On this episode of The Vampire Diaries, “Stay,” Enzo proceeds with his diabolical plan to ruin Sarah Salvatore. Liz asks Damon to help her with one last case. Caroline and Stefan share an intimate moment. Jeremy has a secret.

It’s a good thing Little Gilbert has vamps on his side, or he wouldn’t be getting the hell out of Mystic Falls. Despite being a lackluster high school student since season 1, he’s going to graduate and head off to greener pastures, art school. Damon has compelled Elena’s little brother a future. For all you underachievers out there, remember, this isn’t an option for you.

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False Pretenses

Alaric, Matt and Jeremy are at The Grill downing shots and celebrating Jeremy’s impending departure. Matt’s phone keeps blowing up with messages from his bromantic partner, Enzo. Jeremy questions why Enzo is still alive, and more importantly, why he’s calling Matt, but Matt tells him not to worry about it.

Enzo is moving full-steam ahead with his plan to corrupt the lovely Sarah (Tristan Mays). She’s come to town to take pictures of The Grill for the restaurant’s website. Yeah, okay. A Duke photography student has nothing better to do than go to Virginia to take pictures of a small-town bar. Enzo must have compelled the owner, who when I last checked, was dead thanks to Kai, into making her a very, very lucrative offer. So much so that you’d think she’d get suspicious.

It also looks like Sarah may be a little sweet on our Matty since he supposedly is the one who recommended her for the job. Maybe that’s her real motivation for coming to town.

Open and Shut?

Sheriff Forbes is preparing to convalesce during her last days, but not before she tries to close all of her open cases. Pretty ambitious for someone with a debilitating brain tumor. She gets a little help from Damon. He admits to A LOT of them with one exception, Elena’s parents. Yes, we’ve been led to believe that their death was an accident, but alas, that doesn’t appear to be the entire story.

Miranda Gilbert left the sheriff a message just a few hours before her death. She says she has something urgent to talk to Liz about and asks the sheriff to call her back. Well, that can’t be a coincidence.

The sheriff does feel that both Stefan and Damon being in town at the time of the Gilberts’ accident is odd, but Damon assures her he had nothing to do with it. And we all know Stefan’s story regarding that night. Check out TVD on Netflix if your memory fails you.

In addition to the mystery phone call, Elena’s parents took a longer route than necessary, left no skid marks and had a trunk full of luggage.

Cabin Fever

Caroline and Stefan are at the Forbes’ cabin in the woods. Caroline thinks it’s the perfect place for her mother to kick the bucket. Caroline is busy reliving childhood memories, and stressing over what her mother might want to eat, read and watch as she continues to wither and die and drool over Stefan. I’m sorry, Steroline fans, their chemistry feels forced to me.

She doesn’t know if Stefan is there because her mommy asked him to be or because he really cares. Guess what? I don’t really care. This cast needs to expand because all this cross-hooking up has become incestuous.

After a day of meaningful looks, the two finally kiss. Looks like Caroline has officially been taken out of Stefan’s friend zone.

What’s the 420?

Elena and Jeremy decide to spark up a joint and do some brother and sister bonding. After scarfing a large order of fries, Elena admits to her baby brother that she is the world’s worst sister. Damon calls and requests her presence at the sheriff’s office even though she’s baked. You’d think a vampire would have more tolerance.

It Ain’t Mystic Falls Until Somebody Drinks Some Blood

Elena takes off and Enzo appears. Why hasn’t anybody staked this guy already? He started out charming in a smarmy way, but now he’s gone all Fatal Attraction, and he’s tiresome. Enzo has decided to use Jeremy as leverage to keep Matty Blue Eyes from breaking things off with him. After all, threatening his absentee mother was a weak play from the start.

Enzo wants Matt to lure Sarah into some tunnels on the outskirts of town. Oooohhh, very, very scary. Why not meet in the ones that run right under The Grill? Enzo is such a drama queen.

Matt takes Sarah to the tunnel, which is really more of an underpass, and proceeds to get run down by a car. What the hell good are cell phones if nobody ever seems to have one in case of an emergency? Sarah frets until good Samaritan Enzo shows up posing, at first anyway, as an innocent bystander. He tells Sarah he can help Matt, and proceeds to feed Matt his blood and then take off.

Case Closed

Elena can’t offer any insight into the strange circumstances surrounding the car accident. Then she returns to the Salvatore mansion to find Jeremy icing his face with a bag of frozen veggies. He spares her the details, only saying that his injury is the result of Enzo being a dick.

She tells him everything the sheriff did about the suspicious circumstances surrounding their parents’ deaths. Elena asks Jeremy if he remembers anything weird about that night. He admits that that their mom caught him smoking pot in his room and threatened to have him arrested. Elena relays this revelation to Liz.

Suddenly, the pieces of the puzzle come together. There had been a storm the night before which downed a power line, and explains the detour Grayson took. The luggage was in the trunk because Grayson had been planning a surprise trip to the family lake house. Poor drainage made the road slick so the lack of skid marks is now understandable. Mystery solved.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Jeremy’s having second thoughts about leaving. Between the sheriff being on death’s door and Enzo on a rampage, he thinks he should stay. Elena assures him he should have left a long, long time ago. Ric arrives to take Little Gilbert to the airport. Their goodbye lacks any emotional punch, but it’s hard to top Elena’s meltdown after Silas killed Jeremy, and she dragged his rotting corpse back to Mystic Falls.

Liz isn’t looking so great, and Damon takes her home and tucks her in. The magnitude of what is happening finally hits her. She has always been prepared for the possibility of dying of supernatural causes, but not of something as humdrum as cancer. That’s why the renewed interest in the death of Elena’s parents. It’s much easier to blame a vamp or a werewolf then deal with the fact that crappy things happen to good people, herself included.

Liz tells Damon that she realizes she’s exceptionally ordinary but that Caroline isn’t. She wants to make sure her daughter realizes how proud she if of her. Liz also thanks Damon for being there for her. Like Stefan, he starts to open up about their mother and her untimely passing, and like his brother, Damon is full of regrets. Sheriff Forbes has really been the one constant maternal presence on the show.

Liz takes a drastic turn for the worse, and Damon rushes her to the hospital. Caroline is heartbroken and riddled with guilt that she wasn’t with her mother. 

Jeremy the Vampire Slayer

In an unexpected twist, Jeremy isn’t really going to art school. Armed with a ton of weaponry, Little Gilbert is going to put his big, bad hunting skills to use out west. Ric is the only one who knows the truth. Ric will be serving as a kind of “watcher” for the guy, but otherwise, he’s on his own. Jeremy also asks Ric to get in touch with him if Bonnie ever comes back. And just like that, Little Gilbert boards a bus and heads off into the night.

A Last Goodbye

Stefan helps Caroline get inside her mother’s head and fill it with the memory of Liz teaching her to ride a bike. Kind of like what Damon did with Rose as she died from a werewolf bite in season 2. Liz dies peacefully.

If this episode didn’t have you reaching for the Kleenex, Liz’s funeral is sure to cause some blubbering.

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8pm on the CW.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

Jennifer Lind-Westbrook

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Jennifer has worked as a freelance writer in the entertainment field since 2012. In addition to currently writing feature articles for Screen Rant, Jennifer has contributed content ranging from recaps to listicles to reviews for BuddyTV, PopMatters, TVRage, TVOvermind, and Tell-Tale TV. Links to some of Jennifer’s reviews can be found on Rotten Tomatoes.