The Vampire Diaries recap: Season 8, Episode 4
I’m going to be honest. I have mixed feelings about this whole Hell thing. On the one hand, as much as I love Stefan and Damon and want them to find happiness, I love the idea of them having to answer for all of the bad they’ve done. It’s not that I actually want them to go to Hell, but if we’re being completely honest with ourselves, that story at least makes sense. You can’t spend your life killing people and expect no consequences. And at the very least, the idea of Hell makes Stefan and Damon take a long hard look in the mirror. Or it will once Damon flips his humanity back on.
But on the other side of things, I’m not sure how I feel about Hell and “the devil” making its way onto the show. Sure, they put their own twist on it, which I appreciate, but it’s on the verge of feeling like too big a concept. Either way, I’m willing to see how it plays out. Now, let’s talk about the hour, starting with this week’s throwback title.
“An Eternity of Misery”: This one’s a classic. It’s a phrase first uttered by Damon in the pilot of the series, and later explained as a promise Damon made his brother just after they became vampires. See, after Stefan and Damon were killed with Katherine’s blood in their system, Damon had made the decision to let himself die. But after Stefan transitioned, he couldn’t imagine a world without his brother, so he selfishly forced Damon to join him. So join him, he did, but as soon as Damon tasted human blood, he promised his brother that he would dedicate his life to giving Stefan what he deserved — an eternity of misery. And how that plays into tonight’s episode is actually quite perfect.
In the beginning, we’re introduced to two young girls. Living in 750 B.C., one girl tells the other the story of Arcadius, a man with psychic powers who was stoned and burned alive by his people. Why is that relevant? Stay tuned.
In present day, Caroline heads back from spending the night at Bonnie’s just as Stefan wakes up at the Armory, where he slept. It seems he and Ric have big plans to hang out with Sybil today. Stefan brings along the handy tuning fork to get her to talk, which leads to this wonderful exchange:
Stefan: “The all-powerful siren, imprisoned by a fork.”
Sybil: “Says the man who can be killed with a stick.”
She’s not wrong. She is, however, sick of Stefan asking about Damon, who’s still off serving her, by the way. Instead, Sybil would rather talk about herself, and that means telling Stefan and Ric the story of a young girl who lived in a Mediterranean village until she was discovered to have physic abilities, after which her people exiled her to an island.
But she wasn’t alone on the island. There was another girl with psychic abilities there, and together, they survived. The real kicker? That other girl, well, she’s still alive, and she’ll do anything to save her sister. So yeah, there’s a siren on the loose.
Speaking of the other siren, Georgie breaks into Ric’s house to steal a journal when Seline catches her. At this point, one of them is obviously the siren, but is it the one with the “very siren-y” name, as Sybil puts it? Actually, all signs are pointing to Georgie when she shows up at the Armory and locks Ric in the vault.
As for Stefan, he gets to hear the rest of Sybil’s story. Stranded on the island, the girls grew hungry, so they would call out to ships, which would then crash upon the rocks so that the girls could steal their provisions. Yet, the poor village girl didn’t realize that calling out to a ship meant dooming the sailors to death. You see, this is the familiar tale of one good sibling, determined to live like a monk, and one selfishly evil sibling willing to murder to satiate their hunger. As Sybil puts it, “The parallels are too good.” So she asks Stefan, “Which girl are you?”
Stefan doesn’t want to play along, so Sybil continues the story. It turns out, there were never provisions on the ships. Only sailors. The island girl was lying to her sister, tricking her into eating the sailors and forcing her to adopt her lifestyle. Again she asks Stefan, “Which girl are you?”
Just as Stefan tells Sybil that Damon will always be his brother, Sybil’s sister shows up. Well, sort of. Georgie knocks Stefan out, which allows Sybil to get inside Stefan’s head. She takes him inside her own memory, back to the island, to finish the story. Apparently she has no interest in taking control of Stefan’s mind, because “the boss has other plans for you” and said boss thinks Stefan is worthy of hearing the whole story.
Sybil finishes her story, showing Stefan the moment when the village girl realized what the island had done. And that’s when Stefan realizes that Sybil is the village girl who tried so hard to be good while her sister forced this existence on her. Furthermore, that sister’s not Georgie. It’s Seline.
By the time Stefan wakes up, Sybil has stripped Seline’s identity from his memory, but he remembers the rest. And Sybil still wants an answer to her question: Which girl is Stefan? The victim or the monster who sealed his brother’s fate the day he forced Damon to turn into a vampire, dooming him to an eternity of misery? “Who are you,” she asks, before Stefan responds, “I’m both.”
