The Vampire Diaries Recap and Review S8Ep16: ‘I Was Feeling Epic’
Honeymooning in Mystic Falls….of course, it calls for an evacuation! Wouldn’t be the end without someone…or EVERYONE in peril! Caroline Forbes, Bonnie Bennett, Matt Donovan, Alaric Saltzman, Stefan Salvatore, Damon Salvatore, Elena Gilbert…..who will die?
Honestly, I don’t even know how to begin the literal end of The Vampire Diaries (this post is likely to contain excessive photos…Screenshots AHOY!), and relay my actual sobbing during the whole episode (I promise the good and bad moments). This was quintessentially a TVD episode and thankfully the creators gave us nothing less than perfection for each of our beloved Vampire squad.
Thankfully, the first thing we see is Elena Gilbert and Bonnie Bennett traipsing through the woods….ohh what could this spell! Seems Bonnie ended the last episode on the verge of literal death and because of the magic tying her to Elena, they were able to have one last wonderful conversation. Thus, Elena demanded what happened and let Bonnie know that all of this was too early. Enzo appeared and agreed (that psychic link is awesome). So, Bonnie returned to the land of the living thanks to the help of Stefan and Caroline.
‘I Was Feeling Epic’ is one of the shows most perfect lines for the finale, and originally spoken by Lexi (the perfect best friend). It turns out it Stefan’s best parting line, as he gave up his life for everyone. Now as someone who loves and hates him, this was possibly the perfect ending for the younger Salvatore. Also, I had to spoil it a little, because so much happened in this episode that I can’t even emotionally think straight!
In the funniest turn of events, OMG I’m so happy that the show made so much seriousness comical, Vicki is easily manipulated and killed (excessively) to prevent hell from rising. Well, that is until they let Matt Donovan see his sister. For a character so thrown to the wayside for 8 years, it’s amazing that they give him such a perfect ending. There’s the part with his sister, where he ends up letting her continually ring the bell, but also where he ends up saving the town completely (spoilers)!
Katherine is an easy find, as the brothers return to Salvatore house and Ms. Pierce is playing the same game she always has…mimicking Elena! Other than hiding the body of Elena, Katherine is easily handled and it is the best thing possible. “After 153 odd years, this banter we have is just old”…Katherine Pierce is old, her tricks are old, and at the end of it all the Salvatores are having none of it…que stabbing her in the heart with her own bone dagger! It doesn’t kill her, as it did Cade, sadly. But before it happens you do learn that she made Cade obsessed with her and she had been planning this coup all along. Luckily, nothing ever works in her favor!
Sadly, there just isn’t that much time left to work on their plan. Elena body is missing, but luckily a human Stefan happens to find her laying in the boiler room at the old high school. The catch being Katherine has spelled the room so that Elena’s body can’t be taken from it. So, they know that one of them will die because Damon will never leave Elena’s body to ‘officially’ die alone.
Kai’s last punishment.
Katherine, in all her glory, wakes up from one of the first bone stabbings to be her normal curly haired and grumpy self (THE WIG ON NINA DOBREV IS SO BAD)!!!!!!!! She’s not negotiating, she just wants hell unleashed on Mystic Falls because it’s the long game. Damon reminds her that no matter what she does they will always choose Elena over her, and it’s ironic because Stefan has moved on to love another. Katherine doesn’t hesitate to tell Damon that she would never choose him and that she would always choose Stefan, because, well, he’s the better man. Luckily after all the shit we’ve put up with from Katherine over the years Damon just isn’t dealing with it; he stabs her AGAIN with the bone dagger. At this point the bone dagger is so comical it hurts, it’s so funny.
Perfect use of Katherine, ignore her until it mostly goes away!
Sadly, in the midst of all of this Ric tells Caroline that she can’t help the Salvatore brothers because he refuses to allow his girls to grow up without their mother. He even pulls the Trump card of Caroline missing her own mother to make a point. In terms of growing up, it’s a beautiful moment for one of our leads to own up to. Even Stefan agrees and they have a sad parting in the halls of the old high school. Sadly, know what comes later (had to spoil it before the internet did for you) it’s even more poignant that even though they married just hours before they will put their family first; Stefan to say goodbye to his brother and Caroline to protect her daughters.
