The Vampire Diaries: You Can Ring My Bell

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Since returning for the new year, “The Vampire Diaries” has steadfastly been repositioning the main villain as Stefan, now firmly in “Ripper” mode, while Damon has slowly-but-surely being posited as the unlikely (but not really, for those paying attention) one that might serve as the savior for them all, while Seline has been all but thrown into a minor supporting role and Sybil seems destined to be taken out sooner than later.

Of course, this is hardly the first time the show has gone down the road of Damon being a somewhat unlikely hero, nor the first time they have done the same with Stefan being the baddie. In the end, it always works itself out and the ship is righted and I don’t expect things to go much differently in this, the show’s final run of episodes.

On the plus side, given that many fans have expressed their inherent dislike of the heretofore main villains, Sybil and Seline, it’s probably for the best that the show has wound its way back around to making Stefan and Damon the main focus anyway. I can’t imagine much love will be lost when the SS sisters are taken out, leaving us to contemplate the ultimate fates of our core cast.

Granted, there’s still Cade to deal with, and it remains to be seen how effective he will prove as a Big Bad his own self, but for now, it’s clear that for a lot of people, the wrapping up of the siren sisters’ tale can’t come fast enough. TBH, it hasn’t bothered me that much overall, though it’s hardly been my favorite of the main storylines over the years. Still, it’s a step up from the last few, IMHO, so there’s that, at least.

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Though Seline, after the initial reveal of her as being the other siren, has been largely ineffective on the whole, Sybil has been a vaguely interesting baddie, thanks in particular to her insidious way of inserting herself into the memories and thoughts of her victims. Though it proved dubiously effective, especially when it came to Enzo- which made no sense, given the decidedly shorter shelf life of his relationship with Bonnie, which remains a sore spot with many- thankfully, the focus has been centered more on Damon.

I like that, despite her considerable prowess in replacing the cherished memories of Elena in Damon’s head, you just can’t keep a lovelorn vampire down. Try as she might, Damon just isn’t letting go of Elena that easily, and unlike the whole Benzo nonsense, his angst and hesitancy to let go makes a lot more sense, given their long and storied history. On the last episode, “The Simple Intimacy of the Near Touch,” we got ample evidence of that, as the show revisited the moment that changed things forever- when Damon first truly started to have feelings for Elena.

As Caroline put together the latest Miss Mystic Falls pageant, we saw various flashbacks to Damon and Elena’s past together, as Stefan pointed out it was no wonder Damon kept regressing to his former self, when Sybil kept putting him in scenarios that jogged his memory in the first place. In the end, realizing the folly of her ways, Sybil finally made the only real move she had left, when confronted with the very real possibility of Damon taking her down once and for all- she let him remember.

But not just the good stuff, of course- everything, in all its warts and all glory. As the memories of all the horrific things he’d done over the years came flooding back, along with all the things he’d done in the service of Sybil more recently, it was clear that things were going to get worse before they got better for Damon. But what would “TVD” be without a little drama? It was never going to be all sunshine and roses for the Salvatore boys, anyway.

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Meanwhile, Stefan went a bridge too far with Caroline, who, after some prodding by Sybil, finally gave up the ghost on the current “Ripper” state of Stefan and tossed back his engagement ring. But, much as with the necklace she gave to Damon as a talisman to help him remember Elena and check his worst tendencies in check, I think that was a calculated move on her part to do the same with Stefan.

By giving back the ultimate symbol of their love together, Caroline no doubt hopes to jog Stefan’s memory the same way she did with Damon, thus hopefully helping him find a way forward out of the dubious path he’s taken in service of getting things over with in his agreement with Cade by turning off his humanity altogether, in order to get through a year of killing in Cade’s name.

Of course, Stefan likes being in “Ripper” mode a little more than he should, and always has, which is precisely why Caroline had to do what she did, lest he decide, as he implied, that he might continue to work for Cade even after their business had concluded. Of course, the bigger question is: will Cade stay true to his word that he’ll let Stefan and Damon go about their business in a year’s time? Or is there a catch we don’t know about beyond that?

Of course there is, or it wouldn’t be “The Vampire Diaries.” Exactly what that is, and how effective (or ineffective) it will prove to be remains to be seen, but at the very least, the last two episodes have been a good way of getting things back to the ground floor of the series, but taking us back to how things started in the first place, at least to a certain degree. There’s no doubt in my mind that, this being the last run of episodes and all, there will be plenty more of that sort of nostalgia moving forward.

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Note the use of references to the past in the episode titles, both “Touch” (which was taken from episode 19) and “Detoured on Some Random Backwoods Path to Hell” (derived from episode 17), among others, for instance, and the mention of April, the former Miss Mystic Falls (who Violet, the current one, somewhat resembled). Expect a lot more of that sort of thing in future episodes, least of all with Damon now remembering every horrible thing he’s ever done. To wit, the next episode is entitled “Nostalgia’s a Bitch,” so there you go.

All told, it should make for an interesting run of final episodes. Or so I hope, at least. What do you think? Sound off down below on what predictions you might have for the show moving forward, and what you hope to see for the end of the show.

Oh, and on a side note, in case you missed it, we will no longer be doing weekly reviews of any shows on the site anymore, so my apologies to my loyal readers for that, as the matter is out of my hands, but I will still be doing monthly reports, so look out for those, at least. Look for the next one around Valentine’s Day.

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See you then, and thanks for reading!