Markos' spell begins, and our world unravels

By Mandi Bierly
Updated May 09, 2014 at 04:11 AM EDT
Guy D'Alema/The CW

The Vampire Diaries

S5 E21
  • TV Show
  • The CW

No. We are not losing Stefan for good. I’m not allowing myself to cry because there’s no way they won’t figure out a way to bring him back from The Other Side. Bonnie? Fine. Let her go. Enzo and his chest hair? I’d miss them both, but I’m not that attached. But Stefan? If this was really the beginning of his permanent end, it would be Will Gardner-level of shock. (Throwing-a-bottle-of-wine-at-the-wall shock, for those who don’t watch The Good Wife.) It’d certainly be poetic: He got to see Damon and Elena together again, die defending his best friend Caroline, and have his heart ripped out while by a car (Enzo would appreciate that symmetry). But again, no.

When I spoke to Paul Wesley last month about next week’s season finale, he said, “Without revealing too much, it actually is much worse for another character…. The cliffhanger in season 5 is that one of the leads ends up in a place that is quite dismal-looking for future hope.” He confirmed again it wasn’t Stefan when I started guessing: “Correct…. That leaves 12 others. Good luck!” Is he talking about Tyler? About Bonnie? Or is he just a fantastic liar? Let’s dig in.

We opened with Damon torturing a local Passenger-carrying banker. He was trying to find out where Markos had taken Elena and Stefan. I loved how Damon made himself comfortable on the couch — that’s some long exposition, get comfortable Ian Somerhalder. Caroline showed up in time to hear the guy say there’s no way to stop Markos now.

Markos was somewhere draining Elena and Stefan of their blood. Clearly, he was feeding them just enough to keep them from desiccating — replenish and drain some more. Good plan. “You have enough,” Elena said, after she spit some of her ration out into his face. He cut her arm again and said he wouldn’t have enough until she couldn’t speak. Someone came into Stefan’s cell and released him. He healed pretty damn quickly. He looked normal when he walked into Elena’s cell. They escaped, and Stefan was able to call Damon collect to find out they’d been gone for four days. Elena, meanwhile, was sucking at “squirrel slaughter” (cue Damon’s A Christmas Story joke and imagining him watching that by the fireplace — is there a TV in that room?). Stefan said he and Elena would find their way back, and Damon vowed to find and kill Markos before he could do whatever he wanted to do with all that blood. “Time to strap on the hero hair,” Damon quipped. Ha! We could barely enjoy that line before Enzo made his presence known.

At least Bonnie was there to translate. Enzo wanted to be brought back to the living asap. Damon said he was delegating and Bonnie should do it: Just have Liv include Enzo in her plan to save Bonnie. Bonnie was about to tell him why that wasn’t an option — there is no such plan — when Jeremy arrived. Damon left with him.

We got to watch Elena and Stefan try to amuse themselves walking on a road very much less traveled. It’s a credit to the writers and the actors that I totally believed Stefan when he said Elena and Damon are miserable without each other, so she should be with him if she wants to be. All vampires are toxic on some level, he said. There was no guilt, no agenda. He meant it. Which is why Stefan is the best.

NEXT: Think happy thoughts of unicorns, rainbows, and Caroline

We knew Liv and Luke weren’t returning calls today, and when they met up at a diner, we found out why: The coven is pissed — like mini earthquake pissed — that the Wonder Twins weren’t able to keep the doppelgängers out of Markos’ hands. There’s only one option now, she said, so Markos doesn’t strip them of their power: Elena and Stefan must die.

After we watched Passenger Carl, now in a woman named Pam’s body, stab Pam’s husband in the neck with scissors (very Scandal season 1!), we went back to Elena and Stefan’s scenic walk. Still blood-deprived, she said she’d just hallucinated a unicorn. Maybe it was Caroline, Stefan joked. “If Caroline was here, we’d have a fully catered buffet on the side of the road. And a rainbow,” Elena said. “Two rainbows,” Stefan countered. I thought maybe now would be a good time for Elena to realize Stefan might really like Caroline, but it didn’t happen. They did, however, decide that if Caroline were there, they’d both be laughing. Elena wanted to be more like her — and a truck appeared. Elena worked her cleavage this time, but no need. It was Traveler Maria, who said she was the one who’d freed them and told them to get in.

While Damon had Matt and Jeremy carrying the Traveler “husks” into Salvatore Mansion from the cave — hoping Markos would want them and come to him — it became clear that the battle for Tyler’s body still wasn’t over. Caroline was on a mission to find a way to save him, and Maria had set Elena and Stefan free so they’d take her to her husband Julian, who’s supposedly permanently Passengered into Tyler. Maria explained that she has to get to him before Markos starts his spell. Once it begins, magic will be stripped away layer by layer, and Tyler will go from hybrid, to werewolf, to just dead — and Julian with him. And the vampires with Julian.

Caroline spoke to Julian, who confirmed it’s revenge against everything the witches stand for that Markos wants. Right down to the daylight rings, it’s a perversion of magic — and Markos wants to destroy it all. He has no sense of humor, Julian said. At that moment, Markos discovered Damon’s note in the cave. “Found: Cave of Wannabe Witches. For more information call Damon Salvatore,” it read. Nope, he didn’t laugh.

