the Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries 8.2, Today Will Be Different: Remodeling

Damon has crashed a gun convention to have a chat with one of the attendees. (He doesn’t get a name, and normally I’d call him by the actor’s name, but it’s Rick, and we already have one of those. Instead I’ll call him Lansing, after his former character on General Hospital, Ric “Jenn Says She Hates Me But She Secretly Loves Me” Lansing.) If Damon’s looking for evil people to kill, a gun convention is a reasonable place to find them. He tells Lansing he’s going to take him to Damon’s “buyer,” who will probably find him “irresistible.”

They go to a hotel, where Sybil is swimming in a pool and listening to Billie Holiday. When she starts singing along, it immediately clicks that Enzo was right to peg her as a siren: Her voice makes people do what she wants. Lansing joins her in the pool, fully clothed, as if he’s in a trance. Sybil asks Damon why Enzo isn’t enjoying himself as much as Damon does. Why does he keep trying to get rescued? Damon says he’s used to working alone but will come around. Sybil hopes so, since she needs Enzo to make the full commitment that Damon has. That’s what makes it fun.

She sings to Lansing and holds him underwater in what Damon calls the “slowest murder ever.” She explains that she’s calming Lansing’s mind because she read on the Internet that chickens slaughtered in factories release adrenaline, which makes their meat taste worse. Yes, their job is to harvest evil souls, but they can still have standards. Damon tells her that all the other meals she’s had were in “full freak-out mode.” Sybil decides the Internet was wrong in this case, because “fear is delicious.” She brings Lansing out of his trance so he’ll panic as he drowns.

Dear Elena, the gang has finally gotten somewhere in their search for Damon and Enzo. Even better, Enzo provided help. Caroline writes that she’s moving into Vamp Villa, and she’s happy about everything except the water pressure. Stefan’s doing some remodeling, or possibly just hitting things with a sledgehammer because he’s frustrated. Caroline’s pleased that no one else has come after the girls (it’s only been a week; give it time), and they’re still completely clueless that they were in danger. Alaric is preparing them for potential future emergencies, in a way that’s appropriate for their age, while researching sirens.

Caroline calls him to check in and decides that since Seline almost died protecting the girls, she’s earned the right to feed them whatever she wants. Speaking of Seline, she asks Alaric to sign permission slips for the girls to take a field trip, which is apparently just a fancy way of saying they’re talking a walk downtown. Seline says things were a lot simpler when she was a kid. She almost makes Alaric panic when she says she noticed something weird, but she just wanted to address the extra money in her most recent paycheck. He tells her they’re giving her a raise.

At the hotel, Damon dreams again about the first time he saw Elena. He watches their interaction from the outside, remembering exactly what he said to her. Sybil asks Enzo why Damon sleeps so much. She spent centuries unable to see or move, so now she delights in using every single body part. Enzo tries to avert his eyes, since she’s wearing a swimsuit. She notes that she hasn’t been able to get into his head again like she did the day they met. Enzo says he wasn’t prepared then, but he is now. Besides, what does it matter when he has barely any free will left and does almost everything she wants?

Sybil would like to step up from “almost everything” to “absolutely everything.” She takes his face in her hands so she can try to peek into his mind, but he puts up barriers to keep her out. She’s sure he’ll give up eventually. Enzo tells her that he endured torture for 70+ years, so she might have to wait a while. Sybil was able to get something from his mind, though: the name Sarah Nelson. Enzo lies that he doesn’t know who that is. She bugs him about why Sarah is significant to him, then wakes Damon.

Caroline and Bonnie try to track Damon and Enzo in Caroline’s office while on the phone with Stefan, who’s still doing renovations at home. Bonnie’s concerned because Enzo hasn’t left any more clues. Stefan guesses that he has to be careful, since he’s a “double agent.” Bonnie and Caroline find stories about two women killed in two different towns in North Carolina just that morning. One was named Sarah Nelson McGowan and the other was Sarah Jane Nelson. Stefan thinks this is a message from Enzo. He tells Bonnie that there’s another Sarah Nelson in North Carolina – she’s his last living relative, or she will be until Damon gets to her.

