|“||At the Salvatore School, the end of the year means different things to different people. For some it's about reunions. To others it means saying goodbye. Summer is a time to set out on new adventures, see the world, to grow in ways you never imagined. Everyone moves on.||”|
SUMMER WITHOUT HOPE — After discovering that there may be a way out of Malivore, Hope becomes more determined than ever to find her way back to Mystic Falls. Alaric, who is still reeling after being voted out as headmaster by the honor council, continues looking into the mysterious night Malivore was destroyed. Elsewhere, as the students leave for summer vacation, Landon stays behind to keep an eye on Rafael, while MG heads to Atlanta to spend time with Kaleb's family. Finally, while Lizzie spends the summer in Europe with Caroline, Josie searches for answers about the mysterious ascendant that Alaric was keeping from them.
There has been a time jump and it is now June, summer break for the students at the Salvatore school. All of the students, including Kaleb, are leaving the school to go home with their families. However, for Landon, he has nowhere to go and must stay at the school for the summer. He is also searching for answers, and we see him tie a concrete block to himself and jump into the river behind the Salvatore Estate, attempting to kill himself and reveal answers about who or what he is.
Meanwhile, Josie talks to Lizzie using a clear crystal, Lizzie reveals that she has learned about the ascendant, a device that they created with Bonnie Bennett when they were five years old. She is unaware of its purpose, though. When Lizzie asks about their father, Josie reveals that he isn't doing too well since being voted out as headmaster at the Salvatore School. Despite this, Lizzie asks Josie to fly over to her and their mother for the remainder of the summer, but Josie dismisses her, fearing what would happen if she left Alaric behind.
Alaric visits the Salvatore School to collect some supplies from Dorian in order to investigate and analyze the Malivore pit. Dorian can barely look at Alaric, and Alaric questions why he couldn't count on his vote in the decision to strip him of his status as headmaster — which is revealed to have been carried despite being 3 – 1 in favor of him remaining in his position. Dorian refuses to answer, however and dismissed Alaric.
When Alaric leaves, he bumps into Landon, who is collecting meat to cook for Rafael, who is still stuck in wolf form. We see Landon cooking the meat, who jokes that Rafael once told him he wouldn't eat something that Landon had cooked. Despite Rafael being stuck in wolf form, Landon ironically promises to "never give up hope".
With the irony, we see Hope wondering around the vast, empty space within Malivore. She uses her magic to light her path, which triggers Malivore to open a portal which sucks Hope in, presumably to expel her from within him. Malivore is unsuccessful, however as Ryan Clarke pulls Hope back inside, preventing her from being able to leave. She is surprised to see Clarke, questioning what he is doing in "peace". Clarke laughs, admitting that they are not at peace, but are also not in Hell. He further mocks Hope when she realizes that she hasn't destroyed Malivore and all of her efforts were for nothing. Clarke admits that he spent years consumed by Malivore previously and can offer insight into what is happening. He reveals that all of the creatures consumed by Malivore used to be isolated within Malivore, but Hope's presence has opened the "cell doors", and allowed the creatures to roam freely, citing that there may be a way out. However, Hope dismisses him, using a mimic spell, forcing him to leave her alone.
It is now July, and Landon reveals to Rafael — who is still stuck in wolf form — that he has moved rooms as theirs is being painted. Landon apologizes that he is taking so long to help Rafael but promises that he is working on a solution and will continue searching.
Alaric speaks with Josie about Malivore. He reveals that he has found out that there were two people with Landon at the time of consumption, but they cannot figure out who. Josie admits that that is the whole point of Malivore, but the two wonder who they have forgotten. Josie asks Alaric about the ascendant, but he won't reveal anything to her, telling her that it has nothing to do with the merge and to drop it. Meanwhile, Josie leaves with Landon to sit with Rafael through Independence Day. We see Landon jump into the river with a concrete block around his waist as he experiences jumbled flashbacks of Hope.
