As several boys in the process of becoming men once said, "It's so hard to say goodbye." To love The Vampire Diaries is to love farewells, whether it's characters leaving to go to art school or perhaps just getting brutally murdered. This, of course, is the final season and we're now officially barreling toward its final farewell, which renders every characters' decisions and actions from here on out notes in the show's swan song. It's almost comforting that Stefan (Paul Wesley) turned into a ripper one last time. You know, for old time's sake.
"We Have History Together" was a particularly wry and well-written episode full of what people in the screenwriting world might call "fun 'n games." By that I mean the Salvatore Bros, with their alleged lack of humanity, sure were having fun out there murdering tons of folks! Let's talk about it!
We began with a support group where a number of damaged people have come together to share their innermost selves with strangers in order to heal. Also in attendance? Hell murderers.
But Stefan and Damon (Ian Somerhalder) were not there to work through their issues. They were there to snatch up a few bad apples for their new boss, THE DEVIL. Because they'd turned their "humanity switches" off, it should have been easy to simply massacre the whole lot of them and whisk them to heck, but they wanted to play mind games first. But while Damon enacted a micro-morality tale in which he forced the group moderator to admit he'd allow everyone in the room to die so that he could live (damn survival instinct!) Stefan couldn't resist just straight-up murdering everyone.
Don't worry though, he was NOT a Ripper yet. Sort of like how heroin enthusiasts can just use heroin once or twice and not get hooked, Stefan was merely dabbling in mass murder. No need to be concerned.
It was Caroline's (Candice King) turn to scribble in a journal while doing a voiceover, and today she was sitting on the benches in front of her old high school looking real chipper. Aside from the fact that she may never see her children again, things were going great for her!
Matt (Zach Roerig), however, was still hanging around the Armory, and he was about to get a rude surprise. You know how one of the most interesting things about him is that he has neither supernatural powers nor a rich family history tied into Mystic Falls' origins? Well, cross that second part off the list, as it turns out his father's family was indeed one of the founding families! We know this because an old skeleton was discovered in the Armory vault and Alaric's (surviving) assistant DNA tested it and yeah. Mystic Falls' most important family of steelworkers (?) were related to Matt somehow. It was a lot for a gentle plate of mashed potatoes to absorb and he seemed weirdly ticked about it.
You might be wondering what exactly the sirens are up to now that their plotline seems to have run its course. Well, Sybil (Nathalie Kelley) got her teaching credential and was now empowering and improving lives, like Dangerous Minds but with The Fray instead of Coolio. Just kidding, she was just brainwashing a classroom of teens as hostages so that she could force Caroline to run errands for her. I wasn't mad about this, because I like Sybil, but for me the only real suspense with this character was whether her Australian accent would finally bust loose once and for all. Rooting for it! You can do it, lil' guy. Anyway, Caroline was not happy about the accent OR Sybil's rudeness.
Probably the best plotline in this episode (and maybe one of the best standalone subplots of the past few seasons) was this gentlemen's bet between Stefan and Damon about whether even seemingly saintly people are capable of evil. At an outdoor cafe, the two spotted this lady who was clearly a kindhearted doctor, but also perhaps the result of Nina Dobrev and Maggie Gyllenhaal hugging really hard while falling into a transporter pod. She looked real familiar, but especially when it came to her good intentions. Anyway, Stefan believed he could prove that deep down she was hellbound, and to do this he pumped Damon full of vervain until he was in a coma, and compelled the lady into believing Damon had hit-and-runned her parents years ago. Would she euthanize him? Stay tuned!
Caroline was feeling a little bit of stress, especially because Sybil had forced a classroom full of teens to go outside and re-enact the time a hundred witches burned at the stake before Mystic Falls was founded.
That is, unless she went and picked up Sybil's dry-cleaning and and took Sybil's Tercel in for servicing and various other tasks. But what Sybil REALLY wanted was some artifact that had been metallurged by Matt's dad's ancestors all those years ago... A BELL. See, like many things in this town, that bell had disappeared over the side of Wickery Bridge and Sybil wanted it BAD.
