It’s only the the second episode of Season 3 of Legacies and already a major character has been lost, for their own safety.

WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Legacies Season 3, Episode 2, “Goodbyes Sure Do Suck,” which aired Thursday on The CW.

The Season 3 premiere of Legacies, “We’re Not Worthy,” revealed werewolf Rafael actually was worthy. It turned out of all the students at the Salvatore School, he was the one with a lineage going back to King Arthur, which gave him the surprise ability to wield Excalibur, a prize he kept following a battle with the corrupted Green Knight. It seemed like this development could open up all sorts of interesting storylines for Rafael in Season 3. Unfortunately, the latest episode, just the second of Season 3, “Goodbyes Sure Do Suck,” reveals there is a very different fate in store for him.

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In Season 2, Rafael was murdered and became an acolyte of the Necromancer. But in the season finale, Alaric struck a bargain that would bring Rafael and the Necromancer’s other acolytes back from the dead while restoring their free will. Rafael seemed back to normal in the third season premiere, but after another of the Necromancer’s acolytes, Chad, violently drops dead and Rafael starts throwing up blood, Alaric realizes something’s gone horribly wrong. And when he goes to confront the Necromancer, it becomes clear that when the Necromancer severed his ties to Rafael and the others, it doomed them to death. As a result, Rafael is likely to die the next morning.

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While the witches try to figure out what’s going on — and how to fix it — Rafael takes off with Landon to have one last perfect day. He arrives at his dad’s cabin with the goal of camping like when he and Landon were kids, but when his father isn’t there, Rafael feels defeated. He finally admits to Landon he’s scared and he’s heartbroken at the prospect of not saying goodbye to his father. Just as Rafael is lamenting his circumstances, MG and Kaleb track him down to bring him back to the school. Hope’s had an idea that just might save Rafael.

Lizzie attempts to siphon Landon’s phoenix powers so she can give them to Rafael, but the siphoning doesn’t work. So Hope, Lizzie and Landon start to brainstorm other options, but Rafael stops them, instead saying he just wants to make the most of his remaining time.

Rafael organizes a party for the school, but Hope is still upset she can’t figure out how to save him. He tries to comfort her by telling her he believes he’s going to get his own version of heaven: a single day spent outside with the people he loves repeated on a loop. But when he points out the supernova in the sky above them, Hope has a realization and walks off.

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Meanwhile, the rest of the school is having a hard time enjoying Rafael’s party, but Rafael urges them to get over their quiet mourning for him. He tells a funny story about something he did and the crowd starts to laugh. Soon MG and Kaleb have taken over the storytelling, and a happy Rafael goes to find Landon. Landon is too sad to participate though, so Rafael suggests they spend his remaining time together, just the two of them.

The pair go back to their room to hang out and are interrupted by a knock on the door. It’s Jed, who explains that even though Rafael didn’t ask the pack, they tracked down his father so he could be there to say goodbye.

Rafael, Landon and Rafael’s father sit together as the morning dawns and Rafael prepares to meet his fate. But Rafael doesn’t just die, he disappears entirely. It turns out this is Hope’s doing. Hope created a prison world that matches Rafael’s idea of heaven. Rafael’s father and his long-lost mother, who Alaric has tracked down during the episode, have agreed to stay there with him, making it possible for Rafael to be with people he loves. Hope has essentially given Rafael the normal life with a home and family he always wanted. His friends are there to say goodbye one last time, and Landon is the last one to leave. He promise to visit Rafael and gives him Excalibur.

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While technically Rafael has been saved, this seems like a big loss for the show. After introducing a storyline with a wealth of possibilities in the previous episode, this week’s episode cuts off those potential storylines by sidelining a major character. Even though Rafael never got the most attention on Legacies, he was still an important character and a noteworthy link to Landon’s past. While the show could always visit Rafael in the prison world or have him come back for some other reason, it feels like a misstep to end his story right now, especially so early in the season. It’s likely that this was something that was planned for the end of last season that had to be delayed when the pandemic forced the season to end early. But while the plot point may have felt more organic if it had taken place when Season 2 was wrapping up, it feels jarring so early in Season 3.

Legacies stars Danielle Rose Russell, Jenny Boyd, Kaylee Bryant, Quincy Fouse, Aria Shahghasemi, Peyton Alex Smith, Matt Davis, Chris Lee, Ben Levin and Leo Howard. New episodes air Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

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