Meanwhile, MG is cooking on the barbecue for the competition with Kaleb's family, when he is introduced to Kym, who gives him tips and advice on how to cook the meat and knowing when to turn it.
In Malivore, another portal/vortex opens and begins to suck Hope in. Ryan exclaims that the portal will destroy Hope and begs her to break the mimic spell in order for him to help her, which she reluctantly does. When she is safe, Ryan smirks before they are approached by a large creature with wings that can breathe fire — a creature that resembles the dragon seen previously, but much larger.
Having presumably died, Landon emerges from the water, which is now on fire, and is greeted by Josie who is angry at Landon's actions. She questions why Landon is self-harming, but he admits that he is not, which angers Josie who rebukes that the amount of times Landon can resurrect may not be infinite. However, Landon rebukes Josie, asking if she has any evidence to say the contrary.
At Kaleb's family party, MG reveals to Kaleb that he thinks he has finally found someone and points her out to Kaleb, who laughs revealing it to be his sister, Kym and warns him not to go near her, but to have the best summer ever.
Meanwhile, we see Landon and Josie enjoying their summer together, going on dates with each other. It is now August, and Josie is speaking with Lizzie, who laughs, sarcastically remarking that somewhere in the world Penelope Park's heart has just exploded. Josie tells Lizzie to relax as they are only friends, however Lizzie admits that the two are not just friends and begs Josie to join her and their mother on their trip in Rome.
Hope questions how long they have been in Malivore, however Ryan is uncertain and remarks that it could be anywhere between a month and a year. The creature from earlier returns and Hope thinks that it could be a gorgon as she vanquished one with her friends before. She jokes about Ryan, a "super villain", being scared of the monster, but he admits that he has never been a villain, just a kid scared of his father who will do anything to get away from him. Hope conjures a butterfly, casting a comforting spell to provide peace of mind to Ryan. With Hope having practiced magic, Malivore opens yet another portal, but Ryan grabs Hope causing the portal to close. They are surrounded by creatures that resemble skeletons, and Hope makes herself and Ryan invisible. Ryan believes that the two are now partners, but Hope admits that she wants to know what he is keeping from her. She casts a truth spell on Ryan, which surprises him.
Landon is concerned and worried that he cannot find Rafael, however Josie tries to calm him down, admitting that she will perform a locator spell to track him down.
Hope admits that she knows the portal comes every time she does magic, and Ryan agrees that this is true. She admits that she knows the problem is that she was never a fully activated tribrid therefore could not kill Malivore. Ryan admits that she is correct and Malivore is trying to expel her and he grabs hold wishing to go with, but Malivore wants to continue torturing him and therefore will not allow any of them to leave. Another portal opens and Ryan admits that if she helps him to go back then she won't see him again, but she admits she cannot take that risk and leaves without him.
Josie casts a locator spell to locate Rafael, and Landon opens up about not wanting to die, but when he goes under the water, he is able to see images, perhaps memories that come back to him in glimpses when he dies. He thinks that this may be the answer to everything, but Josie warns that no answer means more than his life. Landon asks if Josie is happy, but she reveals that she can't be truly happy unless she knows that she can survive past the merge. With this, Landon admits that he thinks Alaric is lying about the ascendant.
With this, Josie confronts Alaric about the ascendant, angry that she has spent all summer with him to make sure he didn't turn crazy. Alaric reveals everything to Josie and in turn she reveals it to Lizzie, who wants to go to the Prison World and confront Kai, but Josie is uncertain and reveals that Kai killed Jo on her wedding day which shocks Lizzie. Josie admits that their father said it is a last resort and they should stay away for the time being and Lizzie should enjoy her summer. Lizzie admits that she has been seeing healers, doctors and therapists in order to get better, but asks Josie to make the most of her remaining summer.
Dorian leaves the gates of the Salvatore Estate to find Hope standing outside of them. He asks if she is alright — unaware of who she is — and she admits that she is, calling him by his name, which leads to him questioning how she knows his name. He asks what brings her to the school, and she admits it is a boy. When Dorian has left, Hope enters the school.
