The Vampire Diaries┬áseason 7 continues with a winter finale that finds the Salvatore brothers celebrating the holiday by taking a road-trip to kill a foe. Meanwhile, Bonnie comes close to making a new friend out of a former enemy, and Caroline turns to a loved one for a much-needed conversation about her pregnancy. But with Matt and Enzo missing out on all the drama, we will have to wait until the show returns in January to find out just who helped Matt deal with his Enzo problem. Yet by the end of the Christmas-themed hour, Enzo is not the only one whose fate is left up in the air. Take a look back at the most notable moments from the winter finale, “Cold as Ice.”

The Vampire Diaries Winter Finale Recap: The Sword and the Stone>>>

Future-Stefan Is Involved with Valerie

In our weekly three years later flash-forward, we find Stefan with Valerie in Chicago. He tells Valerie that “she” has Damon and Caroline so he is going after them. Valerie wants to go with him, but since this mystery woman already has two people Stefan cares about, Stefan does not want Valerie to become hostage number 3. Stefan leaves, but not before kissing Valerie goodbye, much to the chagrin of Steroline fans everywhere.

Stefan and Damon Bury Their Mother

The brothers gather together with two of the Heretics for Lily’s funeral because Mary Louise is a traitor and the show apparently could not afford to include the actor who plays Beau. Damon is not interested in being there at all, but Nora, Valerie and Stefan say a few words about the woman who raised them. At Stefan’s urging, Damon then delivers the world’s worst eulogy for the mother he refuses to grieve for.

Bonnie and Caroline are Giving Back

The girls are getting into the Christmas spirit by organizing the college’s Toys for Tots drive. I wish we could see them have an on-screen conversation that lasts for more than one minute but alas, Alaric arrives to take Caroline to birthing class.

The Vampire Diaries Interview: Kat Graham Comments on Big Holiday Twist>>>

Will Bonnie and Nora Become Friends?


Nora, trying to branch out in the world, stops by the college to do a little giving back of her own. She tells Bonnie that she has already signed up for a few college classes and now she wants to help with the charity drive. Bonnie, in over her head without Caroline’s assistance, begrudgingly agrees to let Nora help.

Stefan and Damon are Hunting Julian


The brothers have apparently been searching for Julian for several weeks, I guess since the night of Lily’s funeral. But thanks to Bonnie’s locator spell, they have narrowed down Julian’s location to a festive small town and they are strapped with weapons to kill him. (Though, given how well their last few attempts have gone, it seems pretty obvious that things will not work out in their favor.) They get their first sign of Julian’s presence when Damon follows a Santa-themed pub crawl into a bar full of dead people dressed in Santa costumes.

Bonnie Makes Nice with Nora


Damon calls Bonnie, not to check in with his BFF, but to see if she can work her witchy mojo to get an exact address for Julian’s whereabouts. Because Bonnie is a better friend to everyone on this show than they are to her, she decides to butter Nora up in an attempt to get the information Damon needs. Alas, Nora is able to see through Bonnie’s friendly ruse but she still tells Bonnie that Julian chose that particular town because he once called it home. Bonnie tries to warn Damon about Julian’s town full of friends but he doesn’t receive her text until it is too late.

The 29 Most Heartbreaking TV Moments of 2015>>>

Julian Gives Us Some Back-Story on the Sword


Julian uses his confrontation with Stefan and Damon to deliver some exposition about the show’s newest magical object. Julian explains that the sword acts as a magical conduit so when a vampire is stabbed through the heart with said sword, their spirit is transferred into the Phoenix Stone. He also explains that the Phoenix Stone is meant to punish vampires by using their past sins to create a version of hell specific to each vampire. I suspect many fans realized how the episode would end as soon as Julian gave his speech about the sword.

Julian Brings Backup


Stefan and Damon think they have things handled in a two-against-one kind of way but then Julian’s friends arrive. Luckily, Damon improvises a quick exit thanks to the combination of vervain grenades and the booze-soaked Santa costumes of those poor dead people.

Caroline is Having a Bad Reaction to Being Pregnant


Aside from some strange cravings, Caroline is also quick to anger, as Alaric finds out when she nearly vamps out in birthing class and then attacks him when he tries to tell her how well she has been handling the pregnancy. Caroline blames this odd behavior on pregnancy hormones, but things are rarely that simple with this show so I am not ruling out some weird magical reason for Caroline’s increased blood-lust and short temper.

Stefan Wants Damon to Make Things Right


Stefan is shocked that Damon still has not shown any regret or remorse for the way he treated their mother in her final moments. He confronts Damon about his actions and tells Damon that he has another chance to make it right by helping him kill Julian. But Damon is not interested in risking his neck by going up against Julian and all of his buddies, so he forsakes his role as Stefan’s backup and leaves Stefan to deal with Julian on his own.

Stefan Continues to Make Terrible Choices


Stefan returns to town and Valerie helps him track down Mary Louise. They knock her out and Stefan tells Valerie to keep her in an unconscious state until he kills Julian. Stefan’s plan is reckless and he fails to tell any of his friends about his hostage-taking so poor Bonnie is blindsided when Stefan’s actions put her in a bad spot.

That Friendship Did Not Last Long


After a day of bonding, Bonnie and Nora’s potential friendship — or more than friendship, considering the vibes that were flying between them — comes to a quick end when Nora learns that Stefan and Valerie kidnapped Mary Louise. Of course, Bonnie had nothing to do with Stefan’s poorly thought-out plan but Nora does not know that so she takes her anger out on Bonnie by…siphoning Bonnie’s magic until she passes out? That is what she appears to do, but I guess we will have to wait until the show returns to find out exactly what happened to Bonnie. Needless to say, Bonnie once again pays the price for someone else’s choices.

Caroline Opens Up About Her Pregnancy


Caroline visits her mother’s grave — on the first Christmas she has to spend without her — and shares with her mother all of her fears and doubts about this magic-induced pregnancy. Candice King does a beautiful job with this scene and it is easily the highlight of the episode.

Julian Stabs Damon


During yet another fight between Julian and the Salvatore brothers, Julian manages to incapacitate Stefan and stab Damon with his sword. Julian then vanishes, leaving Stefan huddled over his unconscious brother. Even without any backup, Julian once again bests both brothers.

Valerie Loses Mary Louise


Valerie, you had one job! But who took the unconscious Heretic? Julian and Nora were both looking for her but could a third party have made off with Nora’s ex? Perhaps the same people who kidnapped Enzo?

Damon Is Trapped in the Phoenix Stone


While Caroline tries to contact Bonnie — who is just coming to after whatever Nora did to her — Stefan worries about whether or not Damon can survive his time in the Phoenix Stone. From the brief glimpse we get of Damon’s experience in the stone, it does not look like things are going well for the eldest Salvatore.

Quiz: Who Is Your Vampire Soulmate?>>>

Nora Stabs Stefan


Still ticked off that Stefan kidnapped her ex, Nora pops up out of nowhere and stabs Stefan with Julian’s sword, essentially trapping Stefan in the Phoenix Stone with Damon. While this is certainly bad news for everyone close to Stefan and Damon, it is a pretty dull cliffhanger for a mid-season finale, especially since we know both brothers are alive three years in the future. But I hope their stay in the Phoenix Stone leads to some great scenes of Bonnie and Caroline working together on plans for a rescue mission. Perhaps with the guys out of commission, the ladies can come up with a plan that actually works.

(Image courtesy of The CW)