Previously on Vampire Diaries: Dead people everywhere! INCLUDING ALARIC. And Bonnie. Yeah.
Well, it’s taken them four seasons to get through two years in show time, but gosh darn it, we’re here: these 30 year old kids are finally going out into the real world. Graduation day, everyone!
But I’m getting ahead of myself: we open on sucky Kol over at the field where the graduation ceremony will occur, making a speech to a crowd of the dead hybrids and witches who’ve been done wrong over the course of the season.
And of course we’re supposed to be alarmed, but… these guys kind of have a right to be pissed, I think? Not that the show will ever really acknowledge that, because nothing bad that happens to anyone who’s not a main character is ever taken seriously as a moral wrong. But still.
Forget all that, though! Because Lexi and Stefan are having a Bon Jovi dance party over at Chez Salvatore in celebration of Stefan’s 17th high school graduation. Which is hilarious on multiple levels, honestly.
(DEAR VAMPIRE DIARIES: THERE IS NO UNIVERSE IN WHICH ANYONE WOULD ACTUALLY BUY PAUL WESLEY AS A HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT.)
Anyway! It’s apparently the morning after last episode’s undead shenanigans. Damon comes downstairs for that awkward moment when you come face to face with the suddenly flesh and blood ghost of your brother’s BFF, who you coincidentally once banged and also killed. (I just hate that, don’t you?)
After some requisite threatening from Lexi, Damon voices the obvious: something went wrong with Bonnie’s spell to return the veil. Which prompts a rather awesome return of snarky Stefan:
DAMON: And here you two are having dance party USA.
STEFAN: You’re right! How selfish of me to be indulging in these precious moments with my formerly dead best friend. I should be sacrificing my own happiness for the good of others, right? I should be upstairs grooming my hero hair.
DAMON: Are you drunk?
STEFAN: I don’t know, mom. Am I?
Snarky Stefan is such a gift, seriously.
Cut to Bonnie, who’s just hanging out with her dead body down in the cave under the school, as you do. She’s also on the phone with Caroline — these kids get awesome cell reception, by the way — telling her she hit a “snag” with the veil spell. Well, that’s one way of putting it! Bonnie can’t put it back up until the full moon that night, but Caroline is determined to go through with the ceremony, come hell or high water. Grams encourages Bonnie to go to the ceremony — and also say goodbye to everyone she loves while she still can.
Meanwhile, Elena’s hanging out in a sunny cemetery with Alaric and Jeremy as they enjoy some greasy food. She’s so happy, my heart actually hurts a little.
It’s been such a long time since we’ve seen Elena truly laugh and smile, you guys. I don’t think I really realized until this scene how much I missed it. Alaric agrees, teasing her gently about drinking his bourbon and burning down their house. (I’d say I also didn’t realize how much I’d missed him, but that would be a total lie. ALARIC, BABY, I BEEN MISSING YOU REAL BAD.)
Elena tears up a little, confessing she’s done some terrible things. Jeremy wants to institute a ‘no crying’ rule for however long they have left, but Elena thinks it’s good she can finally feel things again. Sadly, her five minutes of happiness are interrupted by a phone call from dead!Connor. Seems he’s over at the Grille with a bomb vest, and he’ll detonate it unless Elena gets him both Silas and the cure.
But never fear, Uncle Alaric is here! After listening in on Elena’s call, he instantly ghosts on over to the Grille for a bad ass-off:
ALARIC: So, you get off on terrorizing innocent people?
CONNOR: And who might you be?
ALARIC: I’m the guy that’s responsible for the 18 year old you just threatened.
CONNOR: That 18 year old snapped my neck with her bare hands.
ALARIC: [smirking awesomely] I’m also the guy that taught her how to do that.
Spoiler — Alaric wins!
Unfortunately, Connor’s hostage drama was only Plan A for Team Hunter. Turns out Vaughn’s got Plan B covered over at Chez Salvatore, where he promptly shoots Damon in the chest with one of Connor’s wolf venom laced bullets. Oops. He’s menacing Damon for Silas and the cure… until Stefan shows up and casually rips his heart out. Um, how’s plan C, guys?