Damon was about to poke one of his motionless Travelers, when Markos called the Salvatore Boarding House and made his grand entrance. Damon had doused the bodies with gasoline and threatened to light a match. NOT THE HOUSE. To prove he could care less, Markos stabbed one poor guy in the neck with a bottle opener. They aren’t essential to his plan. There are Travelers everywhere. Damon tried to tell him Mystic Falls wasn’t the best place, and Markos said it’s just a start. The spell’s ripple effect will end all spirit magic (read: witch magic), and only pure magic (read: Traveler magic) will remain. Damon tried to charge Markos, who tossed him like he was nothing. Why? Markos just had a doppelgänger blood transfusion. He’s channeling all the power of his people. He said Damon wasn’t strong enough to stop him now. And then the chanting! The spell had begun.

The Passengering Travelers around town broke their vials of doppelgänger blood (like we’d seen the mailman deliver to Pam earlier). Stefan, Elena, and Maria hit town at that moment, but somehow the vamp hearing didn’t pick up the chanting. I guess because Elena was still too hungry. She asked if she could feed on Maria, just a couple of ounces. Maria kindly asked Elena to wait. And then, Liv was in the middle of the road. Maria knew she was probably trying to kill Stefan and Elena. She put the truck in reverse, but Luke was there to send it back toward Liv, who wrecked it like an accordion. Maria was knocked out and bleeding from her head. While Luke pinned Stefan to the truck, Liv started breaking Elena’s bones so she couldn’t run. One of them had to die to render the doppelgänger blood useless.

NEXT: And here we go

While that was happening, Bonnie had finally told Caroline there was no spell to bring people back from the crumbling Other Side because Caroline had suggested they kill Tyler to get the Passenger out of him — and then he could come back with Bonnie and Enzo. Enzo later yelled at Bonnie for not telling him sooner that he was screwed. He refused to give up. There was a monologue there, but I just kept staring at his chest hair. That’s something we never see on this show. Or this network. It’s The CW’s unicorn! Maria appeared to Bonnie, meaning she died in that accident. She asked Bonnie to tell Julian that she’d tried. Speaking of Julian, his voice reached Damon’s ears from his Salvatore cellar. He told Damon to use the element of surprise — Markos doesn’t know he’s there. Damon invited Markos, who was already planning his renovations to Salvatore Mansion, to check out the wine cellar.

Man, that was a glorious sight. I’m talking about all those bottles Damon said he spent his time shoplifting as well as Damon’s biceps when he took out a fancy bottle. Damon eventually kicked the shackle key into Julian’s cell. Elsewhere, the Wonder Twins were still debating who’d die — Elena or Stefan. I’m guessing Elena, since Liv has the bigger balls. But oops, they’re magic was already leaving them. The Travelers were chanting. Elena and Stefan started to burn in the sun. Their rings weren’t working.

They ran into the Grill, and Matt took them to the tunnels. The Travelers were chanting so hard, they were bleeding from their noses and ears. Elena started coughing up water and Stefan started bleeding — they were losing their immortality and reverting to humans who’d simply died. Matt’s idea: keep moving, outrun the reach of the spell. Sure. Why not.

Julian finally air-pounced on Markos’ back — hilarious — and tried to rip out his throat. “Took you long enough,” Damon cracked. But wait. The magic was reaching them, too. Julian’s fangs were gone and Damon was now burning in the sun streaming through the windows. As the Passenger-filled bodies dropped dead in the town square, the Travelers’ real bodies arose. Damon and Tyler started dying their original deaths, and Markos was kind enough to tell them to try to outrun the spell — for a little while. Damon stopped long enough to look back at the house he was now losing to the Travelers. NOT SALVATORE MANSION! NOT HIS BED! NOT HIS BATHROOM!

For once, when Damon said he needed help on the road, he really did. Lucky for him, Jeremy was driving by. At the dorm room, Caroline was in a full panic because a vampire had come to Bonnie that proved the spell had reached beyond Mystic Falls. Death was literally on its way and Caroline wanted to get on the move — leave the hair products, girl. Bonnie suddenly had an idea for how to get everyone back from the Other Side. Maybe if she would have sat and thought about it for five minutes before NOW? She wanted to find Enzo.

You just knew Elena was going to kiss Damon when they finally reunited. And she did. She borrowed his line from last episode — she had a crappy day and she needed it. She told him she could think of no worse way to die than without seeing him again. Stefan looked a little sad in that moment, as he sent them ahead. He sent Matt and Jeremy back to Mystic Falls to be their eyes and ears. He was going to wait for Bonnie and Caroline. I did not like the idea of separating!

Enzo tried to hold on to Maria when she started getting swept away on the Other Side, because she knew the spell to bring people back. That was Bonnie’s plan. Get her to help them because Maria would want to return to Julian. But he failed. (Was he only using one hand?) BONNIE WAS STILL PACKING when Enzo told her they hit a snag. Julian found Stefan and Caroline and asked where Maria was. Stefan told him she was dead, and Julian was pissed. He had nothing to lose — his wife was dead, his people wanted to kill him. Caroline was going to snap his neck, but he went wolf-eyes on her. Stefan got him away from her and then… Julian ripped Stefan’s heart out to stop the spell. I was in as much shock as Caroline. Stefan appeared to Bonnie. She had tears in her eyes when she had to tell him there was no more plan. He crossed over. As we watched Caroline scream for someone to help her, sitting over his dead, gray body, I wanted to cry. My eyes got wet, but again, I said no. There’s no way they’re not going to get Stefan back. Right?

Episode Recaps

The Vampire Diaries

Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.
  • TV Show
  • The CW