Bob Mahoney/The CW
Mandi Bierly
May 13, 2011 AT 10:06 AM EDT

The Vampire Diaries

TV Show
run date
Nina Dobrev, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley
The CW

Most series building to a sacrifice ritual would have thought a bloodbath would make a fine season finale. How happy are we that The Vampire Diaries didn’t stop there? By going a step further, the producers ended the season with every character (that survived) being more compelling than they were just last week. Until Damon took to his deathbed and time slowed for his heart-to-heart with Elena, the episode did feel somewhat choppy. But that’s just because there was so much to set up for next season, which we’ll enter with the satisfying feeling that no character on the show is so underutilized that she’d be better off dead (RIP, Aunt Jenna). Exec producer Julie Plec offered some post-show color commentary for us. Here’s our standard play-by-play.

I’m curious: Did anyone else think, just for a second, that Elena somehow walked in on a sleeping Elijah when she peeked into Jeremy’s bedroom? It would have made no sense, obviously, but Steven R. McQueen looked like Daniel Gillies from that distance, and now that my mind has gone there, what do you think Elijah sleeps in? A fitted wife-beater and a pair of silk pants? (Shorts would seem undignified.) Anyway, after Elena surveyed Jenna’s empty bedroom, she found the house wasn’t as empty as she thought: Damon was there to ask her to forgive him for feeding her his blood. It was the sweetest, softest voice we’d ever heard Damon use — up to that point. Elena said she needed time, maybe a lot of it. We knew Damon didn’t have that; he didn’t even have enough energy to raise his eyebrows.

Back at the Salvatore mansion, Damon went for the good bottle of bourbon in the back of the liquor cabinet and stood in front of a stained glass window. It was peaceful, like he was in church. He dropped his ring and started to let himself burn. Stefan tackled him and told Damon he wouldn’t be dying today. He locked Damon in the cell in the basement. Damon wanted Stefan to just say goodbye. As Damon lay coughing up blood, Stefan told him to conserve his strength. Stefan phoned Alaric, who, naturally, was hitting the bottle at The Grill. That was a great conversation, wasn’t it?

Alaric: I’m sorry, you’ve reached somebody who’s currently not operating.

Stefan: I need your help.

Alaric: Well, you must have me confused with somebody else. See, I’m not allowed to help, just idly sit by while my girlfriend gets sacrificed on an altar of blood.

That’s how you remind viewers what happened last week! When Stefan told him Damon was dying, and Alaric said, “What do you need?” I swooned. That Alaric-Damon bromance is still one of my favorite relationships on the show. Apparently, Stefan needed Alaric to take over Suicide Watch 2011 so the following could happen: Damon could maybe kinda sorta apologize to Alaric for his role in Jenna’s death (Alaric didn’t blame him for that) and for turning his wife into a vampire. “Okay, give me your glass. Neither one of us is drunk enough for this conversation,” Alaric said, having brought a bottle down with him. Damon grabbed Alaric by the throat and begged him to do what Damon had done to Rose: “Kill me. Please,” he said. “Screw you,” Alaric answered, and stabbed him with vervain. “Elena?” Damon said as he hit the dirt. I wasn’t sure if he was having another hallucination (at one point, we saw him imagine entering Katherine’s bedroom in 1864 to fix her corset strings before heading off to war and Elena appearing to tell him Katherine was just toying with him — he had a choice); if he was calling out her name because he wanted Alaric to know he needed to see her; or if she was simply the only thing on his mind. Alaric said she wasn’t there. But she was on her way…

NEXT: Klaus (temporarily) killing Elijah is the worst thing he’s done so far.

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