‘The Vampire Diaries’ Season 8: A Look at the Latest Big Bad(s)

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On the latest- and final- season of “The Vampire Diaries,” the show recently introduced what may well prove to be the last of the “Big Bad” foes the core group will ever likely face before the end of the show, barring some unforeseen circumstances, which is always a distinct possibility in “TVD” land, where the show has no problem vanquishing one villain, only to replace it with yet another halfway through the season.

At first, it seemed like the main villain was to be the dastardly Sybil (Nathalie Kelley), who proved to be a Siren, aka a mythological creature with the ability to bend people to her will by singing and, in the show’s version, inserting herself into their memories, replacing any loved ones one might have with herself, thus ensuring total commitment in the process.

I had originally planned to write this article a few weeks back, but I heard that the show was about to take a deep dive into their version of the Siren’s mythology, and I’m glad I waited in retrospect. Not just because we now have three villains to contend with, but because, up until last week’s episode, “An Eternity of Misery,” Sybil was proving to be a bit of a dubious Big Bad overall.

Don’t get me wrong, forcing Damon and Enzo to do her bidding and kill people and bring them to her to feed upon is pretty bad, to be sure. But, as we discovered, all the people concerned weren’t exactly good Samaritans, and had decidedly shady pasts, making what she did bad, but maybe not as bad as it could have been, if she had been preying on total innocents. Granted, it doesn’t give her the right to be judge, jury and executioner all in one, but still- could have been a lot worse.

Making matters somewhat more troubling was her ability to get inside Damon and Enzo’s minds and insert herself in place of the ones she loved. However, even there, both managed to resist her for a considerable amount of time, making one wonder just how truly powerful Sybil was, if she couldn’t overpower them with little effort. Factor in the fact that it only took the group a handful of episodes to get the best of her, and Sybil was looking kind of iffy as the main villain.

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As we discovered, though, there was a reason for that: she’s not actually the “bad” one, comparatively speaking. Indeed, as we saw in last week’s episode, in some ways, she’s sort of the victim here. In a flashback, we found that, as a child, Sybil was banished from her village when she exhibited psychic abilities, and sent out to sea, where she washed up on an isolated island in the middle of nowhere.

There, she found that she wasn’t alone after all, as another little girl with similar abilities that had also been cast out from her people was living there already. Adopting Sybil as her “sister,” the two scavenged for food on the island as best as they could, but with little success. Soon, Sybil discovered that her adoptive sister was given to calling out to sailors passing by, causing them to crash upon the rocks, with their provisions washing ashore in the process, providing them with supplies.

Rightly horrified by this, Sybil refused to participate in the gambit anymore, and her “sister” vowed to make do with what they had on the island, come what may. Unfortunately, as Sybil discovered, she was lying through her teeth, and had actually continued to do so on the other side of the island on the sly, and even worse, Sybil found out that the meat they were eating, which was ostensibly wild boar, was actually the flesh of the capsized sailors, much to her horror.

Devastated by her unwilling participation in such a thing, she attempted to kill herself, only to have her “sister” make a deal with the devil of sorts, via Arcadius, aka Cade (Wolé Parks), who also had a similar background to the two girls, having been ostracized in his village for his own psychic powers. However, in this case, the villagers, including those he thought of as friends, captured him and burned him at the stake for his alleged crimes as a sort of witch.

At the last minute, Cade sent out a burst of psychic energy, with the intention of cursing those who betrayed him. In doing so, he created a sort of alternate universe, a shadow-world in which his captors were doomed to all eternity. Since that day, he had made it a point to absorb all those who committed heinous crimes on Earth by any means necessary.

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To that end, he would seem to have what amounts to emissaries on Earth that helped him track down said people, sending him the souls of the damned in the process. In exchange, these representatives were allowed to become immortal, staying young and beautiful forever, just as long as they continued to provide him with the evil souls he needed.

From the looks of things, those in his sway are powerless to stop doing so, though it would seem that Sybil was previously rendered powerless herself by the Armory when they captured her and interred her in the caves beneath the main building. Interestingly, when the gang captured Sybil, she had an out, courtesy of her “sister,” who proved to be none other than Seline (Kristen Gutoskie), the “hot nanny” in charge of looking after Alaric and Caroline’s twins, but Sybil refused it, allowing herself to remain captive.

