By Samantha Highfill
March 28, 2019 at 10:00 PM EDT
Jace Downs/The CW
S1 E16
A
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There are a lot of things that make a good season finale. Shocking twists. Romantic confessions. And, of course, answers to the big questions posed throughout the year. Not only did this Legacies finale have all of those things, but it managed to bring together all the best elements of the season in a way that makes the entire season, as a whole, better. With every piece of the puzzle that was put together in this finale, you realized that the show had been setting the stage for it for a long time. This hour was funny. It was sad. It was shocking. And it offered up the kind of payoff that only the best finales can.

We start with MG’s mom showing up and tranquilizing both Nia and her son before moving her son to the secret tunnel underneath the school. (Mystic Falls loves secret tunnels, but did this exist in Vampire Diaries? I don’t remember a tunnel under the Salvatore mansion but a lot has changed.) MG’s mom is trying to get him to safety by sending him away from the school, which Triad is currently invading. It’s there that MG spots a blood fountain — it is even creepier than it sounds — which is preventing the students at the school from using magic. Realizing he can’t leave his friends, MG goes to hug his mom but instead, he uses her own tranquilizer gun on her.

With Dorian and Ric stuck at a roadblock — someone blew up Wickery Bridge, which is arguably the least-safe bridge in the world — the students are left to help Triad locate a chalice, which they believe to be the third artifact that can unlock Malivore. Shockingly, Hope is not into helping Triad. She, Josie, and Lizzie head into Ric’s office to find the school cell phone and call him. But that’s not all they find: Without any magic at the school, a cloaking spell on one of Ric’s bookshelves has worn off, and on it is a red box. More on that later.

Hope calls Ric, who asks her to do nothing, but of course, she ignores him. Ric then leaves Dorian behind to find his way back to the school, and in the meantime, Agent Burr from Triad decides to have a little fun and shoot one of the girls with a Malivore bullet. (It was formed from the pit and weaponized by Triad scientists. It can break the skin of any supernatural being and once it does, it will disintegrate its target from the inside.) Lizzie, finally about to have her martyr moment, tries to take the bullet, but Josie beats her to it.

The Triad agents then lock all three girls up, which leads to my favorite line of the episode, almost entirely because of its delivery. When the girls are talking to one another in their cell, a Triad agent tells them to be quiet, at which point Lizzie yells, “We’re not in the prison yard, asshat!” I love her so much.

Thankfully, MG isn’t far behind, and he knocks out the guard. He quickly tells Hope about the fountain, which she plans to shut down, and after that, they tell her to go after Landon. She’s been the hero all year. They got this.

Speaking of Landon, Clarke takes him to a Triad warehouse to find the third artifact, and when Landon brings him a fake chalice, Clarke reveals it was all a test. Plus, Landon didn’t have to look for the third artifact anyway. Does he remember taking the first two? Nope. He did it without realizing. And he’s done the same thing this time: The third artifact is in his pocket.

Once he hands it over to Clarke, they sit and wait for the next monster to show up. Clarke’s plan is to let said monster take the artifact back to Malivore and do their dirty work for them. And while they wait, Clarke tells Landon about his fate: Landon is the key to Malivore creating a new species — anyone else having Klaus Mikaelson hybrid flashbacks? — but he’s more than that: He’s Malivore’s host.

While Landon digests that terrible news, none other than the Headless Horseman shows up for the artifact. Clarke tosses it to him, but Landon decides to grab hold of the artifact so that the Horseman picks up Landon and takes him out of there. Doing his best Damon Salvatore impression, Clarke gives us his, “Dick move, brother.”

Back at the school, Ric arrives using the tunnels and shows Hope how to shut down the fountain, which is actually very easy. He then discovers that Josie was shot … but so was Hope? There’s a bullet hole in her sweater, but the bullet didn’t pierce her skin. Why? We don’t get that answer just yet, but we do find out that the fountain is a dark object that belonged to the Travelers, another Vampire Diaries villain. With that, Ric goes to save Josie, and Hope tells him to try giving Josie her blood.

Unfortunately, Ric barely makes it anywhere before running into an armed Triad guard, but Dorian shows up and saves the day. (Now he’s definitely getting that raise!)

After Lizzie realizes she can’t siphon the bullet out of Josie, the sisters apologize to each other and agree to go help MG. If Josie is going out, it’s going to be in a blaze of glory. And as soon as the fountain is disarmed, MG signals the troops, and every single student at the Salvatore School fights back (including Pedro!).

