Everything is set for Mystic Falls’ Founder’s Day celebration. An unidentified woman walking downtown pauses near a display of past Miss Mystic Falls winners (including Caroline) when a guy runs up and asks if she’s in his Uber pool. He recognizes her, but before he can say her name, she kills him.
The next morning, Caroline wakes up at Vamp Villa with Bonnie in her room. Bonnie doesn’t want to talk about Stefan or Enzo or anything other than the next round of trouble heading in their direction. She gives Caroline a bottle of champagne, knowing she’ll need it.
At the Grill, Matt questions a witness who saw the previous night’s victim right before he was killed. Peter shows up with a surprise visitor: Kelly. Matt hasn’t heard from his mother in four years, and he doesn’t give her a very warm welcome. Peter notes that Matt gave him a second chance, so maybe he can offer Kelly one, too. Matt’s surprised that Kelly doesn’t seem to hate Peter anymore. Kelly says that was “a lifetime ago,” and she was happy to hear from him. Peter wants to have a family dinner that night, but depending on the reason for the 911 text Alaric just sent, Matt might have to miss it.
The gang gathers at Vamp Villa for a teleconference with Alaric, who’s at the Armory, about how to kill Katherine. They’re not 100 percent sure she’s in their world, but Bonnie knows she would have come through when Kai did. The question is why she hasn’t shown herself yet. Dorian is with Alaric, who asked him to head up research for this situation. Dorian isn’t thrilled to work with Stefan, and he says he still has all the police files that could send Stefan to prison. He’s going to hold Stefan accountable for the rest of his life. Stefan’s glad to hear that.
Dorian thinks that since Cade was killed with a dagger made from his remains, they can get rid of Katherine the same way. Conveniently, Katherine’s bones are in the tomb, where she did the Traveler ritual to take over Elena’s body. Good thing they didn’t ship them off to Bulgaria! Bonnie asks how they can turn the bones into a dagger. Matt arrives at the Armory and says that if putting the bones in a metal dagger would work, Peter can do it. He mentions that Peter and Kelly are both in town.
Damon nominates himself and Stefan for bone-retrieval duty. Alaric and Dorian will look into other ways to fight Katherine. Dorian notes that if she’s back, Hell still exists, so they need to break her link to it. Bonnie tells him that psychic dimensions are tied to emotional trauma. Maybe they can destroy the dimension instead, which will destroy Katherine.
Caroline asks how the rest of the gang can get Katherine to show herself. Damon says she’s obsessed with Stefan and would be out of control with jealousy if she saw someone else making him happy. They can lure her out of hiding by flaunting Stefan’s happiness. They’ll throw a party Katherine would never miss: a wedding.
Caroline and Bonnie shift into wedding-planning mode, which means Bonnie will have to accept that her best friend is marrying the guy who killed the love of her life. Bonnie gets it but doesn’t want to have to see them get married. She would do anything for Caroline but she can’t do this to herself. Caroline understands and is sorry that things have turned out this way. She’s “one step removed” from the reason Bonnie lost Enzo. She appreciates that Bonnie’s still her friend.
Stefan eavesdrops on them, then goes with Damon to get Katherine’s bones. He hasn’t written his vows yet because he expects Katherine to interrupt the ceremony before they get to that point. Damon warns him not to be unprepared. Stefan’s down because of what he did to Enzo, and Damon knows that will haunt him for the rest of his life, but that wasn’t the real Stefan. He doesn’t have to dwell on being that person.
Damon changes the subject, announcing that he got ordained online that morning. They find the bones and Damon makes Katherine’s skull talk, because of course he does. He thinks it’s fitting that the woman who started “this whole mess” is back to end it. Stefan doesn’t think it was all a mess. Damon lists the things they’ve dealt with since meeting Katherine: Stefan being a Ripper, the Originals, the cure, Silas, the Other Side, the prison world, the Geminis, the Heretics, and, of course, doppelgangers. Stefan notes that not everything was bad. Damon pulls out a bottle of bourbon to get Stefan’s bachelor party started. He even gives Katherine’s skull a taste.
