The Vampire Diaries Recap: A Waking Nightmare

The Vampire Diaries

Requiem for a Dream
Season 7 Episode 21
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Gods & Monsters

The Vampire Diaries

Requiem for a Dream
Season 7 Episode 21
Editor’s Rating 4 stars
Photo: Tina Rowden/CW

For the past seven seasons, Bonnie Bennet has been put through the ringer again and again — and after last night’s episode, there’s no end in sight. (Except for the finale next week!) Let’s recap.

Leading Lady
Our favorite sidekick gets her own category in the recap tonight, for sidekick she is no longer — after seven seasons, Bonnie has entrenched herself into my heart in a way that can only be described as a “long con.” There have been times I hated her, times I loved her, times I thought she could be stronger or smarter or frankly, just more herself. But through all of that, Bonnie’s defining characteristic, no matter what she has gone through, is that she has always been a good friend.

Tonight, that all changed. Within the first minute of the episode, Bonnie woke up, threw the love of her life into a fire and decapitated Caroline with a fire poker — only for us to realize that it was a hallucination; killing her friends is what Bonnie’s subconscious was fearing would happen, thus preventing her from waking up to take Rayna’s place as a huntress.

“What if the reason Bonnie isn’t waking up is because she’s Bonnie?” Enzo’s right; Bonnie would rather die, would rather face hell or become an anchor to the Other Side or any number of things rather than give up her humanity.

But of course, there’s a plan! If they delve into Bonnie’s mind and convince her that vamps aren’t all that bad, maybe she’ll wake up and pretend the whole thing never happened.

Turns out what’s inside Bonnie’s subconscious is just a boring college class at Whitmore — or at least it seems to be, until all her classmates start dying, as vampires appear out of nowhere to feed on them … including Ric, who looms over her, his eyes shifting into darkness. Bonnie escapes to find Caroline. “Your body is safe in Damon’s bedroom,” said no one EVER except Caroline in this moment.

Even Caroline’s talking about her daughters and urging Bonnie to fight against her brain rewiring her memories to turn her against vampires does no good. “Do your kids know that you’re a vampire?” Bonnie asks, the subtle shift between Our Bonnie and Huntress Bonnie depicted with nuance by Kat Graham, who rocked it this entire episode. Bonnie’s subconscious brings blood to the floor, causing Caroline to start to lose control. Bonnie envisions Caroline hurting her daughters and stakes her, forcing Caroline out of her head.

But what happens in the subconscious does not stay in the subconscious; Caroline’s been marked by Bonnie’s stake, which means she needs to run — lest her BFF wake up and decide she’s the first vampire on her kill list.

Next up is Enzo, who applauds Bonnie’s epic takedown of a few vamp stoners outside Mystic Falls High. Bonnie guesses her subconscious has brought her to high school because she’s “trying to hold on to a time before vampires were a part of my life.”

So, Enzo pulls a typical high-school move and invites his girl to jam-out with him on a guitar, hoping that that will connect her back to the girl who DID love a vampire.

“I have always wanted to be loved be someone, in the way that you loved me. And I would rather have those memories than any future where I destroy them.” This moment was heartbreaking. Bonnie had to watch while Elena had not one, but two epic loves. Bonnie got like … half of a high school romance. Now, when she dies, Elena will resume her epic love with Damon, and Bonnie will have gotten gypped once again. But, ever the best friend, she accepts this and tells Enzo to leave and let her go. When he refuses, she stakes him, too.

Here’s where Damon comes in: unlike Bonnie, who has always been a good friend, no matter what, Damon’s had his moments. Sometimes he’s a good friend. Sometimes he’s a good brother. Sometimes he’s not. Then, he can be your worst enemy. He decides there’s no reasoning with a hero — so instead, he decides to fight with one. “No more Stefaning the situation. I gotta be me.”

I almost cried when I saw the silhouette of Elena in her room. I’d almost forgotten that even while Bonnie’s become BFF’s with Damon, fallen in love with Enzo … there’s still one big thing missing from her life, and she’ll never see her again. Damon reminds her of that by taking her through all of his and Elena’s beautiful moments on the Gilbert porch, ending with where Bonnie is standing: because that’s the spot where she’s going to decide to die for Elena.

Thank God Bonnie heartsnatched him, because I couldn’t take it anymore. It’s one thing when Damon’s being a genuine asshole; it’s another when he’s faking it to prove a point. Now Bonnie’s awake, Damon’s on the run, and we just have to hope that neither one of them kills the other, or Elena will be rull mad when she wakes up.

