Because The Vampire Diaries does death so often—and most of the time, it doesn’t stick—it’s easy to lose sight of just how well this show actually does it. And tonight, we said goodbye to Sheriff Forbes in a way that felt like a combination of Rose’s death and Alaric’s death for me. Of course, the Rose thing ties in with Caroline using her vampire abilities to get inside her mom’s head, but it reminded me of Alaric’s death in the way that everyone gathered in her room. Sure, some people were missing, but you got the point.
And when this show is at its best is when all the people we love are together… and also when it’s throwing a twist at us, which was another thing this hour did when Jeremy decided to become a vampire hunter instead of going to art school. Add the tears with the shock factor, and tonight proved to be a strong hour for the show.
We start in a flashback to the day that Elena’s parents died. Liz is at work—back when Carol Lockwood’s alcoholism and bonfires were her biggest issues—when she gets a call about the accident at Wickery Bridge. Cut to present day, and as Liz cleans out her office, she decides to open up her box of ongoing cases. Pretty soon after that, she decides Damon’s the man to help her find some answers.
But before Damon can head to Liz’s office, he has to first compel Jeremy’s principal to give him a high school degree despite his attendance issues—and his lack of spelling ability. But instead of showing the principal a video of Jeremy ripping his shirt open—which I, personally, think would’ve done the trick–Damon uses his vampy tricks and rewards Little Gilbert with both a degree and some weed from Jo’s stash.
But Jer is way ahead of Damon, already taking going-away shots with Matt and Alaric. (Tyler gets a pass because he dumped Liv.) However, the party gets interrupted in record time when Enzo calls Matt with a little surprise… and in walks Sarah Salvatore, who’s been hired to take some photos for The Grill. But as Matt will later find out, she’s just as good at posing for photos as she is at taking them. More on that later!
Away from Mystic Falls, Caroline and Stefan spend the episode preparing a surprise for Liz. They’re setting up an old cabin to be the perfect place for her to rest in her final days. Once at the house, Stefan quickly gets to work fixing exposed wires, but Caroline seems more concerned with his exposed biceps. But despite him telling her that there’s no place he’d rather be, she’s still convinced that he’s only helping because Liz asked him to look after her.
Cut to a little bit later, and Caroline is opening a bottle of booze she bought for her mother—mostly because she can’t decide what book should go on Liz’s bedside table and potentially be the last thing she reads. And then a little while after that? Well, Stefan and Caroline are having a moment on the porch. This show and front porches, am I right?
On the porch, Stefan tells Caroline that he’s realized that it doesn’t matter what book is on the nightstand for Liz because life isn’t about your final moments. It’s about the moments that led up to them. Caroline knows, but as always, she just wanted a little control. Taking her hand, Stefan tells her that if anyone can control death, it’s her. Quickly falling into Stefan’s beautiful green eyes, Caroline pulls herself back by telling him that she knows that he’s only here because Liz asked. But that’s not why. “You’re my friend,” he tells her. Plus, Stefan knows what it’s like to lose a mother. But most importantly, when she told him she hated him, it was pretty much the worst thing he’d heard in a long time.
Of course, she never really hated him. Brushing her hair away from her face, Stefan looks at Caroline in a way he hasn’t before. And then, backlit by the sun, they kiss. It’s incredibly slow and incredibly beautiful, and it’s followed by some incredible dialogue.
Caroline: “One of us should probably say something.”
Stefan: “Go for it.”
Caroline: “Not that.”
There’s something oddly comforting about the fact that even vampires aren’t good at transitioning from friends to something more.
NEXT: Goodbye, Liz (and Jeremy)