This week, The Vampire Diaries one-upped its own history of downer plot twists. I remember being devastated when Damon failed to come back from the Other Side as it was erased, but I also knew the odds were in our favor--there was very little chance he and Bonnie would not find their way back. I remember a couple of years before, when Alaric was corrupted and used as a weapon, then discarded and lost to us. Alaric was my favorite character, and losing him sucked. (Seeing him come back for a visit the following year was awesome, and I've been so glad to have him back for real.) But last night, the final season of TVD may have taken too much from us.
The episode opened on a sunny day in Mystic Falls. Bonnie, high on love, cheerfully chats with the dapper gentleman behind her in the coffee shop queue. She's never seen Cade before, and without her magic, she can't tell she's in the presence of soul-searing danger. Once she's gone, Cade blithely kicks off a homicidal rage between the barista and his boss by revealing the former has been nailing the latter's wife. We are reminded by this scene that Cade is a mind-reader. This is important, and there's no use hoping he didn't recognize Bonnie and know her mind was worth reading.
On the town square, new sheriff Matt Donovan (it's a short interview loop when no one else wants the job with a shockingly disproportionate death rate) presides over Time Capsule Day. The school kids have dug up the original founders' treasure chest, dating back to 1790. Among the standard items all TV shows to decorate sets for archaeological digs, there are some items Matt only recently has come to know are associated with his own ancestors. A mysterious metal plate with strategically placed slots catches his eye, and he gets Dorian to work on identifying its purpose.
Caroline is also at the town square, and her relentless optimism and faith in people is clearly beginning to grate on Matt. The way she sees it, she's got Stefan locked in the basement, and they'll figure out how to get him back to himself again. Matt isn't feeling so generous of spirit, though. He points out how hard it is to just keep giving Stefan a pass on all the horrible stuff he does. I will point out that only last week, he said basically the opposite about Damon, and I don't think that's inconsistency or hypocrisy; I think it's yet another outright acknowledgment that Stefan is the worse guy, deep down. Stefan's humanity is like a leash on a rabid dog.
Damon is on guard duty, and he gets a very nasty surprise in Stefan's cell: Stefan's gone, and Cade is here for a visit. Cade isn't interested in Damon's change of heart about working for the devil. He gives Damon a simple challenge: Kill 100 evil strangers, or kill the girl your brother loves. Quantity or quality.
Damon is really overconfident and wastes a lot of time trying to avoid this ultimatum, but Cade keeps reminding him that he's psychic and unkillable. It feels like a waste of time and energy, rather than a well-conceived plan of any kind. I'm reminded of Buffy saying, "That's not a plan! That's not even a pluhh!"
n fact, Caroline will call this out for us. When Damon fills her in on the dumbass antics he's been wasting the day with, she says, "I thought you weren't going to do anything stupid!"
"When did I ever promise that?" he responds. Fair enough, Damon.
Nowhere near Mystic Falls, Enzo and Bonnie are driving the hell bell far away for safe keeping. Along the way, with the notion of Enzo taking the cure on their minds, Bonnie encourages him to do whatever's on his bucket list. They're having a beautiful day of fun and romantic planning for the future, and we should know better than to believe in this.
When they arrive at their destination, Bonnie explains she bought this house with her inheritance, and no one else should even know about it...it's where she's hiding Elena's coffin for safe keeping. She invites Enzo in, and he carries her over the threshold, promising, "Someday, we'll do that for real."
Now that they're right here in the same house with the cure, it feels like a more immediate choice, and Enzo's ready to make it. They are on the verge of starting their life together, it seems.
Not so fast, though. Damon has a plan to use the cure on Cade, rendering him killable. Then, he promises, Enzo can have it afterward, and Damon himself will still take it once Elena awakens. Everybody wins...if all goes according to plan, and when has that ever happened?
But we've all probably forgotten about where Stefan disappeared to after Cade freed him. More fool us. He pulls up alongside a realtor at a gas station and goes from cheerful stranger to mega-creeper in under a minute. It's clear this isn't random; Cade sent him to find this woman.
