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‘The Vampire Diaries’ Review: ‘I’ll Wed You in the Golden Summertime’

So that happened. It’s really tempting to jump right into talking about the way The Vampire Diaries ended last night instead of starting at the beginning. I’ll be good and do this the right way, but I do want to say that the ending is exactly why I love this show so much. We knew something terrible would happen from the moment the episode kicked off with Bonnie dreaming that Lily and Kai were terrorizing her. But it still played out with an emotional punch in the stomach when all was said and done and left me wishing for a time machine to next Thursday.

I’ll Wed You in the Golden Summertime” centered on the preparations for Jo and Alaric’s wedding along with Stefan and Elena doing everything in their power to make sure Damon really understood what he was risking with his decision to turn human. The episode brought the return of the Caroline Forbes we know and love and continued to cement Bonnie’s status as the smartest person in town. There were plenty of light moments mixed in with the emotional heaviness and then there was that ending. Let’s talk about everything.

5. Honorable Mentions

-Liv returned with a brand new haircut and the same bad attitude. But I was on her side when Tyler broke up with her so I didn’t blame her for still being mad. Tyler was still mad too, but something (mostly the synopsis for the season finale) makes me believe these two aren’t quite done yet.

-Enzo brought Lily an MP3 player of songs from her time. That’s kind of sweet, but I’m still not feeling this character. Once Lily escaped, Enzo was by her side to greet the rest of the family, but they didn’t show. Could they still be in the prison world? I doubt it. It’s more likely they’re waiting for the season finale to unleash these witchpires.

-Stefan teasing Elena about whether there was about to be another brother swap now that she’s human was hilariously adorable. I also liked Elena giving Stefan a push to admit that he didn’t want Damon to be human because he’d lose him.

the-vampire-diaries-621-024. Caroline’s Apology Tour

I hated more than I loved humanity-free Caroline so it was a joy to have the real Caroline back as she marched into wedding headquarters and took over for Jo’s flu-ridden wedding planner. Caroline even had Matt and Tyler jumping to do her bidding because Type A Caroline means business. She also had a lot of amends to make starting with Elena, who assured her that she didn’t need an apology (#friendship). Caroline went to Tyler next and he wasn’t amused by being tortured, but he was ready to get over it until Caroline started pushing him about his life choices (maybe not the best time, Care). But I liked this scene because they know each other so well and the brutal honesty on both sides was refreshing to hear.

Caroline did her best to avoid Stefan until he walked right up to her and asked if they could talk. First, he wanted to talk about Damon and Caroline understood why he didn’t want to lose his brother and assured him that he was not being selfish. Again, I loved this because these two are best friends and when your life is falling apart you need your best friend. I’m glad they put their messy romantic stuff aside for a moment to tackle that. Of course they had to address the elephant in the room. Caroline worried that Stefan hated her, but he quickly told her that wasn’t the case and he took her hand and forgave her. But Caroline wasn’t ready to pick up where their humanity-free selves left off because she’d made a list of all the bad things she’s done since she fell for Stefan.

Stefan, because he’s Stefan and therefore the best, told her that he felt the same way and that’s what happens when you fall for someone: you have to give up control and become vulnerable. Caroline knew he was right, but she wasn’t ready to give up control yet. It was all she had left and it was her way of coping with everything she’d done. This hurt my shipper heart, but I also think it’s for the best at the moment. Caroline needs to be comfortable in her own skin again before she can even think about falling into a romance with Stefan. You do you, girl. Stefan’s a patient guy and he will wait.

3. Stefan and Damon take a trip to Suburbia

Is there anything better than a Salvatore brother road trip? It’s right up there with a Mikaelson dinner party. Stefan “kidnapped” Damon, who made a hilarious quip about neglecting his best man duties and leaving Ric with the worst men, to show him what life would be like as a human. Stefan took Damon to a suburban house he’d once used to start over (how many houses does Stefan own?) and introduced Damon to the horrors of neighbors, annoying children, bills, taxes, frozen dinners and basically everything else that us normal people suffer on a daily basis. He also told Damon that he couldn’t borrow money from him because they wouldn’t be able to see each other in case Damon’s enemies used Stefan to find out where he was.

