Previously on The Vampire Diaries, ‘I’ll Wed You in the Golden Summertime’
The Vampire Diaries just achieved a damn near perfect season finale. A wonderful balance was maintained between the frenzied aftermath of Jo and Alaric’s wedding, and the tender final goodbyes for Elena and the gang. Nina Dobrev’s departure could have been an epic fail, but through one of the most ingenious plot twists of the show’s entire run, Elena’s exit was both tragic and hopeful. Most importantly, it was completely satisfying.
Kai came back from the 1903 prison world with a couple of plans for revenge. The first was personal: to kill his entire family. He started with his future competition, Jo’s unborn babies, which unfortunately took out Jo as well. Then he dispatched the entire coven in one swift move. Since the Gemini’s are linked to their leader, all he had to do was stab himself fatally in the neck and let his family slowly die along with him.
The only family member he technically didn’t murder was Liv. When she and Tyler awoke after the magic bomb that Kai set off, Tyler was lethally impaled in the stomach with glass. Though he was prepared to die alongside her, Liv knew Tyler could heal if he triggered his werewolf curse. She forced his hand over her mouth, smothering her to death before the coven’s link could finish the job.
Kai never planned on truly sacrificing himself for the death of the coven, though. Before making his surprise entrance at the wedding, he drank some of Lily’s blood, allowing him to come back as a heretic. Unaware Kai had made the transition to “witch-pire” Ric shot at him repeatedly to no avail. He then turned the gun on himself not realizing he’d used up all the bullets. Just as Kai was ready to attack Ric, a not yet fully changed Tyler tackles and bites him. Werewolf boy finally got something right.
Kai’s second plan, the aforementioned ingenious plot twist, was purely about payback for Bonnie and to a lesser extent, Damon. He linked Bonnie and Elena’s lives together and put a Sleeping Beauty like spell on Elena. As long as Bonnie remains alive, Elena will stay asleep in perfect health. This scheme proved Kai was one of the best villains the show has ever had. He thoroughly understood the relationship between Bonnie, Elena, and Damon and used it to his advantage – knowing Damon would easily kill for Elena, but if he killed someone as important as Bonnie, she would hate him for it. It was deliciously diabolical.
What Kai failed to appreciate was just how much Damon truly loves Elena. A few decades apart is certainly not ideal, but at this point, he would wait several lifetimes just to be with her. And that is the choice we see him make. In a clever fake-out, where Damon pretends to leave Bonnie for dead, Kai is left with his guard down, perplexed by the fact his plan didn’t totally deliver on the torture. This gave Damon the opportunity to decapitate Kai with his bare hand. With his bare hand! This is the coolest death ever on TVD and one that was totally rewarding for an end to Kai’s character. RIP Kai.
In the midst of all this chaos were several scenes between Elena and a few members of the gang. It wasn’t exactly clear until towards the end of the episode that everyone was taking their turn jumping into Elena’s mind so they could say goodbye. Not sure how the humans were able to do so, but since it was so well done I’m going to let it slide. Each goodbye was tailor-made for the specific character – except Jeremy’s, which was basically a rehash of previous sendoffs – and drew perfectly from the history they had with Elena. Great storytelling and nice fan service all at once.
With that said, one of the few problems I had with this episode was the order in which Elena says these goodbyes. I knew Damon would be last, but I was puzzled by the placement of the scene with Caroline and Bonnie. These are her best friends so why did they come before people like Tyler? Nevertheless, this was the best goodbye overall.
Elena asks Caroline and Bonnie to write everything down. She wants to be able to read about her best friends lives when she wakes up so she can feel like she was right there with them. Knowing she will see her again someday, Caroline gives Elena some time alone with Bonnie. Elena beautifully acknowledges all the times Bonnie has sacrificed herself for her friends and tells her it’s now her turn to repay those actions. In the best callback of all, Bonnie recreates the first time she showed Elena her magic by floating pillow feathers.
[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”#4A7097″ class=”” size=””]“You have spent your entire life making sacrifices for me. Now it’s my turn to do it for you.” – Elena[/pullquote]
Dressed in a cop uniform, Matt meets Elena on the Wickery Bridge, where they crumble flowers into the water in a callback to season three. Elena tells Matt he’s always stayed constant, always been the good guy and she hopes he can help other people to lead equally honorable lives. In the woods where he once trained her to fight vampires, Ric and Elena share a tearful goodbye. She consoles him for the loss of Jo, but assures him that he will get better. For Tyler, they meet somewhere outside of Mystic Falls because Elena thinks he should go and find himself. Embrace the wolf, she tells him.
Stefan joins Elena in the spot where she first told him she never wanted to be a vampire. She confesses she never thought she could be happy after her parents died until he, both figuratively and literally, saved her life. Instead of truly saying goodbye, they promise to see each other in about 60 to 70 years.
Elena’s body is going to be kept in a casket in the Salvatore mausoleum. Bonnie will secure it with magic so no vampire looking for the cure can get to her. Before it’s sealed though, it’s Damon’s turn to say goodbye. They’re on the road where they first met. Damon isn’t ready to live for the next several decades without her but she wants him to be happy, to live his life and not just wait around for her. In a fitting moment for two people who will likely see each other again, they don’t breakdown, they just dance and share one last kiss.
In last week’s recap I was concerned that the emotional weight of this finale would fall flat because we already had a general idea of the outcome – I hoped it was at least a compelling journey to a predetermined destination. I can say with total honesty, that this finale definitely delivered. Kai’s linking spell was something I never saw coming and it’s much better than any conclusion I could foresee. Plus, this totally leaves the possibility open for Elena to return in a series finale.
Looking ahead to season seven there are already a few plot points in play. Kai did bring Lily’s family back, but he had them magically cloaked in a building, a spell which wore off when he died. Stefan has told Caroline he will wait for her as long as it takes, so they will likely have the main romance story for a little while. Then, in what seems like a glance into the future, Matt is a cop, Mystic Falls is a complete mess, and Damon is watching over the town like he’s Batman. A very, very good looking Batman.
I’m anxious to see how the show moves forward without Elena. Thanks for checking out the recaps for season six. See you next season!