When Jeremy became one of the Brotherhood of the Five, he became a supernatural being that was stronger, faster and had an innate instinct to kill vampires. The downside is that the Gilbert ring he wears can only save humans from death, leaving Elena the last surviving member of the Gilbert family.
Following his death at the hands of Silas, Stefan and Elena take Jeremy home while she waits, hoping that his ring will save him as it had done many times before. Sadly, Stefan knows that since he became a Brotherhood member, the ring won't work on him and Jeremy is gone. Back on the island, Damon and Rebekah search for Bonnie who may be the last hope of saving their friend but they encounter Vaughn on the way. After a brief scuffle, Damon takes him down and they want answers. Vaughn warns them that they should use the cure on Silas or risk bringing hell on earth. Worse yet, Silas wore a mask and no one would know if they saw him. Elsewhere on the island, Bonnie wakes up and has been healed by Shane, whose leg is doing much better since Silas healed him. He tells Bonnie that Jeremy is gone but that he has a way to bring him, and everyone else they have ever loved, back to life. The catch is that in order to get the power they need, a final sacrifice of twelve people has to be done to channel that power. Back at the Gilbert residence, Elena is finally coming to terms with her brother's death. When Bonnie arrives later on with Damon, Elena has to face the question of whether she is willing to sacrifice twelve for Jeremy or live with his death for the rest of eternity.
Though it had a slow start, Stand by Me arguably had more emotion and depth than half of the season. At the end of last week's Down the Rabbit Hole, I wasn't sure if The Vampire Diaries would go through with Jeremy's death as the show always finds a way to keep characters from truly dying but this may be the end for him. What I also mentioned last week was that Jeremy's death had a greater impact than the actions in his life and he was the sole remaining thread for Elena's humanity. Even though it only became interesting once they had gotten off the island, the deliberately slow pacing gave each character the time they needed to grieve the loss of their youngest friend. The revelation that Bonnie has also become the unknowing puppet of Silas is well played but hopefully his end game goes beyond lowering the veil between this life and the purgatory of supernatural to reunite with his lost love he has been separated from for so long.
While the performances as of late haven't been especially memorable, Stand by Me gave us some we won't soon forget. Gone was the bantering and the squabbles between Stefan and Damon in the face of the tragedy; Wesley and Somerhalder always played it well without losing focus on Elena. Somerhalder's admittance that he wasn't enough for Elena now that Jeremy is gone also showed vulnerability that we haven't seen in quite some time from Damon. Though Dobrev did an admirable job giving us a piece of Elena's grief, Zach Roerig truly gave us the pain in Matt Donovan. Constantly pushed into the background, Matt is an underplayed character who has been alone for quite some time without any immortal love interests to keep him company. Jeremy wasn't his brother but he was his best friend and in the few moments when Matt stopped in his truck to break down, it was haunting. Roerig looked like he was physically in pain as if the air had been sucked out of his lungs, unable to speak or get past the devastating feeling that Jeremy is dead.
In several ways, Jeremy's death gives the show a number of ways to move forward. Elena's emotions are off which leaves her to become an entirely different character as long as she pleases or until Stefan and Damon can calm her down. This also erased any question that Elena isn't sired by Damon. With a few words, he commanded Elena to let go of the pain and her humanity. As the three of them walked away from her burning home, Stefan was the only one to look back. That moment symbolized the end of what they were before and he may be the only one to miss the family that used to live there. On the other hand, Silas is still out there and has plans for Bonnie but will Shane being alive throw a wrench into his plans to lower the veil?
All in all, Stand by Me was a great episode and may be the last time we see Jeremy. If this is truly the end for Jeremy, I can't say that I'll miss him but I am glad that his death managed to affect the characters more than his life. We'll see if next week's Bring It On is just a good.