But Damon was a step ahead of his brother. Remember Elena’s human fantasy? Damon bought a bar with an apartment over it for them in an undisclosed location that was not Tribeca because New York and Damon do not mix. Stefan was impressed and made a call to Elena to tell her that maybe they were wrong and Damon had thought this through. Elena still worried so asked Stefan to push him harder. Stefan got inside Damon’s head and showed him images of Damon and Elena fighting and then he went further and showed him what would happen if a human Elena dies and human Damon was left all alone. He also taunted him about how he once considered Elena his soulmate until she changed her mind and maybe that could happen to them too. Damon was not amused by any of this, but Stefan did his job and shook his brother up when it came to the realities of a human future.

the-vampire-diaries-621-032. Damon shares his decision with Elena

After Stefan apparently abandoned him in the suburbs with no way to get to his best friend’s wedding, Damon showed up and met Elena in the empty church (which wasn’t really a church, but it was set up like one so just go with it). He told her he’d made his decision, but then something happened. We get to see Damon destroying the kid’s soccer ball and compelling him to go steal his mom’s car keys so Damon can leave (hilarious). But then Damon sees an older couple getting out of their car that he’d much rather steal until he listens to them bickering and teasing each other and still being in love after 40 years. And that’s when Damon made the decision to be human. He tells Elena that he wants to be her husband and her partner and the father of her children. He’s been a vampire for a long time, but now all he wants is to be with her.

It was a great speech that Ian Somerhalder delivered flawlessly. Who wouldn’t want to spend forever with him after that? With the church setting in the background, it was like Damon and Elena were the ones exchanging their vows and even if we didn’t know Nina Dobrev was leaving the show next week, I think this moment would have made the audience instantly know that something terrible would happen to make sure these two never got their real happy ending (or at least not any time soon). Afterward, they disappeared into the barn to have lots of sex and lost track of time until Damon’s vamp senses heard the wedding music. They got their clothes back on just in time to walk down the aisle and join their friends at the altar, where Damon shared his happy human news. Alaric told him that he was proud of him and Damon returned the sentiment (#bromance).

the-vampire-diaries-621-041. Did anyone really think the wedding would go off without a hitch?

Let’s backtrack for a moment. Bonnie shared her premonitions with Matt and they agreed that they didn’t trust the Salvatore brothers to do the right thing when it came to Lily. So they decided they would kidnap her and take her somewhere else. I have to side with Bonnie on this one because Damon and Stefan are not making the smartest choice because she’s their mother, and while I do love Annie Wersching and everything she brings to the show, Lily needs a stake in the heart. But when they got to the cell, Lily was gone. Their first thought was that Enzo sprang her, but then they were attacked by an unseen person and ended up unconscious. Or Matt ended up unconscious and Bonnie was bleeding all over the floor. I think we all know what happened even before Bonnie told Matt who did it (as the scene conveniently cut away).

The normal craziness leading up to the wedding was fun to watch: last minute glitches, Jo alternating between freaking out and laughing like a crazy person, Papa Parker showing up in time to walk his daughter down the aisle, Elena and Alaric taking a moment to discuss how awesome it felt to be human and alive again, Jo warning Ric not to use the word “big” around a pregnant woman and then Ric saying his vows and melting my heart with his talk of fate and how they shouldn’t even be there, but they were going to keep fighting fate together. And then it was Jo’s turn and she joked about him being a tough act to follow and that’s when an invisible force stabbed her in the stomach. Kai appeared as Jo collapsed in Ric’s arms and apparently a church filled with vampires and witches were too stunned to do anything (Dear Show: Please don’t let her die!). Papa Parker was the first one to attempt to get up, but Kai used his magic to shove him down before addressing the room.

He made a terrible joke about how he’d thought about waiting for the ‘death do us part’ and then he asked everyone if they missed him (I did! Kai might be the villain, but Chris Wood is the best). Then Kai used his magic to give everyone one of those witch-y migraines (or something that made them clutch their heads) and as the windows shattered and the chandeliers fell from the ceiling, Elena was knocked to the ground under the debris with no vampire defenses. Damnit, Kai. And then The CW ripped my heart out with an Elena-centric promo that included so many flashbacks:

They released another promo this morning, which I can’t even talk about. Watch it for yourselves with some tissues handy.

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.