‘The Vampire Diaries’: The Evolution of Tyler Lockwood

Tyler Lockwood

This article contains massive spoilers from last night’s The Vampire Diaries. Proceed with caution!

Like The Vampire Diaries we know and love, “Down the Rabbit Hole” had so many twists and gasp-inducing events that it felt like a season finale. But because of the sheer number of shocking moments, some extremely important revelations were overshadowed — namely, the fact that Tyler Lockwood left Mystic Falls (probably) for good. 

While we’ll all hold out hope that Michael Trevino‘s vampire/werewolf hybrid is just taking a couple of episodes off, this exit seems like the real deal. The saddest part — well, not the saddest but certainly pretty sh**ty — is that the whole “Jeremy’s probably dead” thing totally eclipsed Tyler’s departure. Sure, Tyler might still be alive, but he’s still gone! Tyler’s poignant, beautiful, tearjerking exit is all but forgotten in the harsh light of Jeremy’s life-or-death cliffhanger.

That just doesn’t seem fair, considering Tyler has been such a compelling character throughout the four seasons of TVD. In his honor, Hollywood.com compiled our favorite Tyler-centric moments from the previous three and a half seasons: Remember how he went from being a complete and total dick in Season 1 to a selfless, brave leader in Season 4? Thanks to Trevino’s awesome performance, Tyler transformed into a different, better person, moreso than any other character (supernatural or otherwise) on the show. 

So goodbye, Tyler Lockwood (and Michael Trevino), we will miss your leather jackets, bulging muscles, and beautiful face. Please hurry back to Mystic Falls ASAP and grace our TVs again! In your absence, we’ll just rewatch all your shirtless scenes. No shame.

RELATED: ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Recap: Is [SPOILER] Really Dead?!?

Season 1: Tyler Sucks

Tyler was a huge dick at the beginning of the series. He was on the Mystic High football team, had a terrible relationship with his father, and didn’t have a decent bone in his body. He was exceedingly arrogant, selfish, mean, and a bully. He hooked up with his supposed best friend Matt’s sister, Vicki, for a while, and never treated her right. When Vicki began to hook up with Jeremy, Tyler wasn’t exactly pleased. He and Jeremy ended up having a rivalry, first over Vicki, but then just because… you know, testosterone and stuff. They fought each other a lot, and when Jeremy tried to make peace after one awkward night when Tyler’s father tried to get them to fight to “get it out of their system,” Tyler lost his temper and punched Jeremy. When Jeremy asked him, “What the hell’s your problem?” we got our first hint that there was something else — something supernatural — going on with Tyler, as the camera panned up to a full moon.

Tyler’s friendship with Matt was never deep. They had grown up together, but even Matt got fed up with Tyler’s bad attitude. Things came to a head when Tyler met Matt’s mom, Kelly, at the Founder’s Day kick-off party, and they ended up getting drunk and making out. Matt saw them and promptly started beating up Tyler — their friendship was officially over.

In the Season 1 finale, when the vampire-crippling device was turned on, both Tyler and his father, Mayor Lockwood, were affected. This was our big money clue that there was something going on with the Lockwood family, but clearly even the Lockwoods didn’t know what that was. We saw a change in Tyler’s eyes when a light shined into them, so we knew he wasn’t completely human. Mayor Lockwood was killed along with the group of tomb vampires, prompting Tyler and his mother, Carol, to start mourning, and inspiring the first real change in Tyler’s character.

RELATED: ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Recap: Island Death Jam

Season 2: Tyler Joins Mystic Fall’s Supernatural Club

Tyler reunited with his uncle, Mason, at his father’s funeral. Later that evening, when Tyler threw a tantrum that frightened his mom, it took Mason’s intervention to get him to calm down. Tyler was confused about why he behaved the way he did. Mason told him it was the Lockwood curse, but didn’t fully reveal what that meant yet.

Damon knew something was up with the Lockwood family, so he compelled a random man to pick a fight with Mason. Both Damon and Tyler witnessed Mason’s inhuman jumping and saw his eyes change colors. Mason finally told Tyler the whole truth: the Lockwoods carried the werewolf curse in their bloodline, but the only way to trigger it was to kill someone (either on purpose or by accident). Jeremy figured out the truth about Tyler, and when he confronted Tyler they end up bonding. It was clear Tyler had been craving someone to talk once Mason disappeared (a.k.a. was killed by Damon) — an unlikely friendship started to form.