Plan C appears to be Alexander, aka Rebekah’s crappy Italian ex-boyfriend from the 1100s, who is acclimating amazingly well to 21st century life. (Also, he’s now Scottish? For… reasons? I don’t even know, you guys. Just roll with it.)
He’s got Cute!Matt standing on a pressure sensor bomb over at Connor’s old mobile home that’s apparently still full of dangerous explosives because why would anyone bother to come clear that stuff out in the months since he died?
By the way, I still have a lot of questions about The Five, who were another promising idea that was just sort of half-assed this season. First of all, by the very name, you would expect we’d meet at least FIVE hunters at some point, but we only really have the three contemporary guys and Alexander and his nameless cronies from the twelfth century. So does that mean there are two other hunters somewhere in the world right now?
And shouldn’t ALL the many generations of previous hunters have shown up in force when the veil dropped, seeing as they’re all supposed to be obsessed with killing Silas? And while we’re talking about that, how does the stopping Silas agenda really track with the Kill All Vampires goal they seem to be pursuing most of the time?
Anyway! Rebekah is basically being held hostage by the threat to Matt’s life here, as even with her super speed, she wouldn’t be able to get him far enough away from the blast in time. To distract her from the general suckiness of their situation, Cute!Matt starts talking about her plans for getting out of Mystic after graduation. Rebekah promises to take him with her and show him the world, and it’s all pretty super adorable. I just want nice things for my Matty!
Katherine finds Bonnie at the school. She still wants the immortality she was promised, but Bonnie points out she’s kind of SOL, what with Qetsiyah’s failure to show and all. Katherine’s feeling a little bitter that everything seems to be going Elena’s way. (Um, really? What part of her crappy life do you envy, exactly?) She also calls Elena her “shadow self” which I only mention because that phrase will become significant again later on.
Elena, meanwhile, is telling Damon they need to talk, but he smoothly deflects by handing her a graduation present: the cure.
But after all this, Elena now doesn’t think she should take it. There’s only the one, after all, and the hunters want it and blah, blah, blah. Damon tries to sire bond her into it, but she still says no, answering that question definitively, I guess. Then he appeals to Jeremy for back up. But Little J will love and support his sister no matter what she chooses. (Aw!)
DAMON: How is it even when you’re dead, you’re the bane of my existence?
Downstairs, Lexi and Stefan eavesdrop on the cure drama while drinking some more. As you do. Stefan’s bored by all that pesky “save the world” talk. He’s more concerned with the fact that Elena has finally got her emotions back and ditched the sire bond. So who will she choose? Barf.
Also, way to neatly summarize everything I hate about this show’s general myopia, Stefan! Lexi plays relationship counselor, wanting to know what will happen if Elena’s still in love with Stefan after all. Stefan thinks she’s the love of his life, but if she makes a clean break of things, then maybe he’ll finally be able to move on.
Vaughn, whose ghost body (how does that even work?) has been lying on the floor this entire time, suddenly wakes up. Uh-oh.
Upstairs, Damon can’t hold back a wince of pain at his poisoned bullet wound, prompting Elena to freak out as she realizes he’ll die unless they get Klaus to cure him. Except Klaus isn’t there, and probably wouldn’t help even if he was. Jeremy suggests the not-so-secret hope of my heart: give Damon the cure. Elena’s into it, too.
Damon is… less into it. So much so that he scurries downstairs, hands Vaughn the cure, and leads him right out the door to “go find Silas” instead. Elena is flabbergasted.
(“Finding Silas,” by the way, involves going to a cliff overlooking a quarry, where Damon claims to have flung the body. Vaughn looks as dubious as I feel.)
Back at the trailer, Matt suggests Rebekah deliberately detonate the bomb, as he’s wearing the Gilbert ring (THANK GOD) and that might be enough of a supernatural death to protect him. Rebekah takes the opportunity to kiss him instead, in the process somehow moving him off the bomb and taking him place without setting it off. Smooth!
She then makes Matt run for it so he can go to graduation, before stepping off the bomb, and re-killing Alexander. And… that’s pretty much the last time we see him, which feels like kind of a waste of an appearance, but whatever.
(I would rather they had spent their money on getting Aunt Jenna, you know? What, was she just too busy getting a ghost manicure to come visit with her only family during these episodes?)
