The Vampire Diaries Season 8 Episode 12 – TV Review
I was going to use a different first image for this review. Because something actually of excitement and note occurs.
But the moment truly is worth keeping as a surprise.
Of my two dying wishes for this show, it fulfills one of them.
TL;DR Kai is back, bitches, and it feels so good; Stefan wangsts about his remorse and his mortality; the gang, through convoluted garbage, discovers a way to kill Cade; Bonnie cries about Enzo some more.
But more importantly, does she have her magic back after the ominous whoosh from last episode? The answer is… TVD isn’t telling, yet.
So Matt somehow manages to fill up more major plot space (really, TVD? Fucking really? You neglected him for seven seasons, and now, on the show’s deathbed, you’re giving Matt time to shine? For fuck’s sake) as he has visions connected to that Maxwell family necklace he got last episode. They’re memories of his ancestor, who was the dead body they found in the Armory vault’s secret treasure room, and they detail how the original bell to use against the Sirens was corrupted by the Sirens to become the hellfire nuke it turned into, and that Matt’s ancestor also discovered a way to kill Cade, as disclosed by the Sirens (who wanted him dead, too). But the ancestor wrote it in his journal, which is the same thing that Cade this episode tasks Damon with retrieving for him as a way to settle their partnership now that Stefan in no longer an immortal ripping machine. Damon does it, but luckily for the gang, he also figures out how to kill Cade: by stabbing him with a piece of glass that was formed from his burning body from when he was originally murdered way back when or something. Does it matter? Meanwhile, Caroline does her best to console Stefan, now human and emotional, through his return to anguished life. They save the life of that notary public from last week, which is like putting a bandaid on a decapitation wound when it comes to rectifying Stefan’s wrongs, but it’s a nice gesture. Stefan is abducted by a hooded figure before he can make his apologies to Bonnie, though. And Bonnie thinks she’s hearing Enzo’s voice from beyond, and her mum, making her obligatory final season cameo (I forgot she was still alive. Well, undead), reasons that can’t be a good thing, and burns Enzo’s body. Oh, and maybe the reason Bonnie could hear Enzo is because the gates of Hell have been opened because Kai comes waltzing in to join Damon and Alaric outta nowhere and oh my fucking God, my wish came true.
It helps that Chris Wood is now officially a Katie Cassidy-level CW lifer.
Despite that laborious plot rundown, there isn’t much to say about this episode. The bulk of it belongs to flashback bullshit with Matt (who, hilariously, also plays the role of his ancestor). And the rest of it is boo-hoo-ing from Stefan, and boo-hoo-ing from Bonnie.
The only thing that makes this episode any better than the grim march of mediocrity preceding it is Kai’s return.
Next week can’t come soon enough.
Why I hate this episode:
Like, really? More Matt? Why? Who was asking for that?
TVD has always been a bit hit and miss when it comes to ye olde times flashback sequences. Katherine was so devilishly charming that she made it work, but the Originals had their share of mostly wig-induced cringe when they had their shot. This time around, Matt is trying to do some painful accent, while Sybil and Seline reappear in wacky period getups, and I’m just so over it.
And the motions of Alaric and Other Intern doing that whole hypnotic experiment thing, and the false danger of Matt almost dying from it, was such a chore. If you’re going to be lazy enough to use “because visions” as a plot motivator, just do it. Don’t pretend to give a shit about context. We don’t.
I legitimately forgot all about Bonnie’s mum, so I actually didn’t recognise her when Bonnie first opened the door. She’s a vampire, right? Who cares?
And I felt like TVD was teasing the return of Bonnie’s powers. The fact that Bonnie no longer has powers is mentioned multiple times this episode, so I was waiting for the reveal that the magic is back. But it doesn’t happen, and now I’m worried those seemingly obvious clues weren’t clues at all, and TVD’s writing is really that inept. Sad.
Yeah, Stefan killed thirty-two (and the fucking rest) people on this latest rampage, but if we can save the life of that notary public chick, it’ll help. Too late, guys. Just give up.
Oh, and as giddy as Kai’s return made me, if Hell is open for dead characters to return, then I suspect Enzo won’t be far off. TVD: always finding new and insulting ways to make death cheap.
But it’s not all bad:
Kai is back, motherfuckers. I can suffer an Enzo resurrection as long as our favourite preening queen gets to take one last, delicious victory lap. And there are a pair of little Geminis out there just ripe for the murderin’. Wouldn’t it be nice?
But you know what Kai’s return from Hell also means? There is now no excuse not to have Katherine come back. And with Nina Dobrev already confirmed, there is simply no way that The Vampire Diaries could send us off without its best villain returning for a final cackle and smirk. Or finding a way to finally complete her mission of replacing Elena? Hey, don’t tell me dreams can’t come true when Kai is right here in front of me. I’m gonna keep dreaming.
I’m gonna give this episode points for answering a few continuity questions. Firstly was my whinge about the Hell bell, and why the fuck would the ancestor Maxwells and the witches create a weapon against the Sirens that also blows up the whole town. And the answer is: they didn’t. It was only supposed to be effective against the Sirens, but then they mind controlled the Maxwell ancestor into adding the tuning fork, thus making it the hellfire nuke/Cade-summoner it became.
Next is my criticism about how Stefan’s murder rampage must have aroused law enforcement attention. And the answer is: it has. Stefan is arrested this episode and a detective throws thirty-two of his murders in his face. Caroline compels it all away (points for impressive use of compulsion for a real world application, too), of course. But I’m glad it was addressed.
And, as an addendum to the Hell bell sabotage, we get context for why all those witches died back in the day, which is something that’s been referred to ever since Season 1. The Maxwell ancestor managed to get a warning to one of the witches, and the whole mob of them used their magic to contain the blast from the bell. It killed them all (except the ancestor’s honey), but they saved Mystic Falls.
The reason Alaric is in the episode is because Other Intern called him in for help with something. This gets derailed by Matt’s visions and Damon’s interference, but Other Intern evidently still has some kind of secret. I’m not sure if he’s a descendant of Cade, anymore. But he’s got something untoward going on.
Stefan almost makes it to Bonnie’s door to begin his apology tour, but a hooded figure tases and abducts him. You know, I kind of think it’s Bonnie, herself. Or maybe it’s Katherine!? Sploosh.
Oh, and let’s leave with Kai, the only hope spot this show has seen since, well, the last time we saw Kai. I wonder what his plan is?