One final “I Love you” from both segway’s into Caroline leaving to go to the safe zone that is The Armory. Ironically, it’s how they come up with the final idea that will destroy Katherine (because we know this is going to happen). Aka, project ‘Hail, Mary’ which is Ric and Dorian’s last ditch effort to destroy Cade’s hell. Turns out it could destroy Katherine….if they can control and the direct the hellfire and make sure she’s in it when she tries to unleash it. Ding, DONG, the WITCH COULD FINALLY BE DEAD!
Bonnie, having rediscovered that her magic still exists within her, takes this on her her project. This being the first of the moments were nail biting over who may die comes into play. Even though I spoiled who it was, so many of our favorites we’re on the line through the hour.
Ever martyring himself, Stefan tries to stay behind with Damon and Katherine, so that he is the one who sacrifices himself for the group. He tells Damon that, his brother has earned the right to live with Elena after everything amazing that he has done, and if Stefan stays behind this is the best way he can make up for everything he has done to everyone as a Ripper.
Damon won’t hear any of it, and because Stefan is human now he just compels him to leave the town to that he can’t be harmed and can go off to his new wife. Stefan, however, isn’t stupid and has been taking vervain since the day he became human. Heartbroken on both sides, Stefan hides this fact from his brother so that he can prepare to save Damon. All the while Damon thinks he can make sure all his loved ones are happy and protected. So, at this point, it looks like even Damon may be the major player to die.
In the meantime, Matt Donovan finds his father and they both try and say goodbye to Vicki. Aka, they’re not trying to stop her, and they know that if the plan works in any way Vicki will be able to find peace. It’s nice that the Donovan’s, who have been basically shit on the whole series, find closure with each other in the final moments of the show. Matt and Matt’s dad person say goodbye to Vicki and it even gives her soul some closure.
As Vicki strikes the 12th ring, Ric, who has escaped the city with Caroline, finally lets Mrs. Salvatore in on what her husband had planned. It’s heart-wrenching when she realizes that Stefan is going to sacrifice himself, but when she calls Stefan (sadly, only getting his voicemail) she reiterates something she had told him earlier….that she gets it and understands. She loves him and she’s leaving to fulfill her promise to him and her children. It’s so very adult and incredible in that moment how much these characters have grown to understand each other and themselves.
Onto the real situation that’s about to occur….HELLFIRE! Bonnie prepares at the armory to disperse the fire through the underground tunnels, instead of throughout the town. With Enzo around believing in her, she starts chanting the spell that can hold back the fire, but she isn’t alone. Every single Bennett witch that has passed on joins her in the chant, including Grams, and Bonnie finds the beauty of her magic inside herself once again. It’s a touching and heartbreaking moment, but one of the best goodbyes to the Bennetts the show could produce. Thankfully, they hold back the fire to the tunnels so that Stefan can fulfill his plan.
This is the point when Elena finally and truly returns to the show (not being paraded as Katherine) and she and Stefan speak with each other in the old hallway where they technically first met, in the High School. But this is where we learn that Stefan has died and that he is saying his farewell to her, instead of having just stayed behind and protected her at the school. Right before this, Bonnie had collapsed from the spell and it looked like it could have been the end for her. Turns out though this was really Stefan in Elena’s sleep prison saying goodbye. He leaves her with a message for Caroline and his goodbyes.
It is so appropriate and beautiful how Stefan sacrifices himself everyone else, and in the end truly protected and righted the wrongs he committed against his brother. It’s also pretty fitting that it is Stefan who holds Katherine up against the hellfire to destroy her once and for all. There is one little bit thought that he relays to Elena before he died…he gave Damon the cure that was in his blood. So when Elena returns to the brother that she loves above all, they can live a human life together. It was Stefan’s last parting gift.
The gift of humanity was also something Stefan left for Elena. In an eloquent speech in the hallway, he lets her know that he hopes with being human, Elena can finally get to the know the side of Damon that only Stefan knew. The good brother, the kind and thoughtful man, and the boy who tried to please an awful father. He contradicts Katherine’s earlier statements about Stefan being the better man and tells Elena that Damon had always been the better man and he hoped that Elena and Damon would go on to have an incredible life together. Thus ending the love triangle once and for all…
Stefan walks away at the point and when he exits at the end of the hallway….it seems he may be leaving everyone for peace and warmth. Guess hell really is destroyed and his sacrifice leaves the younger Salvatore in an afterlife he could have only dreamed of.