Matt and Kelly meet at the Grill for dinner, and he asks why she’s back in town. She says she’s had a lot of time to think over the past few years and wants to move on from the past. She’s changed and she misses her family. She heads to the restroom, where she realizes her nose is bleeding. Then she starts vomiting blood. A teenager comes in and Kelly tells her this is what happens when you get older…and then die and come back from Hell. Fortunately, there’s a “short-term remedy.” Unfortunately, it involves killing the teen.
At Vamp Villa, Caroline finds a little jewelry box with a note saying it’s for the bride. It’s her something old for the wedding. Damon brings Stefan home, having accidentally gotten him drunk (since human Stefan’s tolerance for alcohol is a lot lower than his vampire tolerance was). Damon enlists Caroline as his next drinking buddy, and they leave Stefan to sleep it off on the couch.
The couple is getting married at Lockwood Landing, and Bonnie’s there with various workers putting finishing touches on the rushed ceremony. Enzo joins her and chastises her for listening to sad music. She says it helps her stay connected to him. He tells her she doesn’t need sad music for that; clearly their psychic connection is enough. They dance and kiss, and he tells her that since he’s actually with her, magic must somehow be involved. That means she doesn’t need pain. She can also go to the wedding.
Bonnie still doesn’t want to, since Stefan killed Enzo. Enzo tells her that that version of Stefan died when she gave him the cure. Bonnie hopes to be as “evolved” as Enzo when she dies, but right now, she can’t see Stefan as anyone other than a killer. Enzo urges her to trust how Caroline feels and share her happiness for a few hours. Bonnie asks if he’s happy, and he says yes. He imagines them having their own wedding and dancing at the reception. He feels like the luckiest person on Earth to be with her.
Damon’s been subjecting Caroline to practice speeches while they drink, and his last one is pretty good: “To a Mystic Falls mom who started out by hating me and became one of my closest friends. She was strong. She was loving. And not only did she protect this town, but she raised an incredible daughter that I now get to call family. To Liz Forbes: Gone but never forgotten.” Caroline’s sad that so many people she loves can’t or won’t be able to attend the wedding – Liz, Bonnie, the twins, Elena. Damon gives Caroline back Elena’s necklace, her last-minute Christmas present, so she can feel like Elena’s with her. She’ll have to give it back after the wedding, so it’ll be her something borrowed.
The next day, Caroline finds her something new, a hairpiece Bonnie got her. She opens the little jewelry box containing her something old, which is also something blue – it’s a pendant necklace. Alaric brings the girls by, wanting to make the wedding look as authentic as possible (Katherine would be suspicious if they weren’t there). Plus, Stefan got Valerie to do a spell to protect them. Alaric doesn’t plan to stay for the ceremony, which Caroline gets. He’s a little sad to see her getting ready to marry someone else, even if it’s not intended to be for real. He tells her he wants her to be happy.
Peter arrives for the wedding, followed by Kelly. She mentions the dagger she knows the gang is making. He says it’s done, and he already gave it to Stefan. She’s not happy, but that might be partly because she’s vomiting blood again. She attacks him with the same knife she used to kill the teen at the Grill.
Stefan and Damon get ready together, and of course Damon makes what should be a nice moment a little less nice by saying that if Caroline ever hurts Stefan, he’ll kill her. Stefan hopes he gets to be at Damon and Elena’s wedding some day. Damon wants the same thing, since he’ll need a best man. He hopes Stefan hasn’t lost all his hero hair by then.
Guests continue arriving for the ceremony in the yard. Kelly lies to Matt that she hasn’t seen Peter. Stefan thinks Damon went a little overboard with compelling guests, but Damon is sure Katherine wouldn’t be fooled if Caroline had a small ceremony. The musicians play the same waltz Stefan and Katherine danced to at the Founder’s Ball in 1864. Damon thinks that will be the icing on the cake to get Katherine to reveal herself.
