Caroline has moved Stefan’s body into the dorm common room, where Elena and Damon join her. They’re so shocked that Damon is, for once in his life, quiet. Caroline hopes that Bonnie’s new plan to bring people back from the Other Side will be successful and this will just be temporary. Damon assures her that they’ll get Stefan back.
Stefan watches from the Other Side as they deal with his body. The wind threatens to pull him out of the dorm and into the sky, but he manages to hold on to a wall. Just as he’s about to lose his grasp, a hand grabs him. Lexi’s there to save him once again.
Damon takes out his grief on some items in the Super Suite, angry that Bonnie lost Maria. He orders her to find another Traveler who can do the spell to bring people back from the Other Side. She tells him they’ll need more than that – Markos was only able to come through because a bunch of Travelers sacrificed themselves to overwhelm her. Damon says she needs motivation to come up with a new plan, as if it isn’t enough for her to know that everyone on the Other Side is at risk, including herself. I think he doesn’t believe that her desire to save Stefan is as great as Damon’s is. He reminds her that Alaric and Sheila could disappear.
Enzo clears his throat, in case anyone was selfish enough to forget about him for one freaking millisecond, shut up, Enzo. Damon blames him for not keeping Maria around for them to work with. Enzo says he found another Traveler, so Bonnie just needs to get a witch to do the spell. Too bad the only witches she knows are Luke and Liv, who are currently fleeing town before the gang can come after them. Luke doesn’t think the vampires in the gang survived the magic-stripping spell anyway. Liv knows better than to be that sure.
Elena and Caroline pull the same trick the twins did with Maria’s truck, making them slam on the brakes in the middle of the road and preventing them from going anywhere. Liv threatens to kill Elena, but Elena says there’s no point, since Stefan’s dead. Liv tries to convince Elena again that she’s sorry about the things she’s had to do. Elena tells her she can prove that by helping to bring Stefan back. Liv resists, since the Travelers will restart their spell and continue ridding the world of witch magic. Elena says they won’t get the chance – the gang is going to kill the Travelers first.
Luke refuses to help, since their coven would kill them. Caroline reminds him that Stefan saved his life. Liv tells her they can’t take the risk of working with the gang. Caroline ends the debate by breaking Luke’s neck. Now he’ll be on the Other Side, and Liv has some motivation to do what the gang wants. Damon will be so proud of Caroline for this.
As Travelers move the “welcome to Mystic Falls” sign on the edge of town, Liz shows up and tells Markos she spent the night evacuating everyone within ten miles of the town square. (She used the old “gas leak” lie.) She warns that that won’t keep people away forever. She asks about the sign and he explains that it’s now marking the spot where magic disappears. Liz is like, “Maybe you shouldn’t have picked a town full of vampires to settle down in.” Markos tells her he’s not afraid of vampires. They won’t be able to come save the day now.
To show what happens when a vampire crosses the border into Mystic Falls, he has some Travelers bring him Julian, whom they’ve captured and weakened. He refuses to bow to Markos the “king,” since he hasn’t proven that he’s actually a good leader. Markos explains to Liz that the Travelers’ spell eliminates spirit magic but lets the Travelers continue to use pure magic. If Julian crosses the new border, he’ll lose the magic that makes him supernatural. First he’ll cease to be a werewolf, then a vampire. That’ll make him just a guy with a werewolf gene and a broken neck.
As Julian begs for his life, his captors take him over the border. Just as Markos said, he loses the magic keeping him alive. And since Tyler’s body is where Julian was squatting, Tyler dies, too.
Bonnie feels Luke’s passing and adds him to the list of people the gang will have to bring back from the Other Side. She and Enzo don’t really want to devote time to him, but since Liv is going to help the gang, Bonnie figures it would be smart to do her a favor. It would also be the nice thing to do, like Enzo cares about that. Tyler’s spirit arrives and Bonnie has to add another name to the list. At least Julian’s gone and Tyler’s back to himself.
Damon, Jeremy, and Matt meet up in a Whitmore classroom to discuss the tasks at hand. Jeremy mapped the new perimeter of the town by marking where his hunter instincts disappeared. (Smart!) He clarifies that the places where there’s no magic are the ones where he hated Damon less. Heh. The cemetery is outside the perimeter, as are some unpopulated areas. Elena and Caroline are listening in via speakerphone. They want to be at Whitmore, but Damon (or, as Caroline calls him, Professor Salvatore) says they need to stay with Liv (or, as he calls her, Crazylocks) so they don’t lose their witch.
