Spoilers ahead for The Vampire Diaries series finale. Heartbreaking deaths, emotional reunions, happy tears, sad tears. The Vampire Diaries series finale had it all, including satisfying outcomes for many of the show’s beloved characters. And a key theme of the ending, and for a portion of the entire series, was about finding peace. For many, if not all of the key players of The Vampire Diaries, its last episode showed each of them discovering their own nirvana.
To start, Katherine (Nina Dobrev) returned for one final attempt at wreaking havoc on Mystic Falls. However, Bonnie (Kat Graham) finally got a handle on her fledgling witch powers and defeated her, destroying hell and Katherine once and for all. Still, someone needed to sacrifice their life to make sure Katherine died at the right moment. So, after an emotional confrontation between brothers Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) over who would be the one to die for the greater good, Damon attempted to compel Stefan to leave.
Stefan, on his steady diet of vervain (as a newly-transformed human living in a town full of vampires, that's just common sense), took the vampire cure out of his blood and injected it into Damon, turning Damon human. Without the cure, Stefan would soon begin to age drastically and die like Katherine did back in Season 5, so Damon had no choice but to let his little brother die in his place.
Before he died, Stefan said his final goodbye to Elena (Nina Dobrev) in a psychic, in-limbo state of life and death. There, he gave Elena a message to share with his wife, Caroline: that he would love her forever. Then in his last moments, he found his bliss with loyal friend Lexi (Arielle Kebbel), one of the series' best characters who was gone too soon.
After Bonnie broke Elena's sleeping curse and she finally woke up, she reunited with all her friends and shared a passionate kiss with Damon. After everyone paid their respects at Stefan's memorial, a montage began, showing viewers how everyone's lives unfolded: Matt (Zach Roerig) remained sheriff and pondered a run for mayor of Mystic Falls, while ex-lovers Vicki (Kayla Ewell) and Tyler (Michael Trevino), who were both killed on the show, ultimately found contentment with one another.
Bonnie traveled the world and lived her life to the fullest, just as Enzo (Michael Malarkey) wanted for her. Alaric (Matt Davis) and Caroline converted the Salvatore mansion into the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted, with Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen) as a teacher. Alaric's wife, Jo (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe), found peace as she watched Alaric and their daughters play happily. Caroline's mom, Liz (Marguerite MacIntyre), found happiness as she watched her daughter succeed, find merriment, and do good in the world.
Caroline’s gaiety was also attributed to receiving an extremely generous $3 million donation to her school by none other than The Originals' Klaus (Joseph Morgan). His financial gift came with a sincere note, which proved to Caroline that her ex had some good in his heart after all. Vampire Diaries writer Carina Adly Mack shared the first draft of Klaus’ letter via Twitter in 2019, and fans were left feeling just as emotional. One follower wrote, “OMG WITH NO WARNING THIS DROPS IM IN TEARS.”
Elena went on to live a full, happy, human life with human Damon. She went to medical school, returned home to Mystic Falls, and grew old. There was an engagement and wedding ring on her finger, implying that Damon and Elena got married and literally walked off into the sunset together.
When Elena eventually died, she found peace with Aunt Jenna (Sara Canning), her mom Miranda (Erin Beute), dad Grayson (Jason MacDonald), and Uncle John Gilbert (David Anders). In a full-circle moment for Elena, she regained her loved ones — sans brother Jeremy — and shared one big family hug on the Gilbert house porch.
When it comes to the mythology of The Vampire Diaries, the notion of peace and how it's given or received is linked to the ideas of family, loss, and grief. These are topics writer and producer Kevin Williamson told Bustle he and his colleagues “wanted to play with” during the series. “Anyone who has suffered loss knows it's important to know and to believe that they're always there by your side. Because they're inside of you, they live through you, they guide you, they influence you, they created you, they stood by you. They're always with you,” he said in 2017. “That was our idea. To see peace is to see within."
"We wanted to visually show what those internal moments of peace looked like for each character. We always wanted it to be interpreted. What did this show mean to you? You know, what's your idea of peace? Let the viewer look at it and give them a good cry but also give them a thank you and a farewell. I want people to look back, all the audience who dedicated eight seasons of their life to this show to look back on it and smile and have a good memory.”
The proposal of "finding peace" didn't come about until the series destroyed the supernatural purgatory “The Other Side” in season five. “‘The Other Side’ was always problematic in the sense that it made death not final. It took away the meaning of death," Williamson said. "That was always the struggle. It worked for us in so many great ways in the mythology, and it was a loophole of how we could see characters again. I saw that as a hurdle once we created that, and I knew we would eventually have to overcome it.”
Williamson added that co-creator Julie Plec “had the brilliant idea” of using the destruction of “The Other Side” as a means to introduce “the idea of peace.” He added, “For the finale, it's this idea that you can be forgiven, and there is peace out there for you. That's the idea of the final montage when you hear the 'Dear Diary' voiceover."
For Williamson, “it’s all about the last 12 minutes” of the episode, ending with the exact same words Damon uttered to Stefan in the series’ first: “Hello, brother.” Williamson said he “really wanted that line.” "It was the first line spoken [between Damon and Stefan in the pilot], and I liked it being the last one [in the finale]. That final moment was important."
And just like that, as Williamson declared, “peace was achieved by all” by the end of The Vampire Diaries. “That final montage at the end is like a scrapbook. You know how all the characters ended up and get the sense that they were all going to be OK. This show, on a daily basis, was a lot of dire and death and devastation. Everyone was always trying to save somebody, so it's nice to know they finally were able to take a breath and be happy."
Not everyone considered the ending to The Vampire Diaries a perfect one. Screenrant accounted for a number of alleged plotholes, including the lack of a reunion for Elena and Jeremy. But Dobrev, who left the series after Season 6, thought differently after reflecting on the finale in 2019. She told Andy Cohen in an interview for Watch What Happens Live, “I think the show had a satisfying, awesome [end].” She also revealed that it was particularly great for her to be a part of the episode and to “pay homage to characters.”
After eight seasons and 171 episodes of black title cards, The Vampire Diaries ended with a white one. The Diaries universe also expanded with spinoff programs The Originals, which ended in 2018, and Legacies. But for anyone hoping to see a Diaries resurrection with a Season 9, it’s highly likely the show would be without Stefan, Damon, Elena, or Bonnie. Graham and Dobrev are still super tight but expressed to TMZ in June 2021 that both are not interested in reliving their Vampire Diaries roles. And while Somerhalder and Wesley have embarked on being business partners, their days as Damon and Stefan appear to be over. “It ran a great course, and now it’s still living. That’s what’s so amazing. It’s still living,” said Somerhalder to Cohen on Andy Cohen Live in February.
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