As such, it would seem that, so long as Sybil is held captive, she can only do so much damage, and, as the “good” sister, comparatively speaking, she prefers it that way. That said, she still holds sway over Damon, and as far as we know, Enzo, forcing the former to continue to do her bidding, to some unknown end. In the case of Damon, at least, it would seem to be connected to the fact that he knows he is destined to end up in Cade’s version of Hell, and would do anything to avoid it- even continue to serve as one of Sybil’s minions.

To that end, she has him on some mysterious mission that involves obtaining a magical object that was being held onto by Matt’s father (Joel Gretsch), for reasons unknown. One gets the feeling that Sybil is trying to combat Cade somehow and free herself from his grip, which, after all, she never asked for, but was thrust upon her by Seline when she made the deal with him. As such, she isn’t fighting capture as much as she could have, at least for the time being.

I imagine this is because she is waiting on Damon to complete his task, whatever that may be, at which point she will make her move, possibly against both Cade and her sister. In the meantime, she is biding her time in the cell at the Armory, where she can stay out of trouble for the time being, though Damon continues to kill for her, nonetheless.

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As for Seline, she seems to have motivations of her own, somehow involving the twin girls, who seem affected by the bident in the same way as Sybil was. Might they be budding Sirens themselves? Whatever the case, they seem important to both Seline and Sybil somehow, seeing as how Sybil tried to send someone after them previously. As to why, we’ll just have to wait and see.

So, as it stands, we have three main villains to contend with: Sybil, Seline and Cade. Obviously, Cade is the most powerful, having gone so far as to essentially create his own Hell, albeit somewhat unintentionally. He might have started out as an essentially good guy, not unlike Sybil, but as we’ve seen, he’s certainly gone to the dark side since, what with compelling others to deliver evil souls to him and all by killing them.

Granted, these minions don’t have to do it, but chose to do so in exchange for something else, namely beauty and immortality and power, in a sense making them worse. But in Sybil’s case, at least, she actually didn’t make that choice- it was made for her- so one can understand how she would be upset by that and want to do something about it. Seline, on the other hand, seems to have no problem with it, which makes her more of a force to be reckoned with than Sybil.

What’s more, Alaric thinks the other Siren is Georgie (Allison Scagliotti) at the moment, leaving his kids still vulnerable to the actual Siren, Seline, who, after all, is their nanny, and thus, has easy access to them. However, with Georgie now dead and sent to Cade’s Hell-scape, that shouldn’t be the case for much longer, so count on things coming to a head there before too long.

Also worth a mention was what happened to Georgie when she died. As fans have noted online, and I myself did in last week’s review, it was awfully similar to the way Katherine was sucked out of her own afterlife by some unseen force. Might Georgie and Katherine be in the same plane of existence? If so, that would explain how Katherine might be brought back to the show, and rumor has it Nina Dobrev will be back to reprise the role, so that should make for an interesting wrinkle.

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So, while the jury remains out on how effective these villains will prove to be in the end, so good, so far. I love a good flashback on this show, and the Sirens and Cade had pretty solid ones overall that bode well for their respective futures, and should make for formidable, and more importantly, different varieties of villain, which is always important.

I also like the way that Sybil and Seline’s relationship mirrors Damon and Stefan’s in many ways, as Sybil was forced into a life she didn’t ask for, much as Damon was when Stefan turned him into a vampire all those years ago. That similarity was certainly not unnoticed by Sybil, as well. Count on there being more similarities where that came from, moving forward.

So, what do you think of the new Big Bads on “The Vampire Diaries”? Do you have a favorite yet? Are you looking forward to finding out more about them? Who do you find the most compelling of the three? Do you think Sybil may not be as bad as she seems? What do you think the twins have to do with all this? What is Sybil’s big game plan? What is Seline up to? How long before Cade gets involved? How will Katherine factor into things?

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Sound off on this and more down below, and thanks for reading! Be sure to also check out my weekly reviews of the show proper on late Fridays/early Saturdays!