Previously on Vampire Diaries: The gang had a really awkward slumber party.
I know this is super late. I know! The truth is I watched both this and the finale back to back and was amazed to find myself actually enjoying the show for the first time in a while. Wonders never cease?
Anyway, we open on Damon, who’s got one of the possessed townsfolk tied up in his living room for a friendly bout of torture. Caroline wanders in and is horrified to recognize him as her banker, but that doesn’t stop her from standing by as Damon stabs him in the leg. Sorry, banker dude. Sucks to be you.
Meanwhile, Stefan and Elena are strung up and bleeding somewhere out in the country. Until a mystery lady sets them free! They’re weakened and delirious and have been reduced to inept squirrel slaughter when they finally stumble on a pay phone out in the middle of nowhere to call home. Damon promises to put on his hero hat and save the town while they make their slow way back to Mystic.
Which leaves plenty of time to have a heart-to-heart about Elena and Damon’s toxic relationship! Stefan encourages her to just be with him if it makes her happy. Possibly he’s just as tired of hearing about this as I am, though.
Liv and Luke meet in a diner to lay down some handy exposition about their mysterious and apparently horrible coven/family — who are angry at Luke’s failure to keep the doppelgangers out of the Traveler’s hands. After the coven magically attacks them, Liv finally gets Luke to agree: they have to kill Stefan and Elena.
Cut to another of the possessed townsfolk, who is taunting her body’s unsuspecting husband and then brutally murdering him for… what appears to be no reason? I guess this is just to show that we shouldn’t actually feel bad for these douchebags at all. Way to remove all those pesky moral grey areas, show.
Stefan and Elena are still wandering down a deserted road, amusing themselves by contemplating the awesomeness of Caroline Forbes. I approve! But they’re finally picked up by Maria, the wife of Tyler’s passenger — she’s the one who helped them escape in the first place, and she wants their help getting her husband out of Mystic before the spell kills Tyler’s body. (She also claims that there’s no way to get Tyler back now.)
Speaking of which, Caroline’s trying to get answers about Tyler out of Julian, who can’t understand why she cares. She introduces the concept of bodily autonomy and free will, to which he eloquently replies, “whatever.” (Later, his argument justifying the mass slaughter of half the town boils down to “is it wrong? is it?” I think we’ve found a new president for the debate club!) Anyway, his answers give her an idea she takes to Bonnie: if Tyler’s body dies, then maybe his passenger will be ejected. Then he can just come back to life with Enzo and Bonnie. Easy peasy!
So Bonnie finally has to ‘fess up that there is no resurrection spell and they’re all screwed. Sorry. Enzo overhears this and yells at her a bit, but she insists there’s nothing she can do, so he flounces off in a ghostly huff.
Meanwhile: Damon’s plan to save the town involves holding all of the Traveler bodies hostage at Chez Salvatore, complete with a lost and found note left behind for Markos. Leading to this exchange, which I’ll admit, probably cracked me up more than it should:
DAMON: So, what do they look like?
MARKOS: They’re ragged. Beaten down by the world, desperate for a home.
DAMON: You just described homeless people, aging hipsters, and Matt Donovan.
Somewhere, poor Matty blue eyes is wondering where that massive burn came from.
Anyway, Markos shows up shortly to collect his peeps, and also to demonstrate that he really doesn’t give a crap if Damon torches them all. Then he proceeds to taunt Damon with his evil… future home renovation plans. So Damon lures him into a trap by promising a tour of the wine cellar. (This is seriously the weirdest super villain stand-off ever.)
Along the way, Damon manages to slide Julian the key, and he attacks Markos. But oops! The Traveler spell has started. Which means Damon’s daylight ring isn’t working and Tyler’s fangs are gone. They’re both forced to flee the house as Markos stays behind — no doubt he’s got some paint swatches and china patterns to look at.
Around the same time, Elena, Stefan and Maria are ambushed by the wonder twins on their way back into town.
Maria’s killed in the resulting car crash, and Liv and Luke magically whammy Stefan and Elena while helpfully explaining that only one of them has to die to stop the spell. But they dither too long and the spell starts before they can go through with it. Man, Liv and Luke really suck at this.
Back on the town common, the spell is totally killing all of the chanting Travelers, but they keep going. Elena and Stefan make a run for the Grill, grabbing Cute!Matt and escaping through those always helpful secret tunnels. As they run, the spell causes them to start dying their original human deaths: drowning for Elena and gunshot to the chest for Stefan. But they’re able to outrun it, so I guess it’s pretty slow moving.
While Caroline frantically contemplates the Sophie’s choice of which hair products she’ll have to leave behind as they flee for their lives, Bonnie finally snaps out of her funk and comes up with a plan.
Unfortunately, that plan involves getting Maria’s ghost to bring everyone else back from the dead using the same spell that worked for Markos. And Maria is snatched into oblivion before she can do her part. Everyone is screwed. Again. Some more.
The gang meets up near the college. Elena and Damon have a tender reunion involving a long kiss and I’m sorry, I really just don’t care about them anymore. It’s kind of sad how thoroughly the writing this year has completely killed the last vestiges of my interest in this pairing.
Anyway, Cute!Matt and Jeremy are heading back to Mystic to keep an eye on things, while Damon and Elena head off to out run the spell. Stefan stays behind with Caroline to wait for contrivance — I mean Bonnie. Shortly after, Julian shows up, wanting to know where his wife is. He doesn’t take the news of her death very well. Gotta say: awfully whiny for a guy who’s squatting in someone else’s body as part of a plot to kill everyone he’s currently talking to.
Caroline tries to snap his neck, but he’s too strong for her — and for Stefan. As they grapple, he straight up rips Stefan’s heart out. I did not see that coming! Caroline collapses screaming next to his body as Julian runs off. Nearby, Bonnie’s arguing with Enzo when Stefan appears to her. He sure hopes her plan to bring them back is going to work.
Well, played, Vampire Diaries. Well played.
Next time: the gang blows up the town.