After 13 years on The CW, The Vampire Diaries Universe has ended with Legacies 4×20, “Just Don’t Be A Stranger, Okay?” This series finale gives fans everything it can in such little time, including two long-awaited cameos. However, the most bittersweet element is the stories it sets up for what could’ve been a Season 5 of Legacies. This episode pulls the ribbons to make a bow on the series as best it can, but it’s unmistakable that there are more stories left with these characters and this universe.
For example, Cleo and Kaleb’s future partially remains unknown. While that’s exciting because it lets us fill in the gaps how we may like, it underscores how many gaps remain in their pasts and presents. Legacies will never get the chance to reveal more about Kaleb’s past — his origin story. Likewise, it won’t ever get the opportunity to explore Cleo’s powerset as a Fury — one of the gods’ greatest adversaries.
Still, this series finale attempts to find the silver lining by giving us a glimpse of Cleo’s well-earned future as the Headmistress of the Salvatore School.
Like a lot of this episode, it’s bittersweet to see the joy on Cleo’s face as she sits at that desk because it’s unfortunate we’ll never get to see Cleo lead another generation of supernatural kids. Alternatively, the mere confirmation that Cleo will hold that position sometime in the future is embedded with hope. It secures the Salvatore School as a home for kids well into the future. The legacy will continue — always and forever.
Until Cleo takes over, though, Caroline Forbes is the Salvatore School’s Headmistress — as she always should have been. Candice King is still absolutely perfect as Caroline Forbes.
Predictably, Ric’s logic isn’t his strongest quality in this episode because he concludes that closing the school will be better than systematically changing everything that’s wrong with it, including himself. Thankfully, like always, multiple characters remind Ric that change is good, and the Salvatore School should change for the better — even if that means he must step down from the position.
This seasons-in-the-making change is a bit challenging to process because of what it means. If Legacies had more time to tell these stories, the Salvatore School would look entirely different with Caroline’s oversight. She already brings new, necessary energy to the halls. Her dynamic with Lizzie is seamless despite their lack of on-screen interaction over the years. Furthermore, Caroline’s short scene with Cleo suggests a future mentorship that would’ve been for the TVD Universe ages.
Equally as bittersweet is everything “Just Don’t Be A Stranger, Okay?” delivers between Jed and Ben. Ben Levin and Zane Phillips deliver incredible performances all season long, and this series finale is no different. Their chemistry is impeccable and unforgettable. Jed and Ben are only getting started as a dynamic duo in this universe and as a couple.
With Legacies ending so soon, it’s a massive misfortune that we won’t see Jed and Ben’s journey together. Although, that shot of them reading Grecian Tales while cuddled up in a hammock is very, very sweet.
Also firing on all cylinders is Danielle Rose Russell. She grounds this series finale from start to finish as Hope Mikaelson’s journey comes to a close — for now. It’s surreal that Hope’s story has spanned all three shows — The Vampire Diaries, The Originals, and Legacies. Yet, it’s beautiful to recount how far she’s come and where she may still go, even though this show has ended. Thankfully, this episode finally gives her the closure she needs with her father, Klaus Mikaelson, who has found peace.
Even though a projector from peace, Russell and Morgan deliver poignant performances bridging the gap between a daughter and her father.
Morgan hasn’t portrayed Klaus Mikaelson since 2018, but his talent is so exquisite that it’s as though no time has passed. It’s an emotionally-charged scene with thoughtful flashbacks to Hope’s past, and the dialogue is in the familiar cadence of the man, the myth, the legend Klaus Mikaelson. Their reunion was as perfect as it could be without Morgan physically on set.
Hearing Klaus tell his daughter, “Because you are my Peace,” is as comforting to long-time fans as it is for Hope. It’s one of the epic moments this franchise has become known for over the years. Also, it’s epic that Legacies brings Hope’s opening voiceover from the pilot back with a new ending — a real full-circle moment.
Special touches like that make a series finale feel complete, even if other things don’t quite line up. For example, the magic that lets Landon come back from limbo to visit Hope doesn’t make much sense, but it doesn’t need to anymore. Landon and Hope, no matter anyone’s opinions about their romantic suitability, are a part of each other’s lives forever. There’s even an “always” and “forever” hidden in plain sight in the dialogue of their last scene together.
Ultimately, the magic doesn’t have to be logical for the sentiment to land. Of course, Hope and Landon will love each other forever, but (excluding Landon’s permanent emotional changes from limbo), it seems like they’re finally able to move on from that cycle they were stuck in for seasons.
As for Landon’s internal changes, Aria Shahghasemi showcases those nuances in Landon’s demeanor without a hitch. His physicality, the muted light in his eyes, and dry tone are all part of Landon’s new normal. If only we could have seen where Landon’s journey would go from there.
Overall, Legacies says goodbye with care and consideration of the stories it told and what stories it could continue to tell. It’s an emotionally satisfying finale. Sometimes it appears as though the cast’s emotions rise to the surface, like in Hope and Ric’s final scene. Additionally, “Just Don’t Be A Stranger, Okay?” weaves Josie into the episode in a way that keeps her integral to the characters’ lives and the larger universe. After all, it’s no small thing for Josie to safeguard the only weapon that can kill Hope.
As hard as it is to say goodbye to Legacies and the TVD Universe on The CW, it’s a reminder of how much this franchise means to the people who have been a part of it and loved it. The Vampire Diaries changed the teen genre and spawned two spin-offs that gave people over a decade of stories. That’s phenomenal, and it’s been a joy to witness it from the start. Legacies is a special addition to the franchise and the TV landscape as it embraces the power of a supernatural younger generation.
Whether some endgames didn’t work out or stories were cut short, Legacies ends with a hopeful note that the future is brighter because of this younger generation — because of the Super Squad. They saved the world countless times, but they also reminded each other and the older generation that change is possible and hope isn’t futile. They sustained a home for each other over the series, and now they get to welcome more lost kids into that home. That ending is life-affirming and fulfilling.
Now, The Salvatore Boarding School for the Young & Gifted has its own rich legacy in the TVDU because of the Super Squad. That home and its found family remain for anyone who may need to return to it for comfort, entertainment, or hope — always and forever.
Other Spelltacular Moments:
- I’m glad Pedro came back for one last appearance!
- “Well, you did spend last night with a demigod.” I SCREAMED.
- Jed and Finch’s friendship is everything to me. Oh, how I wish we got more werewolf content.
- Did anyone else cry at the sight of Josie’s pendant? Cool, same.
- Ethan would immediately start helping people in limbo.
- Caroline doesn’t wear her wedding rings on a necklace anymore.
- Kaleb and Cleo are the sweetest couple. Well, so are Jed and Ben.
- “You’re stronger in other ways, Jed.”
- The Mizzie “You’re my pendant” scene is very cute.
- Should I read into Josie being in Belgium? Because I’m definitely reading into Josie being in Belgium.
- I even cried seeing Hope’s crescent moon birthmark on her shoulder.
- Ending this series with Hope saying, “Welcome home,” to a new class of students is more moving than I anticipated it to be.
What did you think of Legacies 4×20, “Just Don’t Be A Stranger, Okay?” Let us know in the comments below!
Legacies is streaming now on The CW and Netflix.