Ever since Nina Dobrev announced that she would be leaving The Vampire Diaries after Season 6, fans have been chopping at the bit to see her come back in some capacity, especially now that the series is coming to a close. Surely, you can't say goodbye to Mystic Falls without the girl who started it all. And luckily, the actress agrees with that sentiment and has agreed to grace us with her presence once more. But what episode does Elena return to The Vampire Diaries? From what I can tell, viewers will have to wait until the series finale, titled "I Was Feeling Epic," to see Ms. Gilbert back in action.
Dobrev announced the news of her widely assumed but unconfirmed return back in January when she posted a picture of the script to the show's final episode along with a caption that read: "I know it's Thursday, but this is not a TBT. #BackOnSet #TVDForever." Naturally, the internet exploded in celebration and left many of us wondering how her big comeback would come about. Does this confirm that Bonnie will die or will our rag-tag vamps find yet another loophole to Kai's spell and get her back without any other lives having to be lost in the process? That question has yet to be answered, but it seems by Dobrev's post that she solidified that fact that she'll return for the finale and the finale only. So don't expect to see her before then.
However, diehard fans of the show shouldn't be all that surprised with this outcome. Back in 2015, Julie Plec told Entertainment Weekly during an interview that Dobrev had already mentioned to her that she'd be willing to return when the show was coming to a close. So it makes sense the her arc as Elena would only consist of that one episode. "Nina has always said that if there’s something for her to do in the series finale that she will be there to do it," Plec stated. "When she left, she said, ‘I want to see this character to its end at the end of the show, so I can’t wait to come back and put her to bed again.'" And that's exactly what she's about to do.
Granted, it's only natural to want to get as much of Elena in as possible before the show wraps, but I have to keep reminding myself not to be greedy and just be happy that she's coming back at all. It allows the characters to all say a proper goodbye to the audience one last time and give Elena one last adventure in Mystic Falls.