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The Vampire Diaries Season 5 Finale Recap: Come Back to Me

My yoga teacher talks a lot about the unconscious versus conscious mind. Your unconscious mind is responsible for feelings and emotions; your conscious mind, for thoughts and rationale thinking. You need both, but the trick is not to let either one do all the heavy lifting? Like, you cant rely 100 percent on fact, because facts are often wrong, and life is more dynamic than that. You also can’t make every decision based on emotion, because then you would never leave your apartment. Why am I telling you all of this? Because just as you need both to get through life, you needed both to get through last night’s The Vampire Diaries season finale (and the ensuing summer). My conscious mind tells me that Ian Somerhalder will be back, that they cannot do a (contracted) season six without Damon, that the CW is not stupid. But my unconscious mind saw him and Bonnie go into the light, watched Elena sob and scream “don’t leave me,” and believes, really and truly, that he’s gone. And this, my friends, is the genius of TVD. A show so fearless it makes you fucking terrified. 

Let’s recap.

Caroline crying over Stefan’s stone body — Plus 30. There were quite a few moments over the finale where it was clear just how much Caroline cares about Stefan. Someone please make them into a YouTube montage and set the whole thing to a Coldplay song.

Elena didn’t seem too bummed about Stefan’s death. This would be a repeated theme last night — Elena not really giving a shit about Stefan. But I was okay with it. First off, it seemed believable, and second, that fire talk was good enough for me for awhile. Plus 4.

“My brother is over there.” I loved the work Ian did last night. Moving from his grief over losing Stefan to his responsibility at being the one to set off the explosion to his beautiful confession of love and devotion to Elena — plus 50.

Twins in the car — plus 15. Spinoff pitch: These two drive straight to the big city. They get a loft in Fort Greene, and we watch as they struggle to become Broadway stars. Yeah?

I really loved Elena last night. She was just owning things, taking responsibility, just really getting in there. Adulting hard. Plus 20.

Caroline killed Luke. Caroline doesn’t kill people. But love makes you do crazy things, and Caroline loves Stefan. Plus 30.

Sheriff Forbes is the real hero of this show. She has a questionable moral compass (hangs with tons of murderers), but do you have any idea how hard it must be to continue being sheriff in this town? And not get fired? Wait, does she even have a boss? Plus 10.

Thought Tyler’s reaction to death was pretty appropriate. Bonnie was all psyched he was him, and Tyler was like, hold up, death seems bad? Plus 5.

Damon sassing Matt and Jeremy — Plus 20. Also, how hot does Caroline look in the pic on Matt’s phone? Hmmm.

“We’re not blowing up our town.”

“Says one of the only people left in this group who could actually live here.”

No offense to Damon, but you are all still there. To be fair to his point, though, Matt is the only one with a REASON to stay. Everyone else’s reasons are “Elena,” and she doesn’t even live there anymore. No points.

“I have a thing for day-drinkers. You and me both, Lexi.

And then Lexi started giving Stefan so much lip about Caroline, which, to be honest with you, was annoying because it’s exactly what happened in last season’s finale. I kind of thought we would have made more progress on Steroline by now. Minus 20. 

Bonnie — plus 100. She’ll get more points later, too. Bonnie has redeemed herself so completely over the last few episodes that I seriously think she might be my favorite character in this series.

Silas. Sorry, no time for you, Minus 4. “Oh, just the perfect specimen of man.” Okay, fine. Plus 4.

Loved Lexi and Stefan’s deal about finding peace. Death is less scary when you employ the buddy system. Plus 40.

Jeremy and Matt crawling through that tunnel — minus 20. Just feel so bad for them. Remember when Matt tried to drive Elena out of town? It kind of felt like he was suggesting they let all the vampires die, which … I mean … can we really fault him for? Except Caroline. We can fault him for Caroline.

This exchange between Damon and Elena was great. Just really beautiful. I loved that Damon told her he was going to be the one to set off the explosion, and then asked her to respect his choice. I’ve been kind of hard on him this year, mostly because I’ve been frustrated that Damon never seems to get a proper story line, but the finale was proof of just how much he has grown. Plus 30. And an extra plus 5 for perfect TVD song placement. “Love is just a way to die” could be the tag line for this show.

Grams! Plus 20. I have a slight theory that the reason Grams stayed on the Other Side is so that she can help Bonnie and Damon next year (she kind of confessed to this so maybe it’s not a theory?), but this also felt like a wonderful final moment for her. Grams has been really hard on Bonnie over the years, and to see her pride in Bonnie’s sacrifice, well, made me have all the tears.

Damon drinking by the Mystic Falls sign — Plus 50. The thing we love about Damon is that he’s so incredibly volatile, but in moments of crisis, when he is needed, he mans the fuck up like nobody’s business. He just handles it.

Loved loved loved Elena getting in the car with Damon. “I know what I signed up for, and I’m all in.” After years of watching her sit back and let people fight and die for her, it was great to see her get in the passenger seat for once. But what was even greater was that Damon let her. The moment where she said “Damon,” and he just responded, “I know”— plus 40.

“Did you seriously wear your seatbelt?” Alaric is BACK. And he is PARENTING LIKE A BADASS. Oh yeah, did you know? We get Matt Davis back full-time next year ☺ Plus 100.

Tyler is human. Here’s a question: Are Elena and Stefan human? Or did Tyler just come back a human because he died a human? I don’t think we know yet! Plus 20 for all kinds of complicated aging questions next year.

Bonnie grabbed Elena and forced her back. Because she is a fucking phenomenal human being. Plus 40.

Lexi for the win. “What kind of a best friend would I be if you died before Stefan got his brother back?” And then Lexi found peace. Which is what she was always meant to do. Plus 80.

Hate Luke. Hate Luke so much. Just really hating Luke. Minus 50. Luke stopped Liz from continuing the spell. To be fair, he just didn’t want his sister to die, which is all these fools want, too, but you know what? Damon > Liz. There, I said it.

“I lost them both. Two people I’ve known longest in this world.” And then Stefan wept in Caroline’s lap. I think Damon’s death is going to set up a lot of interesting dynamics next year that will hopefully bring us back a little closer to where we started from — meaning, less breakneck plot, more genuine relationships and emotion. I, for one, am ready for a return to what TVD does best.

It has taken five years and countless deaths and one very lovely, very perky blonde to get me to a point where I can say this: Delena Forever. This scene killed me. “I get to die knowing that I was loved.” And Jesus Christ, Nina Dobrev — plus 200. The work this girl did was unreal. Her grief was palpable. And Damon took it like a champ, because that is what he does, that is the power of Damon. He can stay strong when no one else can. There are many reasons I think (know) that his death is not final. They have to do with money and contracts and scheduling. Lots of facts. But there is a very real, very sad, very human part of me that believes he is gone, that maybe this was his good-bye. I have never loved Damon more.

Jeremy running and screaming Bonnie’s name. Minus 40. That broke my heart. Absolutely took a sledgehammer to it.

Alaric is here, and he will hold you and make it better. Plus 40.

“I’m sure there are a million people we’d both rather be with right now, but …” And then Bonnie took Damon’s hand. And they looked towards the light. And that’s all we know. The screen went white.

The season finales of this show never disappoint. They are always intense, irrevocable, and devastating. But there is also something so unifying about them. I know we throw a lot of shade at this show. It’s ridiculous sometimes, and we like to laugh. But the community The Vampire Diaries has created is extraordinary. I am so lucky to be a part of it. Thank you for sharing another great year.

And if you get tired of the beach this summer, you know where to find me: @RebeccaASerle

Meet you back here in the fall. Be tan. 

Photo: Annette Brown/CW