The good news: Paul Wesley is not a liar. He told EW that the season finale would end with a cliffhanger that put someone in a position worse off than Stefan. The bad news: That person is Damon, who didn't return from the Other Side. He and Bonnie held hands as it appeared to crumble. The screen went white. Presumably, they found peace -- that's comforting. But according to our instant reaction polls, nine out of 10 viewers can't imagine season 6 with Damon (Ian Somerhalder). So how could he return? Before we get into theories, let's start at the beginning. Tissues ready.
Caroline brought Stefan's dead body back to the Salvatore living room, laid him on the sofa, and sobbed. She didn't know where to take him, she told Damon and Elena, and she couldn't leave him outside. She expected Bonnie to have a plan to bring him back. Damon was determined to make it happen. Stefan was on the Other Side watching, tears in his eyes. And then the wind started. First he slid across the floor on his stomach (being dragged to hell?), and then he held onto a wall with his fingertips as his body was raised parallel to the ground. Why did the abyss target him so soon? Luckily, a hand grabbed his. "I got you," Lexi said. I squealed, cried, and got chills. I'd thought about the possibility of seeing Alaric if, as rumors suggested, Damon died this hour. The thought of that reunion made me tear up in my office earlier in the day. But I hadn't expected to see Lexi. That friendship is just as special.
Damon went to see Bonnie and threw a fit in her dorm room when she told him she had no plan. How was she going to get a dozen Travelers to die and overwhelm her so people could sneak back from the Other Side? Enzo said he had a new plan -- he just needed Bonnie to get him a witch to do the spell.
Liv was urging Luke to drive faster on their way out-of-town, but he was sure the vamps of Mystic Falls didn't survive Markos' spell. Wrong. Elena appeared in front of their car and Caroline behind it. The Wonder Twins didn't want to risk their coven's wrath by helping to bring people back, even if the Travelers including Markos would be killed in the process. So Caroline snapped Luke's neck. He was on the Other Side. Liv would have to play.
Sheriff Forbes met up with Markos. She was still herself. She'd called for a 10-mile civilian evacuation around the town square citing a gas leak (that had supposedly killed all those people who'd had Passengers?). The Travelers reset the official Mystic Falls border to where their anti-witch magic spell started. They sent Julian/Tyler across the town line to where the witch's magic was undone. He wasn't a hybrid. He was just a hot werewolf whose neck had been snapped. He dropped dead.
Tyler came to Bonnie. At least he was himself now, not Julian. "The list keeps growing," Enzo said of those who'd need to return.
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