Ultimately, Rafael goes full invisible wolf thanks to a cloaking spell and takes down the terrible Agent Burr. Well, he takes him down temporarily. And when Burr gets back up, Nia is there to turn him to stone and save MG. (I sort of love them.) MG then stops Kaleb from killing the guy, because as he tells him, they have to be better. And with that in mind, MG confronts his mom and tells her that if Triad is their family legacy, they can’t be family anymore.

As for Ric, he shows up just in time to give Josie Hope’s blood, which again took me back to the Vampire Diaries season 2 finale when Katherine showed up just in time to give Damon Klaus’ blood. Josie recovers, but she has something to show Lizzie: She stole the red box they found in their dad’s office, and inside is something that looks very familiar to them both. (Vampire Diaries fans will recognize it as the ascendant, but I won’t spoil it beyond that at this point.)

Ric then calls a school meeting, where he tells the students the truth about the fountain: MG’s mom knew about it because Ric had it installed as a contingency in the case that the world ever needed to be protected from his students and not the other way around. He tells his students that he has betrayed them and proposes that the honor council decide whether Ric should remain their headmaster moving forward.

Back at Triad, the Horseman throws the third artifact into the pit, but Hope uses magic to stop it just before it makes contact. She then puts the artifact aside to kick some Headless Horseman ass in one of my favorite scenes of the hour. She uses her fight training while Landon uses his sci-fi knowledge to figure out how to kill this thing. The answer? Kill the head, the body dies. “That’s science fiction!” Landon yells when they defeat the Horseman.

He then runs up and kisses Hope, only stopping so that she can tell him she loves him. And he loves her too. But as sweet as that is, now isn’t exactly the time for romance because Clarke is back … and he just threw the third artifact into the pit.

Landon, going full badass, uses the Headless Horseman’s whip to snap Clarke’s neck before updating Hope on the whole “Malivore is my father” thing. And once she’s caught up, Hope concocts a plan … but it’s not one Landon’s going to like. So, she kisses him and then snaps his neck. (Don’t worry, he’ll come back. He’s a phoenix, remember?!)

Hope then calls Ric with her plan: Malivore was created by the blood of a werewolf, a witch, and a vampire, and only they could destroy him. But nature created a loophole with Hope. She’s the tribrid. The Malivore bullet didn’t affect her. Her blood cured Josie. She’s not a cosmic mistake, and her purpose is clear: She’s the answer to all of this.

Hope tells Ric that she finally understands why her dad sacrificed himself for her, and furthermore, she finally realizes that she has friends. Maybe she would’ve realized that sooner if she hadn’t been beating herself up for years. Ric tells her that he’s proud of her, and she asks him to have the maintenance staff pack up her room. As for Ric, he’ll need to burn her files. When she does this, she’s going to be wiped from their memories, and she needs it to work to keep them from the pain of losing her. Ric promises to do just that, and she hangs up.

But before she can jump into the pit, Clarke wakes up. It seems a snapped neck doesn’t kill him. (I guess he was molded from mud? That’s a weird sentence.) And surprisingly, he doesn’t want to stop Hope. He claims he was only resurrecting Malivore because he figured dear old dad would find a way out eventually and he’s terrified of him. But if Hope can kill him, he’s all for it.

Hope,  being the badass that she is, decides to do a little mimicking spell. She learned it in second grade. And this way, when she jumps into the pit, Clarke, well, he follows the leader.

After Hope does that, we cut back to the school where poor Raf is stuck as a wolf and Ric is burning the files. It’s clear he can’t figure out why he was doing that, but then he finds the note he wrote himself: “Fort Valley, GA. Find Landon.” Ric then calls the recently-back-from-the-dead Landon and neither of them can figure out what’s going on. Ric mentions the note and Landon asks the million-dollar question: “Who left it?” Ric tells him, “I have no idea.”

Finally, Landon looks to where the pit used to be and it’s just a big hole in the ground. Malivore is no more … but the same can be said of Hope.

Talk about a hero journey for Hope Mikaelson. Not only did this finale complete that arc for her, but it dealt with things that dated as far back as The Originals. Plus, it set up a number of new mysteries for next season, the biggest of which being: What are they going to do about Hope … once they remember her?

The Vampire Diaries universe has always excelled at finales, and this one was no different. With Hope’s victory, the show achieved its own.

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