Previously, on The Vampire Diaries
Elena and Damon rush into Elena’s dorm where Caroline weeps over Stefan’s body. She begs them to tell her Bonnie has a plan to bring him back and Damon vows to make it happen. They move his body while Stefan looks on pensively from The Other Side. His mood is broken when the winds of Oblivion start dragging him away. Just as his grip fails, he is snatched from Oblivion’s maw by Lexi.
“Looks like I’ve now saved you from both metaphorical darkness and actual darkness. I think you owe me a beer.” Title card!
Bonnie tries to calm a rampaging Damon who’s smashing his way through her Improbably Large Dorm Room. He blames her for losing the shitty Traveler who was going to do the resurrection spell but she points out that one, she was lost to Oblivion and two, even if they did know the spell they would still need a couple dozen shitty Travelers to sacrifice themselves to allow the good guys to pass back through.
They run through a quick litany of who’s on The Other Side and Enzo’s in the corner all hello, remember me, first in line? Damon berates him for letting Maria slip away and Enzo tells “Mr. Grumpy Pants” to chill because he has a plan, so long as they have a witch or two on call.
And they do, sort of. Lying Liv and Luke have taken it on the lam following their attempted murder mini-spree. They bicker like psychotic twins do and it’s adorable. She insists he put the hammer down, but he’s sure that the Mystic Falls vampires can’t have survived the De-Magicalized Zone around the town created by the shitty Traveler’s spell. Elena’s blocking the road to the front puts the lie to that notion, confirmed by Caroline’s blocking them to the rear. I suppose there’s some reason why Luke doesn’t just run one or the other of them over but I can’t think of it.
The twins hop out and are all sorry we tried to murder you. Elena suggests making it up to them by bringing Stefan back from The Other Side. Why the twins are not Mystic Migraining them both and driving away is another mystery. Liv would be glad to help but if she does then the shitty Travelers can just cast their spell again. Luke refuses on the grounds that their coven would kill them and Liv concurs. Caroline forces the issue by snapping Luke’s neck.
With Luke now on The Other Side, Liv now has no choice but to help.
Markos has the border signs moved to reflect the perimeter of the DMZ as hordes of shitty Travelers swarm the town. Sheriff Liz arrives, reporting that their cover story (gas leak) allowed her to evacuate the town in a ten mile radius. Liz asks about the moved sign and Markos explains about the new border. He justifies the land grab, claiming that the citizens have traditionally identified as ethnically Mystic Fallsian, and promises to hold a referendum.
Liz questions the wisdom of settling in a town full of vampires. By way of explaining why vampires are not a problem, Markos has Julian hauled out of a van in chains. For Julian’s betrayal, he has Julian dragged across the border of the DMZ. His werewolf eyes flash and his fangs vanish as he starts to sizzle in the sun before he falls over dead of a broken neck.
Bonnie recovers from the effects of Luke’s crossing over, leading Enzo to snark about the length of the return list. Bonnie’s all, “Tell me about it” but insists it would be wrong not to bring Luke back with Liv casting the spell. It all depends on Enzo rustling up a shitty Traveler but before their argument escalates Tyler appears. And it is Tyler, not Julian (which raises the question of where is Julian?). Tyler can’t quite come to terms with being dead but Bonnie promises to bring him back to Enzo’s renewed consternation. Tyler crosses over.
Damon holds a war council with Jeremy and Matt in a Whitmore class room. Jeremy has used his hunter instincts like a Geiger counter, mapping out the border of the DMZ. The cemetery is outside the line. Caroline and Elena remind the boys by product-placed phone that they can’t see the map so Matt sends Caroline a picture. Next item on the agenda is how to mass-murder the shitty Travelers. There’s a gas main that runs under the town which they can detonate. Sheriff Liz will be on corral duty, charged with gathering enough shitty Travelers in one building to explode it. Detonation is scheduled for 7:00 tonight.
Lexi and Stefan go in search of Alaric in The Other Side’s Mystic Grill. It’s mostly an excuse for the two best friends to banter and be cute together but Lexi also lays some foundation for a Stefan/Caroline romance and NO.
