Despite the fact that “The Vampire Diaries” broadcast its last episode on The CW years ago, it remains one of the network’s most famous series, thanks in large part to Netflix, which has made all eight seasons available to new and returning viewers.
If you’re new to the paranormal romance centred on two vampire brothers — Stefan and Damon Salvatore (played by Paul Wesley and Ian Somerhalder) — in love with the same woman, Elena Gilbert (played by Nina Dobrev), or a longtime fan, you may be curious about the significance behind the show’s final episode, titled “I Was Feeling Epic.”
The episode appears to have landed with a user rating of 9.4 on IMDb. When series star Nina Dobrev left the show in 2015, some viewers feared she wouldn’t return for the finale, but she did, allowing the brothers to wrap up not one, but two relationships: Elena’s and her doppelgänger Katherine Pierce’s.
While not every character made it to the end or received a happy ending, some did, with fan favourites like “The Originals” and “Legacies” advancing to spin-off shows on The CW.
Some of the show’s main characters ended up in this place.
Bonnie saves almost all once more.
Elena Gilbert could depend on her best friend, Bonnie Bennett (played by Kat Graham), from the beginning of the series until the end. Kai (Chris Wood) linked Elena and Bonnie’s lives in Season 6, enabling Dobrev to leave the show without her character being killed off.
Kai forced Elena into a magical slumber by binding their lives together, which she could only awaken from when and if Bonnie died. Bonnie’s death proved to be the trigger that brought Elena alive at the start of the series finale. Bonnie had collapsed in the previous episode after narrowly surviving an explosion at Stefan and Caroline’s wedding.
Bonnie finds herself roaming an ethereal forest in the finale, where she soon meets Elena, who is unhappily aware that Bonnie must be dead. Bonnie is overjoyed to see her mate and is looking forward to seeing her deceased lover, Enzo (Michael Malarkey). Enzo, on the other hand, emerges and pulls Bonnie back into the light, telling her it’s not her moment.
Stefan and Caroline then resuscitate Bonnie. Bonnie, as usual, saves the day after Katherine’s plot to use hellfire to kill all of Mystic Falls is announced. Bonnie and the badass Bennett women, with the aid of her ancestors, send the fire back to hell, saving the area.
Bonnie also manages to detach herself from Elena’s life, allowing her best friend to awaken. Bonnie eventually takes control of her grief in the show’s final moments, and, like a certain Scarlet Witch from another iconic TV series, she continues to live life to the fullest, taking her passport and going off to see the world.
Bonnie, a strong witch and one of the show’s most beloved characters, was always the one who saved the day, even at great personal expense, and viewers would have rioted if she had died in the finale.
While a sizable portion of the show’s fanbase wished for a Bonnie and Damon pairing, she was left alone in the end. Despite this, she was arguably the show’s most powerful and trustworthy character.
Katherine finally got what she deserved.
Katherine Pierce (also played by Nina Dobrev) was the vampire seductress who sentenced the Salvatore brothers to an everlasting existence and tormented them for decades, reappearing when they both fell in love with her modern-day doppelgänger, Elena.
She was manipulative, dishonest, and self-centered, and she relished the opportunity to see Stefan and Damon battle over her, always claiming to choose one over the other. She spent years tormenting the brothers after they rebelled against her, mostly by hurting those they loved.
The brothers discover that Katherine has taken care of hell in the episode leading up to the finale. When she has her thugs ruin Stefan and Caroline’s wedding, it becomes clear that she is already plotting revenge against the brothers.
Katherine pretends to be Elena, freshly awoken from her mystical sleep, after Bonnie’s near-death encounter, only to laugh when Damon almost falls for her ruse.
Throughout the show, she taunts Damon, preying on his insecurities about his relationship with Elena, saying, “She’d pick Stefan because I’d do the same. Almost any woman can. Stefan is the superior person.” In her conceit, she also reveals her intent to use hellfire to kill Mystic Falls and Elena’s body.
Katherine was typically a more lively and fascinating character than Elena, with her signature curly hair and black leather outfit. Her adversaries were still two steps ahead of her.
Damon succeeds in daggering his former lover in the end, but it is the newly human Stefan who foils Katherine’s plans by sacrificing himself to save her from surviving the hellfire.
Although Katherine appears to die for good in the tunnel with Stefan, this isn’t the first time she’s been thought dead and then reappeared with a vengeance.
The title of the episode has a deeper significance for Stefan.
Most fans of the show would have laughed if you told them Stefan and Caroline (Candace King) would end up together in Season 1, but that’s exactly what happened. The couple barely made it to the altar, exchanged vows, and enjoyed a few hours of bliss before all hell broke loose, literally.
