THE SECRET HERO — Determined to protect his sister, Jeremy makes a decision that will change everything. In the harsh reality of the present situation, Elena longs for the simpler times in her life when her parents Grayson and Miranda and Aunt Jenna were still alive and her biggest concern was her relationship with Matt. Stefan and Damon leave Mystic Falls together on a mission, but soon split up when Elena needs one of them. Caroline and Tyler are forced to make a life-changing decision. Finally, Bonnie makes a secret deal that has heartbreaking consequences.
|The episode starts with a flashback, a dream from which Elena wakes up in the hospital. Meredith tells Jeremy it's just a concussion, but Jeremy calls Stefan and Damon anyway, who get mad she's in the hospital because they feel the remaining originals (Rebekah, Kol, Elijah) will be trying to kill her to kill Alaric. Elijah shows up at Elena's house and she makes a deal with him to give him Klaus' body as long as he and his siblings don't harm her or her family in the near future. Jeremy, who was plotting with Matt to get everyone else out of the house so Matt could take Elena out of town, tries to lead Alaric into a trap. But Alaric has other sources, and ends up at the storage facility where Damon hid Klaus' body.
Alaric stakes Klaus' body with the magically reinforced White Oak Stake, leaving everyone to believe Klaus died. Thus, everyone gets all worried they are going to die too because Klaus told Damon and Stefan he created their bloodline. Meanwhile, Damon calls Stefan, convinced that they are about to make their 'epic goodbye'. Stefan expresses regret that Damon can't reach Mystic Falls, so he can say goodbye to Elena. At that moment Jeremy reveals his plan to ferry his sister away, which is met by surprised looks. Matt, who has driven Elena a little bit out of town says he can keep driving her to Damon or turn back and bring her to Stefan. She calls Damon and tells him she's going back, not just for Stefan, but also for Caroline and Tyler. Damon asks if it was just between him and Stefan, who would get the goodbye. Elena tells him: "I love him, Damon. He came into my life at a time when I needed someone and I fell for him instantly. No matter what I feel for you, I never unfell for him." Heartbroken, Damon says goodbye, as Alaric returns.
The enhanced Original beats his former friend badly, and taunts him with not fighting back. Damon replies that he's kind of invincible, and Alaric denies their friendship. For a second, Damon passes out, and his mind flashbacks to a time when he met Elena, for the first time, before Stefan. Coming back to reality, Alaric prepares to kill Damon, once and for all. But charged by his love for Elena, miraculously, Damon manages to hold back the stake Ric tries to slam down into his heart, and throws him off. They start engaging in a vicious battle.
Caroline, meanwhile, rushes to Tyler, whom we know is of Klaus' bloodline. They kiss, embrace, then Tyler tells her to leave; he doesn't want her to watch him die. Caroline resists so Tyler starts to turn in to a werewolf and she runs. Rebekah and Elijah are talking, amazed that Stefan, Damon and Caroline are alive. They said they weren't the ones, nor was Kol to create their bloodline; they were sure it was Klaus. And that's possibly true. Klaus is still alive.
Bonnie did a spell that has him living in Tyler's body. It's unclear what this means for Tyler, but it's assumed that he's still alive somehow too because Bonnie wouldn't knowingly kill him. Bonnie said she saved Klaus to save her friends and her mom.
Since she believes Klaus is dead, Rebekah tells Stefan that the deal is off; she's tired of running. Rebekah wants to kill Elena so Alaric dies.
Rebekah brings her plan to a head, by standing in front of Matt's car as he's driving Elena back into town. He swerves and the car goes over the bridge into the water, the same accident that played out with Elena's parents.
The show switches back and forth to the flashback of Elena's accident with her parents and her present accident with Matt. When Stefan comes to the rescue in the flashback, Elena's dad, who is still conscious, motions to the backseat, and Stefan saves Elena. When Stefan comes to the rescue in the present, Elena motions to Matt, Stefan resists, but Elena is insistent and Stefan saves Matt.
The scene flashes back to Damon, who has managed to gain the upperhand over Alaric. The Original tries to bring the White Oak stake down, but Damon disarms him and then Alaric suddenly starts collapsing. Real fear showing, Ric grasps Damon and dies in his arms as Elena drowns.
Damon, thinking Elena has been admitted to the hospital, rushes there and Meredith confesses she cheated by giving Elena vampire blood to save her life in the previous episode because she was bleeding from the brain. Meredith did not tell Jeremy this when they earlier discussed Elena's condition. Thus meaning Elena has died with vampire blood in her system and she now awakens in her transition.
- Antagonists: The Darkness/Alaric Saltzman and Rebekah Mikaelson.
- This is the final episode of the third chapter of Season Three, The Bloodline Chapter.
