As Stefan prepares a Christmas gathering at the Salvatore house for his last day, Damon and Sybil arrive surprising both Alaric and Matt over his newfound immortality. Damon later kills Stefan to set up a meeting with Cade in the veil. Cade shows him a flashback detailing a meeting with Seline where she felt his anguish over killing as the ripper and helped remove his memories of an event in 1917. This prompted Cade to take interest in Stefan who agrees to become the ripper again for Cade but for only a year. During the gathering, Caroline deduces where Sybil hid the tuning fork and sends Bonnie with Enzo to retrieve it. They travel to a home where Seline offers the fork in exchange for her path to redemption starting with removing an imprint on the Gemini twins that bound them to her. Alaric agrees to the exchange as Matt uncovers a confession from his father about abandoning his family. Damon later leaves with Sybil with a gift from Caroline that Sybil opens. It’s Elena’s necklace which prompts Damon to rip Sybil’s heart out instead of kissing her. Stefan wakes and has one last moment with Caroline before he leaves and meets up with Damon as they drive out of Mystic Falls together. Stefan turns off his humanity and smiles in silence.
Christmas is always a saturated theme on TVD and their final season is no different. This time, it’s more personal than eventful as Caroline struggles through the eventual loss of Stefan. Some moments really do stand out more than others, and even though Seline was hardly a sympathetic character in recent memory, tonight’s winter finale actually made me feel somewhat sorry for her. Where we end is truly where we begin with Stefan once more releasing the ripper personality that made him so famous. We haven’t seen him in the present since season 3 and I’m sure we’ll be in for a bloody treat. The flashback was a nice touch to give us backstory we didn’t know we needed for Cade to take such an interest in our vampire brothers. This next arc will be a furious one for the ages.
Our buildup to Stefan’s return to ripper status was done really well. I’ve always been a fan of TVD flashbacks and here we got to see Seline’s influence with Stefan, a reoccurring theme as Valerie playing a vital role last season in the past. Cade has been around since the beginning and it was important to set that up and not just treat him as a villain who just had omniscience. He studied Stefan and was drawn toward that kind of darkness and I’m certain Stefan won’t fail to deliver on that evil character he built all those seasons ago.
It was a moment for Damon to finally push out of Sybil’s advances by way of heart removal. I honestly don’t know if Damon’s humanity switch is still turned off or if he’s just being, well Damon. It’s been hard to tell as of late. What we’re getting our both brothers without their humanity at the same time. You can’t really get more sinister and wicked than that kind of pairing and Stefan ran with Klaus for a time. In any case, lot’s to look forward to and I’m perfectly fine with how we got to that road.
It’s minor, but Damon didn’t really follow with his threat of killing someone at the Salvatore household. True he ripped out Sybil’s heart, but we know that’s not forever based on her deal. It seemed it was going to be Matt’s father, but his only deeds in the evil variety was more abandonment than vicious which proved to me more hurtful to Matt than anyone. We didn’t end up with another seasonal death of a meaningful character and though I wouldn’t really want one of those during a Christmas themed episode, they sort of tried to con us into thinking that was going to happen by Damon. Cheap move, but we’ll move on.
That moment Damon ripped Sybil’s heart out. We needed some residue of a moment that kept Damon on our side. Elena and fragments of Elena’s existence are all that’s left that can truly do that. And since Stefan is once more in ripper mode, Damon is the closest we have to the “good” brother and that will have to play out accordingly as we bring the Salvatore’s back to the realm of humanity. Plus Sybil should know better, Damon isn’t for her.
Stefan’s trying to control the situation by allowing himself to become his alter ego. Sometimes when principle characters think they can outwit, outlast, or handle the darkness better than other evil characters they’ll sacrifice themselves in the hope that they’ll be pulled from the brink. Stefan is such a character, but he what he doesn’t understand is how truly devious his ripper personality is. Damon will be surprised and do that thing with his eyes, when they go wide in disbelief. Still, Stefan convinced the devil to make a deal, one that probably will backfire. That’s what heroes do.
I think I’m still predicting Sybil needs that’s sphere that Damon found from earlier. It’s the only thing that was at that garage that was in Matt’s father’s possession. I still have no idea what it was for and clearly Sybil has some plan of her own, she just needs some heart to pull it off.
One thing I can imagine ripper doing is anything but what Cade wants him to do. Maybe Stefan’s plan with the year contract is that by that time Cade will be so sick of Ripper’s defiant attitude that he’ll simple squelch on his deal. Who knows. Ripper isn’t subservient, even Klaus had issues to a degree.
I’m also glad they didn’t rush the wedding, it would have been super awkward but probably contain the same exact scenes. I wouldn’t have minded so much if Stefan and Caroline eloped, but he only really had seven minutes to be happy as it was.
I imagine if one moment could settle our dispute over which brother truly deserves Elena, we need to have her appear at that critical moment when both brothers are at their worst and see which one turns their humanity on first when they see her. I know Stefan’s time with Elena has passed, but then why bring up their first meeting in tonight’s episode. It feels like a hint that he’s still not really over her and that deep down she could bring him back just as well as Damon. Just a guess really.
8 out of 10. The Christmas spirit didn’t overtake the main theme of this episode which slightly hinged on redemption and the path one must take to achieve it. Stefan and Seline had similar pasts in doing acts they regret and both want to be free from that pain. Stefan will do what he has to to save both his brother and himself and from here on out, the devil will be in the details on who makes it out of this unscathed. The gang will no doubt monitor and wait for the brothers to surface before they go trying to save them, but I think a solo episode of the brothers on their own would suit this season just fine. An adventure of corruption and vampirc-tendancies. Stefan won’t just bend a knee to Cade, but he will be interested in the approach of finding good people and turning them evil. That’s what vampire compulsion does realistically. Good themes and a decent turn out without over-saturating the holiday spirit. And props to Damon for not giving up on Elena completely. There’s still someone in there that loves her. Thanks for reading.
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