It’s been over a week since the series finale of The Vampire Diaries and we said goodbye to the beloved gang from Mystic Falls. I’m not too sure how everyone is handling their absence, but it’s like they say; ‘All good things must come to an end.’ No matter how much it hurts. The finale, aptly titled, “I Was Feeling Epic,” gives viewers a bittersweet ending to an eight season journey filled with just as many moments of devastating heartbreak as heartfelt moments of family, friendship and epic romances. Here’s how the series finale went down.
The episode picks up exactly where we left off and Stefan is attempting to revive Bonnie, who passed out when the hell bell began ringing. While Bonnie’s unconscious she finds herself in the middle of the woods and sees Elena sleeping in a big bed. Elena wakes reuniting the besties, but Elena knows something’s not right and it’s too soon for Bonnie to be there. Enzo also appears in the wood and convinces Bonnie it’s not her time. Then she wakes up and tells Stefan and Caroline that she saw Elena.
Across town, Vicki Donovan is stationed in the clock tower to ring the hell bell. We learned in the previous episode, Vicki got out of hell, which by the way it doesn’t seem right that she was damned there, to begin with. Yes, she may not have been a model citizen, but she had a rough childhood and turned to drugs to self-medicate. (No, that is not the answer) Turns out Vicki is on Team Katherine. She’s tasked to ring the hell bell to ignite hellfire to burn down Mystic Falls and kill all its inhabitants. Damon whooshes in and tosses Vicki out the window to stop her. Matt questions Damon’s actions, but Vick reappears and Damon snaps her neck to prove she’s dead and will just keep coming back. Matt pleads with his sister to understand why she’d agree to ring the bell. Vicki explains then she’d just be gone and not trapped in hell. So until they can figure out a way to stop Katherine, Matt calls for the town of Mystic Falls to be evacuated using the good ole’ gas leak excuse.
Back at the Salvatore House, Damon and Stefan arrive home in full on plotting mode, but Damon stops dead in his tracks when he notices Elena’s casket is open. He’s surprised to see her walk into the room. She runs into his arms, but it’s not Elena. It’s Katherine. Old habits die hard but why not one last time for old time’s sake. And kitty Kat hasn’t lost her sass grinning as she says, “Hello, brothers.” But the Salvatores aren’t into chit chat and just want to know what Katherine did with Elena. Of course, Katherine has to gloat a bit. She reveals that the only reason Cade ever wanted Damon and Stefan is because she did. Bragging she had Cade wrapped around her finger, Katherine vows to have her revenge. When the hell bell brings hellfire it’ll burn down Mystic Falls with Elena inside and she guesses one of the Salvatores will go down with Elena. She’s just not sure which brother it’ll be. Stefan’s had enough of her talking and stabs Katherine with the dagger and he and Damon go to look for Elena.
Across town at the clock tower, Matt explains to his dad that it’s Vicki ringing the hell bell. And at Caroline’s house, she and Ric pack to leave town with the girls. Caroline says she’ll catch up to them, but Ric urges her not to stay behind to help because the girls need her. He doesn’t want Josie and Lizzie to have to grow up without a mom. Ric lays down a hell of a guilt trip and he comes across like an ass, but his heart is in the right place. Caroline decides to stay to help for a bit and agrees to meet up with them at the Armory.
Meanwhile, as Stefan searches Mystic Falls High School for Elena, he discovers she’s inside the school’s boiler room. He scoops her up and attempts to take her to safety, but she’s spelled inside. He calls Damon, who was in the woods searching for Elena. Stefan fills him in on their predicament. Katherine turns up in the woods quite proud of herself that she had Kai put a containment spell on the boiler room trapping Elena inside. Damon and Katherine do their usual bantering back and forth. She taunts him. Kath strikes a nerve by assuming Elena would choose Stefan to stay because she would. Another low blow, Katherine says everyone would always pick Stefan because he’s the better man. Ouch, Katherine. Ouch. Damon is determined though and if Elena is going to die he is going to die by her side. My feels!!
