The Other Side is destroyed with Damon and Bonnie still on it

The Vampire Diaries Season 5, Episode 22 (“Home”)
Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham, The Vampire Diaries

“I’m sure there are a million people we’d both rather be with right now” “Couple thousand at most”

The Vampire Diaries has had some great season finales that always hint at how they are going to shake things up next season. Stefan leaving town with Klaus in the season 2 finale and starting his dark, ripper arc. Elena becoming a vampire in season 3 putting her character on a new path for the rest of the series. Though this season has mostly failed to live up to its predecessors, this finale did not disappoint. And things are certainly going to be different next season. This is the most sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat season finale the show has had so far, maybe ever. As the Other Side completely collapses, the fate of almost every character was in jeopardy. Who would pass back to the land of the living and who might be swept off into the unknown? Resurrection and death loom over this episode and the fates of two main characters are still in question.

Through various circumstances the list of people who need to come back from the Other Side gets pretty extensive. Stefan was killed last episode, Tyler is killed by Markos to demonstrate what happens when a supernatural being crosses into Mystic Falls, Luke is killed by Caroline to force Liv to do the resurrection spell, Elena and Damon sacrifice themselves to kill Markos, Enzo is still there and determined to return, and of course there are some old favorites still over there like Alaric and Lexi. So who gets to come back and who doesn’t? Let’s start with the resurrected.

With Liv doing the spell, almost everyone on the Other Side is able to come back through Bonnie before it completely collapses. Luke, Enzo, Stefan, Elena, Tyler, and even Alaric are all able to pass through. With everything that happens in the end of the episode, the return of Alaric is overshadowed, but everyone’s favorite alcoholic, vampire-hunter turned vampire, history teacher is back! The other development that is overshadowed is Tyler’s return to human form. Crossing into Mystic Falls cured him of his vampirism and deactivated his werewolf gene, but since he still has the gene he was able to go to the Other Side. It also removed his passenger. So when he came back he was a human again. Tyler has been through so much since he became a werewolf, and then a hybrid. He gained a lot from joining the supernatural world, a new sense of purpose, humility, and his first love. But it also ripped a lot away from him. Klaus killed his mom, took his autonomy, and ruined his relationship with Caroline. Now he gets to start over again. What will he do with it?

But not everyone makes it back. Lexi had planned to come back but sacrifices herself when she realizes that Bonnie is dying from so many people passing through her. She would rather Stefan get his brother back and her last act is to make sure that Markos doesn’t come back either. She then accepts her fate and is taken away in peace. Luke is the first back and he is concerned that Liv won’t survive doing this massive spell so he stops her. With the spell stopped, no one else can get through and Damon and Bonnie are left on the Other Side as it is completely destroyed. The episode ends with a fade to white which I believe is the one and only time that happens on the show.

So what happened to them? Bonnie knew that she was going to die, she never had a way of getting herself back and didn’t tell anyone. She tells Jeremy, over the phone, right before she blinks into oblivion, but doesn’t give him the chance to say goodbye. If it had only been Bonnie, I might have thought they actually died. But putting Damon there with her essentially ensures that they are still alive, just somewhere else. At this point we have absolutely no idea where they went, only that Bonnie’s grandmother probably had something to do with it. Earlier in the episode she tells Bonnie that she made a sacrifice to make sure she would be okay. But at this point in the show we haven’t learned about any afterlife other than the Other Side which has always been presented as a purgatory. Something lies beyond it, but what? We are just going to have to wait until season 6 to find out.

For me, this finale probably ranks below seasons 2 and 3 but above 1 and 4. It ends on a great cliff hanger and sets up a new landscape for season 6. I have made it no secret that this is my least favorite season of Vampire Diaries but thankfully it gets better from here, otherwise I would never have stuck around for three more seasons of this show and decided to write about every single one of them. They just seemed to be out of ideas this season and tried to keep the show they had but put it in the new Whitmore setting. I have already discussed at length the problems of this season so I would rather wrap it up by looking forward. The show definitely gets more experimental in its later seasons and does some new things, some of which are pretty interesting, some less so. The show realized in this season that it needed a shakeup to keep things going and as a result of that we will see an expansion of the supernatural world in the upcoming seasons. Next up we have season 6, my personal favorite of the latter half of the show.

Episode Grade: 9/10

Season Grade: 6.5/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Best episode of the season: Episode 12, “The Devil Inside”
  • Worst episode of the season: Episode 9, “The Cell”
  • With the destruction of the Other Side we won’t get visits from Lexi anymore, good thing there are always flashbacks!
  • Speaking of flashbacks, this season really lacked some good flashback episodes. It was pretty much just Augustine stuff. Hopefully we get some good ones in season 6.
  • Liz faked another gas leak to clear out the town square – do the citizens of Mystic Falls find it fishy how many gas leaks there are?
  • Silas came back briefly to teach Bonnie the resurrection spell. He wanted to be brought back as well, but wasn’t his whole thing that he wanted to die?
  • Silas: “Is it a crime for someone so good-looking to be so sad all the time?”
  • Project Kaboom
  • Matt isn’t too upset at the idea of the vampires being force out of Mystic Falls – their lives might be normal again. One can dream Matt.
  • Damon tells Elena goodbye from the Other Side and tells her that dying knowing that she loved him is the best way he could go, he is fulfilled.
  • Body Count: Markos and a whole bunch of Travelers are killed when Damon and Elena crash into the Grill.

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