The Vampire Diaries Season 8 Episode 10 – TV Review
Somewhere amongst all this “magic does what we say it does,” telepathic mind journey, forced life-or-death situation bullshit this episode, I’m sure there’s an invested, personal story that’s driven by our main characters somewhere.
Sadly, that story is the twenty millionth retread of Stefan and Damon’s “I hate you/me for turning you/me into a vampire” whinge.
Only six episodes to go, everyone. Let’s slog it out.
TL;DR Damon is overcome with negativity due to his emotions returning, so everyone must rally to help him; even Stefan, bizarrely, who gets the job done; just in time to intervene in Seline’s kinda backstab plan to incinerate Mystic Falls using the Hell Bell; nobody ends up dying except for Sybil and Seline when Cade randomly shows up and kills them.
Way to shoot the fuck out of that shaggy dog story.
So the major plot, excruciatingly, revolves around Damon, who has entered a catatonic state because the return of his emotions and memories is too much for him to bear. Sybil strikes a deal with Caroline and Bonnie to help him if they secure her the Hell Bell, but Matt isn’t so forthcoming. Entering Damon’s subconscious with Sybil’s help, Bonnie and Caroline both realise their own connections to Damon are strong, but what he really needs is Stefan to take a trip in there, too (Damon’s mindscape, by the way, is some self-flagellating wank where Damon never became a vampire and didn’t fuck up everyone’s lives. Because waaaaahhhhhhhhh). Stefan agrees, if only to get Damon back to their murder work for Cade, but then it turns into this whole thing where Damon’s true goal was to forgive Stefan for vampirising him back in the day blah blah blah. Whatever. Meanwhile, Matt, Peter, and Seline assemble the Hell Bell, but then oops, Seline neglected to disclose that its activation will indeed kill Sybil, but will also incinerate a several mile wide radius of earth with hellfire. That is, the entirety of Mystic Falls. Stefan strikes a deal with her to make it happen because then all those souls can be used to pay off his debt to Cade, and he compels Matt, evidently off the vervain these days, to ring the bell. Matt almost successfully begs his dad to kill him to prevent it, but Damon arrives in time and all that, so who cares? The episode ends with Cade, having been summoned by the bell, murdering Sybil and Seline discreetly. Oh, and that Miss Mystic Falls pageant girl gets unceremoniously offed by Stefan early on, so thank God for that.
Oh, Dollie. At least you left Salem before its descent into self-parody. TVD was the right move.
Let’s face it: this episode is a convoluted, tiresome mess. The stuff with the Hell Bell reeks of the worst “because plot” magical item exposition. And the major thread regarding Damon is an indulgent trip through We Love Damon Land.
The only reason any of these characters ever tolerated Damon is because of Elena, and she ain’t round no mo’. The only one of his relationships which felt earned this episode was his wrap-up with Bonnie.
Everyone else was just pandering.
Why I hate this episode:
We’ll start with Stefan, because how many more times do we need these two fuckheads to rabbit on about the circumstances of their vampirisation? It sucked, it cause a shitload of problems (and deaths of extras), but it’s been covered. Move the fuck on. Hell, maybe now they will.
Next is Caroline, who boils her whole relationship with Damon down to “he was my mum’s friend, so it’s cool.” Remember how Damon and Caroline’s first interactions were of him coercing her into sex and feeding on her? No. Because neither does TVD.
Moving onto Matt, ol’ Matty Blue Eyes is the only one who doesn’t forgive Damon. Because of the murder of Vicki and all that, you know? But Matt grudgingly accepts Damon’s apparent heroism because he saved Mystic Falls from the Hell Bell. Maybe Damon was just trying to save himself, and the saving the town was incidental? Think about it.
The show even gives Damon a pass for killing Tyler. He shows up in the mindscape and proclaims to Bonnie that hey, Damon killed me, remember? But Bonnie, and the show, essentially handwaves him away. I mean, I’m no Tyler fan, but fuck, dude. That’s cold.
Why would Matt’s ancestors and the hundred witches make a weapon against the Sirens that would also obliterate the person ringing it, as well as miles and miles of land? Isn’t that really fucking stupid?
Why did Matt stop taking vervain? Isn’t that really fucking stupid?
Why is Matt’s solution to prevent his compelled ringing of the bell to beg his dad to kill him? Why not tell his dad to knock him out, which is what Damon ends up doing? Isn’t that really fucking stupid?
Why does Peter not think of an alternative himself, instead of ending up milliseconds away from snapping his son’s neck? Isn’t that really fucking stupid?
Oh, and Sybil peeks into Bonnie’s mind while they’re poking around in Damon, and cruelly gossips to Caroline that Bonnie is planning on giving Enzo the cure. So they can live their lives together, I suppose. Way to get hand-me-down plotlines from Elena, Bonnie. I thought that was supposed to be Caroline’s job (hi, Stefan!).
But it’s not all bad:
Damon concludes the episode by finally reciting to Bonnie that goodbye letter he wrote to her last season when he chose to dessicate until Elena woke up. It’s heartfelt and sincere and with just the right pinch of treacle. And it truly drives home that Bonnie and Damon are best friends. Their time together in the prison world hasn’t been forgotten now two seasons later. Who knew that a Damon and Bonnie friendship would be the most convincing relationship in TVD?
And the Caroline/Liz stuff was cute enough. Damon was a good friend to her.
Despite every other second of his screentime being an unmitigated disaster, Matt does swoop in for a timely best line of the episode when turning down Caroline’s request to relinquish the bell to help Damon: “‘Cause no matter how many innocent people die, all anyone’s ever concerned about is Stefan and Damon.” That’s what I’ve been saying, baby.
I can’t tell you how excited I was when Stefan killed Miss Mystic Falls. We didn’t need to deal with that shit.
Vicki, Sheila, Liz, and even Damon’s old army buddy Henry get their requisite final season cameos. Is there anyone else you’re still hankering to see dredged out? I wouldn’t mind a final glimpse from Jenna, Carol Lockwood, or Kai, if we’re lucky. Nina Dobrev is already confirmed to be returning for the finale, so I’m still clutching my Katherine candle tightly to my man boobs.
Sybil and Seline didn’t go out on a high note, but at least they’re gone. Ciao, bellas.
Oh, and speaking of Sybil, she again trots out her particular brand of bitchy fabulosity while hanging with the good guys. I kept trying to imagine Katherine in her place and saying the lines. Sybil is no Katherine, but she gave it a jolly good go. Distracting accent and all. Cheers.