Season 8 Begins to Right Itself

The Vampire Diaries Season 8, Episode 7 (“The Next Time I Hurt Somebody It Could Be You”)
Candice King, The Vampire Diaries

Finally, this season is beginning to get back on track. This episode was far and away better than any other this season. The Vampire Diaries is at its best when it connects whatever trouble they are currently facing with character development. That has mostly been lacking this season due to Sybil’s complete control of Damon. No matter what he did he was being brainwashed to do it so how could he really be blamed? That is not really all that interesting. Now that the big bad is shifting to Cade, choice is becoming an element again. Serving Cade is a choice that they have to make of their own free will. Even if they are forced into it by circumstances, it is still a choice which is so much more compelling.

It is Christmas Eve and Stefan’s last day with Caroline and his friends. He just wants to enjoy his last day of freedom but Cade mostly takes that from him too. Cade wants to have a meeting with Stefan before his servitude begins. He reminds Stefan of his ripper days, specifically when he was the Ripper of Monterey. Stefan doesn’t remember attacking this specific settlement on Christmas day, believing himself to have at least enough of a moral boundary to not hurt people on Christmas. But what is later revealed is that he did indeed kill them all and Seline found him, coming to take his soul for Cade. However, when she looks inside his mind she finds that he is remorseful and tortured, which means he is good. She lets him go and erases his memory of this massacre, planting in him the desire to be good again. It also marks the beginning of her own attempts at redemption in which she began to search for a way to free herself from Cade.

Cade and Stefan make a deal that Stefan will completely give himself over to Cade, even becoming a ripper once again if he agrees to let him go after an agreed upon time. Cade agrees to one year of service if Stefan can be the magnificent ripper he used to be. Of course Cade believes that after a year Stefan will be so far gone he won’t want to go back. We have already seen what happens to Stefan when he turns his humanity off. This late in the game is there a chance for redemption? Cade also reveals that he wants Stefan to search for a specific type of wickedness. People who are good but can be convinced to be bad. So instead of just taking evil souls from the world, Stefan is first to make them evil. So just as Damon begins to show signs of breaking his evil streak, Stefan’s is only just beginning.

Damon isn’t waiting to begin his servitude to Cade. He crashes the Christmas party in order to determine which among them is the worst so that he can kill them. He is still hanging around Sybil though he no longer serves her. However at the end of the episode we see Damon begin to turn on her. Caroline gives him a Christmas gift in hopes that it will trigger his humanity, but he doesn’t open it. He gives it to Sybil without knowing what it is. It ends up being Elena’s necklace (it’s back!) and when he sees it on her he rips it off her chest, along with her heart, and leaves her on a bench in the town square. Of course this wouldn’t kill Sybil but it does represent a break from his connection with her, finally.

Despite the darkness of both Salvatores this episode, it was also a pretty fun one. Caroline and Sybil are being fake nice to each other while Caroline tries to find out where the pitchfork is. Also despite all of the craziness that is happening, Caroline is trying to have as nice of a dinner as possible and drinking her way through it. Even though the episode ends with the Salvatores driving off together to do Cade’s bidding and Stefan turns his humanity off, it gave me hope. Hope that this season is finally turning around. When in doubt, Evil Stefan is always a good choice.

Episode grade: 9/10

Other Thoughts:

  • During his Ripper of Monterey days Stefan didn’t have time to shave clearly.
  • Why would a vampire family have a spiky, wooden tree topper? Seems way too easy to kill them with it.
  • Matt claims to never have murdered anyone but that isn’t entirely true. He has murdered several vamps plus Penny. Penny wasn’t really his fault and I guess he doesn’t count vamps as people but still…
  • Alaric brings Seline to another part of the Salvatore property where they have a greenhouse? Are we to believe that Stefan and Damon grow plants in their spare time?
  • Episode Title: “The next time I hurt somebody it could be you” is a line that Stefan says in Season 1, Episode 20 (“Blood Brothers”), he says it to Elena when he is going on a human blood binge and losing control.
  • Body Count: Unclear, Stefan kills the entire village in Monterey. We only see him go after 1 person specifically but we later see at least 7 dead bodies so I am calling it 8.

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