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'The Vampire Diaries' recap: 'Let Her Go'

Liz’s funeral forces Damon to remember his own mother, and Bonnie makes a major discovery in the prison world.

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Annette Brown/The CW

The Vampire Diaries

TV Show
run date:
Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley
The CW

There were so many things I loved about this hour. It had the dramatic impact that comes along with saying goodbye to a beloved character; it had multiple twists; it had romance; and more than anything, it had 10-year-old Stefan, with his gorgeous hair and sparkling eyes. Altogether, these elements created an hour that flew by and yet, it’s one that I’ll remember for a while.

We start things back in Caroline/Liz’s memory of Caroline’s first bike ride. Last we saw, Caroline was riding on her own. Now? Well, like all kids, she crashed and needs her mother to fix her up. First asking if her cuts and scrapes mean that she’s going to die, baby Caroline then wonders if her mother will die. Liz tells her, “Everyone dies eventually sweetie, but not for a long, long time.” And if Liz dies and Caroline’s still around? “You’ll be all grown up and you won’t need me,” Liz says. Oh-so-wise little Caroline then responds, “I think I’ll always need you.” With that, Caroline wakes up from her sleep.

Sleeping on a couch in the Salvatore house, Caroline is surrounded by friends, with Matt and Tyler sleeping on the floor, Elena on a couch, and Stefan asleep in what looks like the world’s most uncomfortable chair. In the kitchen, Caroline finds Damon trying to write Liz’s eulogy. But when Damon tries to explain that he thinks Liz wanted to teach him a lesson about his own mother, well, Caroline stops him there. She’s not exactly trying to kick off the worst day of her life by bonding with Damon.

And they definitely don’t bond. Instead, Damon informs Caroline that today won’t be the worst day of her life. That will come next week, once her support group has gone back to life as usual and she’s stuck without her mom. And someone remind me why we are letting him write the eulogy?

But instead of letting her emotions get the best of her, Caroline does what she does best: Makes a checklist and starts handing out tasks. First up, she and Elena are going casket shopping.

Brief pause for our first glimpse at Bonnie, who is on day 278 of living in the prison world. But considering that she successfully retrieved Qetsiyah’s headstone and has sucked the magic out of it, she shouldn’t be here much longer. That is, of course, unless Kai dies…

Speaking of whom, when Kai shows up on Jo’s doorstep vomiting blood, things aren’t looking good, especially considering that Jo spent the entire morning vomiting. Kai’s theory is that, by merging with the wrong twin, he’s going to die. And if he dies, the entire coven dies, and all the prison worlds collapse. That’s right, prison worlds, as in plural. Kai’s solution? For Jo to willingly give him her magic. More on that in a moment.

First, we have to go back in time and meet adorable baby Stefan, who’s trying to tie a tie for his mom’s funeral. Big—much older?—brother Damon steps in to help when Stefan says the most Stefan thing you could ever imagine: He’s not going to cry at his mom’s funeral because his mother’s angel visited him in his sleep and told him everything will be alright. He then asks his big brother how the eulogy is coming. Even then, he was so responsible and optimistic. I can’t handle it.

Back in present day, Stefan is once again checking to see how Damon’s eulogy is going, but the youngest Salvatore quickly switches gears to ask Damon for Caroline advice. When Stefan tells Damon they kissed, he—and the rest of America—responds, “Finally.” But when Stefan doesn’t know how to handle it, Damon tells him to let Caroline go. “She’s not the one. If she was, you wouldn’t have to ask,” Damon tells him. According to big brother, Stefan has been in love twice—and yes, they had the same face, get over it—so he knows what it feels like. And if it doesn’t feel like that then it’s not true love and he should let her go… but not today. Definitely not today.

While casket shopping, Caroline and Elena have a similar conversation, only the outcome is very different: Caroline needs to know how Stefan is feeling and she decides that she needs to know today. (This should go well.)

Speaking of things that should go well, Damon still hasn’t finished his eulogy when Elena comes to gather him for the funeral. But when she tells him he’s a nice(ish) person and speaks a few words of wisdom about how the eulogy isn’t about Liz or Damon, but rather that it’s about Caroline, Damon finds his inspiration, once again flashing back to his mother’s service and the look on baby Stefan’s face when he showed up after having missed the chance to give a eulogy. Let’s just say baby Stefan cries, and I’ve never felt pain like this before in my life.

Across town, Jo contemplates giving up her magic, and Alaric promises to support her no matter what. More specifically, he tells her, “I loved you when you weren’t a witch, and I’m pretty sure I will still love you regardless.” Technically, he’s 92 percent sure. And yes, he did just drop the “L” bomb. Moments later, Jo has decided to give her magic to Kai, because, you know.

The bad news? All of this Kai drama has pulled Bonnie from her prison world—where it was nearly time for the eclipse—and put her in a snowy tundra where she finds a house … with pictures of Damon and Stefan? With the Northern Lights shining bright outside, Bonnie finds a journal: She’s in Nov. 1, 1903. But why?

NEXT: “Goodbye, Sheriff.”