NEXT: Tyler’s fate is revealed
With that, Sybil realizes that Stefan is worthy and proceeds to tell him the rest of the story. After Sybil realized what she’d done on the island, she threw herself off the cliffs. She was on the verge of death when Arcadius — Cade, for short — paid the sisters a visit. In exchange for his help, Seline made a deal: The girls would have immortality, beauty, and youth, but only if they served their new master. So now, they feed on flesh to stay beautiful, and Cade collects the souls of the wicked in Hell.
Sybil tries to explain to Stefan that Cade is the way to save Damon. “All you have to do is kill the devil.” (If only they had the Winchesters on their side, amirite Supernatural fans?)
Naturally, Stefan isn’t buying the whole Hell thing, but Sybil finishes her sister’s story: Just as Cade was being burned alive by his people, he let out one final psychic blast so powerful that it created its own world. So call it Hell if you want, but either way, it’s where Cade now feeds on the souls of the damned. And currently, it’s where he’s waiting for Stefan.
As much as Stefan has tried to atone for his sins, Sybil tells him that nothing will save him from the fate that the glorious Ripper of Monterey truly deserves. It’s a stain that will always be on Stefan’s soul. And it’s one Stefan will admit, but he won’t let Damon go down with him. “Maybe I do deserve it,” he tells her. “Damon doesn’t. I made him what he is. If it’s my fault. Damn me. Not him.”
But Damon’s fate is already sealed. After he got a glimpse of the Hell that awaited him, he decided to avoid it by agreeing instead to serve Cade for all eternity. As Sybil puts it, “Damon believes in Hell and soon you will too, because you are just as doomed as he is.”
As for Georgie, she returns to Seline to deliver a message from Sybil: “Piss off.” Seline’s reaction? To kill Georgie and send her straight to Cade. (Is that where Katherine is?!?!)
Believe it or not, that wasn’t ALL the family drama that went on in this episode. With Damon off on a mission to get Sybil everything she could ever want, he found himself looking for someone named Peter Maxwell. Apparently, Pete has something that Sybil wants, some sort of family heirloom. Only, Pete has no idea what it could be.
And when Damon discovers that Pete has vervain in his watch, he lets his temper get the best of him, which results in a dying Pete and a very upset Matt Donovan. That’s right! Matty Blue Blue shows up to rescue his FATHER in just enough time to take Damon down with some fancy bullets. (Was it just me or did those bullets look blue? I hope they match Matt’s eyes.)
Matt feeds his father Damon’s blood to heal him and tells him to wait in the truck while he gets answers out of Damon. It takes no time for Damon to admit that his humanity’s off, and he follows that tidbit with another: If Matt doesn’t “play along,” Tyler will die.
Matt tries to call Damon’s bluff. He knows that killing Tyler is too far, even for Damon. Elena would never forgive him for that. But as Damon explains, “Elena and I are through.” In fact, Damon’s been seeing another woman. I feel like this is an interesting bit of information: So whatever Sybil did didn’t fully replace Elena in Damon’s mind, but rather he just thinks they’re over? I’m still not totally following that.
Regardless, Damon tells Matt that he ripped into Tyler’s throat last night and left him in a car just across the border. If Matt hurries, he might be able to save him.
The bad news? By the time Matt gets there, Tyler’s dead in the trunk of a car. Who knows if he was ever alive. But also, DAMON KILLED TYLER AND LEFT HIM IN THE TRUNK OF A CAR. Can we talk about this?! Tyler Lockwood, the annoying jock who somehow became the lovable werewolf and stole Caroline’s heart is dead. And Damon did it. I’m not going to lie to you guys, this is just hitting me, and it’s destroying me. (Also, Matt crying will forever take me back to this season 1 moment.)
And yet, as much as it devastates me that Tyler went out that way, I like that the show is making such bold moves in its final season. (More nostalgia for you: This reminds me of the moment Stefan killed Andie in the season 3 premiere, and it made me appreciate just how dark the show was going.)
As for the rest of the episode, all you need to know is that Ric escapes the vault by slicing into his own ears — ahhhhh — and Damon manages to get his hands on whatever family heirloom it was that Sybil wanted.
Altogether, I will say this: I’m loving the way they’re using these titles to bring back old themes. And as much as I don’t love the use of the words “Hell” or “devil” because they feel like a little too extreme, I’m really enjoying the general concept of what’s going on. Is it finally time for these beloved characters to pay for their actions? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Episode Grade: B+
Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, and Paul Wesley star in the CW’s romance-infused vampire soap opera.