Landon hands Josie the map, revealing that Rafael has been located, but when he came to find him Rafael ran away, presumably because he no longer wishes to be at the school. Josie suggests that he may have moved on, leading to Landon kissing her. Hope witnesses this from afar, which upsets her and causes her to cry. Having witnessed this, Hope buys a ticket and sits in the bus stop. She again uses the prism to see her subconscious again in the form of Landon. She talks with "Landon" who tells her that Landon would want to hear about Hope and her experience and that she shouldn't leave town. Things become complex when Hope mentions the kiss with Josie, but she admits that she isn't mad as it isn't his fault given he doesn't know she exists. Hope questions if everyone is happy without her, and asks for Landon to leave her when he cannot give her an answer.
Kaleb and MG talk about Kym, but Kaleb admits that he will help MG get what he truly wants, Lizzie, and they should focus on having the best semester ever.
The episode ends with another creature coming after Hope, having escaped from Malivore. In Malivore, Ryan questions what Malivore wants from him and begs for one last chance to serve him. He pleads with Malivore to send him back. A portal opens and Ryan questions if it is Malivore, but we cut to Mystic Falls cemetery to see a witch stood inside a fire symbol in the shape of Triad's logo.
- Antagonist: Ryan Clarke, Malivore, The Necromancer (indirectly)
- This is the third episode with Hope's name in the title after "Hope is Not the Goal" and "What Was Hope Doing In Your Dreams?".
- This episode contains a blooper/continuity error. Lizzie tells Josie that they made the ascendant with Bonnie when they were five, this takes place in It's Been a Hell of a Ride, which takes place in late February 2018. However, Lizzie and Josie were born March 15, 2014, making them around 3 years 11 months old.
- Hope realizes she's toxic to Malivore and that is why every time she used magic, he attempted to expel her.
- Ryan vowed to prove himself to his father by killing Hope if he was freed as she was the only one who could kill him.
- Since Hope hasn't died to activate her vampire side, she is not a "fully activated tribrid" and is currently unable to kill Malivore.
- Rafael is still trapped in his wolf form.
- Alaric was voted out as Headmaster by the Honor Council.
- The passcode for the gate of the Salvatore Boarding School is #0636.
- A mysterious hooded figure enters the Mystic Falls Cemetery.
- Landon Kirby - Suicide by drowning; killed by himself, but resurrected at least twice.
- Caroline was mentioned. She was last seen in I Was Feeling Epic on The Vampire Diaries and When The Saints Go Marching In on The Originals.
- Kai Parker was mentioned. He was last seen in It's Been a Hell of a Ride on The Vampire Diaries.
- Jo was mentioned. She was last seen in I Was Feeling Epic on The Vampire Diaries and Mombie Dearest on Legacies.
- Penelope was mentioned. She was last seen in Let's Just Finish the Dance.
- Jed was mentioned. He was last seen in There's Always a Loophole.
- The Parker family was mentioned. Joshua and Liv were last seen in I'm Thinking Of You All The While and Luke was last seen in Prayer For the Dying on The Vampire Diaries.
- The Bright World and Hell were mentioned by Hope. The 2018 Prison world was mentioned by Josie.
- Bonnie was mentioned. She was last seen in I Was Feeling Epic on The Vampire Diaries.
- Another dragon was seen; the last dragon was seen in I'll Tell You a Story in a flashback.
- Petrotho was indirectly mentioned. He was last seen in We're Being Punked, Pedro.
- Terrance and Veronica were indirectly mentioned by MG. Terrance was last seen in The Boy Who Still Has a Lot of Good to Do and Veronica was last seen in There's Always a Loophole.
- Mystic Falls, Virginia
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Kaleb's Family Home
- Kaleb's Family Home
Behind the Scenes
- This episode's title was a line used by Landon.
- Josie Saltzman: "Mom didn't tell you anything else about this thing?"
- Lizzie Saltzman: "Only that it's called an ascendant and you and I made it with aunt Bonnie when we were five."
