If you’re anything like me, you were already sobbing by the time Damon uttered the forever epic line in the series finale of The Vampire Diaries.
But even through the tears, it still meant everything for the show to end of this beautiful note with Stefan and Damon hugging as they both found peace at the end of their complicated journeys.
“I Was Feeling Epic.”
The writers could not have chosen a more perfect title for the series finale of a show that many of us will never forget. It’s had its ups and downs, its highs and lows, and now that it’s over, it’ll always hold a special place in my heart.
(Always and forever as a certain Original family is fond of saying).
One of the many things I’ve loved about TVD for the past eight years is the show’s ability to surprise us. Even when we think we know where the plot is going, or what’s going to happen, the writers throw in a twist (or two or ten), to knock us off our feet.
We knew Katherine was coming back. We anticipated it. But I was still surprised when she was the one standing in the Salvatore living room, wearing Elena’s clothes, and greeting Damon like his long lost love. Well played, show.
Katherine’s been pulling the hell strings for a while, and her plan was simple: Vicki rings the bell, unleashes hellfire on Mystic Falls, and then everyone dies. You have to admit, it’s the ultimate revenge. For extra motivation, Katherine hid Elena’s body at the high school. She knew Damon wouldn’t leave without her. Stefan wouldn’t leave without Damon.
The queen of hell guaranteed she’d get to watch all of her enemies burn.
But once again, she underestimated Bonnie. After briefly reuniting with Elena, and getting a push from Enzo, Bonnie returned to the land of the living. She channeled all her energy into completing the spell Ric and Dorian had been working on: all she had to do was push the hellfire back into the tunnels.
I love watching Bonnie be a BAMF. When she began to doubt her own strength, Enzo appeared to remind her she wasn’t alone. And she wasn’t. Because Grams was by her side along with every other Bennett witch. Bonnie succeeded in saving the day one last time.
Of course there was one major problem with the plan: someone needed to stay in the tunnels with Katherine, and keep stabbing her to make sure she went back to hell with the fire. Damon and Stefan argued. Damon wanted to sacrifice himself. It would be his redemption. Except Stefan felt he should be the one to do it since he killed Enzo.
Damon pulled out the big brother card, and followed it up with the vampire card. He compelled Stefan to walk out of the tunnels. Again, I was expecting a twist here. It was just too early in the hour for one of the Salvatore brothers to die. At first, I thought Damon would somehow survive the fire—one last get out of hell free card.
Meanwhile, Caroline and Ric were driving to safety with the girls. When Ric filled Caroline in on the plan, she demanded to be let out of the car. She wanted to call Stefan. Not to stop him—she understood why he was doing what he was doing—she just wanted to hear his voice one last time.
But Stefan didn’t answer. We watched him walk out of the tunnels, but then he seemed to shake off the compulsion, and head back in that direction. The next time we see him, he’s talking to Elena at the high school; filling her in on what Damon wanted to do. For a brief second, this scene felt real.
Except it wasn’t—just like Bonnie and Elena’s brief reunion at the start of the hour, Elena wasn’t awake, and Stefan was somewhere else. Stefan explained to Elena that he’s been taking vervain since he became human (smart), and he doubled back along with a vial of his blood. He injected Damon with the cure, told him he’d earned his redemption, and he needed to live out his happy life with Elena.
Everything about these scenes destroyed my heart: Stefan and Caroline’s goodbye, hours after they became husband and wife. Stefan and Damon’s goodbye, which was full circle from Stefan forcing his brother to become a vampire. Even Stefan being the one to hold Katherine in the hellfire felt right. She ruined his life. He deserved to end hers for a second time.
As someone who loved Stefan and Elena in the early seasons, I’m so happy they got one last moment. Having it at the high school made it even more special. Having their song playing just as it did in the pilot? Epic. A beautiful ending for a first love. Then, Stefan Salvatore found peace, and Lexi was there waiting to greet him.
Back at the Salvatore house, Bonnie BAMF Bennett had one more trick up her sleeve: she found a way to undo Kai’s spell. Elena woke up, and reunited with her best friend. In the crypt, Damon and Caroline were saying goodbye to Stefan. Damon believed his brother found peace, but he still didn’t think he’d have the same fate. Caroline envisioned a brighter future for Damon.
When they walked out, Bonnie and Elena were waiting for them. Damon and Elena shared a reunion kiss—both of them were human. Elena shared Stefan’s last words with Caroline: he heard her message, and he promised to love her forever, too.
(BRB sobbing uncontrollably).
And that’s when the finale began to play with time. We saw Matt thriving as sheriff and considering a run for mayor as Vicki and Tyler looked on from their peaceful afterlife. Bonnie fulfilled her promise to Enzo and made plans to travel the world and live her life to the fullest.
Jo popped up to watch Ric and the girls as they started their new school in honor of Stefan. Jeremy and Dorian were both on hand to help, and Caroline got a generous donation from Klaus (I’m going to give the writers the benefit of the doubt and assume this scene happened at least two years in the future).
They also hinted at a story for another time (which I don’t have the energy to think about right now, but we’ll see what happens on The Originals when it returns next week).
As for Damon and Elena, they lived their lives. Elena went to med school. They got married. And sometime in the distant future, after that long and happy life, Elena was reunited with her parents, Aunt Jenna, and Uncle John (aka her dad) in the afterlife as Damon went to see his brother.
I loved the finale as a whole.
Obviously, as a Steroline fan, I’m disappointed they didn’t get their happy ending (or even a happy wedding night). I wish Stefan could have had years with his love, but sometimes, even the best love stories end in tragedy.
As I’ve said from the beginning: Stefan and Damon are the true heart of the show for me. And even though it broke my heart into a million pieces, I love that Stefan went out a hero. Not only that, he gave his brother more than just the gift of life: he told him he believed he was the better man. After 160+ years, there was nothing but love and forgiveness between the Salvatore brothers.
It’s been an amazing ride, and I will miss this show and these characters forever.
Thank you and goodbye, TVD.