RIP Sheriff

The Vampire Diaries Season 6, Episode 14 (“Stay”)
Marguerite MacIntyre, The Vampire Diaries

Mystic Falls certainly has an above average death rate for a small town. And parents seem to be hit the hardest. Liz Forbes was able to stick around for longer than any of the others but in this episode her cancer wins and the group is down yet another parent. Liz has been a unique parent on the show both with how present she has been and how involved she is in the supernatural world. She has known about vampires for a long time but at the beginning of the series she hated them. That is until her daughter became one and she befriended another. Though she was first unable to accept Caroline for who she was, she eventually embraced her. Making them one of the few parent-child relationships the audience is truly invested in.

Interestingly, much of Liz’s last episode is spent with Damon and not Caroline, who is busy making arrangements for Liz to live out her final days in the family cabin. As Liz is packing up her office she finds the report for Elena’s parents car accident which was never technically a closed case. Though there is little to suggest that the accident was anything more than that, Liz is determined to find a supernatural element she may have missed. She and Damon investigate, but in the end it really was just a natural occurrence. She had wanted someone to blame. In a town where many don’t live long enough to die of natural causes, it is difficult to accept dying of something as common as a car accident, or cancer. There is always an evil vampire to blame in Mystic Falls, just not this time.

Caroline is obsessed with making her mom’s final days the best she can. She worries over what books to give her, afraid that if her mom’s last book isn’t perfect it will diminish her life in some way. Stefan is still there helping her with everything and keeping things in perspective. Of course it doesn’t matter what the last book she reads is. Having the perfect final moments doesn’t mean that your life was perfect. How your life ends doesn’t necessarily say much about what your life was. Caroline misses out on spending Liz’s last day with her and only narrowly makes it back to live inside her mind for a moment before she dies. But that doesn’t mean that she didn’t love her mom. No one can say that she wasn’t there for her during these last few weeks. It is easy to forget how strained their relationship was when the show started. Caroline always felt her mom was choosing her job over her. When she first became a vampire, she knew her mom couldn’t handle it. But eventually it actually brought them closer together. Liz had to change her attitude towards vampires or give up on her daughter. The beautiful evolution of their relationship is what I will always remember about Liz.

This episode also marks the end of Jeremy as a main character on the show, but that is kind of overshadowed by Liz’s death. He tells Elena he is going off to art school but really he is going to be a vampire hunter. Throughout the episode, he and Elena reflect on their lives since their parents died. At the beginning of the series he was struggling to get over their death and since then he has struggled a lot to have a clear purpose in life. He was always drawn to the supernatural more than Elena. And it wasn’t until he became a supernatural hunter that he really had a place in that world. But after the cure was taken by Katherine and Silas died, the purpose of the Five was pretty much over. It is time for him to finally move on from Mystic Falls, but a life as an artist is just never going to be fulfilling for him. He has never seen vampires as black and white, good or evil, but he does believe in protecting humans from them. Now he is going to return to hunting vampires with Alaric’s help. Jeremy doesn’t feel like he can just start over and have a normal life somewhere after everything he has been through and he doesn’t really want to.

The only really unfortunate part of this episode is the continuation of Enzo’s revenge plot. His first step in destroying the good in Sarah is to reveal to her the truth about vampires. But he does it in a way that makes him look like a good vampire. He hits Matt with his car and then returns to show Sarah that he is a vampire and can heal people. Maybe his plan is to get her to trust him and then show her the true darkness of vampires. This whole plot is out of place in the show and just gives Enzo something to do that is fairly isolated from the rest of the cast. It is a reversal of Enzo’s character from last season and an extreme over reaction. Last season Enzo was painted as someone who was morally gray but he had been through a lot and after 70 years of being tortured he was still surprisingly an okay guy. Getting revenge on the Augustines made sense but even then he seemed more interested in just being friends with Damon again. What happened to that by the way? Enzo could have been integrated into this season so much better and his character is used more effectively in the last two seasons, but this season they struggle to make him relevant.

Episode Grade: 8/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Liz: “I’m a terrible sheriff because one of my best friends is the perp in half my open cases”
  • There is a shift in the attitude towards weed in this episode than earlier in the series. Likely due to the overall change in attitude about weed in society and on television in the intervening years. In season 1 Elena scolded Jeremy for smoking pot but in this episode she joins him and smokes a joint that Damon gave Jeremy. She realizes that smoking a joint with her brother is the most normal thing they have done in years.
  • Damon was supposed to write his mother’s eulogy but he couldn’t do it so Liz asks him to write hers.
  • Caroline forgives Stefan for abandoning her earlier in the season. She is touched by how much he has been there for her since her mother got sick. They have their first kiss just before her mom slips into a coma.
  • Body Count: Liz dies of cancer but no supernatural deaths.

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