During the 1rst century B.C., Bonnie Bennett’s ancestor Qetsiyah fell in love with another powerful witch, Silas. Qetsiyah believed Silas’ love for her was so strong that she agreed to help him create a spell that would make them immortal. However, on their wedding day, Qetsiyah discovered Silas had taken the Cure and planned to give it to another woman, Amara. To punish Silas for his betrayal, Qetsiyah killed Amara and created the Cure, which reversed the immortality spell. She demanded Silas drink it, and when he refused, Qetsiyah buried him alive along with the Cure. To ensure that Silas couldn’t reunite with Amara (the progenitor of the Petrova bloodline of doppelgangers) after his death, Qetsiyah created an afterlife called the Other Side, a purgatory for supernatural creatures. Qetsiyah believed Silas would eventually take the Cure, die a mortal, and be trapped with her for eternity. Instead, Silas chose to remain entombed in a cave on a remote island for 2,000 years.
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During season 4, Atticus Shane convinced Elena and her friends to help him raise Silas from the dead in return for the Cure. It was only after they arrived on the island that they learned there was only one dose. The Cure changed hands throughout the latter half of the season. Katherine Pierce took it from Silas and gave it to Elijah Mikaelson, hoping he would strike a deal with Klaus Mikaelson: in return for the Cure, Klaus would grant Katherine her freedom. Elijah decided to give it to his sister Rebekah but inadvertently handed it over to Silas instead (The Originals confirmed Rebekah would get the Cure one day.) The oldest immortal planned to force Bonnie to lift the veil to the Other Side, effectively destroying it and allowing him to take the Cure and be with Amara. To save the world from an onslaught of supernatural threats, Bonnie used magic to turn Silas to stone, enabling Damon to give the Cure to Elena.
Once Elena had the Cure, she offered it to Stefan, stating the only person worse at being a vampire than her was him. “Human blood is your downfall. You got the raw end of the vampire deal.” Elena’s compassion was always her defining personality trait, but Stefan refused, setting up the season finale’s big twist. During a brutal showdown with Katherine, Elena was forced to shove the Cure down Katherine’s throat to save herself (Nina Dobrev played the dual roles of The Vampire Diaries of Elena and Katherine who shared the same bloodline).
Season 5 picked up months later, and Katherine was still in Mystic Falls miserable and ill-equipped to live as a human. Throughout 500 years, Katherine acquired many enemies, and she went to Damon, begging for protection. Damon offered to turn her back into a vampire, but since nobody had taken the Cure before, Katherine couldn’t be sure it would work. It turned out that Katherine preferred a mortal life than no life at all.
Further complicating matters was Silas’s reappearance (The spell Bonnie used to turn him to stone was broken when she died during the season 4 finale.) He still wanted the Cure, and despite it running through Katherine’s veins, it was still in play: all Silas had to do was drink her blood – all of it. This was supposed to kill her, but it didn’t. However, Silas’ actions revealed a dangerous side effect of the Cure: once it was removed from Katherine’s body, she began to die of old age. Katherine found a loophole by using Traveler magic to become a passenger in Elena’s body, but Elena’s friends vanquished Katherine sending her to Hell. She returned for the season 8 finale to exact vengeance against her enemies but was defeated by the Salvatores.
After spending most of season 6 in the 1994 Prison World, Bonnie returned to present-day Mystic Falls with the Cure. Damon gave it to Elena and offered to take it as well. Once Elena drank the Cure, Damon planned to feed on her, and as long as nobody sucked it out of him, he and Elena could live the rest of their lives together as mortals (Elena would be unaffected due to her short time as a vampire.) Despite Elena’s and Damon’s uncertainties about their future, she took the Cure. All of the memories of Damon that Alaric had compelled Elena to forget returned.
Before Damon could take the Cure, Kai Parker cast the spell that linked Bonnie’s life to Elena’s. Elena would remain in a comatose state until Bonnie’s death (the storyline explained the character’s absence after Nina Dobrev exited the series.) If word of the Cure got out, every vampire who wanted to be human would come looking for Elena, so Bonnie sealed her coffin shut. Stefan and Damon put it in their family crypt. Her body was relocated several times due to various threats (Heretics, an unhinged Damon), and she wound up in a house in upstate New York owned by Bonnie.
During the series finale, Dobrev returned to reprise her roles as both Katherine and Elena. Bonnie was able to break the sleeping spell, and Elena reunited with Damon. Elena became the town doctor, and she and Damon lived a long and happy life together.
The Vampire Diaries’ final season was its darkest, with Damon and Stefan harvesting souls for the Devil. Episode 11, “You Made a Choice to Be Good,” introduced new and inconsistent information about the Cure. Bonnie planned to give it to Enzo St. John, but Caroline Forbes and Damon wanted it to defeat Cade. Only one dose of the Cure could be extracted from Elena at a time. It became clear that the rules regarding the Cure were fluid, depending on what suited the storyline. Bonnie used a syringe to draw Elena’s blood without knowing how much to use on Cade (if it worked at all) and far less than what Silas drank from Katherine.
When a humanity-free Stefan arrived at Bonnie’s house planning to kill Elena, the Bennett witch injected Stefan with the Cure, making him the first vampire to successfully transition into a human without drinking the Cure directly. Stefan relived every murder he committed, and everyone he ever compelled began to remember the things Stefan wanted them to forget. He was arrested for his past crimes (Caroline made the charges disappear by erasing the victims’ memories) and shot by Dorian Williams, whose father and sister Stefan Ripper-ed.
During the series finale, Stefan and Damon fought to save Mystic Falls from Katherine and from being incinerated by Hellfire. Their plan meant one brother would have to sacrifice himself. Fans thought it was Damon, but they were shocked to learn Stefan injected his blood into Damon at the last minute and took his place. Stefan died a hero (much to the dismay of Stelena fans) and joined his best friend Lexi in the afterlife, though crucially, Stefan got to say goodbye to Elena after his death.
When the Cure first surfaced during season 4, Damon told Elena he couldn’t imagine anything more miserable than being human. Even when Damon offered to take the Cure during season 6, Elena and Stefan doubted whether Damon would regret the decision. Once Dobrev departed the series, and her character was laid to rest for 60 years (give or take), it seemed Damon would remain forever and always a vampire. But like Stefan and Katherine, somebody chose for him. During the series finale, both Salvatore brothers were willing to sacrifice themselves to save Mystic Falls, but Stefan injected his older brother with his blood and took Damon’s place. Stefan’s death ensured both Katherine and Hell were destroyed, and it was a pivotal moment in Stefan’s quest for redemption.
Presumably, Damon made a better human than anyone anticipated. While the Vampire Diaries finale’s final moments confirmed he and Elena lived a happy life together, details were scarce. Legacies references Damon, establishing he’s married to Elena (now the town’s doctor), and they likely have at least one child. Apparently, they’ve managed to keep knowledge of the Cure from spreading despite Stefan’s prediction in season 6 that Damon would be under constant threat from those seeking the Cure for themselves. On the series finale of The Originals, Klaus told his sister the Cure was in Mystic Falls. After a sufficient amount of time passed, Caroline would give it to her. It’s unclear if the Cure could factor into a Legacies’ story arc moving forward, but it appears Plec planned for Rebekah to be the last vampire to use it.
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