Before they get too much into it Sheriff Liz and Markos enter the scene from the real world side. Liz wants the Travelers to gather at the Grill for a lecture on law and order, which because this is Mystic Falls can only be accomplished with the promise of an open bar.
Bonnie and Jeremy teleconference to exchange magicnobabble about the resurrection spell. Enzo starts smelling Bonnie’s BS but she tells him not to worry about her role in things just as they run into Stefan. Except, not Stefan, Silas, who you’ll remember started off as a shitty Traveler and now wants back into life. He’s going to provide the spell.
Bonnie’s still pissed about how he murdered her father but Silas is all, bygones!
Lexi and Stefan are cute together again some more, but Lexi lays another stone in the Steroline foundation and seriously NO.
In one of the family crypts, Silas teaches Bonnie the spell so she can relay it to Liv. Elena delivers Liv to the crypt and nips out to report to Damon that everything’s set to go.
Matt and Jeremy locate the gas main. Matt notes that there’s no guarantee that slaughtering the shitty Travelers will abolish the DMZ and regardless, would a town free of vampire attacks and blood sacrifices really be so bad? Jeremy replies that “home” includes visits from his girlfriend. Matt’s counterpoint: visiting your hot girlfriend in college is part of being normal.
It’s 6:42 and Liz has had it, officially, with the shitty partying Travelers. She tries to leave but Markos waylays her.
Elena meets Damon in the woods and amidst the dull relationship drama he informs her that he plans to trigger the explosion. He promises to find his way back to her.
At The Other Side crypt Bonnie reports to Enzo that all systems are go. The winds of Oblivion begin to howl, snagging Enzo and, as he exits the crypt, Silas. Enzo latches onto a tree with one hand and Bonnie with the other. Bonnie reaches for Silas but just as he grabs for her hand she yanks it back. “Bygones.” Silas vanishes into Oblivion.
At 6:59, Liv lights a mess of candles and begins the spell. Ghost Luke encourages her from The Other Side. The town clock strikes seven and the boys open the gas main, beginning to flood the Grill.
Bonnie and Grams find each other and Grams warns Bonnie that she can’t survive so many people crossing through her at once and even if she could she’s still the Anchor. Bonnie interrupts and Grams interrupts right back, telling Bonnie how privileged she’s been to watch Bonnie grow into the woman she’s become. Bonnie insists that Grams cross through her when the spell takes effect but Grams lets her know that she’s found peace in making sure Bonnie will find hers. Oh Grams, you crafty bitch, what have you done? They embrace and Grams departs, passing through a glowing portal into her Final Peace.
Liz is stuck with Markos at the Grill; he’s convinced she’s up to something. She semi-bluffs, asking if he smells gas. They head into the kitchen and she guides him to a vent. When he turns his back to examine it she clocks him with the butt of her gun. She texts Damon that the shitty Travelers are gathered and makes to leave. Markos revives and grabs her, preventing her escape.
At the border of the DMZ Damon gets Liz’s text. With a final toast he gets in his car.
Elena gets in the passenger seat, because she is an idiot. They head into town. Elena starts drowning as they get deeper into shitty Traveler territory and Damon floors it. They have to die as vampires to be able to cross over and back. With a final burst of speed Damon crashes through the Grill, triggering the explosion.
Liv continues to chant. Markos and his band of merry idiots find Bonnie in the woods. He taunts that he can do this all day, crossing over and back. The shitty Travelers cross over and Liv keeps on chanting. Elena and Damon find Bonnie and cross over, arriving at the Grill with their bodies. Alaric is there, ribbing Elena for having fastened her seat belt. She wants to find Damon but Alaric is on it.
Damon revives near his body, which has landed near Sheriff Liz, who is pinned in the rubble. He struggles to free her before getting an assist from Alaric who offers some advice. “When you finally get the girl, don’t blow her up.”
Liv keeps up chanting although her nose is bleeding. It’s insane how no one can do “the only pure magic” without suffering grievous bodily harm. Luke insists that it’s too much for Liv to take but no one wants to start crossing back until Damon arrives. Luke refuses to wait, crossing back and rushing to Liv’s side. He begs her to stop but she promised.