- This episode features flashbacks to the night the Gilbert's car drove off Wickery Bridge and Elena's parents died.
- This is the first episode of the series overall to have flashbacks of Elena's past.
- This episode has a flashback a little closer to the present (May 2009, only four months before the events of Pilot.)
- Elena, Damon, Stefan, Caroline, Jeremy, Bonnie, Alaric, Liz and Carol are the only characters to appear in all three season finales to date.
- This marked the first appearances of Grayson and Miranda Sommers-Gilbert, but only in flashback scenes.
- Sara Canning returns as Jenna Sommers in this episode, but only in flashback scenes.
- Elijah meets Jeremy, Matt and Caroline in this episode for the first time.
- Almost all main characters appeared in this episode; only Katherine Pierce was absent.
- This episode marks the first time two main characters died in the same episode, Alaric and Elena; however, Elena survived, as she had died with vampire blood in her system and awoke in transition.
- This is the third season finale to feature Elena, Stefan, Damon, Jeremy, Caroline, Bonnie, Alaric, Carol and Elizabeth.
- This is the second season finale to feature Matt, Tyler, Jenna, Klaus and Elijah.
- This is the first season finale to feature Rebekah and Meredith.
- Until Home, this was the only season finale to not feature Katherine.
- Matthew Davis (Alaric Saltzman) leaves the main cast after this episode.
- As of this episode, Bonnie, Matt and Jeremy are the only non-vampires/werewolves among the main cast.
- Bonnie is the only human(/witch) main female character left.
- However, in Season Six's I'd Leave My Happy Home For You, Elena takes the cure and returns to being a human for the first time in almost three seasons, and she and Bonnie remain the only two human female characters until the season finale, when Elena was written off the show due to Nina Dobrev leaving the series.
- Jeremy and Matt are the only two main human male characters left.
- Bonnie is the only human(/witch) main female character left.
- This is the first season finale to not feature Katherine or Anna.
- This is the second season finale to feature Elijah and Klaus.
- Elena dies and becomes a vampire in this episode, seemingly marking the end of the Petrova bloodline. The bloodline would be reactivated after Katherine became human again. However, in the fifth season when Katherine takes over Elena's body, the Petrova bloodline is ended again due to Katherine becoming immortal once again.
- Alaric dies in this episode due to the fact that he was linked to Elena, his only weakness and way to kill him, to have one human lifetime by Esther to kill The Original family and thus rid the world of vampires. With Alaric's resurrection in Home, he no longer appears to have any known weakness as Elena is now a vampire and not a human.
- Meredith meets Jeremy in this episode.
- We learn that Damon actually did meet Elena before she met Stefan.
- Unlike the two previous seasons, the end of the third season does not end at the Gilbert House. It ends at the morgue of Mystic Falls Hospital.
- Jenna was last seen in The Sun Also Rises, when she was staked by Klaus as the vampire sacrifice during the Sacrifice Ritual.
- Elijah was last seen in All My Children.
- Meredith was last seen in Do Not Go Gentle.
- Stefan tells Matt: "Nothing wrong with free will, Matt. Trust me, you don’t realize that till you lose it." Stefan was compelled by Klaus (and therefore devoid of free will) for most of the season.
- Foreshadowing: when Bonnie sees Klaus desiccated in the coffin, she says "You should burn in hell. But if you die, so do my friends. So does my mother. What am I supposed to do about that?" This signals her intention to keep him alive.
- This is the first time Elena and Stefan kiss this season.
- Alaric's ghost appearing to Jeremy to say goodbye and tell him that Elena is dead reinforces the fact that Jeremy sees dead vampires.
- Elijah mentions his brother, Kol, multiple times yet Kol does not appear in the episode. He was last seen in Heart of Darkness in Denver, having left Mystic Falls in All My Children.
- Alaric was still hunting down the Originals, a pursuit which began in the previous episode Before Sunset.
- Kat Graham makes her 50th appearance as Bonnie Bennett in this episode.
- This is the second season finale to feature flashbacks sequences.
- The first was the previous finale As I Lay Dying.
- In the Pilot episode, Elena's parents are shown in pictures, but in this episode, her parents are played by different actors due to a casting change.
- Katherine was mentioned in this episode. She was last seen in Homecoming.
- Niklaus Mikaelson (Body) - Staked; killed by Alaric Saltzman
- Elena Gilbert - Drowned; killed by Rebekah Mikaelson (as a human; turned into vampire)
- Alaric Saltzman - Elena's death; killed by Rebekah Mikaelson (Indirectly; as a vampire)
Behind the Scenes
- All main cast members appeared in this season finale, for the fifth and last time this season.
