Tonight’s TVD finale was certainly bittersweet; we got an almost-reunion, a few almost-deaths, a new big bad to fear. Let’s recap!
Going It Alone
Operation: Save Bonnie is still in progress, as Damon is trying to get inside the armory to burn the last Everlasting in order to reverse her Huntress urges. It’s not going well. (Wow, our vocabulary has expanded in the last seven years. Remember when Doppelgänger was a weird word?)
His new plan is to use Caroline’s babies to siphon the magic from the Armory door, allowing them to get inside. Caroline is, of course, not a fan of this plan, but predictably, Damon doesn’t care. He and Enzo want to fly to Dallas and “reason” with Alaric (a.k.a., kidnap his children and use them for well-intentioned but ultimately selfish purposes.) Luckily, Stefan knows his brother too well and intercepts the pilot of the plane before Damon can add kidnapping to his ever growing resume of Dastardly Deeds.
“I thought that my love for Caroline was so strong that I would do anything to protect it. But then I realized that wasn’t love, that was fear.” Stefan’s right; to truly love means to sacrifice, selflessly — which is why when Caroline does allow her girls to the girls to witchy-woo the armory door open. Damon goes inside, and he decides to go into the vault solo.
Between me shouting “Do not go in there!” at the television over and over, I heard Damon’s monologue, and it was a doozy. “This time, I need a different kind of help. I need you to let me go. Let me succeed or let me fail, but let me do it by myself.” The irony is inescapable; Damon locked himself in a coffin for three years for the wrong reasons — because he was afraid that without Elena, he would only hurt the people he cared about most. Now, he walks into the vault for the right reasons — to protect the people he loves most, even if that means he might be sacrificing a future with her. That would make Elena proud.
The Great Thaw
At the start of the episode, Caroline and Stefan are still on the run. (Btw, would watch this spinoff.) She refuses to allow the girls to be involved in their magical mess, which Stefan assures her is her decision.
Caroline: “This doesn’t let you off the hook.”
Stefan: “Not even a little bit?”
I mean, I’m not going to lie. Feminism is a bit of an aphrodisiac.
Bonnie’s on their trail, however, quickly ruining the sweetest Steroline moment we’ve had in weeks. When she gains on them and they run into a three car pileup, Stefan fluffs his hero hair. “I got this,” he says, putting the car in reverse and speeding in the opposite direction of traffic. (Hottest line in the episode?)
Bonnie’s about to crash into them when Matt saves the day, swerving the car so that they avoid a collision. Once they’ve recovered from their near miss, Stefan realizes that not only does Caroline have a choice to make, but so does he: Keep running with her, or go stop Damon’s terrible plan to kidnap her kids. He chooses the latter, because he’s our hero. Spending time with Caroline is less important than saving her kids — if that’s what she wants.
But right around this time, Caroline changes her mind. Talking to Bonnie on the phone right before the almost-crash showed her that her friend is still in there somewhere, and if they can save her, they owe it to her to try. After all, Bonnie has almost (and actually) died for them quite a bit already.
“You two are special. You are the keys,” Caroline tells Josie and Lizzie in the cutest version of the “Harry, yer a wizard!” conversation ever.
The moment between Stefan and Caroline before he goes into the Armory reminded me a lot of the finale in season three, when Stefan and gang went off to kill Evil!Alaric. To set the scene: He and Elena are in her room, and she says that it feels like every time someone leaves the house, they may not come back. She almost says something to him then, but insists they can talk about it later, when it’s all over. Now, Stefan tells Caroline the same thing. “Whatever you’re about to say, say it when this is over.” There’s no romantic run-and-jump kiss here, like there was with Stelena, but with good reason: Stefan knows that when he comes out of that building, Caroline will be waiting for him. He didn’t with Elena. Her heart was already leaning towards Damon. There’s a beauty in that certainty — in the kind of love that doesn’t require grand heroic gestures to prove it’s there. Stefan knows what Caroline wants to say. He doesn’t need to hear it to know that she loves him.
After months of torture, Alaric lets Caroline go. “No matter what happens, Caroline, you, me and the kids, we are a family.” Good on you, Alaric. Now you can co-parent and find a girl who actually loves you. (And please, writers, don’t kill the next one!)
Their huntress scars gone, Caroline and Stefan are finally free to truly bear their emotional scars to one another. They don’t say the words, but we don’t need to hear them to know its true. I hope they manage to stay happy for a season, although…with the fate of two of our characters in jeopardy, who knows if that’s possible.
Left in the Dark
The character in the most jeopardy at the start of the episode is, of course, Bonnie Bennett. I love how Kat Graham is playing her “huntress” persona; We saw glimpses of Rayna’s humanity towards the end, but Bonnie has resisted losing hers from the beginning. After they crash the police cruiser, I loved how I could almost see Bonnie flipping her humanity switch (or, the non-vampire version of that) to leave Matt behind while she went off to kill basically everyone else.
“You’re human, Matt. You don’t belong in this fight.” I’ve loved watching Matt’s journey from innocent Matty Blue Blue to hero in uniform to…anti-hero in uniform. But watching him try to wrench his leg out from the car wreck was hella gross.
Thankfully, Enzo is on Bonnie’s trail, and he offers her a proposition: Let Damon and Stefan get into the Armory and try to save her. Meanwhile, she should chase him. He’ll keep her running until they figure things out. (Also worth noting: Enzo knows what’s inside the vault, from his visit to Whatsherface St. John. So he knows what Damon is about to encounter, and how bad it is. We, however, are being left in the dark.)
The fight scene with Bonnie and Enzo was some damn fine acting on both Kat Graham (killing it this season) and Michael Malarkey’s parts. I’ve given Enzo crap in the past (haven’t we all) but I think the writers finally found a solution for him: giving him someone to love instead of people to hate. It worked for Damon, for for Elijah, for Klaus…even Katherine. Give a villain someone to love, and we will love them in return.
“I had over a century of pain and loneliness before I found you. And ten three glorious years of love,” Enzo says, as the stake is about to go into his heart.
Thankfully at this moment, Damon comes to the rescue and burns the Everlasting, which breaks the spell on Bonnie (a bit conveniently, but I’m happy about it!) But Damon’s heroic rescue is short-lived. After hearing Elena’s voice in the vault, he ventures in deeper. And doesn’t come out.
Later, Enzo opens the vault (again, knowing what he’s going to find!) and goes inside. “Heroes always do right by their girl,” he says to Damon, who is definitely not himself.
“It only hurts at first,” Damon drawls before a super creepy creature yanks Enzo back into the darkness.
The episode ends the way the season began, with a diary entry: It’s been at least three months, and Damon and Enzo are gone. They couldn’t get into the vault for days, and once Alaric cracked the code, there was nothing there. And things get worse: Matt left Mystic Falls, and Bonnie’s magic never came back, so she can’t do a locator spell to find Damon and Enzo. The two people who mattered most to her in the world are gone. Make that three, if you count Elena.
And as for Damon and Enzo, well they’re currently far far away in a warehouse somewhere, taken over by the Mysterious Vault Power (MVP), hoisting dead bodies up into the rafters. They seem to be having fun.
Well, we made it through our first Elena-less season! Between the heretics, the flash forwards (and backwards) and my constant pining over Steroline, I think we had more than enough to distract us from her absence. I’ve loved writing these recaps each week and chatting with you on Twitter about TVD, so keep in touch over hiatus @Talkatativetara! I’ll see you in approximately 152 wake-ups, and until then, hang on to your hero hair. When we get back for season eight, it’s going to be a bumpy (and bloody) ride.