Meanwhile, back at the Mystic Grill, Caroline is trying to give Matt and Dorian some supernatural insurance on this dangerous occasion. Matt's having none of it, and he talks some serious smack about the vampirism lifestyle choice. (He's not wrong, but to be fair, Caroline was vamped against her will by Katherine, so he's being a little harsh.) Dorian's on the fence, and we get some backstory on him finally, about how his family has long believed they are cursed--hence, his lifelong fascination with the supernatural. Now that he actually knows the supernatural is real, he's toying with going all in.
Cade shows up to terrorize the Grill patrons, announcing his victims' sins before killing them. While Matt leads the evacuation, Damon tries to stall Cade, draining a woman at random to appease him. At the sight of an actual vamp murder, Dorian's brief flirtation with immortality sours. Cade mocks Damon's efforts, noting that this woman was a perfectly fine person, so her death is without value to him.
Then Cade drops the bomb, and we should have probably seen this one coming. That deal he offered Damon earlier, about quality vs. quantity? He made the same offer to Stefan, and Stefan chose the quality death. He left town this morning to go after Elena.
Naturally, when Cade interacted with Bonnie at the coffee shop, he dug into her mind to learn the secrets of where Elena's coffin is stashed and the name of the realtor who handled the sale. That's the woman Stefan has shanghaied all afternoon and compelled to help him with another transaction: transferring the house out of Bonnie's name and into her own, so she can invite Stefan in.
While the paperwork is being done, Bonnie and Enzo are having another wonderful romantic moment...and then he is suddenly sucked out the door. Bonnie tries to invite him back in, and she can't, so they figure it's definitely time to go. And here's what a sucker I am: During this whole scene, I'm thinking they'll be gone in a moment, and then the cliffhanging danger will be that Stefan can walk right into the house where Elena still sleeps.
(Okay, and this is a major aside, but I can't help getting stuck on it...how is this possible? How can you transfer ownership of a property without the consent of the current owner? Any real estate agents or lawyers out there reading this, please feel free to comment even just to say whether this is a remotely plausible scenario.)
Bonnie's extracting some blood from Elena, wondering aloud how much she needs to take in order to get a dose of the cure. Enzo is still at the open door, keeping up his end of the conversation...until he's not. The silence alarms Bonnie, and she rushes into the foyer just in time to see Enzo's heart being ripped out.
And here's where I shut down and just started waiting for the reveal that it was a hallucination or a vision of a possible future that now will time loop so we can avoid it or that Enzo is unkillable the way Damon was earlier this year when Alaric staked him. (It's still not impossible...they can still walk this back, and I won't give up on that possibility until the credits roll on the series finale.)
Bonnie's enraged and in shock. Stefan saunters in and laughs at her for bothering to arm herself against him. He grabs her stake-holding hand but doesn't notice her other hand, which still holds the hypodermic needle full of Elena's blood. She stabs him with it, bringing him down and presumably rendering him mortal. She rushes out to where Enzo lies on the porch, dessicating. As she screams her rage and loss, a rippling, booming special effect comes off her in waves, implying that her emotional state has triggered the return of her magic.
I loved Bonnie and Enzo together. They were just featured in our Suebooh's Corner Valentine's Day countdown of TV's best couples (I nominated them). Enzo spent his impossibly long life being rejected, deceived, used, and betrayed. Then he found Bonnie, and he finally had a life worth living. Love brought out the best in him, and their relationship became the thing to root for. With all she's lost over the years of giving everything for her friends and for the world, she deserved a happy ending. So did he. They fought so hard to keep their crazy lives from coming between them, and they were on the verge of having it all. If he's really dead, I don't know if anything that happens in the final five episodes will feel like a win.
So come on, TVD, fix this. Let Bonnie's surge of returning magic be so powerful it can restore Enzo to life. I promise not to nitpick whatever twist you choose to bring Enzo back.