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‘The Vampire Diaries’ Season 5 Finale Review: Meet Me on the Other Side

Annette Brown/The CW

The cast and producers promised that there would be more death in the season finale of The Vampire Diaries and they were not kidding. At one point in the episode, it seemed like more characters were dead than alive. By the time “Home” ended, some of those deaths had been undone, others had become permanent and some fates were left up in the air until the show returns in the fall.

So it was just another typical night in Mystic Falls, right? It’s true that after five seasons, death doesn’t really trouble the audience as much as it did in season one. Last week we watched Stefan die in a completely underwhelming and unworthy scene and it was hard not to be bitter about that – the show’s hero deserved more than a random guy, who happened to inhabit Tyler’s body, ripping his heart out. But it wasn’t the end of the world because we knew Stefan would be back sooner or later (preferably sooner).

However, there was an issue with his return, just like there was with Enzo’s and Bonnie’s. The Other Side has been disintegrating ever since the Travelers’ spell allowed Markos to escape. We’d seen Vicky sucked into oblivion and more of our favorite characters were at risk if they didn’t find a way to bring them back. That’s where tonight’s finale began: Damon was desperate to save Stefan and Alaric and everyone else they cared about, but they needed to find a witch and a Traveler who could help them.

Enzo promised to find a Traveler and Elena and Caroline set out to find two witches to help them. Liv and Luke had been on their way out of town and weren’t exactly eager to help bring back a doppelganger, even after Elena insisted they were going to kill the Travelers. Caroline wasn’t in the mood to negotiate so she snapped Luke’s neck so now Liv had a bigger stake in the game with her brother being trapped on the Other Side too. Unfortunately, he wasn’t the only one who ended up there early in the episode: Markos forced Liz to watch as he had the magic stripped away from Tyler until he was just a teenage boy with the werewolf gene and a broken neck (thanks, Klaus). So that was one more person who needed to be brought back.

The plan was simple (or as simple as any crazy murder plot can be): Liz would have all the Travelers gather at the Mystic Grill while Jeremy and Matt sabotaged the gas line. Then someone just needed to set off the explosion, which was where Damon came in. He planned to drive his car into the restaurant, something Elena was not okay with. To further complicate matters, Liz was trapped in the Grill with Markos, but she beat him over the head with her gun and then texted Damon that it was a go. Elena got in the car with Damon and they had to speed through the town and into the Grill before all of their vampirism was stripped away because they couldn’t die human.

As if that wasn’t enough of a gamble, Silas (!!!!) was the Traveler that Enzo recruited to help with the spell. Bonnie was not impressed with his sass as he instructed her on how to do the spell and basically promised that he was going to kill tons of people when he returned. Enzo was nearly sucked into oblivion, but Bonnie helped him and let Silas get taken instead. Grams appeared and had a heartbreaking chat with her granddaughter over what Bonnie was doing because there was no way she was going to survive since she was the anchor. But Grams insisted that she had connections of her own and she’d made some kind of deal to make sure that Bonnie would be okay.

Damon and Elena succeeded in blowing up the Grill and passing to the Other Side as vampires. But it was still a race against time because they had to return to their bodies in the burned out car. Elena got there first and Alaric was there to greet her (!!!!!). He insisted that she join the others and he’d look for Damon. Damon found Liz passed out under some debris, but it looks like she’s going to be okay. Alaric and Damon had a typical reunion where Alaric teased him about getting the girl and then blowing her up before heading out to find the others.

Luke was the first one to pass back to being alive because he was worried about Liv, who was slowly dying from the spell. But she insisted on continuing because she’d promised. Enzo strolled out next and said a brief hello to Caroline (one of the few characters who did not die) before going on his way. Tyler came out next and hugged Caroline, only to comment that it felt weird. He cut his palm with a rock and when it didn’t heal, he realized he wasn’t a hybrid anymore (he died a human with a werewolf gene and that’s how he came back).

Elena, Stefan and Lexi were waiting for Damon and Alaric, but Bonnie knew she wasn’t going to last much longer so she forced Elena through. When Bonnie started to collapse, Stefan reached for her and then he ended up back in the land of the living as well. That’s when Markos showed up and tried to pass through, but Lexi put her hero hair on and stopped him, sending him into the oblivion. Bonnie offered to let her through, but Lexi refused. She could see that it was killing Bonnie and she wanted to make sure Damon got back to Stefan (aw!). That was the final act Lexi needed to find peace and even though it’s sad that we won’t see her anymore, it was a beautiful ending.

Damon and Alaric arrived just as Luke was forcing Liv to stop the spell. Alaric made it through, but Damon and Bonnie were left behind with no way out. Stefan broke down in Caroline’s arms when he realized the two people he’d known the longest in the world were not coming back to him and Bonnie left Damon and Elena alone so they could say goodbye. Elena couldn’t see Damon, but she begged him to come back to her and Damon told her that he could die happy because life didn’t get any better than being loved by her. Alaric arrived to comfort Elena and Bonnie finally told Jeremy the truth: that she’d known all along that there was no hope for her.

Jeremy tried to get to Bonnie in time, but she’d already slipped into the Other Side. Damon and Bonnie stood together as the Other Side crumbled around them. Bonnie took Damon’s hand and they faced a white light, wondering if it would hurt and that’s when everything faded. That was definitely a pretty effective cliffhanger, but not because the audience will be wondering whether or not Damon and Bonnie are gone for good – we know better than that, this is The Vampire Diaries.

The question is what’s going to happen to them? We know Grams made a deal that would protect Bonnie and when Bonnie took Damon’s hand, she most likely saved his life. But will they get to go back to being alive or will they be sent to another spirit world? We know from The Originals that not all dead supernatural beings were sent to the Other Side. They could land in completely uncharted territory when season six opens and that’s exciting.

It’s also exciting that Alaric is alive AND Matt Davis has signed on to be a regular once more for season six (that is seriously the best news I’ve heard all day). Alaric is back, Tyler is human, there were plenty of Stefan and Caroline romance hints dropped in the finale (mostly by Lexi) and everyone will be reeling from the loss of Bonnie and Damon. Plus, there’s the matter of Mystic Falls itself. Can they go home again or will the Traveler’s curse remain in effect? Because if vampires still can’t set foot in Mystic Falls, that’s going to be one more problem for the list.

Season five had its ups and downs, but I enjoyed most of it. I thought tonight’s finale did a great job hitting the reset button and leaving a lot of potential story threads for season six. And have I mentioned that Alaric is back? Aside from Stefan, he was the person I wanted to come back to life most. I’m very excited to see what’s next for the show and the characters. Too bad October is so far away…

Now it’s your turn. Hit the comments and share your thoughts and theories with us. Did you enjoy the finale? Were you said about the permanent deaths? Where do you think Bonnie and Damon will end up? How do you feel about Tyler being human again? Whose grief made you cry more – Damon’s over Stefan or Stefan’s over Damon or Elena’s over Damon or Damon’s goodbye to Elena?

 

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.

  • DelenasPromise

    Damon needs to be back! I hope he makes it back in Season 6 because he and Elena finally got to an adult and healthy relationship! And let’s be honest, TVD really needs that!