Enzo goes next, just in time to say hi gurl, bye gurl to a newly-arrived Caroline. Tyler takes his turn. He spots Caroline and they embrace. It feels different to Tyler and he cuts his hand with a rock. It doesn’t heal. He’s no longer a Hybrid.
Lexi and Stefan remain on The Other Side. Elena rushes up without Damon. She refuses to return without him but Bonnie grabs her, forcing her across. An exhausted Bonnie stumbles and Stefan catches her, inadvertently taking himself across.
Bonnie reaches for Lexi but Markos interrupts, seeking to reach Bonnie. Lexi prevents him from reaching her and Oblivion sweeps him away. Lexi refuses to cross over before Damon for fear of killing Bonnie before getting Stefan his brother back. Oblivion reaches for her but Lexi finds peace in that moment. vanishing into the golden light.
Damon finally finds Bonnie and he checks to make sure Elena is through. Luke, fearing for Liv’s life, barks out a quick chant that silences her and douses her candles. Bonnie takes ahold of Damon but he does not cross back.
Elena enters the crypt to find the twins gone. Bonnie follows her in and breaks the news that it’s too late. Elena falls apart. Damon invisibly (to Elena) enters and Bonnie tells her to say goodbye.
Caroline finds Stefan, mourning the loss of Lexi and Damon. He’s twigged that Lexi stopped Markos, the unfinished business she needed to complete to find peace. And Damon found everything he had been looking for, only to lose it.
Elena continues being a complete mess while Damon, whom she can’t see or hear, says goodbye. It appears she can feel his hand on her hair and her face as he strokes them.
I have no sympathy because this is all her fault.
Bonnie calls Jeremy to let him know she lied about being able to come back. She wanted their last days together to be as happy as possible. He wants to come to her but she’s resistant, saying that she died the day before graduation and looks on every day after that as a gift. He begs her not to hang up but she says goodbye and disconnects. Matt exposits that the gas main is shut off and Jeremy takes off.
Alaric finds Elena in the crypt and tries to console her. Jeremy’s cries for Bonnie alert them to move outside, where they join Tyler, Caroline and Stefan. Jeremy finds the group and they all catch a final glimpse of Bonnie before the scene switches to The Other Side, where Damon stands at her side. They are not each others’ favorite person by a longshot but in their final moments together they are able to draw some comfort from each other. They start to speak their final words to the other, only to be cut off mid-sentence by brilliant white light.
This season finale was not just shuffling the deck. This was placing the deck on the table and flipping it. I have no way of knowing how permanent any of these changes are given TVD’s history of plpaying fast and loose with death but as it stands Damon is gone forever, Bonnie is gone forever, Lexi is gone forever and Grams is gone forever. Alaric is back, Enzo is back, Tyler is no longer a Hybrid (and I’m not entirely clear if he’s still an active werewolf either) and The Other Side is destroyed. I have a sneaking suspicion that Grams has somehow worked an out for Bonnie and if that’s the case I can see the potential for a handwave that because she was with Damon he’s caught up in it as well.
However, if that’s not the case, the series has taken a bold step in getting rid of one of the legs of the central triangle permanently and it’s one that I fully support. I have complained repeatedly that the Damon/Elena/Stefan triangle is the least interesting relationship setup in the show and it was played out several seasons ago. The constant rehashing of the same points and arguments again and again were both boring and maddening and it foreclosed on a lot of potential originating from outside the construct. Assuming Markos was telling the truth and the “Universe-pushes-Doppelgangers-together” bit really was false, breaking the triangle opens that potential back up.
Unfortunately the portion of that potential the show seems most interested in exploring is a Stefan/Caroline pairing and I do not want! Their platonic relationship with Caroline being a better vampire in a couple of years than Stefan has managed to be in well over a century is my favorite of the series behind Damon/Alaric and the juice that could be wrung from a romantic pairing cannot take the place of the relationship they already have.
Thank you to everyone who’s read and commented on these recaps over the course of this season. It’s been great having the opportunity to connect with other viewers and get their insights. TVD returns this Fall, still on Thursdays. Hope to see you then!