Next the gang turns its attention to killing the Travelers. There’s a major gas line under Mystic Falls, and if it were to leak, as Liz often says it has, it could cause a huge explosion. Matt objects to blowing up their hometown, but Damon notes that there are only two people left in the gang who can actually live there. Elena says they don’t need to blow it up – they can just lure a bunch of Travelers to one spot. Damon agrees, planning to enlist Liz’s help with that. She’ll get them to gather somewhere, Matt and Jeremy will start a gas leak, and the gang will spark an explosion. Easy peasy, everyone’s happy.
On the Other Side, Lexi takes Stefan to the Grill, expecting to find Alaric at the bar. She only met him once, yet she knows him so well. While they wait, she bugs Stefan about his life. She doesn’t accept his Silas-related delay as a good excuse not to go to Portland once he was out of the safe. She thinks he’s still in Mystic Falls because of Caroline. They watch as Liz comes in with Markos (in the real world), trying to convince him to bring the Travelers there that night for a “welcome to Mystic Falls; here are some rules for harmonious living” meeting/party. Stefan guesses that the gang is up to something.
Jeremy calls Bonnie, wanting to join her at Whitmore, but she tells him to go be an action hero. She explains the spell for him and anyone in the audience who’s confused or just wasn’t paying attention: Liv will turn the passage from the real world to the Other Side from a one-way street into a two-way street. Then the dead members of the gang (and Enzo) can come back. (I like to think of it as a door that usually only Bonnie can open. The spell and the Travelers’ deaths will prop it open.) Jeremy asks what will happen to Bonnie. She says she’ll stop being the anchor, but she doesn’t clarify what that actually means. Enzo thinks she’s hiding something.
Coincidentally, Enzo is also hiding something – namely, the identity of the Traveler he’s found to teach Bonnie the spell Liv needs to do. It’s Silas. Bonnie doesn’t want to rely on him, not least because he killed her father, but at this point, she doesn’t have any other choice. Silas says he’ll help the gang if he gets to cross back over, too. “Bygones?” he asks.
Stefan and Lexi look for Alaric at Mystic Falls High but still can’t find him. She hopes he didn’t find peace before she did. Stefan asks why she hasn’t found it yet. Lexi suggests that there’s something she still needs to do. He wants to make a deal that they’ll find peace together if things go wrong and they can’t leave the Other Side. “A death peace pact?” she clarifies. She’s on board. But she’d definitely prefer to come back to life, especially since Stefan and Caroline haven’t gone on a date yet.
In the Salvatore crypt, Silas teaches Bonnie the door-propping spell. She’s distracted with worry about what will happen when he crosses back over. He’s like, “Yeah, good call, ’cause I’m probably going to commit mass murder when I’m alive again.” He asks after Stefan, wondering, “Is it a crime for someone so good-looking to be so sad all the time?” Elena and Liv arrive, and Bonnie tells them she’s in the middle of learning the spell from a Traveler on the Other Side. She lies that that Traveler is a cranky old woman.
Matt and Jeremy go through the underground tunnels to find the gas line. “Can we talk about the irony in us blowing up the only place dumb enough to hire us?” Matt says. Heh. Jeremy expects Stefan and Damon to donate funds to rebuild. Matt notes that they might not be able to come back to Mystic Falls. Getting rid of the Travelers might not get rid of their anti-magic spell. Then again, Matt wouldn’t mind living in a town without the supernatural. Jeremy would, since Bonnie wouldn’t be able to come there, but Matt points out that he can just see her at Whitmore. In fact, seeing his girlfriend on the weekends at her college would be considered normal in places that aren’t Mystic Falls.
As the guys reach the right spot, the Travelers party at the Grill. Liz checks in with Markos before trying to leave in the few minutes between the gas-line break and the explosion. He asks her to get a drink with him so he can try to convince her that Mystic Falls can still be a perfectly good home for humans. Liz won’t buy that, since her daughter won’t be able to visit her there. Markos stops her from leaving, so she has no choice but to stick around.
