Sybil reinforces her control

The Vampire Diaries Season 8, Episode 2 (“Today Will be Different”)
Nathalie Kelley, The Vampire Diaries

For the past seven seasons we have been asking whether our vampires are good or not. What is morality for a vampire? How do we judge that? Therefore it makes sense that The Vampire Diaries would use its final season as sort of a judgement day. Is there a path to redemption for them? Or are they all ultimately bound for Hell? These will be the major questions explored this season and I am into it. It is a complex question that I am not sure there is a real answer to but that doesn’t mean I won’t try. I really like this direction, I’m just not sure about the plot device used to get there.

The last episode introduced the idea that Damon and Enzo are being controlled by a Siren, who is a messenger of Hell. This episode confirmed that and we officially meet the Siren, Sybil, in human form. She is using Damon and Enzo to help her find evil souls to sacrifice. It is made clear that she is really just a middle man herself serving a greater evil, Hell. She has not been in human form for about 200 years and she is certainly enjoying it. Alaric and his very thirsty intern, Georgie, are continuing to study the Siren and how she arrived at the Armory. Georgie is very into Alaric and not really hiding it. She doesn’t really believe in the whole Siren thing but is having fun playing along. Until she sees a symbol that she believes signifies Hell, which she has seen by the way. Using the idea of the supernatural afterlife is an interesting way to explore how we will ultimately judge these characters, but making it so literal is less enjoyable.

Though Sybil still has control over Damon and Enzo, neither have given themselves over completely. Enzo is clearly not fully committed and he continues to resist her. He is very good at blocking her from reading his mind. To get her off his trail he leaks a name to her, Sarah Nelson. This is again a very cunning move on Enzo’s part because he knows that Stefan is still tracking them and that if a string of Sarah Nelsons go missing he will catch on. It also keeps her away from the person he actually cares about, Bonnie. Damon is less obviously holding back, which he is doing on purpose. He is still holding onto his little sliver of humanity keeping his memories of Elena very close. Sybil cannot even tell that he still has this last bit of humanity. That is until Stefan messes things up for him.

Stefan, Bonnie, and Caroline continue to act as the rescue team this episode but they are really just making things worse. Sarah Nelson/Salvatore returns only to really die this time. I was surprised that she still remembered Enzo and everything he told her. I mostly have tried to erase that entire plot from my mind so I had forgotten that when he lets her go he doesn’t erase her memories. She still wants no part of the vampire world and stopped cashing her trust fund checks when she found out they came from Stefan. Stefan finally reveals Sarah’s existence to Damon in hopes that if he absolves him of one of his greatest sins he will have hope for himself. Stefan’s refusal to let Damon go results in Sarah dying anyway and Sybil discovering Damon’s love for Elena. Which she then erases causing Damon to give over that last shred of humanity.

Bonnie too is acting recklessly when it comes to saving Enzo. She is refusing to listen to Enzo who is just trying to protect her. He knows that he won’t be able to just leave and is keeping her from his mind so that Sybil can’t use her against him. Her refusal to let him go puts her in danger when Sybil is able to get into his head and see her. Even though she is not thinking things through fully, it is hard not to feel bad for Bonnie this episode. She lost both her boyfriend and best friend. The only person she really has now is Caroline who is absorbed by her children and her relationship with Stefan. Bonnie is pretty much on her own and her loneliness is causing her to act without thinking of the consequences.

Episode Grade: 7/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Damon brings Sybil a steel manufacturer from a gun show who claims to be a pacifist. He justifies his business dealings by saying he doesn’t make bullets, just like every other part of the gun.
  • I feel like this season needs a drinking game for how many times we are going to see the same clips of Elena over and over.
  • “Damon killed a pregnant lady. Worst thing he’s ever done” “Debatable. But it does make the short list”
  • Stefan and Caroline get engaged! The like one moment of happiness and hope in the episode.
  • The Siren is probably the oldest villain we have had, she originated in 2200 BC. Makes the Originals look like babies!
  • Episode title is “Today Will be Different” which is also a line from the Pilot. It is the very first line Elena has while writing in her diary about how she is trying to move on from her parents death.
  • Body Count: 3. The Siren kills the guy from the gun convention, Sarah Salvatore, and another convention attendee.

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