Stefan is confronted with his vampire legacy

The Vampire Diaries Season 8, Episode 13 (“The Lies Will Catch Up To You”)
Paul Wesley, The Vampire Diaries

Keeping track of all of the world building that a show like The Vampire Diaries has done over eight seasons can be challenging. When you fail to keep track, this can result in some major plot holes. At this point in the series the main goal seems to be to bring everything as full circle as possible. Even if it is at the expense of logic. I enjoyed a lot that happened in this episode and the stories that it aimed to tell. But in order to tell those stories, some leaps had to be made that when examined, even a little bit, really don’t hold up.

Let’s start with the fun part of the episode, Kai’s return. When the bell rang 11 times and let Cade through, it also allowed for Kai to get through as well. But no one else? Why Kai specifically? He wants to get out of Hell permanently and seeks Damon’s help to do it. If anyone deserves an eternity of misery, it is Kai Parker. But he holds a very important piece of leverage with Damon, Elena. Damon tries to convince him that bringing Elena back will be redeeming for Kai and he can earn his way out of Hell. This doesn’t work though, Kai knows he is an evil person and that he can’t just redeem his way out. Instead he is going to do it his own way and kidnaps Elena. Now all of the mechanics of how Kai returned doesn’t make much sense. However, I am happy for whatever justification they had to do to bring Kai back because he really is just so much fun, which this season has certainly been lacking in. It made me question why they ever killed him off in the first place.

Meanwhile, Stefan is confronted by the effects that his vampire sins have had on the survivors. When he became human all the people he compelled began to remember. This presents a major inconsistency in the series. When Alaric became human, Elena lost her ability to regain her memories because he couldn’t un-compel her. Also certainly Katherine would have suffered a similar situation when she took the cure. And so would Elena. There is no explanation for this so either the writers forgot or were hoping that the audience wouldn’t catch it. But essentially the rules changed to fit the narrative they wanted to tell. That aside I enjoyed the ways in which they brought these memories back. The two that are focused on both connect to earlier points in the series. The first being the guard outside of the hospital room for the murderer that Stefan turned so that he could have Jeremey kill vampires and they could find the cure to “fix” Elena. The guard ended up being blamed for the escape of the murderer and he lost everything. This was an interesting example of just how much even small compulsions can affect people. How many times throughout the series has a character compelled some random person to get them out of their way? We forget about them immediately but as in the case of the guard, the consequences for that person can be great.

However, the main case in this episode is Dorian. Earlier in the season he told Matt that his dad and sister died in a fire and that he got into occult studies hoping to find something that would give him peace. It turns out that it was Stefan who killed them, ripped their heads off, and compelled him to think that they died in an accident. This was during his and Klaus’s adventures through Tennessee in Season 3. I liked how they connected Dorian in a way that fit in with earlier events in the show without feeling forced. Now Dorian has to decide what he is going to do about it. His instincts are to kill Stefan. There is no redemption for him, the only justice is death. However, after almost killing Stefan, Dorian realizes that killing him makes him just as bad as Stefan. Matt tells him that it is that realization that makes him a good person. This goes along with the general idea of judging souls that we have seen this season. It is less a summation of your actions and more about who you are at your core. Whether Dorian would have gone to Hell for killing Stefan remains to be seen, but it feels unlikely.

The final thing that doesn’t really make any sense is Bonnie’s sudden psychic abilities. I was willing to buy one really powerful psychic being able to create another dimension with their emotions… okay maybe I wasn’t really able to buy it then either. But Bonnie not being a witch anymore can now tap into her own psychic abilities? Because she was kind of sort psychic before she became a witch? Even if that tracked, is she really powerful enough to create another dimension? In thousands of years Cade has never known someone else who could. There is also apparently a weird limbo-like dimension that even non-dead people can enter. Again none of this really makes any sense but it gives Bonnie some power again that I’m sure will come in handy to ultimately defeat Cade.

Despite all of the shitting I did on this episode, I really did like it. I don’t watch The Vampire Diaries for an intricately designed universe. There is a lot I am willing to just accept, but this whole season has been testing my limits. However, I like the idea of judgement, specifically of Stefan, because it is such a complex question for these characters. You could easily make an argument either way and the show isn’t necessarily trying to make the judgement for you. It is up to the viewer to decide.

Episode Grade: 7/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Kai has a super large appetite after being in Hell but he can’t taste or feel anything.
  • When the guard is telling Caroline what he remembered about Stefan he said Stefan had weird hair lol. I’m glad someone finally said it.
  • It is easy at this point in the show to forget how much time has passed since there have been some time jumps and overall time hasn’t moved at a consistent pace throughout the series. But it was a little jarring to hear that Stefan going off with Klaus happened 7 years ago in the timeline of the show.
  • Stefan tries to break up with Caroline “for her own good” which Caroline rightfully points out is bullshit.
  • Kai: “Did it sound like she missed me?”
  • The twins are beginning to lose control of their magic.
  • Episode Title: This is a line from “You’re Undead to Me”. Damon says it to Stefan about his pretending to be human when he isn’t. An appropriate title considering that much of the episode deals with the consequences of Stefan’s years of compulsion catching up to him.
  • Body Count: 5, Kai kills a waiter at the Grill, Stefan killed Dorian’s father and sister, Damon/Kai kill a cook and another random person.

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