In the woods by the cemetery, Damon and Elena confirm that things are on track. He reveals that he’s volunteered to trigger the explosion in the Grill. She protests, telling him she sees a future with him. He replies that he’s seen that since the first second he saw her. Yes, this is a suicide mission, but he’ll just come back with everyone else. Elena worries that something will go wrong. Damon takes a page from her book, announcing that this is his choice and he needs her to respect it. He promises to make it back to her.
Bonnie’s done learning the spell on the Other Side, and judging from the wind, it’s not a moment too soon. Enzo almost gets pulled into the sky, but Bonnie helps him stay grounded. She reaches for Silas’ hand to hold him down, too, then pulls away. “Bygones,” she says, letting him get sucked up into nothingness.
Liv lights candles in the Salvatore crypt and starts the door-propping spell. Luke cheers her on, even though she can’t hear him. Matt and Jeremy start the gas leak. On the Other Side, Bonnie waits for Sheila among their relatives’ graves. She announces that she found a way out, but Sheila knows Bonnie won’t be able to survive all the Travelers passing through her. Even if she could, she’ll still disappear when the Other Side collapses. Bonnie expects Sheila to chastise her, but instead she says it’s been a privilege watching Bonnie become the young woman she is now.
Bonnie tells Sheila to pass through her when the time comes, but Sheila wants to stay. She found peace by making sure that Bonnie will find hers. She hugs Bonnie and they say their goodbyes. As Sheila heads off to peace, Stefan and Lexi arrive in the cemetery.
Liz ignores a call from Damon to give Markos the impression that she’s not up to anything. He’s suspicious about why she’s still in the town she evacuated. She tells him she’s the captain going down with her ship. As he studies her, trying to figure out what’s really going on, she says she smells gas. She takes him to the storeroom to look for the source, then knocks him out. She texts Damon that they’re good to go. But before she can make it out, Markos wakes up and grabs her.
At the border, Damon drinks on the hood of his car and waits for Liz’s text. When he gets it, he gets in the car…as does Elena. She’s going to respect his choice to trigger the explosion, so he needs to respect her choice to tag along. He warns that she’s going to drown again when they cross the border, but Elena knows what to expect and still wants to do this. Damon, to his credit, seems to admire that.
They head into Mystic Falls, knowing they need to get to the Grill before their vampirism is stripped away or they won’t go to the Other Side. Elena starts drowning, so Damon speeds up. As they approach the Grill, she tries to say something heartfelt or meaningful, but the words won’t come. He just tells her he knows. They hold hands as they plow into the Grill and set off the explosion.
Liv is starting to weaken, but she keeps chanting. The Travelers’ spirits arrive in the woods to pass through Bonnie, and Markos says they’ll just come back every time the gang kills them. As they pass through her, Elena and Damon arrive. Bonnie tells them to find their bodies on the Other Side and get back to her as fast as they can.
They both go through and Elena is first to get to the Grill. She’s disturbed to see her own dead body in Damon’s wrecked car. “Did you seriously wear your seatbelt?” Alaric asks, having finally made it to the Grill. He sends her back to Bonnie to cross back, promising to wait for Damon. He’s in the storeroom, where he finds Liz unconscious. Alaric helps him lift a beam she’s trapped under, then gives him some advice: “When you finally get the girl, don’t blow her up.” Just then, Liz regains consciousness.
Luke is worried about Liv, so he goes to Bonnie and tells her it’s time to start crossing back to the real world. Stefan wants everyone to go together, but only he, Lexi, Enzo, and Tyler are there. He won’t go without Damon. Luke doesn’t care about him, so he crosses back and goes to the real crypt to be with Liv. He urges her to stop the spell, since it could kill her. Even though Liv no longer has a reason to help the gang, she wants to, so she keeps going.
Bonnie tells the others that it’s time to come through. Enzo does, flirting with Caroline as he leaves the cemetery in the real world. Tyler comes through next, and when he hugs Caroline, he notices that something feels different. He cuts himself with a rock and they see that his wound doesn’t heal. He’s no longer a hybrid. He died an untriggered werewolf when Julian crossed the border, and he’s been resurrected as an untriggered werewolf.
