After a first season filled with mind-bending twists and jaw-dropping revelations, Peacock’s Vampire Academy has come to an end. In a season that spanned both familiar and reimagined storylines for its central characters, showrunners Julie Plec and Marguerite Macintyre brought fresh bite to Vampire Academy, and delivered an action-packed finale. The final episode of this first season, titled “Ascension,” not only brought the many story threads to a close, but also caught the series up with a reality fans of the books will be more familiar with, setting up what is sure to be a thrilling second season.
Since there were so many twists and turns in this single episode alone, we’re breaking down the best moments from the finale (in no particular order) to celebrate just how successful this series has been in consistently delivering both entertainment and heart.
Andre’s alive! …and he’s dead again. And he’s alive again!
Vampire Academy’s season kicked off with the infamous car accident that not only created the shadow-kissed bond between Lissa and Rose, but also killed Lissa’s entire family, including her brother Andre. Andre was next in line for the throne, and was the person Lissa has been striving to be like the entire season (especially as she would get spectral visits from Andre to give her advice on her Spirit magic). So when it was revealed that Andre survived the crash at the end of Episode 9, shocking was an understatement. Of course, he couldn’t live long though—it’s hard to outrun a book-cemented fate. In Episode 10, he reunited with Lissa, which was one of the most emotional moments of the finale. It was touching to watch Lissa realize he wasn’t a figment of her imagination, that Mia could see him too, and it was devastating to watch both Lissa and Rose’s reaction when he was taken down by Christian’s Strigoi mother. In the final moments of the finale, it was revealed that the bite from Christian’s mother was completed, and he will now be the latest Strigoi threat in a potential Season 2.
The barrier battle.
With a whole class of ass-kicking Dhampirs at their disposal, Vampire Academy has always made sure to throw a cool fight sequence into each episode. This episode featured many, including Dimitri and Rose’s stand-off with Strigoi in the tunnels, but there was no better sequence than the penultimate fight at the barrier of the Dominion. As the entire main cast finally came together, the Dhampirs and Moroi came together to attempt to put the protective wards back up. This scene had everything: Lissa using her Spirit magic to ignite the stake; Christian traversing the battlefield to put the wards back up; Mia protecting Meredith with her water magic; Rose fighting alongside Dimitri, Mason, and Christian; Mason’s fake-out death. When the battles are choreographed this well, especially to highlight the terror of the series’ Strigoi villains, it’s impossible to look away.
Tatiana’s plan manifesting.
Tatiana Vogel is probably the most hateable villain in the series, and this episode only continues to solidify her status as simultaneously infuriating and interesting. Before his escape, Andre noticed that Tatiana moved “like a Dhampir,” and her final speech as the next leader of the Dominion mentioned her motivation was “love.” It’s hard to believe that killing Lissa’s entire family, kidnapping Andre, killing the Queen, and sentencing the Dominion to death could possibly be done out of any amount of love, but that’s what makes Tatiana so compelling. While we were finally made aware of her true intentions in this final episode, so many questions still remain: Did she train as a Dhampir? Is she in love with a Strigoi? What are her plans for the Dominion? Can our fateful heroes ever stop her? Hopefully all will come to light in a potential Season 2.
Ships, ships, and more ships.
Because this is a Plec-Macintyre Joint, there were always going to be swoon-worthy ships. Vampire Academy delivered in spades, and the finale itself featured the perfect heartfelt moments for our favorite couples. In Meredith and Mia’s final scene, in the aftermath of the fighting and bloodshed, Mia begged Meredith to stay, and they shared a kiss. Their development over the course of the season has been a joy to watch, and this scene was the cherry on top of that perfect relationship.
Admittedly, I was not sold on Rose and Dimitri at the beginning of the season, but the second half of the season made me a believer. As Rose and Lissa prepare to head off into the human world in the final scenes of the episode, Rose and Dimitri’s tense goodbye was still heartbreaking, even if Rose buried her love confession in a different admission: “You are everything I never wanted to fall in love with.” Even though Rose and Lissa are leaving, there’s no way this is the end for Rose and Dimitri, and it will only make their reunion that much sweeter.
Finally, Lissa and Chrisitan’s fond farewell was as touching and beautiful as their entire relationship has been throughout the season. Before she leaves with Rose, Lissa asks Christian if he will go with them, but he has just been appointed the new head of his family, so he must stay in the Dominion. Lissa, of course, respects his decision to stay and attone for the sins of his family, but not without telling him they are technically married. They exchange “I love you’s” before Lissa must leave with Rose, creating a bittersweet goodbye for an incredibly heartfelt couple.
Lissa and Rose’s human-world road trip.
Fans of the books or the film will know that this series detailed the events leading up to the events of the novels, and this ending finally catches the show up to speed. As Lissa and Rose set out to flee Lissa’s wrongful murder accusation, Season 2 will be able to follow them around the human world. Though, unlike in the novels and the film, Lissa and Rose already have their allies within the Dominion, already solidifying relationships with Dimitri, Christian, Mason, Meredith, and Mia. This creates an incredibly interesting potential structure for the next season, where Rose and Lissa become the series’ window to the human world, while all their allies remain the tether to the Dominion and the vampiric world. As their connections are already strong, it will be endlessly interesting to see how Vampire Academy continues its loose threads, and how we will return to this world in the case of a potential second season.
Anna Govert is an entertainment writer based in middle-of-nowhere Indiana. For any and all thoughts about TV, film, and the wonderful insanity of Riverdale, you can follow her @annagovert.
For all the latest TV news, reviews, lists and features, follow @Paste_TV.