Of course this was all going to come back to Mystic Falls. Honestly, we should’ve seen it coming. (And maybe some of you did.) For me, this episode was filled with lovely callbacks, whether we’re talking about seeing Elena’s personal practice, the glimpse of Matt’s bench, hearing Bonnie’s name, or the number of times Klaus and Caroline talked about things that happened “a long time ago.” And I can promise you each and every one of those moments made my heart happy. That being said, there was also a lot of sadness in this hour. Let’s dig in!
When it appears that there’s not a fix for Hope, Klaus comes up with a plan: He and Elijah will take Hope to Mystic Falls, specifically to the Salvatore School for the Young and Gifted, where Caroline’s twins are currently enrolled. As Klaus tells Caroline — after she mentions the deal they made in the woods that he wouldn’t return to Mystic Falls — he needs their siphoning skills to take the Hollow’s magic out of Hope and put it in him. Once that’s complete, Caroline can make good on a promise she was part of, once again, years ago: To lock Klaus up and drop him in the Atlantic. Only this time, he’s a willing participant.
With tonight being the full moon, the timeline is limited. No witch seems to believe that Hope will survive the night, which means they need to remove the magic from her while she’s mid-transition
Speaking of Hope, she’s currently roaming around the school, where we find that Katherine’s photo and Stefan’s diary are both on display. Not sure how Stefan would feel about his deepest darkest secrets and #feelings being out there, but even hearing his name made me tear up. As Hope explains to Elijah, Klaus seems to be the villain in all of the stories she’s read. And that makes Elijah the evil henchman. But right now, Elijah’s simply the concerned uncle who takes Hope for a shake at the Mystic Grill!!! (Apparently there’s a plaque inside for Aunt Jenna. Did we know that?)
At the Grill, Hope runs into Landon, a guy she knows from town. She turns down his offer to attend a concert that night, and when Elijah asks why, she reveals that she knows she’s going to die. With that, Elijah decides it’s time Hope gets to drive a Bentley, and on the way, he asks her why she thinks her dying might not be the worst thing. “I don’t think I was meant to exist in the first place,” she tells him, before uttering my favorite line of the hour, “Can you be a miracle and a mistake at the same time?” Elijah is firmly in the “no one is a mistake” camp, but when he sees Hope’s struggle, he tells her to turn into the Mystic Falls High School parking lot, where they’re preparing for a decade dance. (And I just died inside.)
In the parking lot, Elijah spots some jocks who were bullying Landon at the Grill, and Hope decides to have a little fun. By freezing the water being used to wash the bully’s car, she freezes his car, thereby shattering his windows. It’s fun, but it only lasts a moment. Right after, she’s back to telling Elijah that Hayley’s death was her fault, and then, she collapses.
Meanwhile, Alaric has proven to be a problem on the Klaus front. Right after Caroline convinces her daughters to help, Ric shows up with his favorite toy, the crossbow, and puts a stake through Klaus’ heart. He then locks him in the basement of the school, but we all know that can only hold Klaus for so long. Ric’s point is simple: Even the deepest of oceans can’t contain Klaus Mikaelson. And Klaus agrees.
Back from the basement, Klaus reveals his real plan: Once the Hollow’s magic is inside of him, they’ll have to kill him. How? By using a white oak stake that he says he’s had for decades? I’m confused. Did we not have that whole “last of the white oak” conversation when Aurora got her hands on Rebekah’s childhood toy?
Anyway, after another Stefan mention, Caroline confronts Klaus about his plan. He knows there’s probably another way, but seeing as how Hope has less than a day left, he doesn’t have enough time to find it. With that, Caroline agrees to let her girls help. After all, all she ever wanted was for Klaus to be a good person, and that’s what he’s doing. “This would all be so much easier if you’d just stayed the big bad wolf,” she tells him as the sexual tension between them explodes. She tells him to wait while she convinces Alaric to let their girls help. And that brings us back to Hope. (Next: Is this the end for Klaus?)
Elijah takes an unconscious Hope to Klaus, and while he performs CPR, she wakes up in the woods only to see her mother. Hayley tells her daughter to fight this, to wake up, but Hope doesn’t want to leave her mom. So after Hayley forgives Hope, she shows her exactly what her life is like: She’s currently gathering wood for a bonfire at the bayou. There, Hayley is with her parents, grandma Mary, and yes, Jackson! “I’m not dead because of you,” Hayley tells Hope. “I’m at peace because of you.” Hayley then tells her daughter that they won’t see each other for a long time, so she tells her to make art, to use her voice, to have adventures, and of course, to “have at least one totally epic love.” Hayley then tells Hope to “be every bit of yourself, because the very best of me is in you.” With one last “always and forever,” Hope wakes up.
That night, at the town square, Hope finds Elijah and gives him a message from Hayley. She asked her daughter to tell Elijah that “she’s still holding out for that dance.”
And speaking of a dance, Hope goes to dance with Landon when Caroline shows up next to Klaus. He thanks Caroline for trusting him, and that’s when she tells him about that time, all those years ago — during The Vampire Diaries — when she was scared and drove to New Orleans looking for him. As she tells him, “A part of me has always known that you weren’t the villain of my story.” The two almost kiss when the bell tolls. It’s time to get back to the school.
Elijah, having figured out his brother’s plan, shows up and tries to convince Klaus to put the magic inside him instead. But with neither brother wanting to let the other die, they get into a fight. Klaus is victorious, snapping Elijah’s neck and then taking Hope out to the woods for her first transition.
As Hope’s bones start to break, Klaus coaches her through it, telling her, “When you’re done, run wild and free.” Then, the twins siphon the magic out of her as she becomes a wolf. The magic is then put into Klaus and just as Elijah shows up, Klaus pulls out the white oak stake and points it at his own heart…
And that’s where we end.
There were so many great moments and callbacks in this episode that honestly, I wished we’d traveled to Mystic Falls sooner so that we didn’t have to pack all of it into one episode. There’s something about this final season that feels a bit rushed to me, which of course could be the episode order. But in terms of the larger arc of the series, Klaus certainly feels on track for redemption, and I’m all for Klaus and Elijah’s emotional fight to keep each other alive. After all, that’s what “always and forever” is about. If you need me before next week, I’ll be dying over Klaus and Caroline’s ALMOST kiss.