- Elena finally makes a choice between Damon and Stefan and chooses the latter.
- However, this choice will become complicated for Elena throughout the following season.
- Filming for this episode began on March 23, and ended on April 2.
- The title refers to all those who Elena has lost over the years, starting with her parents and continuing through Aunt Jenna.
- Elena dies exactly the same way she did in the books, during The Struggle, driving off Wickery Bridge and drowning. In the series, Rebekah caused Elena's death; in the book series, it was Katherine.
- Both in the books and the series Elena died in Matt's car.
- This episode had about 2.53 million viewers in the USA.
- The Departed is the title of the 2006 Academy Award-winning American action thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese.
- Some people actually make Vodka Tea...
- Caroline tells Elena that her ponytail lacks "zhush" (alt. "joosh") meaning that it lacked flair.
- Flare jeans did make a comeback Fall 2009, as predicted by Bonnie...
- 666 is the number usually associated with the "beast," the Devil, or the Antichrist.
- 1020 on the other hand, has no special significance as a number, nor as a date.
- "Witch Locator" could be a reference to the Ditch Witch - Utility Locator: a device to find buried plumbing.
- The "Bat Signal" is a modified search light with a stylized bat on the lens, that is used by Gothan City Police Department to summon Batman in the event of a crisis.
- Pictionary is a game where teams compete against each other to guess words as they are drawn on a board. It's a common party game. The recent Facebook fad Draw Something is inspired by Pictionary.
- The advice Miranda gives Elena about setting Matt free echoes Sir Richard Bach's famous quote: " If you love someone, set them free. If they come back, they are yours. If they don't, they never were."
- The Grim Reaper is the personification of death as a sentient being.
- Big Fat Liar is a 2002 comedy about a teenager who is a pathological liar and how his creative writing homework is stolen by a Hollywood producer that plans to turn it into a successful movie.
- Goldilocks is the name of the intrusive little girl who invades the house of The Three Bears in the popular fairy tale.
- Elena, who almost died falling off the Wickery Bridge two years before should have read one of these articles that teach how to escape from a sinking car. 1 2 3
- The ending scene, when Elena is on an autopsy table in the hospital's morgue and wakes up in transition, is very similar to the scene where Bella Swan from the Twilight Saga wakes up as a vampire at the end of the first part of Breaking Dawn.
- Matt: "So, Stefan?"
- Elena: "He saved my life, you know. I never told you that. The night that my parents’ car went off the bridge, Stefan was the one that saved me."
- Matt: "So then, what’s the problem?"
- Elena: "The problem’s Damon. When I’m with him, he just consumes me. And I know that I can’t love them both. I know that it’s wrong. But, I... When I choose one, then I’ll lose the other. And I don’t want to lose anyone else. I – I just – I wish that I had my mom here to give me some advice."
- Damon: "If it was just down to him and me and you had to make a choice who got the goodbye, who would it be?"
- Elena: "I love him, Damon. He came into my life at a time when I needed someone and I fell for him instantly. No matter what I feel for you, I – I never un-fell for him."
- Damon: "Yeah, I get it. Stefan, it’s always gonna be Stefan."
- Elena: " I can’t think about always. All I can think about is right now. And I care about you, Damon, which is why I have to let you go. I mean, maybe if you and I had met first..."
- Damon: "Yeah. Maybe."
- Rebekah: "He’s gone, Elijah. There was nothing I could do to stop it."
- Elijah: (about the Mystic Falls Gang's sireline) "It wasn’t me, it wasn’t Kol."
- Rebekah: "It wasn’t me, Elijah. It was Niklaus, I’m sure of it."
- Elijah: "Then how are they still alive?"
- Damon: "Katherine."
- Elena: "No – um – I....I’m Elena."
- Damon: "Oh, you – you just look... I’m sorry, you just really remind me of someone. I’m Damon."
- Elena: "Not to be rude or anything, Damon, but it's kind of creepy that you're out here in the middle of nowhere."
- Damon: "You're one to talk. You're out here all by yourself."
- Elena: "It's Mystic Falls. Nothing bad ever happens here."
- Elena: "I don’t know what I want."
- Damon: "Well, that’s not true. You want what everybody wants."
- Elena: "So, Damon, tell me. What is it that I want?"
- Damon: "You want a love that consumes you. You want passion, an adventure, and even a little danger."
- Meredith: "You need to know-- when Jeremy brought Elena in here earlier tonight, her injuries were worse than I let on. It wasn't a concussion, it was a cerebral hemorrhage. Bleeding on the brain."
- Damon: "What are you saying?"
- Meredith: "He was so worried, I didn't wanna tell him but I... I helped her. She needed my help."
- Damon: (horrified) "You what?"