At the end of Season 5, I wasn't particularly sad about Bonnie potentially being dead for a couple of reasons. First, we've already seen the whole "Bonnie is dead, everyone be sad" thing before, and it didn't really break me up the first time. Second, she died with Damon. This means the chances of her returning are incredibly high because, let's face it, they're not going to actually kill Damon. That ruins the love triangle once and for all on this show and honestly, I don't think that the showrunners would do that. Considering that's where most of the drama comes from, I don't see it happening anytime soon.
I must admit thought, I was THRILLED to see Alaric come back and to hear that he's going to be a season regular. I was more upset about Alaric's death than I was about Jenna's (though I was still pretty upset about Jenna, don't get me wrong). And to get another thing out there in the beginning, so you know where my bias is coming in, I am Team Stefan & Elena (I don't use the portmanteaus of the Team names because they are individual people (yes I know they're characters) who deserve the respect of being identified as separate people). I like Damon, and goodness knows Ian Somerholder is a very attractive man, but there's just something about Stefan and Elena that I love. What I do not love is the potential Caroline and Stefan coupling. I would prefer for them to be BFFs and have no romantic interest in one another. They seem too different and just not compatible as a couple. So I'm very nervous that this season I'm going to have to watch them couple off and feel my frustrations rising.
Ok, all my cards are on the table. Off we go!
We first see a teenage couple getting frisky in the woods just outside of Mystic Falls. Sheriff Forbes busts them for underage drinking, a new thing since there isn’t anything else to do with no magic allowed in the town. As the couple is packing up to head home, they are attacked by a vampire whose silhouette looks a lot like Elena’s. Interesting….
Next, we see Elena walking through the woods to the mausoleum where she and Damon had their heartbreaking goodbye at the end of last season. A voiceover from Elena gives us an update on the major players. Elena is back at college and a pre-med major. Alaric is a professor at the college and struggling with being a vampire. Matt is training hard, staying in shape for the inevitable trouble that will come to Mystic Falls. Jeremy is making out with random girls. Stefan is in Georgia, allegedly looking for contacts to help them find Damon and Bonnie, but he looks pretty settled in his life. Caroline dropped out of college, while Tyler is finally attending.
Caroline joins her mother for a picnic on the outskirts of Mystic Falls since she can’t enter because of the spell. Sheriff Mama Forbes tells Caroline she needs to move on with her life even though she misses Bonnie. Caroline laments to her mother that Elena has barely cried over Damon. Mama Forbes reminds Caroline that Elena has lost more people than Caroline can imagine and to cut her some slack. She quickly has to return to Sheriff duty when she's informed that two teenagers were admitted to the hospital with suspicious wounds on their necks.
It becomes apparent that Luke is selling some kind of drug to Elena that allows her to see and talk to Damon. So this is why Elena doesn't appear sad because in her head, Damon is still around.
After Alaric’s Occult Studies 101, Elena runs up to Luke and asks him if the ancient herbs he's been selling her to help her see Damon could possibly be making her thirstier. He tells her that it's a possibility and suggests that she stop taking them. He started helping her out because he felt guilty for trapping Damon and Bonnie. But he also made a daylight bracelet for Alaric, so he feels like his apology run is coming to an end. Right, cause doing a few favors makes up for separating a girl from her best friend and boyfriend. Logic!
Down in Georgina, Stefan is at an auto garage arguing over the amount on his paycheck. Alaric calls Stefan to see if his contact has turned up anything yet. It certainly doesn’t seem like he’s hunting down any leads that may help find Damon and Bonnie. It seems like Stefan has a life, especially when we seen an attractive lady walk up that appears to be Stefan’s lady friend.
Caroline reports to Alaric that she read three might hefty books with nothing mentioning how to reverse the anti-magic spell on Mystic Falls. Caroline is annoyed that Stefan hasn't talked to her since Damon and Bonnie died. Alaric and Stefan talk frequently, but apparently he's the only one Stefan speaks to.
Elena goes to Luke's to check and see why he didn't bring her the magic, let-me-see-my-dead-boyfriend-drug over to her place. Luke is afraid Elena is living in denial, when he tells her to stop she grabs him and tells him she needs to see Damon. She's forceful and angry. Caroline is totally right, Elena has not dealt with Damon's death at all.
Luke evidently relents because we next see Elena driving and talking to Damon. Because it's really Elena's brain just working, we can see that her conversation with Luke is getting to her. Damon starts reminding Elena that's he's dead and that she probably shouldn't be taking the drugs anymore.
At the Whitmore College tailgate, Alaric and Tyler literally run into one another. Tyler tells Alaric that he's neither werewolf nor vampire anymore, and Tyler needs to be careful not to trigger the curse again. We then see Tyler looking at Liv, but Alaric tells him Live isn't interested.
