Legacies 4×09, “I Can’t Be the One to Stop You,” marks a transformative episode for the Saltzman twins and spins the show further into its non-monster-centric storytelling. This mid-season finale is an emotional rollercoaster that finds its peaks in the quieter character beats, making the more out-of-place arcs feel more disjointed than ever.
Danielle Rose Russell, Jenny Boyd, and Kaylee Bryant continue to elevate the material at every turn with performances that are compelling on the surface and kinetic within the storytelling. Everything Hope, Lizzie, and Josie do in “I Can’t Be the One to Stop You” moves their individual stories and the overarching plot forward in believable ways.
Danielle Rose Russell makes hard work look easy during this episode; she’s that good. Russell plays Hope pretending to be Aurora, Hope as Aurora, Hope pretending to have her humanity flip switched, and Hope without her humanity throughout her time on screen. It’s phenomenal, and the actress should be commended for her hard work.
Furthermore, that scene between Lizzie and Hope when Lizzie basically gives Hope the 10 Things I Hate About You speech instead of killing her is amazing. Boyd is remarkably great in that scene.
It is heartbreaking that Josie’s decisions come on the heels of the news that Kaylee Bryant is leaving the show in a series regular position, as reported by TV Line. Exits like this happen, and there is still plenty of stories to tell with these characters, but that doesn’t harshen the blow of losing a character as crucial as Josie Saltzman.
Josie is a core member of the Super Squad, so Legacies literally won’t look the same without her.
That’s not even to go into the representation Josie brings to TV as an openly pansexual character. That representation matters more than I can put into words in this review. The general outpouring of love on social media after the episode aired is a reminder of how much this character means to so many people.
Moreover, Legacies has built up the threat of The Merge since the beginning — literally since they were born.
Josie Saltzman will be missed while she’s away, but there’s always hope for a return if that is what’s best for Bryant, who has been nothing less than a force of nature on this show. Bryant’s talents don’t go quietly into the night with Josie on that one-way bus ride out of Mystic Falls. Instead, Bryant’s performance is as present and powerful as ever.
The final minutes of the episode are a spectacular example of this. Josie’s goodbye to Finch is raw and real. It’s impactful despite their short-lived romance. But, it’s also incredibly optimistic, which isn’t always the case for goodbyes on TVD Universe shows. Though, it is considerate of Josie’s character not to let that be her final goodbye.
It would be a bizarre sendoff if Josie didn’t get one last scene with her sister. Josie and Lizzie have grown so much since the beginning of this series. Their development has been realistic in its non-linear nature, making it one of the most grounded elements of this supernatural drama.
It’s a beautiful love letter to the sisters, where they’ve been, and where they’ll go. It lets Josie embark on a journey not dissimilar from her mother’s in trying to find a way to someone she loves. It becomes all the more moving when Josie realizes she’s embracing her independence, though it is scary, in the face of her fight with codependency.
Lizzie giving Josie the talisman is a lovely touch that aligns with the new chapter of Josie’s journey. It’s also a nice callback to some memorable moments on the show.
As for Lizzie, her independence leads her down the road to becoming a Heretic. This transformation has been a long time in the making. Boyd does that iconic TVD Universe post-neck-snap gasp perfectly. It’s commendable of the Legacies writers to have Hope snap Lizzie’s neck because plenty of us assumed she wouldn’t go that far.
Never once, though, after the neck snap did I assume Lizzie was, in fact, dead, but Hope’s actions still speak for themselves. Her decision to cross that line will shake up the Super Squad’s dynamics forever. It’s an exciting way to light a fire under the second half of the season. Moreover, it could be the perfect opportunity for Caroline to come home.
Who better to help Lizzie transition into being a Heretic than her mother? But, there may not be time for that because no one besides Hope knows about Lizzie’s change. But, on the other hand, that change does help fix the Merge problem, which is a bit of a letdown, but an understandable way to work around Bryant’s exit.
One wild card of this story remains to be Aurora de Martel. Her endgame as a recurring character is more unclear than before. Regardless of being the Tribrid with her humanity switch flipped, Hope wins that fight too quickly.
More unclear, however, is the storyline happening in Limbo with Alaric, Landon, and Ted. It feels so far removed from everything else happening on Legacies at the moment. That factor makes it difficult to put any stakes in it. It’s also bold to juxtapose Limbo with Lizzie dying because it essentially erases any question of whether her death is permanent.
No casualties on this show are permanent, still four seasons into its run.
Legacies swears its monster problem is in its rearview mirror, but it keeps finding ways to bring old monsters back. Ted doesn’t need a second redemption arc. Likewise, we don’t need to see the Sphinx again. “I Can’t Be the One to Stop You” makes plenty of references to gods and god-like powers, and it seemingly introduces a being in that vein by the end.
This character introduction is Legacies‘ (next) opportunity to truly put the monster business behind them and break out of old habits. Josie speaks to how hard old habits are to break, but she’s doing it one day at a time. Legacies can do the same — one episode at a time.
Other Spelltacular Moments:
- Cleo and Kaleb being cute
- “The side that cosplays as a vampire hunter.”
- Landon giving his coins to Ted
- Of course Lizzie would call the red oak stake “Tribrid Kryptonite.”
- Lizzie calling Aurora out for misplacing her anger
- Jed having total heart eyes when the new guy takes the wraps off
- Lizzie saying, “Hey, beautiful,” to Josie
What did you think of “I Can’t Be the One to Stop You?” Let us know in the comments below!
Legacies airs Thursdays at 9/8c on The CW.