Luckily it starts off with heading outside and out there, leaning on a car is Lexi, waiting for him, thrilled and proud of him. Guess the afterlife is going to be incredible for Stefan Salvatore! Also…this is where every single person who every died on the show returns for a brief moment and we all cry our ever living hearts out at how beautiful it is! Not gonna lie that I had to pause most of the end to blow my nose…I also can’t share every single possible screencap I took….The rest of the recap would fall to the wayside if I did.
At this point most of the episode becomes a voice over from Elena…and she wakes up to see Bonnie! Looks like after realizing her magic just lay dormant in her, she believes that she can counteract Kai’s magic and she does. So, as everyone is saying goodbye to Stefan at his grave, Bonnie wakes up Elena. She being the only balm to anyone’s soul after his loss.
In the happiest of endings (or as possible TVD could create) Damon comes to an understanding with Caroline and they end as family; all of this right before Damon has his happiness handed back to him in the form of Elena. Their reunion is beautiful and poignant. Just as is Elena’s reunion with both her best friends. This is helped even more so when Elena passes on Stefan’s final message, which was to Caroline, that he heard her message and that he will love her forever. Cue all the damn waterworks again!
The remainder of the episode is a montage of how life goes on for everyone; all starting with Stefan’s funeral and everyone leaving little trinkets. Damon his daylight ring, Elena her necklace, and Caroline a small Mystic Falls snowglobe…still crying. But even Elena brings up that the truest thing about losing someone is that “Life goes on.”
The remainder that we get to see is some incredible flashes of character we have missed….DR QUINN MEDICINE WOMAN! Jo makes a brief flash to look over her children and Alaric. Ric goes on to create the school he had started dreaming of with Caroline. All in the Salvatore boarding house of course…so now Ric is Professor X. It’s all very fitting!
Caroline as the last vampire in the group (wonder if she’s going to go on and join The Originals!) helps out Ric but also receives a surprising donation from Klaus Mikaelson. His letter with the massive donation being moe heartfelt and honest that I think he has ever been. He is proud of Caroline and how she has treated her gift of immortality. It’s an extra beautiful moment when we see Jeremy Gilbert, having returned to help teach at this new school for gifted children.
Bonnie is keeping her promise to Enzo to live life to the fullest, and she’s preparing to travel the world and do just that! He is always there, of course, to remind her of what she needs, her passport, and push her just a bit more until the day she can return to him.
Matt Donovan is finally rewarded for all the dedication he has given Mystic Falls and receives a bench in the square. He also contemplates running for mayor one day.
Then the end is really upon us and the last person to see is Elena. Her voice over tells us that she went on to med school and then came back to Mystic Falls. Turns out she wanted to grow old there and she did. We don’t know how long she lived or any of her other accomplishments, but she and Damon grew old together. She writes in her journal about how Stefan changed her life…
“And that’s my life: weird, messy, complicated, sad, wonderful, amazing, and above all, epic. And I owe it all to Stefan. When I met him, I had lost my parents and I was dead inside. But he brought me back to life, and I’m going to live it as best I can for as long as I can.”
He gave her the opportunity to have the life she always wanted and she’s grateful for that. At the end of all things we see Damon and Elena walking together and soon it becomes clear it is after they have passed on. Elena walks by her old house and sitting on the porch are her parents, Jenna, and her biological dad. They’re all happy and Elena is home.
On the flip side, after Stefan died Damon never thought he would be able to see his brother again because he didn’t know where Stefan ended up. But when his spirit parts with Elena at the end, he walks to the Salvatore house and Stefan is there waiting for him with a hug. It’s a gut-wrenching but incredible, moment, for the show. The tumultuous relationship of the Salvatore brothers is finally at peace, and the last shot the show and its creators give us is that of the brothers hugging.
…That’s it! It’s been a long time coming, 8 seasons and many laughs, tears, heartache, and tons of romance! It’s been a good ride Vampire Diaries and we will miss you! But props to Julie Plec and all the shows writers and creators on giving us a tremendous end. There’s so much more to say, and so many nods in this episode to the first season, so if you watch it be on the lookout for virtually everything. But, in the end, the show gave us the Salvatore brothers and their multi-century story. They both end up finding peace and that’s the best end anyone of us could have asked for…
…We’re all going to go cry a little more and rewatch everything!