Back at MF High, Caroline meets up with Stefan and he explains to her what’s going on with Elena and Damon’s decision to stay with her. Caroline wants to stay behind to help him try to convince his brother not to die if they can’t free Elena. Stefan says family first. He urges Car to let him try himself and she needs to stay safe for her family, the girls. She understands and agrees with his family first notion. The newlyweds say a tearful goodbye that gets the waterworks going and Caroline takes the tunnels to meet up with Bonnie, Ric, and the twins.
At the Armory, Ric finishes packing and admits to Bonnie it’s not that he doesn’t care about Elena or Damon. He just doesn’t want to fail Lizzie and Josie. Awe. Ric’s such a daddy bear. Bonnie notices Ric and Dorian’s research on mystical energy so Ric explains their theory, but they decided it needed too much mystical energy and a long shot. This gives Bon Bon an idea. Perhaps, the large amount of mystical energy needed could be found when the hell bell causes hellfire. Bon hits pause on her anger regarding Stefan and calls him with a plan. Then before Josie and Lizzie leave Bonnie thanks them for all their help and they go with Ric to the car. Bonnie and Caroline say their goodbyes and the tears start flowing again. Bon assures her she’ll be alright and says “I’m going to save the world.” Then Caroline leaves and joins Ric and the girls.
Meanwhile, Katherine continues to taunt Damon this time while he waits outside the boiler room. She has no faith in Bon Bon. Doesn’t believe she will be able to redirect the hell fire down through the tunnels and to the Armory. There she’ll send it back through the tunnels and back into the bell and hopefully destroy hell. Stefan arrives to break the news that either he or Damon must stay behind to make sure Katherine is dead and in hell when the hellfire ensues. Of course, they cannot agree on who stays behind and sacrifices their life. A guilt-ridden Stefan insists it needs to be him, but Damon remembers his brother is human again. He compels Stefan to go, to leave the tunnels and not stop until his death breaks the compulsion. Damon insists he needs to be a big brother and protect his little brother. Oh, my Defan heart!!
In the clock tower, Vicki continues to ring the bell as instructed. Matt and Peter go up to see her, but she is not the least bit happy to see her long lost dad again. She’s actually quite pissed and who wouldn’t be? He abandoned his family years ago. But then Daddy Maxwell brings on the tears as he admits he just wanted to see his daughter. This hits a nerve with Vick and they all start crying and come together to say goodbye with one big Donovan / Maxwell family hug. And then Peter and Matt go down to the Grill to watch and wait for Vicki to ring the hell bell a final time. Meanwhile, as Ric, Caroline and the girls drive towards safety, Ric explains to her what’s going on and Caroline insists he stop the car. He does and she runs out of the car to call Stefan. Caroline begs for him to call her. Tuggings our heartstrings, Caroline then tells Stefan she understands and she will love him forever as tears run down her face.
At the Armory, Bonnie asks her Grams to hear her as she needs her more than ever and then she starts the spell. The final bell rings its final time and the suspense is out of this world. The spell sends the hellfire down through the tunnels. Damon is with Katherine to make sure she’s in hell and something stops Stefan dead in his tracks and he turns around. The hellfire reaches the Armory and badass Bonnie Bennett stands toe to toe with it. She holds her own, but the hellfire is relentless and her nose starts bleeding. Enzo is there with her to encourage Bonnie and tells her she’s not alone. I literally screamed seeing Grams at Bonnie’s side and then the entire Bennett witch family appears to help send the hellfire back. Such a powerful, badass scene. Loved it. They succeed sending the hellfire back through the tunnels and back into the hell bell. But Bon passes out from exhaustion and I legit thought she was the one who wasn’t going to survive the finale.