- Josie Saltzman: "Does it have anything to do with the merge?"
- Lizzie Saltzman: "I don't know. She's being cagey about it. I...Sorry, mom almost busted me."
- Josie Saltzman: "You know we can face chat like normal people?"
- Lizzie Saltzman: "We aren't normal! And we need to keep our magic sharp over the summer."
- Josie Saltzman: "How's therapy going?"
- Lizzie Saltzman: "Fine. There is this sexy Swedish guy who's session is after mine on Tuesday—-I think he's Swedish, maybe Polish. Anyway, it doesn't matter, he is hot and crazy and the language barrier will make it impossible for us to communicate. Just how I like it."
- Josie Saltzman: "You should really work on that."
- Lizzie Saltzman: "I'll add it to the list of broken pieces to glue together. What about you? Any hot summer dates?"
- Josie Saltzman: "Dad's been like my life-plus-one ever since he got the headmaster boot. I honestly think he's going through a midlife crisis."
- Lizzie Saltzman: "Gross. Hair growth?"
- Josie Saltzman: "Bushy."
- Lizzie Saltzman: "Lady prospects?"
- Josie Saltzman: "Lacking."
- Lizzie Saltzman: "Are you not having any fun at all? What about "wee-willy-winkle"?"
- Josie Saltzman: "Landon's been keeping to himself mostly. He's always off with Raf."
- Lizzie Saltzman: "So ditch it all and come to Europe."
- Josie Saltzman: "I can't. I don't wanna leave dad alone. I'm honestly worried he's gonna go out and buy a tiny red car."
- Lizzie Saltzman: "I thought we were taking strides to be less co-dependant?"
- Josie Saltzman: "We are. There's being co-dependant and then there's leaving dad with his alarming moustache growth."
- Lizzie Saltzman: "Oh, gross."
- Kaleb: Sing to me, baby. That's what I like to hear. Sing to me like a vamp without his Daylight Ring on a hot Georgia summer day. Mmm. You're supposed to be taking notes.
- MG: Didn't seem necessary with you narrating the whole deal.
- Kaleb: Narration goes one way. What you heard was a conversation.
- MG: With your meat?
- Kaleb: Meat's got a name, okay, same as you. This is Gertrude. My crazy Uncle Earl, he owns a farm outside the city. I was there the day she was born.
- MG: That's dark, dude.
- Kaleb: It's the circle of life, man. All natural. What ain't natural is you over there pouting.
- MG: If you say so.
- Kaleb: No, I know so. Look, you're about to have the best summer of your life. All right?
- MG: I appreciate everything that you're doing for me, Kaleb. I really do. But it doesn't change the fact that I miss my family, even if they suck. Or that I went full superhero and then school ended just when Lizzie Saltzman thought I was cool.
- Kaleb: We don't say that name, okay? Don't even fix your mouth to say "Li" none of that, okay? It's like I was saying before, I'm your family now. Which means that my family is your family, too. Which also means that you must start practicing for the cook-off that happens on this rooftop every fourth of July. Because this year, we're beating my crazy-ass uncle at his own game. All right?
- MG: Okay.
- Kaleb: Okay. Now you take some fresh animal blood. Take in this gorgeous view. Take a deep breath. Yeah. Best summer of our lives. Yeah, bro. Mmm. Mmm. Oh, that's straight Gertrude right there. Yeah, yeah, that-that's her.
- Alaric: "They left fibers, footprints, hair. I just don't know who they were."
- Josie: "Isn't that the point? If somebody went into the Malivore pit, they'd be erased from our memories."
- Alaric: "Yeah, well, that's what's haunting me. Who have we forgotten?
- Josie: "It couldn't have been anybody we've known. There'd be keepsakes, photos, an empty bed somewhere."
- Alaric: "Well, whoever they were, they were important to somebody."
- Josie: "So, Dad, I was actually hoping we could talk about the ascendant, what it has to do with the Merge."
- Alaric: "Wait, is that Landon right there?"