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‘The Vampire Diaries’ Season 8 Premiere Review: Take Me Back to the Start

There’s nothing more emotional for a TV fan than knowing the show they’ve loved is about to come to an end.

We go through our stages of grief (sometimes more than once, sometimes all at once). We draft out wish list of hopes, dreams, demands, and dreads for the final season.

After that we wait and see what the writers have in store for us.

On Friday, The Vampire Diaries premiered for the eighth and final time. Written by the show’s creators, Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson, the episode delivered nostalgia, horror, romance, friendship, brotherly love, and new mysteries.

In other words, everything fans have loved, hated, debated, and cherished for the past seven seasons of the series.

“Hello, Brother” picked up a few months after the finale ended. Damon and Enzo were still off their loved ones’ radars as they continued doing the bidding of whatever grabbed them from the Armory vault.

Stefan, Caroline, and Bonnie followed every clue they could find while Alaric channeled his inner Indiana Jones and took over the Armory to see what he could uncover there.

(This is the part of the review where we usually dive into the Top 5 episode moments. But there are too many to choose from, so let’s just talk about everything).

tvd-801-hello-brother-04AT THE BEGINNING (OF THE END)

How great was the cold open? A throwback to the pilot with a young couple driving on a deserted road in the fog. Cue Damon standing in the middle of the road. Add in a meta line about the vampire craze being over. Welcome to the final season…just as we were welcomed to the first seven years ago.

Hands down my favorite pilot callback came courtesy of Damon reenacting the original “Hello, brother” moment, straight from the pilot, right down to the bad boy smirk. But things are different now. Stefan and Damon’s relationship has come a long way. Or, Stefan thought they had, until humanity-less Damon blamed Stefan for his life being the worst due to his little brother dragging him down the vampirism path way back when.

Normally this kind of brotherly angst would aggravate me because the brothers have come too far to set their relationship on fire for the zillionth time. Except this is different. Damon’s trying to protect Stefan. The evil doesn’t want him yet (yet??) so Damon wants to push him out of the path before it does. That’s the love we’ve come to expect after seven seasons.

BAMF BONNIE BENNETT TO THE RESCUE

Of course Stefan is hurt anyway because he’s Stefan Salvatore and wallowing in guilt is as much a part of him as his hero hair. But lucky for Stefan, he’s got a friend in Bonnie. The two spent the episode lifting each other up and reminding one another to have hope in their darkest moments. Yes, the hope hurts like hell, but they both needed the reminder to hold onto it.

Bonnie’s also holding onto Enzo, who does not seem as far gone as Damon. Since he hasn’t flipped his humanity switch, he’s been leaving clues for Bonnie along their murder spree trail. Since Bonnie’s the best, even as the flashbacks to happier moments with Enzo broke her heart, she started to piece together what he wanted her to remember about the sirens.

tvd-801-hello-brother-02A SPRINKLE OF ROMANCE TO EASE THE PAIN…

It’s a great time to be a Steroline fan (#Junewedding). The couple started the episode with some quality sexy time. They supported each other while Stefan searched for Damon, and Caroline worried the nanny would seduce Ric. Then, our hearts filled with cuteness when Caroline asked Stefan if she could move in, and he responded with a resounding kiss (We’ve all watched enough TV to know there will be speedbumps ahead, but for now, let’s just bask in these two and their adorable love).

…WITH A SIDE OF ATTEMPTED MURDER

Speaking of Nanny Seline, Caroline showed off her fierce Mama Vamp side when Seline realized someone was in the house with her and the twins. Caroline rushed over, knocked out Virginia, made sure her girls were safe, and then healed Seline before sending them all for ice cream so she could interrogate the intruder.

Too bad Virginia bit off her own tongue (so gross) after spilling that the big evil wanted the twins. We’ll have to wait for the rest of the mystery to unfold, but it was great seeing Caroline take charge. Bonus points for her scoring a new journalism job in Mystic Falls.

tvd-801-hello-brother-01ALARIC SALTZMAN AND THE ARMORY EXPEDITION

When he’s not worrying about his kids, Alaric’s busy exploring the Armory. This story got extra weird when his interns showed him a secret passage in the wall…that could only be found when a person’s sense of touch was isolated. Behind it, they found treasure and ancient artifacts (Seems about right since the St. John family liked to collect things including magical people).

Alaric encouraged Caroline to move in with Stefan so he could live with the girls in Mystic Falls. Now the question: which lady is Alaric ending up with: intern Georgie or Nanny Seline? Better question: which lady will turn out to be evil? We all know Alaric has terrible luck in the romance department.

tvd-801-hello-brother-05IN THE MIDDLE OF A DIFFERENT DESERTED ROAD

It turned out Stefan’s hopes for Damon’s humanity were right on the money. There’s a small part of Damon’s mind that’s currently chilling in his memory of meeting Elena. This is great news because 1) it’ll be easier to get the rest of his humanity back if he hasn’t totally checked out, and 2) it sets up a potential way to bring Elena back prior to the 60 year mark—you know this ultimate evil is strong than Kai. She could wake her up just to screw with Damon even more.

THE BLOODY SIREN’S TALE

Finally, our new big bad. Here’s what we know: Enzo suspects a siren and her singing seemed to confirm it. Of course TVD’s version of a siren is likely different from Homer’s. She has a taste for human flesh—or just needs it to create a body of her own. But what’s most intriguing, she seems to be after bad people—the worst of humanity (like the guy on the road who sold his dying grandma’s pills). There’s probably more to her grand plan since she’s mind controlling Damon and Enzo as her personal killing team. And now that she’s fully formed, we’ll just have to wait and see what’s next.

About the author

Mandy Treccia

Mandy Treccia has served as TVSource Magazine’s Executive Editor since 2016, formerly as Editorial Director from 2012-2016. She is an avid TV watcher and card carrying fan girl prone to sudden bursts of emotion, ranging from extreme excitement to blind rage during her favorite shows and has on more than once occasion considered having a paper bag on hand to get her through some tough TV moments. Her taste in TV tends to rival that of a thirteen-year-old girl, but she’s okay with that. Follow her on Twitter at @SourceMandy.

  • promi

    the Steroline scenes were so great!

  • Mary

    We love Steroline so much, thank you for the recap! :)

  • PDubber4Life

    It is indeed a great time to be a Steroline shipper! So many beautiful Steroline scenes in “Hello Brother”! It was definitely a dream come true for Steroline fans. Paul and Candice’s chemistry is off the charts and they are so natural and real together. The Steroline fandom couldn’t be more grateful for this episode! WE LOVE STEROLINE! STEROLINE FOREVER! ❤❤