One thing I really liked about this little morality play subplot was how Damon was an unwilling participant yet didn't seem TOO mad that Stefan had forced him into a vervain-induced coma. Like, maybe just snoozin' through the day is better than whisking people to hell? Stefan's running around conniving and compelling people to show their innermost secrets and Damon's getting some good Z's. Clearly one bro is more clever than the other in this situation. Anyway, long story short, Stefan successfully proved his point by brainwashing the cute doctor lady into deciding to euthanize Damon. Okay?
Obviously Damon didn't die, so he was mostly just disappointed in doctor lady when he came to. But the twist was that Stefan wasn't proving a point about this lady's lack of innocence; he was actually trying to prove that Damon hadn't FULLY flipped his humanity switch. He had clearly taken pity on this woman, whom Stefan admitted had been chosen for this morality play due to her resemblance to Elena. What was the deal, Damon? Were you an unfeeling, bloodthirsty maniac or NOT?
Hey, remember that bell Sybil was after? It turned out it had been forged by witches (kinda) and that when you use the tuning fork weapon like a gong, it'll maybe create a super weapon that could possibly maybe kill sirens? Let's just assume this is the case. So what Sybil (and now the other characters) were all after was a bell that could murder Big Bads. Except, whoops! Somebody done stoled it!
Before Caroline could find the bell (hidden in her mother's garage) and thereby free the teen hostages that Sybil was poised to incinerate, they discovered that Sybil's wily sister Seline had gotten the bell first! This did not make Sybil happy at all, if we're being quite honest.
Next thing we knew, the teens were setting themselves on fire! Or at least trying to. That's because Matt and his father showed up and untied them before they could be chased down by fire. Why didn't they simply kick the lighter-fluid soaked soil aside? Because Matt comes from a long line of metal workers, not brainiacs. Anyway, no teens died this day. Except for the ones in the support group earlier. And maybe some candy stripers at the hospital. Okay, teens died this day, just not in the woods.
Stefan had only been "off" for a little while but he was already hassling and policing Damon's heart so much. When he found the necklace that Elena had once worn hidden in Damon's pocket, he KNEW Damon was getting too "human." To help convince Stefan otherwise, Damon threw the necklace out the car window and then went ahead and bit the lady doctor a ton.
See, Damon don't care! (Except he totally cared.)
So the big question was, why didn't Caroline just murder Sybil already? Caroline is no stranger to mass carnage or collateral damage, but in this case Sybil floated the possibility that MAYBE she could still kill Caroline's kids remotely if she wanted to. Sure, Sybil. It was clearly a lie, but Caroline didn't want to risk it. And for the record, no, Sybil's accent didn't bust out and do a cartwheel either. Oh well. Maybe next week?
We also got this rare moment in which the show introduced a tiny supporting character but then did not immediately murder him or her. How often does THAT happen? This poor guy was just trying to pick up trash by the side of the freeway and maybe reduce his prison sentence when a certain bloodthirsty dreamboat approached looking for a necklace he'd thrown out the window in order to impress his brother. There the two talked about, like, second chances or whatever. I don't know, I was just bracing for Damon to murder the guy. But then he didn't! It was almost like Damon was more interested in growing and developing as a person?
Good for him. And yeah, for the record, he found his necklace. Also, he handed this guy an empty Gatorade bottle, which was the nicest thing he's done for anybody in weeks.
Somewhere on the opposite side of the spectrum... Stefan ate the hospital. Just ate it all up!
So much for that "I can stop whenever I want" junk! The Ripper is BACK, everybody. Just in time for one last hurrah.
"We Have History Together" might not have seemed TOO major in the scheme of things, but it was still a pleasant and humorous hour spent with a couple of fellas we won't get to spend too much more time with. It's always a pleasure seeing both of them at their worst together, like the actors get to truly cut loose and the jokes really fly. But I also have to wonder where this is all headed seeing as we only have eight episodes left after this. We gotta start clearing our throats for a final goodbye, so yet another trip to ripperdom might not be quite as exciting as this show thinks. Still, a solid hour in a solid season. Don't mess it up, show!
OK BYE ILY
-Did Bonnie learn any French before she left for Paris?
-When is Jeremy's first solo gallery show?
-Did Alaric do a better background check on his new babysitter?
-How many heads will Stefan bite off this time?
The Vampire Diaries airs Fridays at 8/7c on The CW.
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