In order to save Lizzie and Josie, Stefan makes a deal with the devil ... literally
RECAP: 12/2/16: ALL CROPS: The Vampire Diaries -- "Detoured on Some Random Backwoods Path to Hell" --Image Number: VD806B_0101.jpg -- Pictured (L-R): Nathalie Kelley as Sybil and Kristen Gutoskie as Seline -- Photo: Bob Mahoney/The CW
Credit: Bob Mahoney/The CW
Best Starting Point: ''Growing Pains'' (401) — A lot changed in last season's lead-up. It's probably best not to miss this season opener, which shows…

Before we get into tonight’s episode, let’s start with the rather ironic episode title…

“Detoured on Some Random Backwoods Path to Hell”: This is a quote from none other than Caroline Forbes in the season 1 episode “Let the Right One In,” otherwise known as the one where the tomb vampires capture Stefan, a storm hits Mystic Falls, and Caroline accidentally discovers Vicki’s body … after being detoured on some random backwoods path to hell. Only, the way this title applies to tonight’s episode is much more literal seeing as how the entire thing is about trying to avoid the path to, well, hell.

The hour kicks off with the search to find Lizzie and Josie, who are currently enjoying banana splits at a diner with Seline. (At least she gives you ice cream before she hands you over to the devil, right?) Oh yeah, that’s her plan by the way. When Sybil and Damon arrive, they’re quick to figure it out: In order to make up for the fact that Seline let her sister rot in a vault for hundreds of years — she had to blend in to avoid capture by the Armory — she’s come up with a plan to offer the twins to Cade in exchange for their freedom. Technically, her original plan allowed the girls to grow up a bit, but thanks to Sybil’s escape, Seline’s cover has been blown. (Also, how long did she think they’d need a nanny?)

And yet, in the middle of all this chaos, Seline still decides to answer her phone when Ric calls, which promptly leads to Ric’s Taken moment as he threatens Seline with a classic: “I’m gonna find you and I’m gonna kill you.” Meanwhile, inside, Caroline is telling Stefan he’s not coming with them on their rescue mission. As Caroline sees it, Damon will be there, and “if Damon gets between me and my girls, I’m going to kill him.” And that means Stefan can’t come. Furthermore, Caroline gives him his ring back. As she puts it, “Until this is all over, there is no us. There is only me and my kids and their father.”

With that, Stefan stays behind with Matt to work the tip line. But the biggest tip of all ends up being Enzo, who gets a call from Damon that Sybil uses to sing her way into his subconscious. By going inside Enzo’s mind, Stefan can see what’s going on: Sybil is slowly killing Enzo by literally removing his insides and while she does it, she lets it slip that she’s currently enjoying greasy diner food. And that’s Stefan’s first clue!

Only, by the time Caroline and Ric get to the diner, the girls are already gone. In fact, they’re enjoying an afternoon nap in the back of a minivan while Damon gets more details on Seline’s plan. (Why did Damon get shotgun if Sybil can control him?)

It seems Seline has been searching for almost a century to find the perfect replacements to hand over to Cade. In order to serve Cade, you have to be supernatural, and you have to agree to serve him of your own free will. And considering how much the girls trust Seline, she doesn’t think it will be hard to persuade them. Once Cade has new servants, the siren sisters will be free from his grasp, and more importantly, free from hell. Just like that, Damon realizes that hell isn’t necessarily a one-way ticket, and as you can probably guess, he has a truly horrible idea.

Damon, who’s now in the driver’s seat for some reason despite the fact he’s the least powerful person in the vehicle, decides to take a break at a motel. And no, he’s not looking to relive his glory days next to the ice machine. Instead, he wants to summon Cade.

Back in Mystic Falls, Stefan is once again inside Enzo’s mind when he finally intervenes and stops Sybil from killing Bonnie’s one true love. And Sybil has a proposal: She tells Stefan to come to the motel alone in order to hear her offer. Well, Damon’s offer, really.

So while Enzo wakes up and Bonnie gets her happy moment — while poor Matt makes the world’s fastest transition from supportive friend to awkward third wheel — Stefan gives Ric and Caroline the wrong address to the motel so that he can, in fact, arrive alone.

Just as the girls help summon Cade — who’s real hot, by the way — Sybil gets every human at the motel to try to kill Stefan. She wants to remind Stefan of his dark side, and it works, because after he has to kill a man in order to save himself, he agrees to Damon’s deal.

NEXT: A deal with the devil

What is that deal, you ask? Oh, nothing major. Sybil proposes that Stefan and Damon serve as their replacements instead of the girls, meaning that “two of history’s most prolific killers” will spend all of eternity serving Cade in order to be immortal and more importantly, to avoid hell. But for Stefan, the deal means one thing: Lizzie and Josie are safe from becoming Cade’s servants.

So, thanks to the Salvatores, the girls are freed, but they might not be returning to a happy home, at least not after Ric blew up at Caroline and claimed he wanted to take the girls away from her since “darkness follows vampires everywhere you go.” Then, really driving the stake through her heart — not literally, of course — he reminded her they’re his kids with Jo.

But the moment the girls are safe and back at the Armory to get checked out by the doctors, Caroline realizes Ric wasn’t completely wrong. Well, he was wrong about them not being Caroline’s girls and she ensures that he will never throw that in her face again. But as for the part about leaving town, she thinks they should. Right now, darkness does follow her. So, she tells him to take them someplace safe. “Take them away from me,” she says, before heading outside for more sadness.

After Caroline apologizes for icing out Stefan earlier, she asks what he did in order to save her girls. “I gave Damon what he promised me,” Stefan tells her. “An eternity of misery.” Stefan tells his beautiful bride-to-be that he surrendered his immortal soul to Cade and that he will spend the rest of his life delivering the darkest souls to hell so that he doesn’t end up there himself.

Caroline reminds him that she was promised a June wedding, but all he can give her at this point is the next 24 hours, because that’s all he has left before he’s Cade’s servant.

As for Cade’s former servants, it seems Sybil finally got her payback. See, when she made the deal with Cade for Stefan and Damon, she granted herself freedom, along with the ability to stay immortal and have her powers, but she cut Seline out of the agreement. As Sybil puts it, “The game’s not over yet.”

The one bit of good news from all of this? Bonnie and Enzo are all kinds of adorable. As he tells her, he had one shred of hope through all of his years being tortured, and that was faith that he’d one day meet his true love, because surely, the universe couldn’t be so cruel as to have him die without experiencing love. And now, he’s been rewarded with Bonnie Bennett, his “whole damn world.”

Okay, now back to the bad stuff. After Ric thanks Matt for all his help, he realizes Matt is “the only sane voice in this parade of crazy that we call our lives.” But even Matt has a threshold for how much pain he can watch friends go through, and when he mentions fighting back, Ric gets an idea.

At the Mystic Grill, Matt and Ric shoot Damon … multiple times. Ric, who’s been waiting to kill someone all day, informs Damon that his daughters will be in danger as long as Damon’s alive. So, as he tells Damon “this is for Tyler,” Ric does the unthinkable: He stakes his one-time drinking buddy. Of course, Ric doesn’t know that Damon just made a deal with the devil, so he’s definitely not dead, but can we talk about how upsetting this is?! Of all people, RIC is the one to finally kill Damon?? That bromance is so near and dear to my heart that I do not like this. I know Ric is upset, but I repeat: I don’t like this at all. (And let’s not pretend Ric cared about Tyler THAT much.)

Episode Grade: B

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