Previously on The Vampire Diaries, “Detoured on Some Random Backwoods Path to Hell”
Stefan wants to spend his final 24 hours of freedom celebrating the holidays with Caroline. Damon, who is unsurprisingly not dead, has other plans for his brother, though. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without a little family drama, right? Before the festivities can truly begin, Damon stakes Stefan, sending his brother to a realm between life and Hell so he can have a bit of bonding time with Cade. The Devil takes Stefan on a trip through his past, revealing why he believes Stefan will make the greatest minion he’s ever had. Meanwhile, Caroline makes nice with Sybil and manages to figure out where the siren is hiding the pitchfork. She sends Bonnie and Enzo to retrieve it, but they’re forced to hear Seline’s side of the story before she’ll hand it over.
The booze is flowing, death threats are tossed around left and right, gifts are given, deals are made, and someone even dies – but despite how exciting that all sounds, this episode was as disappointing as finding a lump of coal in your stocking.
Technically speaking, this episode was pretty good. Perhaps it’s the Christmas decorations talking, but this episode was very visually appealing. The lighting, the camera angles, the costumes; everything looked top notch. Even the acting was better than usual. It’s always fascinating to watch an actor sell a scene, or just a single line of dialogue, even when it’s overly dramatic or makes zero sense to the storyline. It’s such a small moment, but the way Candice King paused, looking quite disturbed, after the twins asked about Seline was really well done. A few of these actors, in particular Kat Graham, deserve to be working with better material. I hope some of them get better opportunities once they break free from the shackles of TVD.
Bonnie and Enzo. Yeah, this section is starting to sound like a broken record, but anytime these two are given screen time it’s likely to end up under this heading. They’re just adorable and impossible not to love in every scene they have together. I could watch them hang out, laughing (and doing other activities) in bed all day, but it was nice to see them take on a mission together, too. They bring life to this show no matter what material is thrown at them. The pitchfork affecting Bonnie does make me nervous, though. It probably only indicates more bad news; as if these two haven’t already suffered enough. Who knows? Maybe it will lead to something good, but what do I always say when it comes to TVD? “Don’t get your hopes up!” The show wouldn’t be the same without them, in fact it would be intolerable, but I kind of hope they throw up deuces and leave Mystic Falls for good. Bonnie and Enzo in Paris is just the kind of spinoff I could get down with.
Sybil is dead. Good riddance. Enough said.
Stefan offered to turn his humanity off for Cade. Whatever. I’ve said it before this season, but the humanity switch plot is boring as hell. This will be at least the third time we’ve seen Stefan turn his off and, at this point, there’s really nothing fresh or exciting about it. While I can’t fault him for having this idea in theory – I mean, he had to try something – I can fault the writers for using the same damn storyline over and over. They are so lazy. That, or they are just as ready for this show to end as I am, and they’ve officially thrown in the towel. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the writers room, they have a big wheel of names they spin to decide who gets to turn off their humanity next.
The Christmas dinner scenes didn’t offer the kind of tension I think the show was hoping for. It was mostly just annoying and a giant waste of time. We barely know Matt’s father, so trying to build suspense around whether or not Damon was actually going to kill him just didn’t work. Even Damon’s dialogue was missing that vital spark it always had in seasons past. The witty banter used to be part of the show’s appeal. The absence of this wit for the majority of the season, means a lot of scenes that could be engaging are just falling flat.
Stefan being responsible for Elena’s darkness is absolute bullshit. Cade has already lost credibility with me for using this against Stefan. First of all, Elena is a doppelganger, so her life was marked with darkness as soon as she was born. Secondly, Damon had already returned to Mystic Falls before Stefan and Elena really connected, so it was only a matter of time before he found her anyways. Finally, is this really the best the writers could come up with? All roads lead back to Elena, I guess. For the first time ever since Nina Dobrev’s departure, the use of stock footage with Elena would have actually been welcome. Instead of seeing the moment Stefan met Elena, which would have lent some emotion to the scene, we had to watch some random high school kids roam the halls. It all felt very empty.
The Downright Stupid
Seline is on a quest for redemption. Get over yourself, girl, this is not about you. We have 9 more episodes left with characters we’ve been watching for 8 years; I could not possibly care less whether or not you want to make amends. And where did her psychic link with the twins come from anyways? Were we just supposed to assume she was pulling the same tricks as Sybil did with Damon? It does explain why the twins wouldn’t shut up about their kidnapper nanny, but it felt like a convenient way for Seline to prove she wants to be a better person. Maybe now that Sybil’s dead, Seline can cash in on her sister’s get out of hell free card with Cade, and maybe that means we won’t have to see much more of her.
Matt and his dad; why are they even necessary? Though it would have been entirely predictable for Damon to kill Peter – he was the only non-main cast member around and that’s how TVD does things – it would have been the right way to go. Peter is a completely unnecessary character, because Matt himself is pretty useless as well. If Peter had shown up earlier in the series, when Matt still had an impact on the overall story, their unfinished business may have proved to be a worthwhile arc. Now, it just feels like the show needed a reason to bring Matt back to wrap up all loose ends, and, for some reason, they brought his dad along with him. It all has to do with this family heirloom Damon, and later Sybil, was looking for, but why not just put Matt himself at the center of that mystery? Adding Peter is just adding drama where no more is needed.
- What was with the way Sybil pulled apart that turkey? It felt like I was watching a cheesy horror show. Oh, wait, never mind.
- So, Damon can remember Elena now? I suppose her necklace could have triggered something – otherwise why would he kill Sybil – but the lack of explanation on how this memory erasing stuff works is very lazy writing.
- I bet TVD thought the final scene with Damon and Stefan driving away from Mystic Falls, both sans humanity, would be so epic. It totally would have been too, if we hadn’t already seen these brothers without their humanity A BILLION TIMES BEFORE.
- OK, I might actually feel a little sad for Caroline right now. She’s losing her fiancé and her kids all in one day, that’s a lot to handle. I’m sure this feeling will quickly dissipate over the winter break, though.
The Vampire Diaries S8E7 = 6.7/10