Unfortunately, Tyler ended up triggering the werewolf curse. At the Masquerade Ball, Tyler drank heavily with Matt and Sarah, but Matt had been compelled to attack Tyler until Tyler killed him (Katherine needed a werewolf for a ritual). Matt started fighting Tyler and Caroline broke up the fight by knocking him unconscious. Turns out, Katherine also compelled Sarah to do the same thing if Matt failed, and Sarah stabbed Tyler in the shoulder. Tyler pushed her away too hard and she hit her head on the edge of the desk and died. He triggered the curse and was now a werewolf.

Thanks to Caroline’s inhuman strength and the fact that she was the first to notice Tyler’s injuries had already healed, Tyler suspected that Caroline was also a werewolf. When he confronted her, she revealed that she was a vampire (although she lied and said that she was the only vampire in town). Her help ushering him through his first days as a supernatural creature (much like Stefan did for her) was the beginning of Tyler and Caroline’s friendship, another a major turning point for Tyler’s character.

The thought of Tyler’s first transition during the full moon scared him so much that he turned to Caroline for help. She stayed with him throughout the entire painful process, and the next morning, when she held him and they both cried, is when Tyler Lockwood officially became a different person. Gone was the bully from the first season — he’d changed physically but also emotionally.

Unsurprisingly after such close interaction, Tyler developed feelings for Caroline. He also thought that Caroline felt the same way about him because she stayed with him throughout his entire transformation even though she knew one bite from a werewolf could kill a vampire. They kissed, but Caroline ran away.

Jules, an old friend of Mason’s, came looking for him in Mystic Falls. Tyler was shocked when she revealed that she was also a werewolf, and that there was a whole pack he could join. But she also revealed that Caroline lied to Tyler — she wasn’t the only vampire in town. When Jules told Tyler that Caroline was a part of the group of vampires that killed Mason, he felt so betrayed that when Caroline was kidnapped and tortured by the pack of werewolves, he hesitated to help her. When he finally did free her, she broke off their friendship.

Tyler then aligned himself fully with the werewolves who wanted to break the sun and the moon curse so they never had to transform again. The other wolves didn’t tell him that in order to break the curse, the Petrova doppelganger, a.k.a. Elena, had to die, and when Stefan revealed that to Tyler, he decided to leave Mystic Falls for good. He left a card for his mother and said goodbye to Matt, admitting that he fell for Caroline, but he didn’t deserve her and Matt did. He then went to Caroline’s house, but just caught a glimpse of her before leaving Mystic Falls with Jules.

When Tyler got a call from his mother saying she had an accident and was in the hospital, he returned to Mystic Falls. It turns out Original vampire Klaus engineered the accident so Tyler would return, and both Tyler and Caroline were kidnapped to be sacrificed in the ritual to unleash Klaus’s dormant werewolf side. Caroline also revealed to Tyler that the curse of the sun and the moon was fake, a lie perpetuated by the Original vampires to motivate both werewolves and vampires to find the components of the ritual to help Klaus. Damon saved Caroline who freed Tyler, but since it was a full moon he transformed into a wolf. Matt broke up with Caroline because he found out that she was a vampire, and Tyler comforted her as she nursed him after being shot by Matt. She made Tyler promise never to leave her again, and their friendship deepened.

RELATED: ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Recap: The Race For the Cure Gets Deadly

Season 3: Tyler Becomes Selfless

After spending the summer together as friends, Tyler and Caroline finally gave in to their intense chemistry and slept together in the season premiere. When Caroline tried sneaking out afterward, Carol caught her and knocked her out with vervain. Carol also spiked Tyler’s coffee with vervain to see if he was a vampire, and told him to stay away from Caroline. Tyler realized his mother never knew about the Lockwood curse, so he transformed right in front of her. Though she was shocked, Carol understood her son a little better and helped Tyler and Sheriff Forbes rescue Caroline from her anti-vampire dad.

Things took a turn for the worse when Klaus turned Tyler into his first successful vampire/werewolf hybrid, and as a result, Tyler was sire bonded to Klaus. Klaus’s sister Rebekah manipulated Tyler into giving in to being a hybrid, and he started to revert back to being Season 1 douchey Tyler. The sire bond meant he hd to do anything Klaus told him without question, including convincing Jeremy to remove his vervain bracelet so he could be compelled to kill himself. Jeremy was saved, but he yelled at Tyler to remember that Klaus was not a good person and he should question what Klaus told him do instead of blindly obeying. Tyler began to doubt his unquestioning faith in Klaus.