Plus 100 for Bonnie carving stakes out of the wooden spoons. I may not like Huntress Bonnie, but I love resourceful Bonnie.

True Love Waits
Meanwhile, Caroline and Alaric decide to be the most normal couple in this entire group by fighting about something that has nothing to do with what they really should be fighting about, which is that Caroline doesn’t love him and belongs with Stefan.

Alaric makes a good point here that a human should be around for Bonnie to not kill, but Caroline wins out and Alaric agrees to go home to Lizzie and Josie (and, um, regarding Caroline’s later assertion that the girls don’t know she’s a vampire … she may want to rethink that. Kids are observant. I think they have a sixth sense, like ESPN or something.)

Speaking of avoiding our problems, Stefan’s in a bar. (Funny how six years ago, Alaric was always at the bar. Now he’s got kids. Stefan’s taken his place.) Even Damon remarks on this strange turn of events: “I dialed ‘H’ for hero,” he says. Where’s his brother with a plan when he needs one?

So Stefan is the one who goes to the Salvatore house and suggests the totally foolproof (lol) plan of diving into Bonnie’s subconscious to remind her of how good life is when everyone she loves isn’t dying, and she’s not dying, and Elena’s not dead, and Steroline is broken up, etc etc.

After Caroline gets marked, though, Steroline are forced to actually have a conversation. “Meanwhile, I was so desperate I called Klaus for help, who is nowhere to be found, by the way.” That Klaus mention made millions of people so very happy. I wondered if they were ever going to pick that thread up again. Well, it doesn’t matter, because Klaus is MIA and Stefan is right here, and he’s not letting anything happen to his girl. So, in a totally Damon move, he vervains her and carts her off to a motel for her own protection. Atta boy. (As Damon says later, it’s a solid move. “Rinse and repeat as needed.”)

But even when Caroline tries to go home to her girls, she can’t. She knows Stefan is right; it’s not safe, and that means she understands even better what he was going through when he left her three years ago. “I love you, and the thought of you getting hurt is not an option I’m willing to entertain.”

So they run, possibly to Maine, to Nova Scotia, and who knows where else after that. All Caroline can focus on his getting to safety and making sure her girls are safe. But that’s not enough for Stefan, who with clenched jaw and hero hair asks the question we all want to know the answer to:

“Do you love him?”

Whatever nonsense came out of Caroline’s mouth after that, I wasn’t listening. The look on her face was enough.

Forgive Me
Matt shows up just as Bonnie about to go hunting, and he convinces her that despite having acted to the contrary all season, he doesn’t actually want to hurt their friends. And now, neither does she. “Then help me not do this,” she says, revealing that there is a bit of Bonnie left inside of her. All Matt has to do is help her kill Damon, the one vamp that started it all, that ruined her life — “that killed your sister, because he was bored.”

Duh Matt’s in; after that impassioned speech worthy of an Emmy, I’d agree, too.

These fighting scenes in the woods were some of Ian Somerhalder, Kat Graham, and the writers’ best work yet. “I only see a smug parasite where my friend Elena should be.” Burn!

At Bonnie’s grave site, the tree stump where they held their memorial for her back in season I-can’t-even-remember, Damon tries to convince Bonnie that he’ll let her kill him because he loves her. “If you kill me right now, it’s not your fault.”

Tears streaming down her face, Bonnie fights to remember. But at the last second, she goes to stake him, only to be taken down by Matt’s dart gun. Once again, Damon gets a second (third, tenth, five-hundredth) chance: If Damon loves her, he’ll find a way to fix Bonnie.

Which may come at yet another cost: the shaman who cursed Rayna may be able to fix the problem — except he’s locked away in the Armory, which, in case you forgot, has been ravaged by a terrible and unknown evil that turns human being into the worst versions of themselves. Into living monsters. The camera pans across a house full of dead (and some almost-dead, or wishing they were dead) bodies, leading into the darkness of the vault, and whatever terror awaits our gang in next week’s finale, when they go in there in the hopes of saving Bonnie’s life.

One more episode left! I can’t believe we’re almost done with this season, and that summer hiatus is almost upon us. Here’s hoping next week delivers all those TVD cliffhangers we love so well. Until next time, I’ll be on Twitter @Talkativetara.

The Vampire Diaries Recap: A Waking Nightmare