Stefan becomes a ripper once again

The Vampire Diaries Season 8, Episode 8 (“We Have History Together”)
Paul Wesley, The Vampire Diaries

After half of a season of Damon being evil and Stefan trying to save him, the tables are turning. The Vampire Diaries has always been careful to treat the good brother/bad brother dynamic as fluid. Neither of them are innocent but both have good inside them. Last episode we were reminded that Stefan used to kill entire villages of people at once. His all-or-nothing vampire nature has caused him to perpetually go through cycles of good and bad times. And as Sybil reminds Caroline in this episode, there is never a guarantee that it is all in the past. When you live for eternity it is only a matter of time before you switch back.

As Stefan is going down the ripper path once again, Damon is beginning to resist his desire to serve Cade. His heart is not really in it like it was before and his humanity is starting to grow. Though he doesn’t really understand why. He is holding onto Elena’s necklace even if he doesn’t really remember her. Stefan on the other hand delights in the assignment from Cade to turn good people bad. He tests Damon’s commitment by finding an Elena replica in the form of a young doctor that shares a striking resemblance with Nina Dobrev. This girl shares a lot of other parallels with Elena and Stefan pushes her to see Damon as a monster that should die. Damon remains convinced that she is good and thus not worthy of sacrifice to Cade. Though he does ultimately kill her to convince Stefan he is still a team player.

Back in Mystic Falls Caroline is dealing with Sybil who is still in town posing as a history teacher. She is trying to find an old bell that we learn was forged by an ancestor of Matt’s. The bell is the original Founder’s bell that Peter threw over Wickery Bridge in 1992. Though the pieces have been separated for a long time, with the Maxwells holding onto the hammer of the bell, when it is all together it is like a super charged pitchfork. This is why Sybil wants to find it, it is a weapon that could be used against her. If the pitchfork blocks her psychic abilities, what would a bell do?

Peter threw the bell over the bridge because he was tired of his family being stomped on by the rich people in town. His ancestors played an important part of the founding of Mystic Falls but because they weren’t rich they were not included in the Founding families. Matt is pissed to learn that his family had a legacy he never knew about. Growing up he was friends almost exclusively with founding families and he was always the odd one out. Those same friends all became supernatural creatures and he has remained the only human. Even though he likes being human, it has continued to make him “other” from his friends. I like this angle for Matt’s anguish with his friends much more than just hating them for being vampires. He has never really felt like one of them and being a human made him powerless against them in the same way that being poor made his family powerless against the rich Founding family members.

This episode continued to keep the season on an upward trajectory. Though Stefan’s ripper binge can’t last too long, with only eight episodes left in the series he is going to have to break free of it pretty quickly, it is a good reminder of just how bad Stefan can be. With the concept of Hell this season, much of the story here at the end is focused on judgement. Who is good and who is bad? It doesn’t seem that Cade judges individuals solely on actions. There is room for redemption if the soul is judged to be essentially good. So where do vampires like Stefan fall? He has done some truly horrific things, in some ways much more horrific than Damon. But we know him to be good at heart. Does that out weigh all the bad? And what about Damon? He doesn’t have the bloodlust issues that Stefan does, but his morality is much more blurred than Stefan’s. Are all vampires bound for Hell? Or is there a way out? Maybe we will get some answers in the last half of the season.

Episode Grade: 8.5/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Damon and Stefan crash an anger management group to determine which of them is the worst. They identify the group leader but Stefan kills them all anyway, just for fun. But he says he is in control because he isn’t ripping their heads off. Of course by the end of the episode he is back to his ripper ways.
  • I do kind of enjoy watching the Salvatores be evil together. Stefan wants to kill everyone and Damon is like let’s take it slow.
  • Damon throws the necklace out the window to show Stefan he is not attached to it but he goes back for it the next day.
  • Alaric’s other intern finally gets a more substantial role as he helps Matt and Peter figure out the bell situation. We also learn his name is Dorian. That may have been said earlier but if it was, I forgot. He is also actually allowed to know things now.
  • Episode Title: “we have history together” is from the Pilot. Elena says it to Stefan when they bump into each other at the grave yard.
  • Body Count: 14, Damon kills the anger management group leader and the Elena look-a-like (2) and Stefan kills approximately six people at the anger management thing and another six at the hospital (12).

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