Tyler later confronted Klaus about making Jeremy take off his vervain bracelet, saying he wouldn’t be Klaus’s slave. Klaus then proved his alpha male status by making Tyler bite Caroline, ensuring she would die without the cure of Klaus’s blood. Klaus healed Caroline, and Tyler realized he needed to break the sire bond in order to live his life and protect the people he loved. Tyler was now become as selfless as any of the other characters on TVD.

Tyler turned to Caroline’s father for help in breaking his sire bond. In order to not feel indebted to Klaus, Tyler had to transform into a werewolf over and over until the process wasn’t painful anymore. He left Mystic Falls again, and he promised Caroline he would return when he no longer felt sired.

After turning hundreds of times in the Appalachian mountains with the help of werewolf Hayley, Tyler returned to Mystic Falls and pretended to still be sired to Klaus. However, when he found out Klaus had been trying to move in on Caroline, he got furious and showed up to the decade dance to prove to her that he would not go anywhere and they were officially together.

When Alaric was changed into an Original vampire/vampire hunter, he revealed Tyler as a hybrid and Caroline as a vampire to the town’s council, forcing the two star-crossed lovers to leave town. Before they could go, Klaus possessed Tyler’s body and Tyler’s fate was left unknown.

RELATED: ‘The Vampire Diaries’ Recap: Crazy? Probably.

Season 4: Tyler Becomes a True Leader

After pretending to be Tyler, Klaus forced Bonnie to perform a spell returning him to his own body and leaving Tyler alive and well.

When a member of The Five, a group of highly skilled vampire hunters, came to Mystic Falls, Tyler again showed how much he had grown and selflessly sacrificed himself so he could distract the hunter while his friends got to safety. Since he was a hybrid, the special bullets the hunter used wouldn’t kill him.

Klaus ordered the rest of his hybrids to stay in Mystic Falls and protect Tyler, and Hayley joined them. Klaus assumed that Hayley and Tyler slept together, and they let him think that while they actually worked together to free the rest of the hybrids from their sire bonds. Tyler became the Alpha of their pack, finally the leader he was destined to be.

Tyler and Hayley came up with a plan to dessicate Klaus and bury him, thereby destroying him without killing him – if Klaus truly died, so would his entire vampire line, including Stefan, Damon, Elena, Caroline, and Tyler himself – but Hayley betrayed him and told Klaus about the unsired hybrids. Hayley was working with Professor Shane all along as a way to get information on her real parents, while Shane got the sacrifice of 12 unsired hybrids he needed. Klaus brutally murdered all the hybrids and then drowned Carol Lockwood, causing Tyler to blame himself for her death and the deaths of his friends thanks to his failed revolution.

While everyone was out looking for the vampire cure, Bonnie trapped Klaus in the Gilbert house with a spell. Tyler gloated to Klaus about how he’d ram the cure down Klaus’s throat and then kill him, but when everyone found out there was only one dose of the cure, and it was intended for the ultra-evil ancient undead Silas, Tyler realized Klaus would never let him live.

Caroline convinced Klaus to give Tyler at least a head start before pursuing him in a murderous rage, and Tyler prepared to leave Mystic Falls forever. He will spend the rest of his immortal life on the run from Klaus, until something else catches Klaus’s attention or they figure out a way to kill Klaus without killing his entire sire line. Tyler’s tearful goodbye with Caroline on the porch was his last scene, a perfect, touching tribute to the selfless and brave man Tyler became. Compared to the d-bag he was in Season 1, Season 4 Tyler seems a whole new person.

We will miss you, Tyler Lockwood. Stay out of trouble, wherever you may go, and hurry back to Mystic Falls once Klaus heads to New Orleans, maybe? 

Leave your proclamations of undying love or overwhelming sadness in the comments below. Will you miss Tyler as much as we will?

Follow Sydney on Twitter: @SydneyBucksbaum

[Photo Credit: The CW]

From Our Partners:

Kate Upton naked body paintKate Upton Bares All in Nothing But Body Paint (Celebuzz)

Bradley Cooper Dancing AwkwardBradley Cooper Dancing Is Surprisingly Awkward (Vh1)