The Vampire Diaries Recap: Nina Dobrev's Exit Strategy Revealed -- With a Twist!

On the April 23 episode of The Vampire Diaries, Stefan brought Caroline's humanity back, while Nina Dobrev's exit strategy was revealed. Credit: Tina Rowden/The CW

Just another Thursday! "Because" was the second new episode of The Vampire Diaries on the Nina Dobrev Farewell Tour, and it was a bloody one. There was a relapsed Ripper on the loose, a "return" from the dead, talk of the future, humanity switches being turned back on, and an unexpected candidate for the cure for immortality. What most people call insane, TVD just calls a day ending in "y."

Bed, Breakfast, and Beyond

Last week's TVD episode had a returned-to-humanity Stefan (Paul Wesley) swearing to bring Caroline (Candice Accola) back from the brink, and the question leading into "Because" was how the hero would save the girl and regain order in the Greater Mystic Falls Area. 

As it turns out, Stefan had a really good plan: Drain Caroline of blood, trap her in a contained space, and flood her with memories. How exactly was that better than the usual protocol for getting vampires' humanity back? Well, Stefan decided to play it as though he himself didn't buy mom Lily's schtick and the switch never went back on, then brought Caroline to a romantic weekend at a bed and breakfast.

Before our vampire Bonnie and Clyde could christen the room, Damon (Ian Somerhalder), Elena (Dobrev), Jo (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe), and Alaric (Matt Davis) helped put the plan in action. Stefan was able to bring Caroline back by spending a lot of time in Caroline's head and planting false memories, but things didn't get real until he conjured the image of Caroline's recently deceased mom, Sheriff Liz Forbes.

It didn't work at first — not until the younger Salvatore brother made Caroline see a real memory of his own. He was talking to Liz about how he wanted to be with her daughter, but it had to be "perfect." That, plus the letter Liz was writing for Caroline (that the mourning daughter destroyed while being held captive) were just the triggers needed to get our Caroline back. And boy did it hurt.

Hello, Goodbye

Speaking of hurt, as much we’ll all miss the excellent Dobrev on her way out — we've already got a box of tissues ready — "Because" is a reminder that season 7 isn't going to be without a terrific leading lady. All props must be given to Accola's acting in this episode, whether it was in the form of the hostage just trying to strike a nerve with Damon and Elena, the vixen who just wanted to hole up in a bed and breakfast and have sex with her boyfriend, the monster who felt betrayed, or the Caroline we all know and love, now wracked with guilt.

It's a shame Caroline will never get to read her mother's last words to her, and it's also a shame that the ship for a relationship between her and Stefan has sailed — at least for the time being.

Witches are Doing It for Themselves

Caroline wasn't the only one asserting her boss role in this episode. Season after season (after season, etc.) we've seen Bonnie (Kat Graham) sacrificing herself for her friends — which now includes Damon — but now the witch is finally sticking up for herself. After stealing the ascendant (which has really been nothing but trouble from day one), Bonnie destroyed it, making sure Kai and Lily's "witchpire" family couldn't get out of the 1903 prison in which they belong. It's a new Bonnie, and it's great to see, but it's hard not to admit that it hurts to constantly see her and Damon butt heads again, especially when it comes to the Elena/cure situation.

Two-for-One Shots

The writing was on the wall for Elena to take the vampirism cure as soon as Dobrev's departure from the show was announced, but the big bomb came at the end of the episode, with Damon telling Elena that she was going to take the cure — and he was going to take it too. Yes, the cure is still that small vial blood, but this time around, no one's going to be force-fed the thing or try to bogart it — at least, not if everything goes according to plan. Now, imagine if the Mystic Falls crew had thought to do that back in season 4. Sharing is caring, even when you're a vampire.

Rippers Anonymous

It looks like the vampires of Mystic Falls (and Matt) have a lot to think about after this episode, but perhaps none of them are prepared for Lily Salvatore's ripper relapse. Her sponsor? A newly compassionate Enzo. Just another Thursday.

Tell Us: Is there any way Caroline and Stefan can at least get back their friendship? Is Damon actually going to get in on that cure? Will Bonnie finally get to live for herself?