THE RACE TO SAVE STEFAN — Determined to capture an escaped vampire named Ambrose, who may be the key to getting Stefan back safely, Damon heads to Memphis with Alaric in tow. However, reluctant to step back into his former vampire hunting ways, Alaric makes his unwillingness to participate clear, while revealing the truth about the past three Damon-less years of his life. Meanwhile, in the psych ward, Bonnie meets a young woman named Virginia, who provides her with some valuable information about why The Armory may be after her. Finally, Enzo takes matters into his own hands when he learns some devastating news from Rayna.
- Antagonist: Ambrose.
- Bonnie has been taking pills The Armory created with Rayna Cruz's blood which suppresses magic in order to avoid being detected by locator spells in order to stay off The Army's radar. Near the end of the episode, Enzo tells Bonnie the pills will be making her sick as they did Mary Louise.
- Enzo tries to get answers from Rayna to possible cures for witches who takes pills made with her blood. She tells him The Armory already tried and failed to make a cure, and that the effects of her blood cannot be reversed, only enhanced.
- Bonnie entered the mental hospital to learn from Virginia what the Armory wanted with her under the alias Bonnie McCullough and had a doctor who could sign her and Virginia out at anytime.
- Bonnie McCullough is her name in the novel series.
- This episode marks the first appearance of Virginia.
- Bonnie learns from Virginia why The Armory needs her as a Bennett witch sealed something so terrible in the basement that Virginia attempts to kill her in order to keep her being used to free it.
- Lucy "Bennett" is revealed by Virginia to Bonnie to have been missing for about 4 years believing The Armory may have been responsible, though she could have gone into hiding. This would have been sometime after Damon got some her blood in I Alone to use to activate The Ascendant in their first attempt to free Bonnie from Kai's 1994 Prison World.
- Alaric tells Damon that Bonnie is in Asheville, North Carolina.
- Valerie tells Damon that Gemini Coven spells require 2 people to perform but it will be hard for her do the transfer spell alone. She is successful in placing Stefan's soul back into his own body before Marty could die.
- Valerie ends her relationship with Stefan telling him it's because she believes he still has feelings for his ex-girlfriend Caroline and that she's decided to strike out on her own into the world alone.
- There is not a single scene set in Mystic Falls.
- Bonnie Bennett was last seen in I Would for You.
- Enzo was last seen in Days of Future Past.
- Lucy was mentioned by Virginia. She was last seen in Masquerade. She was last mentioned by Damon to Elena in I Alone.
- Valerie mentions Malcolm, Beau, Lily Salvatore, Mary Louise and Nora Hildegard.
- Alex St. John is mentioned. She was last seen in Days of Future Past.
- Caroline was mentioned. Her voice was heard in Days of Future Past.
- This is the 21st and final episode of the series in which she does not appear.
- Jo Laughlin was mentioned by Alaric. She was last seen as a corpse in Best Served Cold.
- This is the fourth episode in which Elena Gilbert isn't mention or referenced in any way this season.
- Asheville, North Carolina
- The Philippines (flashback)
- Memphis, Tennessee
- Memphis College
- Alpha Rho Tau Fraternity House
- Stefan's Hideout
- Wildwood Motel
- Unnamed people killed in a frat house - slain; killed by Ambrose and themselves (through influence by Ambrose)
- Sully - smashed; killed by Ambrose
- Frank - drained of blood; killed by Ambrose
Behind the Scenes
- Valerie makes a reference to the Salvatore House’s “upstairs study” (she asks Stefan if he’d rather spin the old globe in the upstairs study). That is Rebecca’s in-joke. We used that set only once: in ep 507, for the three doppelganger blood-knot ceremony, and then the set was dismantled and carted away, never to be seen or spoken of again.
- In order to execute the ambulance stunt, production had to buy two identical ambulances: one to flip, one to shoot inside of. Our stunt coordinator Paul Burke was cast to play EMT driver Sully, who meets a quick and horrible end.
- This isn’t the first episode that Damon threatens to feed a victim’s body part to the squirrels. In 316, Damon mulls over chewing out Meredith Fell’s tongue and feeding it to the squirrels for accusing Ric of the Founders’ Council murders. It’s fun to see that this particular threat has been part of Damon’s lexicon for a long time.