Bonnie insists that Stefan and Lexi come through before it’s too late. Lexi urges Stefan to go, but he still won’t. Elena joins them, still Damon-less, and also refuses to leave without him. Bonnie and Stefan exchange a glance. Since Bonnie controls the passage, she grabs Elena, forcing her to come back to the real world. Way to let Elena make a choice, Stefan! Bonnie promises that they’ll find Damon.
The collapse of the Other Side is starting to damage her body. As she coughs and stumbles, Stefan puts out a hand to steady her, which accidentally sends him back to the real world. He tells Elena and Caroline that Damon hasn’t shown up yet. Bonnie promises Elena that she can keep going and will get her boyfriend back for her.
Lexi can tell that Bonnie’s barely holding on, but Bonnie insists that she can finish. Markos runs up to try to cross back to the real world, but Lexi tackles him. He overpowers her and pins her to the ground, but after a pause, she smiles. She lets go of him and he’s sucked up into the sky. Bonnie tells her to come through but Lexi doesn’t want to hurt her further. She doesn’t want to accidentally kill Bonnie before Stefan can get his brother back. Lexi holds out her arms and looks up at the sky. “You’re not gonna get me,” she tells the void that wants to take her away. Instead, she finds peace.
Liv is steadily getting worse but still giving the spell her all. Damon and Alaric finally make it to Bonnie, who sends Alaric to the real world. That’s right – Alaric’s back, baby! Luke decides this isn’t worth it and stops Liv’s spell. Damon asks about Elena, and Bonnie assures him that she’s already crossed back. She puts her hands on his arms to send him as well, but nothing happens. “Well, would you look at that?” he says.
Elena goes to the Salvatore crypt, which the twins have fled. She tells Bonnie they need to find the twins and start the spell again. Bonnie says that was their only shot. Elena reminds her that Damon’s still on the Other Side, and Bonnie sadly tells her it’s too late. But Damon’s in the crypt on the Other Side, so if Elena says goodbye to him, he’ll hear her.
Stefan won’t get to do the same, since he’s somewhere else in the cemetery. He tells Caroline he’s lost both Damon and Lexi, the two people he’s known the longest. He guesses that Lexi had something to do with Markos not coming back; she must have completed her unfinished business. He’s upset that Damon finally got everything he wanted and was happy, but won’t get to enjoy it.
In the crypt, Elena accuses Damon of lying to her. She seems to feel his presence somehow, though she can’t see him or hear him. She begs him not to leave her, but he tells her he doesn’t have a choice. She was the best thing that ever happened to him in 173 years. He gets to die knowing he was loved by Elena Gilbert. That makes it all worth it. He’s peaked. He tells her he loves her, but all she does is plead for him to come back to her.
Bonnie calls Jeremy to tell him there was never a way to save her. When the Other Side collapses, she’ll be gone. She didn’t want to tell him the truth because she didn’t want that weighing on them during their last days together. Jeremy tells her to stay put and he’ll come to her. She reminds him that she died the day before her graduation, and the extra time they’ve gotten together was a gift. She’s just going to be grateful that she didn’t waste any of it. She asks him to take care of Elena and says she loves him. He orders her not to hang up, but she doesn’t listen.
Matt tells Jeremy the gas line is off, so it’s safe for them to leave. Jeremy decides to try to make it to Bonnie. Alaric finds Elena in the crypt and tries to comfort her. They hear Jeremy yelling for Bonnie outside, and the gang meets up as he arrives. He spots her nearby, but there’s no time to get to her.
Bonnie blips to the Other Side. Damon joins her and confirms that this is the end for the Other Side. “I’m sure there are a million people we’d both rather be with right now,” she says, taking his hand. “Couple thousand at most,” he replies. A light grows brighter and brighter in the sky. “Do you think it’ll hurt?” Bonnie asks. “I don’t kn–,” he begins.
Everything goes white.
Etc.: Whoever decided to bring Alaric back to the show for good: Thank you.
Bonnie’s willingness to bring Enzo back seems strange. She can’t be doing it for him. She can’t be doing it for Damon. She has no loyalty or reason to repay him for his help. It’s not like Luke, where she feels it’s the nice thing to do. Obviously the writers wanted to keep him around, but they could have come up with a believable reason for resurrecting him.
I wish we could have seen some sort of Damon/Stefan goodbye.
The summer after this episode aired, the cast put this together for Comic-Con.