful episode written by Julie and Kevin and directed by Julie. And what an epic ending to such a consuming, sprawling, artful story.
So, I thought that the best way to say goodbye to these characters and this world would be to return to my roots and, for the first time in four years, write one final moment-by-moment recap. My perspective has shifted a lot since I learned what really goes into writing and producing these episodes, so hopefully I’ll have some insight to share. Here it is.