- The writers particularly loved Valerie’s goodbye. These characters live in a dangerous world, so it’s not often that all our great supporting characters get to survive their departure from the show. But since Valerie’s life was always controlled and manipulated by others — leaving her mostly hurt and alone — it seemed right that she get to walk away and have a chance to live her own life for the first time.
- After a relatively balmy shoot for 717, nature got cruel for this episode, which involved a lot of outdoor location work. The cast and crew worked in temperatures in the low teens for an entire week, leading to some crankiness and some unwelcome intermittent snowflakes that you can spot throughout the episode. 
- Hashtag during the airing is #SavingStefan
- "One Way or Another" is the fourth single by American rock band Blondie from their second studio album Parallel Lines. The song was released on May 14, 1979.
- Damon: "Fun's over."
- Ambrose: "Bullseye."
- Ambrose (to Damon): "I know you won't leave me alone until you get your brother's body back. So do me one small favour and we both get what we want."
- Damon: "How small?"
- Ambrose: "Bullseye."
- Alaric: " Look, I know this has been just a cat-nap for you, Damon, but it's been three years in the real world. People change. Life goes on."
- Damon: "It wasn't a cat-nap, Ric. I made an excruciatingly painful descent into a near-death state so I wouldn't destroy everyone that I loved."
- Alaric: "You know what? Now that we know where Ambrose is all camped out, I think I'm going to go back to my life, now. So, if you don't mind taking me to the airport, or a train station, or... even this bus stop here... Yeah, if you want to pull over......and there it goes."
- Damon: "Look, I get you're mad, okay? I shouldn't have said goodbye in a letter. I should've flown to Dallas, and taken you out for drinks and line-dancing, and told you face-to-face. I'm very sorry, Ric. Just let me make it up to you, huh?"
- Alaric: "Oh, you know, Damon, I'm really not interested in being part of your 12-step redemption tour."
- Damon: "One more mission, for old time's sake, huh? I can assure you that saving my little brother will be much more fun than putting together old broken-up baby dolls."
- Alaric: Yeah, well, I'm not really a big fan of your brother right now, either. He broke Caroline's heart when he abandoned her."
- Damon: "Worked out pretty well for you, didn't it? Huh? Oh, come on! Help me out. Be a hero. I mean, unless you don't think Caroline cares whether Stefan lives or dies..."
- Damon: "So I hear your vampire MO is..payback for you being a great system reject. Kind cliché don't you think?"
- Ambrose: "Why don't you come back here, Damon? I'm sure I can remember which attractive, overprivileged parasite owns this place?"
- Damon: "Huh. Well, the only parasite I'm interested in is you."
- Ambrose: "You know, I actually don't care much for the taste of blood. What I do love are the less obvious perks: Eavesdropping skills, mind games. Of course it's fun to wantonly murder these class-obsessed imbeciles.. but making them kill each other? Well, that really takes the egg."
- Damon: "This is all fascinating, really. Here's the thing. I can't hear you that well, I don't think your reception is that good in there. Why don't you just come out, deliver your villainess monologue face-to-face? What do you think?"
- Ambrose: "Look Damon, I know you won't leave me alone until you get your brother's body back. So why don't you do me one small favour and we both get what we want."
- Damon: "How small?"
- Ambrose: "Rayna Cruz. Chased me across this country for a decade, made my life hell..literally. Here's to why I'm here."
- Damon: "What about her?"
- Ambrose: "Well, let's just say that I.. made things personal for her: Framed her for a couple of massacres, turned her boyfriend. She won't be satisfied until I'm dead. In fact, she's probably on her way over here right now. So, why don't you go ahead an kill her for me and I promise that I will turn your brother's body's back over to you."
- Stefan: "Oh, where are we?"
- Damon: "We're on our way to Memphis. Valerie got a line on your real body. The one with the nice hair."
- Stefan: "How did my real body end up in Memphlis?"
- Damon: "You know what? Long story. Why don't you just focus on staying alive okay?"
- Officer: "Marty Hammond, you're under arrest for driving under the influence."
- Alaric: "Apparently he was a serial killer before he became a vampire. He would stalk sororities and fraternities and murder for sport."
- Damon: "Maybe he'll be so busy snacking on drunk soroity girls, that this will be an easy smash and grab. Listen, thanks for coming all this way to help out buddy. It means a lot!"
- Alaric: "Yeah, well I didn't exactly volunteer Damon."
- Alaric (to Damon): "Look, I know this has just been a catnap for you Damon, but it's been three years in the real world. People change. Life goes on."