But as usual, TVD fools us. Back at Mystic Falls High, Elena stands by the trophy case and then she bumps into Stefan. Just like the pair meet back in season one and ironically all these years later, how the say goodbye. Elena’s confused. Why is she seeing him? Stefan explains how Damon wanted to sacrifice everything and compelled him to leave him behind. But he explains he used vervain so the compulsion didn’t work. So he returned and gave Damon his blood with the cure turning Damon human again. Stefan was the one who stayed behind and sacrificed his life to make sure Katherine was dead. Stefan admits he saw a side of Damon he hasn’t seen in a long, long time.
“Tonight I saw a side of Damon that I hadn’t seen in a while: the older brother I looked up to, the son who enlisted in the Civil War to please his father, the Damon I knew when I was a boy. I wanted that Damon to live, and I wanted you to have an opportunity to get to know him.”
(If you weren’t bawling like a baby through all this, you seriously need to get your humanity switch checked. ) Stefan hugs Elena goodbye and whispers something in her ear. Then Stefan walks through the double doors at the end of the hallway…into the light, where his best friend Lexi is waiting for him with his red Porsche. So many feels….drowning in feels and soggy tissues.
“Dear Diary, Today will be different. Today I will smile and it will be genuine because today is the day that I get to live again.”
In a voice-over diary entry, Elena explains Bon was able to break Kai’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ spell and the besties are reunited. Elena asks about Damon and Bonnie explains he’s with Caroline. They’re in the Salvatore crypt saying goodbye to Stefan. Damon and Caroline come out of the crypt to find Bonnie waiting with Elena. Damon cannot believe his eyes. (And neither could I! Delena is finally reunited!!) They run towards each other and share a passionate kiss.
The ladies catch up, Elena reveals what Stefan whispered to her, he heard Caroline’s voicemail. Tears upon tears and they keep coming as everyone comes together for a memorial for Stefan. Damon leaves his daylight ring. Elena left her necklace. And Car sets the keychain snowglobe of Mystic Falls which is symbolic because he sacrificed his life for the town as well as his family and friends. I also happened to be his secret Santa gift to Caroline and she claimed he was a terrible gift giver, but now he’s given the ultimate gift, his life. (Dear lord here come the tears again.)
In a flash forward, we see where time takes the Mystic Falls gang. Matt continues as Mystic Falls sheriff and had a bench dedicated in his honor. He’s even contemplating running for mayor. Vicki and Tyler found each other again and are watching over Matt. Awe… Bon Bon decides to travel the world and Enzo is shown watching over her. Bonenzo feels. Stefan’s last wish was for Caroline and Ric to have the Salvatore house and they open the Salvatore Boarding House for Gifted Children. Jeremy even moved back to Mystic Falls to help. Jo is seen watching the girls play outside and inside Liz checks up on Caroline. The school even got a hefty donation from Klaus as a thank you and we’re left with a HUGE dangling carrot as Ric teases that it’s a story for another time.
Elena’s in the cemetery journaling in her scrubs. She reveals after med school, she moved back to Mystic Falls. A crow flies by and she smiles. Then Damon meets her and the pair walk out of the cemetery hand and hand and Elena has a big shiny ring on that special finger. Oh, my Delena heart. They walk down the sidewalk past her childhood home and Damon fades away. Elena looks at the Gilbert porch and waiting for her after a long happy life is her mom, dad, and Jenna! John comes out of the front door too. All of the loved ones she lost are there on the Gilbert porch waiting for her. Everyone is happy, smiling and share one big family hug. (Bawling again.)
Stefan is at the Salvatore House and gets up to open the front door. Damon’s on the other side waiting for him. And ironically his last words he says in the series are the exact same as those he first spoke in the pilot. Damon utters “Hello, Brother,” and they hug! The Salvatores truly have come full circle. The brothers reunite in happiness and peace. And if you could see through all the tears, the title at the end is on a white background reinforcing the notion of peace. It’s been a hell of a ride to quote Damon and a fantastic end to such a beloved series. I will leave you with the words of Elena Gilbert on life and TVD has always reminded us what it’s like to be alive.
“In death comes peace, but pain is the cost of living. Like love, it’s how we know we’re alive.”