Once Katherine revealed herself, it was clear that Stefan, who had been turned back into a human, and Caroline, who was still a vampire, had their work cut out for them in saving their loved ones.
The couple’s simple relationship had blossomed into love over the last few seasons, and the explosion after their wedding seems to foreshadow an ominous future for them. Stefan intervenes when he discovers that his older brother, Damon, is intending to kill himself in an act of repentance in order to save Mystic Falls.
Stefan and Caroline have an emotional exchange in the minutes leading up to his heroic act, in which she tearfully tells him that she told Alaric she would not let her daughters grow up without a mother.
Stefan comes full circle at the end of the season, sharing some of his final moments with Elena, whom he encountered in death before she awakened from her spell. He says with a smile after blessing her friendship with Damon, “Elena, it’s great to see you again. Just one more time.” He does, however, whisper in her ear a message that is later revealed to be intended for Caroline: “I will love her forever, too.”
Stefan emerges into the sunshine in some of his final scenes to find himself in the high school parking lot, where his best friend Lexi (played by Arielle Kebbel) is waiting. Lexi, who had died several seasons before, told Stefan in Season 2 that she chose to be Stefan’s wingman because she “felt epic.” She went on to tell him that he should always obey his heart.
“That was beautiful,” Lexi says as she welcomes Stefan in the finale, to which Stefan responds, “I was feeling epic” — which is also the title of the final episode.
The finale’s central theme was brotherly love.
Throughout the eight-season run of “The Vampire Diaries,” Stefan and Damon Salvatore’s relationship was still tumultuous, but strangely steadfast. Damon seemed to be deliciously unredeemable at first, content to be a vampire and kill humans for fun, while Stefan battled his impulses and tried to do good. Their tumultuous relationship changed as the show progressed, with Stefan becoming darker at times and Damon falling in love with Elena, despite initially denying his feelings because he cared about his younger brother.
Stefan begs Bonnie for help in stopping Katherine from destroying the area, knowing that Damon will never leave Elena’s body to die. Stefan chooses to martyr himself instead of Damon when it becomes apparent that Damon intends to kill himself to ensure Katherine never hurts his loved ones again, though not before an intense exchange over which brother needs salvation the most. Stefan claims that he owes a lot of people money.
Damon counters by claiming that he has spilled more blood than Stefan. Stefan bears responsibility for turning Damon into a monster because he coerced him to become a vampire against his will. “I fought to make you into the guy who deserves the happiness that’s out there right now, so let me do this for you,” Stefan says as Damon refuses to budge. “Then let me do this for me,” Stefan adds after Damon refuses.
Damon tells Stefan, tearfully, “I am the older sibling. Sorry for not doing a decent job until now.” Stefan eventually triumphs, convincing Damon that he has been compelled, only to return minutes later to stab Damon with a needle full of his blood, which contains the cure for vampirism. Stefan grabs Katherine and is engulfed by fire while Damon looks on.
Stefan’s spirit is found waiting in the Salvatore mansion in the series’ final scene. A knock comes at the door. Damon appears, and the brothers hug once more, at peace. Although it is unclear how much time has passed, it has. Damon lived a long and happy life and died, only to be reunited with his younger brother in the afterlife, according to the implication.
Elena and Damon did get a happy ending in the end.
The Vampire Diaries’ final scenes remain true to form, deviating only in giving other characters besides Elena a chance to give “dear diary” narrations as their fates are unveiled, always with the spirits of their departed loved ones looking on, such as Tyler Lockwood, Liz Forbes, and Enzo. Bonnie gathers her belongings, grabs her passport, and declares herself ready to face life once more.
Matt is elected sheriff, and a bench honouring his heroism in saving the town is erected in his honour. Alaric and Caroline reminisce about Damon’s gift to them: the Salvatore mansion, which they have transformed into the Salvatore Boarding School for the Young and Gifted, launching the spin-off series “Legacies.”
Elena, now a human, reveals that after medical school, she returned to Mystic Falls, where she and Damon grew old together. Elena is embraced by the parents she lost prior to Season 1 in her final scene, saying, “That is the hope of peace — that one day, after a long life, we find each other again.” Meanwhile, Damon was reunited with Stefan.
Many fans loved Damon and Elena, partially because of Dobrev and Somerhalder’s real-life relationship, but it was never clear which brother she would end up with, if any. Elena credits her friendship with Stefan with bringing her back to life after her parents’ deaths, despite the fact that a flashback from a previous season shows she met Damon the night her parents died and he consoled her.
Damon pushes Elena to break free from expectations, and Elena brings out Damon’s humanity. That’s why, given the circumstances, it makes sense to give the couple a happily ever after, or as close to one as possible.