Chez Salvatore: Elena’s still freaking out, but Stefan thinks she should just chill, because Damon’s just stalling the hunters until the full moon, and in the meantime, Stefan will work on getting Klaus there and it will all be fiiiiine, seriously. Which is perfect! Because that means Elena can go graduate! Except she doesn’t want to graduate if Jeremy can’t be here.
No joke, I was totally confused by this when I watched the first time, because obviously, the school is within the expression triangle. But no, Jeremy can’t be there because EVERYONE THINKS HE’S DEAD, DUH.
(Which raises some interesting questions about how they’re going to deal with his resurrection — SPOILER! — next year. Although, honestly, given how unobservant practically everyone in this town seems to be, he could probably just come back to school without an explanation and no one would bat an eye.)
Graduation! Caroline’s leaving a pissy message for Klaus to come save Damon when Matt shows up, quipping about how he was just nearly killed by vampire hunters, no big. These kids are so hilariously jaded at this point that everyone just accepts that without question or comment.
Elena and Stefan roll up in their robes as well and I die laughing again at the idea that Stefan is SERIOUSLY supposed to have been in school with them this whole time. (Or that any of these kids have been at school enough the past year to have passed any of their classes, honestly.)
Caroline’s brimming with oblivious excitement about going off to college together, even if Elena never even sent her applications in and Bonnie’s clearly on the verge of tears listening to all this. I’d be sadder if I wasn’t pretty damn sure Bonnie won’t stay dead for too long.
Speaking of Bonnie, her dad is the one handing out diplomas, which conveniently allows them to have a bittersweet little moment on stage as she thanks him for everything and he can clearly kind of tell something’s off. Again, this would probably mean more if they’d actually done more to develop this relationship, but we’ve barely seen him all year.
(And hey, where’s her mom in all this? Did she not even show up for graduation? And I just realized we don’t even see Sheriff Liz once at the ceremony. Weird.)
As Elena gets her diploma, sucky Kol finally makes his presence known, showing Bonnie all the pissed off dead witches and hybrids littered through the crowd. He wants her to drop the veil permanently.
I’m still super confused about how things work beyond the veil. Like, it seems that the dead are basically always wandering around invisible among the living? Which is super creepy, bee tee dubs. But they also can’t see other ghosts? Maybe? (Except for the dead witches, who seem to be able to communicate with each other.) And this is apparently different from the normal non-supernatural afterlife, where ghosts can hang together, although hopefully not in my shower while I’m using it, if you know what I mean.
I guess I’m just having trouble understanding why Qetsiyah would create such a hellish eternal life for herself AND so many others, just to keep this one dude she knew 2,000 years ago away from another woman. Seems a little bit of an overreaction, you know? CHOOSE YOURSELF, QETSIYAH.
Anyway! Bonnie leads Kol down into the caves under the school. When he sees her body, she confesses that she’s dead like him and wants the same thing: to stay. But it turns out taking him down there was just a trap, and there’s a force field of some kind keeping him stuck until nightfall.
Back on the bluff: Vaughn sees the spreading poison on Damon’s neck and finally figures out that he’s dying and also lying since he’s got nothing left to lose. So he shoots him. A lot. One more and the combined poison will kill him in minutes! But then, of course, Alaric swoops in, grabs the cure from Vaughn and throws him off the cliff, because no one shoots his boyfriend but him, damn it.
Unfortunately, Damon still refuses to take the cure, even though he’s now in a really bad way. Alaric makes a frantic call to Stefan, wanting his blessing? I guess? Oh, Lord. JUST SHOVE IT DOWN HIS THROAT, RIC.
Honestly, Damon getting the cure has been what I’ve wanted since they mentioned the damn thing, so this whole sequence was an extra mean tease on the writers’ parts… because just as we see Stefan, Elena, and Caroline being attacked by the dead witches, effing Klaus shows up and decapitates one of them with a graduation cap. And just like that, my dream of a human Damon dies. MEAN, WRITERS. Was that really necessary?
At least Caroline’s happy.
That night, Elena walks in on a cured Damon giving us our last gratuitously half-naked shot of the season. She’s glad to see him feeling better — that means she can slap the hell out of him for preferring death to humanity. (Downstairs, proud and admiring Alaric and Lexi, respectively, eavesdrop. Heh.)
