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‘The Vampire Diaries’ Midseason Review: The Road to Hell is Paved with Nostalgia

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One week from tonight The Vampire Diaries will return with its final nine episodes ever.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m nowhere near ready to process that information yet. So while I stew in my emotional denial, it’s time to dive into what we’ve already witnessed in season eight.

Damon and Enzo fell prey to Sybil’s siren song. Bonnie rescued her love. Caroline lost her fiancé (!!!) to the dark side when Stefan made a deal with the devil in order to save the twins from Seline’s siren clutches.

Matt’s long last dad returned, Tyler died at Damon’s hand (well, fangs) with zero fanfare, Ric channeled his inner Indiana Jones as head of the Armory, and the writers carefully wove in nostalgia along the way, including glimpses of Elena in between diary moments.

What worked? What didn’t? Let’s break it down:

Sybil vs. Seline (with a side of Dapper Devil)

After seven episodes, I’m still not sure what Sybil wants. Revenge on her sister? Freedom? Good-looking men to do her bidding? At this point, I don’t care.  I’m ready for our heroes to find the right dose of magic to vanquish her immortal existence.

Seline can stay. Maybe it’s because I loved Kristen Gutoskie so much on Containment, or maybe Seline’s just more interesting because she seems to care about Ric and the twins, but she’s my pick for redeemable villain.

Jury’s still out on Cade. The hell story doesn’t intrigue me that much, but I enjoy a handsome bad guy in a suit. We’ll see where they go with this after the break.

Tyler Lockwood (and Michael Trevino) deserved better

How do you bring back a character (and actor) who’s been there since the beginning only to kill him in the last minute of an episode? Was it just for the shock value? A plot point to set up the ‘We hate Damon’ club?

It’s fine that Tyler died for storyline purposes. And maybe it was an availability issue on Trevino’s end. I just think the writers who destroyed our hearts with powerful deaths over the years could have tried a little harder on this one.

No one cares about Matt’s dad

Or maybe I just don’t care about him? Matt’s always been my least favorite of the Mystic Falls gang so it’s 100 percent possible this is just my bias showing.

But seriously, what is the point of this guy? Other than being shady? I’d rather see more Matt/Ric team ups than trudge through his daddy issues. At least those scenes serve the overall plot.

Alaric’s love life still sucks

I know we’re supposed to feel a special connection between Alaric and Seline. But only because the writers/actors said so in interviews—it did not come across on screen at all.

Alaric and Georgie, on the other hand, her inappropriate flirting with her boss could have gone somewhere, making her death that much more impactful. It did mirror Katherine’s, though, so great foreshadowing, writers.

I like Alaric being in charge of the Armory. That’s fitting. I just wish they did more with the magical objects and potential the place possesses.

Shipper’s Paradise/Circle of Hell

STEFAN AND CAROLINE ARE ENGAGED! I’m never going to get tired of saying that (#sorrynotsorry #SterolineJuneWedding). Of course the beautiful proposal (and the two moving in together) came with their share of obstacles. Damon. Sirens. Cade. They stood together and were honest with each other along the way, which made their love even stronger. Here’s hoping it survives the ripper’s return.

Bonnie and Enzo have been on their own epic journey this season. BAMF Bonnie made it her mission to get her man back, even when he turned off his humanity, and they both almost died in a fire. Seeing Bonnie happy makes me happy because no one deserves it more than her. When we last saw the lovebirds, they were jetting off to Paris. Prayer circle that these two make it through the last nine episodes (mostly) unscathed.

Despite flipping his switch, Damon held a part of his happiness with Elena in his mind. It kept him from doing heinous things like killing his friends and family. Sybil exploited that when she inserted herself into Elena’s place and changed things around. But Caroline gave Damon a much needed reminder of his love when she gifted him Elena’s necklace. Maybe this will be the start of bringing Damon back from the dark side.

Looking Ahead to 2017:

When we left off in the midseason finale, the Salvatore brothers drove out of Mystic Falls to begin their service to Cade, and Stefan flipped off his humanity switch outside the town limits. This is the first time both brothers have been humanity-less together so this could make for some interesting escapades without the “good” and “bad” brother labels.

Overall Midseason Grade: A-

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.