Meanwhile, Stefan and his lady friend, Ivey, are having a nice little chitchat. She says she doesn't know anything about him and he gets all weird whenever she brings up his family. He shares with her that he's a vampire, but she doesn't believe him. But he then tells her he likes her and that placates her. Really, Ivy? That's all you needed to hear. No ma'am.
Back at the tailgate, Alaric runs into Elena's medical teacher, named Jo. There's some definite attraction. Jo asks for Alaric's flask but he says he's a germophobe and excuses himself to go call Elena.
Elena is still driving when she realizes she has no more blood left. Right then, she notices a stranded driver pulls over and bites the girl. Ghost Damon tells her to be careful because she's almost killed the others. Caroline then shows up and catches Elena in the act, and Caroline is not pleased. Elena lets the girl go, and she takes off running toward Mystic Falls. Elena tells Caroline about the herbs, that they make her see Damon, but they also make her thirsty. Elena tells Caroline she tried to grieve Damon but it’s just too hard. Caroline sympathizes with her and tells her she has to find another way to deal with it.
Meanwhile, the girl Elena attacked makes her way into Mystic Falls. Luckily, Matt spots her first and takes her to the hospital before his nosy exercise instructor, Tripp, can find out too much information.
After her distressing conversation with Caroline, Elena calls Stefan, begging him to give her good news and hope that there’s a chance they’ll be able to help Damon and Bonnie. When Stefan tells Elena he hasn’t found anything, she then asks him how he’s surviving the grief of losing his brother. He says he realized that searching for Damon was pointless and that it was time to say goodbye. He recommends Elena do the same thing, and he ends the conversation.
After leaving the hospital, Matt takes the girl Elena bit (Sarah) to the edge of town. She starts to run away, but Matt tells her he's also been bitten and attacked and all he wants to do is protect her. She doesn't trust him and goes to run again, but Caroline is there to stop her.
Caroline calls Tyler about the herbs Elena has been taking to see Damon. She tells Tyler that Luke has been providing Elena with the herbs, and Tyler says he'll handle it. Oh lord, here comes the werewolf curse. Tyler then seeks Luke out, and blames him for all of Elena’s problems. As Tyler goes to attack Luke, Alaric arrives to separate the two. Alaric wants to know the problem. Damn, if you thought Caroline was pissed about Elena’s herb use, it’s nothing compared t how upset Alaric is going to be!
Back at the mausoleum, Elena takes more herbs. She’s telling Damon goodbye. She can’t take the herbs anymore because she loses herself and hurts people. But she realizes she never got to say goodbye and thank you to Damon. So, she thanks him for saving Stefan and bringing back Alaric and Tyler. She also thanks him for the love they shared. It’s a really sweet moment, and she goes to give the Damon illusion a kiss. When she pulls away, we think Damon is going to be gone, but he's still there. Damon accuses her of still holding on. She can’t let go, and the herbs are only making the grieving process worse. She has to come up with another solution.
Liv visits Tyler to yell at him for attacking Luke. She tells Tyler that Elena has been emotionally blackmailing Luke for the herbs. Tyler reminds Liv that they lost friends that day, but Liv is aware and she feels guilty, but that it doesn't excuse Tyler's behavior. Tyler tells Liv that now that's no longer a hybrid or even a werewolf, he's just filled with rage all the time, but he's trying to deal with it.
Caroline is trying to call Stefan to check in. She misses her bestie, and we see Stefan just staring at the phone, refusing to pick up. Caroline leaves a voicemail, lamenting how everyone acts as if nothing happened, and how they’ve all grown apart. After she finishes the voicemail, we see Stefan break his phone. It’s too painful for him to be reminded of Mystic Fall, so he has to break (apparently literally) all ties with his past.
Alaric goes to see Elena after finding out about her herb usage. He tells her there has to be a healthier way to deal with Damon and Bonnie’s deaths. She realizes she’s been so caught up with her own stuff she forgot to ask him how he’s doing with being a vampire. He admits that he hates everything about it. Elena confesses she does too, now that Damon is gone. Now that Damon is dead, eternity seems unbearable to her. She then asks Alaric to compel Damon’s memories out of her. He was created with the original vampire spell, so he can compel other vampires. This seems like a drastic step, but to Elena, it is the only solution.
We then cut to… Damon making pancakes for Bonnie at the Salvatore mansion. Bonnie is sitting at the table reading the paper, and they’re acting like it is a normal day. WTF?!?! Well, glad to know my theory about them not being dead is confirmed, but what the heck is happening?