Elena comes down and pulls Stefan away for a private chat, leaving Lexi and Alaric alone to ponder the metaphysical questions of what’s beyond the Other Side. Beats me, Lex! Pretty sure the writers don’t have a clue either. But she thinks they can find peace if they “let go.” Alaric finds that difficult, given what hopelessly stupid choices most of the people they love constantly make. I feel you, Alaric.
In the other room, Elena thanks Stefan for never giving up on her even when she was at her worst. Stefan (rightly) points out that he kind of owed her that, at the very least. I’ll say! And then Elena gives him the cure.
She thinks he deserves it, which I would say is debatable. And I’d bet the loved ones of his many, many victims would agree! But since history has also proven that he’s bound to fall off the wagon and kill many, many more in the future, this does seem like a decent choice.
Meanwhile, Caroline’s hanging out at the empty graduation field, because I guess she’s also in charge of clean up? Damn. What is this town going to do when she goes to college? Klaus finds her there, of course. It seems his earlier fortuitous arrival had nothing to do with Damon at all; Caroline had sent him a graduation announcement, so he was coming to see her. Okay, that is pretty adorable.
It doesn’t hurt that he’s dialed his customary petulant jerk mode waaaaaay down and ramped the charm up to eleven:
KLAUS: I had considered offering you a first class ticket to join me in new Orleans… [at her face] but I knew what your answer would be. So I opted for something I knew you would accept. Tyler is now free to return to Mystic Falls.
CAROLINE: [stunned] What?
KLAUS: He’s your first love. I intend to be your last. However long it takes.
Um, damn. Did it just get hot in here or WAS THAT A REALLY EXCELLENT LINE? Caroline’s about as gobsmacked as I am.
Honestly, I’m going to miss seeing these two flirt on the regular, but this was pretty great way to end things between them for now, on a high note with a lot of promise for the future. Separating them as he goes off to be the actual hero (I presume) of his own show will give him the time and distance to actually become someone worthy of her.
And this way, Caroline can also have room to grow up a little on her own, and to let her relationship with Tyler — which I also enjoy — run its course.
Plus, I’m also a fan of these drama llamas acknowledging that a person can have more than one great love. (See also: Lexi’s great speech later on.)
Speaking of, Elena and Damon are fighting some more about how ready he was to die and how selfish that is and blah, blah, blah. He makes a big, impassioned speech about how he’s not sorry and not going to change and that’s why he’ll always be completely wrong for her. Elena disagrees:
ELENA: Fine. Then I’m not sorry either. I’m not sorry that I met you. I’m not sorry that knowing you has made me question everything. That in death, you’re the one that made me feel most alive. You’ve been a terrible person. You’ve made all the wrong choices, and of all the choices I’ve made, this will prove to be the worst one. But I am not sorry that I’m in love with you. I love you, Damon. I love you.
And then they make out a lot. It’s nice, I guess? I wish I didn’t still feel so burned by how much I’ve disliked most of what they’ve done with Elena this season. This time last year, I would have been way more into this scene.
Downstairs: sad Stefan sits while Lexi comforts him. Sorry, sad Stefan. I think it’s really for the best, though.
Later, Damon finds him loading up Silas’ body to go throw in the quarry for real. Things seem a little tense, but then Stefan calls him back to tell him he’s not happy about Elena — and you can kind of see on Damon’s face that he’s a little terrified he’s about to lose his brother, even if he’d never admit it.
But Stefan’s also “not not happy” for Damon, which is basically as close to a blessing as he’s probably going to get, and Damon clearly knows it. Aw, boys.
The moon’s finally out, and Jeremy finds Bonnie down in the caves to spend his last moments with her. (He also reveals that he didn’t want to say goodbye to Elena, so he just kind of slipped out without telling her. Um, that was kind of a dick move, Little J? But no matter, because it’ll become a moot point in a moment.) (SPOILER!)
Alaric, of course, is spending his last moments drinking with Damon. And congratulating him for having “gotten the girl,” which is one my least favorite of their refrains, so whatever. It’s nice to see him happy to be leaving his boyfriend in someone else’s loving hands, at least. Alaric orders him not to screw it up, but Damon doesn’t see how that’s possible with his bestie looking over his shoulder… just as Alaric disappears, and I weep forever.
