A Sashurai’s Review: The Vampire Diaries – Season 8×08 (If I went insane every time I heard the definition of insanity on a TV show…)

tvd-8x08

 

SUMMARY

After killing a self-help group, Stefan challenges Damon by attempting to corrupt a young doctor into killing Damon by compelling a false story about him killing her parents years ago. Meanwhile, Matt and his father discover at the armory that their Maxwell ancestor created a bell capable destroying the sirens but was split apart shortly before the Founders created Mystic Falls. One part of it was the tuning fork which Alaric possesses while he’s under witness protection. Sybil forces Caroline to locate another piece of the bell by threatening the lives of several high school students. Together they find that Seline already has the piece as Matt and his father save the students. Stefan’s plan to corrupt the doctor succeeds which later convinces Damon to throw away Elena’s necklace and end the doctor’s life even though she resembled Elena. Later the next day, Damon returns to the field and recovers the necklace while Stefan returns to ripper form and murders a hall full of people at a hospital. Damon finds him in feeding wildly and in a savage mode.

 

INITIAL THOUGHTS

The final journey of the Salvatores begins with Stefan’s return to ripper status, once more consumed by the vampire fury to kill and feed. It’s up to Damon now to diminish the effect or possibly to share in his brother’s fate all while an ancient weapon may hold the key to stopping the sirens once and for all. I’m less enthused about the scavenger hunt toward this relic and want to stay focused on Stefan’s fall into darkness again. What’s humorous is Stefan’s inhumanity actually tried to stave off the urge to be truly evil which goes to show how many variant evil layers vampires can have on a show like this.

 

What really stood out is the brothers and their pursuit to dignify their existence with some aspect of human worth. They are each falling further toward a darkness that by their own definition isn’t salvageable yet the women and friends in their lives differ to believe so. If I had one guess I’d say Elena is the key to saving both of their souls, however if the necklace has no effect on Stefan, what good will the real Elena have?

 

THE GOOD

Stefan is playing a dangerous game because his method in weeding out evil people is the value of corrupting innocence as opposed to hunting those who have already succumbed to their fate. This allows his ripper form to weigh more on the murders he’s performing because even with his humanity turned off, he was trying to maintain some semblance of order in obeying Cade. Ripper-Stefan needs to dangle that necessity and prove that no one human or otherwise is above the act of evil if given the proper motivation. Damon relents while still finding ways to save himself some moments of peace. Whomever loses this struggle first could be the one brother that loses their life for all time and that is what’s continually driving this show into its last hurrah, not finding a bell.

 

THE BAD

Sybil’s entire attitude and method in controlling Caroline made this tough to watch. She’s still all over the map in both motivation and capability. Somehow her abilities are getting stronger as is her obsession with the bell that is the siren killer as far as we know. At this point in the show, Cade should be the main on-screen villain delivering his evil speeches and performing mad acts rather than Sybil who remains a gifted brat if we’ve ever seen one. And as clever as she may be, Caroline should seen through her threat to kill the twins. Not the best writing thus far.

 

FAVORITE MOMENT

When Damon speaks to the inmate and then finds the necklace. Damon is fantastic when he’s in a calm reflective state of mind, something not often seen with his humanity off. It’s interesting that we’re still acknowledging his humanity is off given how he’s acted as of late. True inhumane Damon wouldn’t try and stop the doctor from killing him. That necklace has already started the ember of humanity in him, he just hasn’t truly accepted it aside from saying it makes him feel better. Keyword here, feel.

 

CHARACTER MVP

Stefan is back to true form as he plays the devil on the shoulder. Classic villains have the ability to be both menacing and patient, and so far he’s delivering on both with the exception of the final moment, which I hoped would be saved until a later episode. We’re not entirely sure if Stefan’s ripper personality will actually conflict with Cade’s plan, but Damon understands what will happen if he doesn’t stop his brother. Finding an Elena look-a-like and actually convincing her to play out the role he gave was truly sinister and worked in every way if not for a quick one-shot which for the time given was done well enough.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

Speaking of Elena look-a-like’s, this is the second time since last season they brought on an actress who had her traits. It’s amazing how many actresses actually look like Nina that if need be they could find a “real” doppelganger to bring her back for the final episode(s). I wouldn’t put it past them.

 

Now we know what that heirloom ball is and I’m glad it didn’t’ just wither and disappear. We have an official MacGuffin, something to chase down, it took long enough to discover its use. But considering what it can do, shouldn’t it be more tied to stopping Cade and not just the sirens? I feel we should already be moving past the issue with Sybil and Seline.

 

If anyone is discovering lost roots it’s Matt. Now he’s realizing just how important his bloodline is as to the origin of Mystic Falls. In retrospect, this also does tie back into the town which is also a cool concept as we’ve spent so many seasons within its boundaries. I think it’s time for another flashback episode.

 

One aspect I never understood with supernatural entities on this show is the lack of empathy for human strangers that die on it. Caroline is all “tra la la” she knows Stefan is out killing people who likely don’t deserve it. Enzo and Bonnie are vacationing off in another country even though the threat of death is looming on people they’ll never cross paths. It’s only when it hits home that they take action. I guess vampires are evil for a reason whether they have their humanity or not. It has the potential to desensitize its viewers to the absurdity of vampire-violence so that when main characters shrug at the deaths of strangers, so do we.

 

ENDING THOUGHTS

7 out of 10. TVD’s return is promising brotherly conflict in the form of ripper Stefan versus inhumane Damon, a build up that hopefully gives us the proper finale as the main villain grows closer to immortal godhood. I don’t think the sirens should be central to a scavenger hunt plot, but our other supporting characters need something to do while the Salvatores ransack neighboring cities. Everyone is split for the moment which is never really a good sign. The team works better when they’re closer together. Stefan and Damon performed admirably mixing in thoughts and trails of Elena dip into their consciousness and give us further clues into her eventual return. The brothers are doing great, everyone else is lagging. As always, thanks for reading.

 

 

No more words

 

 

 

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