Inside, Caroline gets the girls ready to be her flower girls. She’ll be walking down the aisle by herself, which she’s not totally thrilled about. Fortunately, Bonnie arrives just then and says she’ll do the honor. Like Enzo encouraged her, she wants to witness her best friend’s happiness. A woman watching the ceremony from some shrubbery texts Kelly, “Game on.”
Alaric mopes at the Armory, where Dorian is actually doing his job and looking for a way to fight Katherine. He thinks that if they can create enough energy to reach into the psychic plane of Hell, they can destroy it. He compares it to the way oil fires are put out by the creation of bigger explosions. This explosion would just be made of intense psychic energy. Dorian realizes that Alaric isn’t in a talking mood and they should probably stick to drinking instead.
Alaric tells Dorian that he came to Mystic Falls to hunt Damon for killing Isobel. He found out Damon had turned her at her request. He got past that: “I guess I didn’t have the energy to hate somebody forever.” As Bonnie leads the twins to the wedding aisle, Alaric says that everyone makes mistakes and does things that “no apology can heal.” You just have to keep moving forward and try to find new happiness. Caroline emerges from Lockwood Landing and follows the twins and Bonnie down the aisle. Alaric says that losing people brought the gang together – it’s how they found each other and became a family.
Stefan and Caroline smile at each other as she nears him. When she joins him at the end of the aisle, instead of saying something romantic or telling her she looks pretty, he asks where she got her necklace. She thought he gave it to her, but it’s not something he would give anyone – it belonged to Katherine. Damon thinks that’s her way of accepting their invitation. Stefan tells Caroline to keep it on so Katherine will see her wearing it. She might already be there. Speaking of guests, Matt’s worried because Peter still hasn’t turned up.
Damon starts the ceremony, expecting Katherine to choose the opportunity to object to the marriage as her moment to reveal herself. Kelly slips out and Matt follows her, but no one objects or makes an appearance. Caroline’s surprised when Damon says they’ll proceed with the ceremony. Bonnie watches, feeling bittersweet, as she and Stefan express their desire to be together.
Stefan makes up vows on the spot, saying that Caroline saw light in him when he could only see darkness. She saved him from despair. She told him once that he would fall in love without realizing it, which is exactly what happened with her over time. Caroline remembers saying that at her prom. She also remembers how he told her he would wait until she was ready for him. “I’m ready now,” she says. A part of her may have been ready for him since the first moment she saw him. Caroline will always remember this moment, even 100 years from now.
Damon cues the “munchkins” to give their mother and soon-to-be-stepfather their rings. The bride and groom exchange them, and Damon pronounces them married. Even when they kiss, Katherine doesn’t show herself. The wedding has gone perfectly without anyone even intending it to.
At the reception, Damon and Bonnie discuss Katherine while dancing. (Music: “Til the World Stops Turning,” Kaleb Jones) He wonders why she sent the necklace but didn’t come to the wedding. Bonnie thinks she’s standing Damon up “for old times’ sake.” He twirls her and she briefly ends up in Enzo’s arms.
Inside, Kelly disconnects a gas pipe and puts a gas tank in the fireplace. Bonnie just misses her as she takes the twins to the bathroom. Matt tries to call Kelly, then Peter. He hears Peter’s phone ringing and finds it on the lawn. Peter’s nearby, bleeding but alive. Matt thinks Katherine attacked him, but Peter’s able to say that it wasn’t her.
In the reception tent, Damon starts to give his best-man toast. He’s pleased to finally be able to tell his brother…we’ll never know, since Kelly grabs the microphone from him. She tells the guests that she and Damon made out once. Caroline comments that a drunken toast from Kelly makes the wedding complete. Kelly says she’s known Stefan for years and doesn’t know what all the fuss is about. She taunts Caroline for accidentally speeding up Liz’s death, which meant she didn’t live long enough to see her daughter get married.