COME BACK, ALARIC. DAMON NEEDS YOU. AND SO DO I.
Meanwhile, Lexi and Stefan are on their way to the quarry, talking about his love life. As they do. She lays a little truth down by pointing out that there is room in his life for multiple epic loves, but the only way to find another one is to let go of Elena and move on. And then she’s gone. Solid advice, Lex. You can come back any time, too!
Elena’s looking for Jeremy at the school when she wanders into the area where Kol’s trapped — but he, too, disappears just as he’s about to kill her. (Hah! I’m just picturing how royally pissed off he must have been over on the Other Side. Suck it forever, sucky Kol!) Just then Katherine pops out of the shadows, and they commence with an epic doppelgänger vs. doppelgänger death match.
Elsewhere in the caves, Bonnie says the veil is almost closed. Jeremy suddenly has a “million things” he wants to say to her, but they just end up kissing instead as it’s finally drawn shut… except once it does, Jeremy doesn’t disappear because of course Bonnie’s spell worked and he’s alive again!
And immediately realizes Bonnie’s not. D’oh! She sadly makes him promise not to tell Elena or Caroline, at least for the summer, because they’re finally happy again and she doesn’t want to ruin that. Well, okay, but is somebody going to tell her parents, at least? Or move her body before it starts to stink up the whole school?
She does promise that since he’s able to see ghosts, they can talk whenever they want. So I guess that’s how she’s staying on the show next year? Damn. I’m just never getting hot Bonnie/Damon hate sex, am I?
Rebekah shows up at Matt’s door, trying to let him out gracefully from certain world-traveling plans made under duress. Matt psychs her out a bit by making it clear he’s not down with dating vampires… before saying that what happens while backpacking around Europe, has to stay in Europe, basically.
Also, she kind of owes him after nearly killing him this year. True! And, good for you Matt. I guess that’s as good a way as any to give these two some resolution and a happy ending before she jets off to spin-off land.
Back at Katherine vs. Elena: Katherine makes a big speech about how somehow Elena’s stolen her happiness. It doesn’t make a hell of a lot of sense, especially since — as Elena reminds her — Katherine’s done much worse to hurt Elena than the reverse.
In any even, Elena’s making a pretty good showing for herself, but Katherine soon has her down on the ground, stabbed in the throat, about to rip her heart out… and then Elena shoves the cure down her great, great, great, great, great grandmother’s throat.
I’ll say this: Katherine becoming human isn’t exactly the outcome I was hoping for, but it’s also far from the outcome I feared most. And after a full season of waiting for someone to pull the trigger on the cure, I can only assume that they now have something more interesting planned than her just running out to get herself turned again at the first opportunity.
(Does the cure somehow prevent re-vamping, maybe? Or will we find her running over to The Originals at the first opportunity to beg Elijah for help?)
In any case, I’m intrigued to see where this is headed, and to spend some time with a Katherine who’s even more vulnerable than before, but just as cunning and vicious. Of course, I was intrigued to see Elena as a vampire last year and look where that got us!
Final scene: Stefan’s at the quarry, where he’s alarmed to realize that what he thought was Silas’ body is actually just a pile of random stone. OH, GODDAMNIT.
And sure enough: Silas appears, wearing Elena’s face this time. He helpfully explains that the spell that turned him to stone was broken the minute Bonnie died. Oh, and also? When he created the immortality spell 2,000 years ago, nature balanced itself out by creating a “shadow self” (see? told you it would come up again) who could die.
Stefan and I both assume that means we’re now looking at the original Petrova doppelgänger. But, no. It turns out Silas’ true face is… Stefan’s! Yeah, I know. Just go with it.
He puts Stefan into the metal safe he was going to bury him in, and throws it in the water, all Angel season three style. The good news is we’re probably getting some more snarky, evil “Stefan” for a while next season, I guess? I honestly don’t know how I feel about all this, except now I’m wondering just how many random doppelgängers are wandering around out there, since nature seems to be spitting them out like gangbusters. Slow your roll, nature.
In any event: season four is over! Long live season five! May it enrage me less and engage me more. (P.S. More Alaric, please.)