Damon compels Kelly to leave, but the compulsion doesn’t work. She tells him he’s worse than Stefan or Caroline because of what he did to Vicki. She could have turned her life around, but thanks to Damon, she never had the chance. Kelly didn’t, either, since Mystic Falls decided a long time ago that she was trash. Matt joins the guests and Kelly berates him for sending her away. Maybe if he hadn’t stopped talking to her, he would know that she had a bad fall two years ago and died. The only one who cared about Kelly was Katherine.
As Kelly says that Katherine saw her suffering in Hell, Damon grabs her and demands to know where Katherine is. Kelly responds by throwing up more blood. She says she doesn’t know where Katherine is. Kelly’s job was to cause a gas leak in the house. Caroline realizes the twins and Bonnie are inside, and she and Stefan run off to get them. “You really think you could play Katherine Pierce?” Kelly asks Damon.
Caroline races toward the house as the gas ignites in the fireplace, causing a big explosion. Stefan holds her back so she won’t go in. But inside, the twins have implemented some sort of magic that’s placed a barrier around them and Bonnie, keeping the flames away. Enzo appears to Bonnie and tells her they need to get out. He thinks the twins are siphoning from her. Bonnie says she doesn’t have any magic, but he notes that that’s the only way she would be able to keep seeing him. If the girls keep siphoning, all three of them can get out.
Bonnie doesn’t want to let the twins take all her magic and end her connection to Enzo. He tells her he doesn’t believe it would truly be the end. They’ll see each other again, and they’ll only have peace. “No one will ever part us,” he promises. But for that to happen, Bonnie needs to live. She needs to show the girls how to do a spell that will save them. She does, and as Enzo fades, he makes her promise that she’ll live a full life.
Bonnie and the girls slowly move through the flames, their barrier continuing to keep them safe. They’re able to send the fire back into the fireplace and up through the chimney. They walk out of the house completely unharmed.
Damon and Matt interrogate Kelly, wanting to know what Katherine promised her in exchange for her help. Kelly says it was nothing – literally. Instead of Hell, she’ll get to live in emptiness. Her only task was to distract everyone until the fire started. As a woman walks downtown, approaching the bell tower, Damon asks what Katherine’s planning. Kelly’s happy to tell him, since Katherine wanted the gang to know: She’s going to burn down the town with hellfire tonight.
Matt realizes that Katherine’s going to use the Maxwell bell, but it won’t unleash hellfire unless it’s rung by someone from the Maxwell bloodline. Matt and Peter are both at Lockwood Landing and neither of them will do it, so Katherine’s out of luck. “Then it’s a good thing you weren’t an only child,” Kelly says. She’s not the only person visiting from Hell – when Cade and Kai slipped into the real world, Vicki came, too.
In the bell tower, Vicki notices that her nose is bleeding. Stefan sees that Bonnie’s is, too. Vicki rings the bell, which everyone hears at Lockwood Landing. Bonnie feels pain and starts to collapse. Kelly collapses, too, her time in the real world up. As for Bonnie, it’s not clear what’s wrong, but it doesn’t look good.
Etc.: “Oh, good, Kelly’s back,” said no one.
I’m not sure why Damon thinks this is the last crisis the gang will face (I mean, he’s right, since the series is ending, but he doesn’t know that). Even if they destroy Hell, they won’t destroy the supernatural. They haven’t taken out all their enemies. At this point, it’s just another day.
Yay, someone remembered that Valerie exists!
You just know that if Bonnie were in a different place emotionally, Caroline would never let her wear her blood necklace in the wedding.
The Katherine/Vicki fake-out is really clever. We even see a little of Vicki’s hair when she texts Kelly, but it’s so close in color to Katherine’s that it’s reasonable to mistake one for the other. Plus, she texts, “Game on,” which is what Katherine said to Caroline when she killed her.