He joins Bonnie and Caroline for a road trip to Duke, telling Bonnie about Sarah’s connection to him and Damon. Bonnie has heard part of the story but didn’t know that Sarah survived. Stefan says that Damon also believes she’s dead, so if he and Enzo are targeting her, it’s because of Enzo. Bonnie sees Stefan and Caroline holding hands and is reminded of the state of her own relationship.

Alaric’s back in the tunnel under the Armory, looking at the artifacts he and his interns found. Georgie has skipped a trip with the others to get Greek myths from the Library of Congress so she can stay back with him. Alaric hasn’t told his employees why he’s so interested in the artifacts or the myths; they think he’s publishing a paper on sirens. He’s found a journal belonging to the skeleton in the cave (Georgie has named him Harvey), which mentions hearing a woman’s voice. Georgie asks if Alaric really thinks that Harvey heard a siren. No, no, it’s all hypothetical! This is all serious academic stuff that would never earn snickers from serious academic circles!

On the quad at Duke, Damon bugs Enzo to let go of his “martyr complex” and stop resisting Sybil. He’s distracted and isn’t having fun. He should be enjoying their latest assignment, which to Damon doesn’t mean anything – they’re just hunting down women with the same name. Enzo can’t help but wonder why Sybil has paused her master plan for this detour. Damon thinks it’s because she’s annoyed with Enzo for not turning off his humanity. Enzo wonders why Damon’s so afraid of Sybil, considering that he shouldn’t be afraid of anything while his humanity is off. Damon’s real fear is of the preview Sybil put in his head of Hell. Enzo thinks it’s a mind game and isn’t real.

They spot Sarah, and Enzo pointedly introduces Damon to her using his full name. (The last time he saw her, he agreed not to compel her to forget everything she knew about vampires and the Salvatores, so she knows exactly who Damon is.) As they head to her apartment, she injects Damon with vervain and knocks him out. She’s also been taking it every day, so she tells Enzo he won’t be able to compel her. He says she’ll just have to leave town without being forced to. She takes him to her apartment, telling him that she stopped cashing checks from her trust fund because she doesn’t want the Salvatores’ serial-killer money. Stefan, Caroline, and Bonnie are waiting in the apartment.

Back in Virginia, Georgie takes digs at Alaric about how he probably isn’t interested in Seline because he’s too professional to think about the hotness of an employee. Alaric, you don’t have to put up with this. You can fire her. He’s trying to find an artifact left out of the vault when a shipment was sent there from Mystic Falls in 1790. It’s from 2200 B.C., older than anything Alaric has ever researched. Georgie teases him about the shipment containing a siren, then shuts up (finally!) when he shows her a cuneiform symbol from an Armory text. She’s seen it before, and the sight of it freaks her out.

Caroline calls to let Alaric know that they’ve caught up to Enzo. He’s still under Sybil’s thumb but is working to fight her mind control to talk to the gang. He refuses to look at Bonnie, though. She’s not pleased with this new version of her boyfriend, and she wishes he’d just stated outright that they were dealing with a siren instead of leaving clues for the gang to decipher. Enzo explains that when his thoughts are specific, Sybil is able to focus in on things he doesn’t want her to know.

Bonnie asks what Sybil wants. Enzo isn’t sure, beyond two soldiers who keep bringing her people to feed on. Bonnie wonders why Sybil chose him and Damon as her minions. Enzo thinks it’s just because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time. She bugs him for more helpful information, but he wants the gang to figure that out themselves. He’s expending enough energy trying to keep Sybil from finding out that he’s been helping them. He’ll have to go back to her soon; he’s not safe, and being with Bonnie will put her in danger, too.

She tries to take his hand but he resists, saying he can’t let himself think about how important she is to him. Bonnie wonders if he really still cares about her. Enzo tells her that Sybil’s been attacking him mentally and digging for ways to make him more obedient. That’s why she sent him and Damon after Sarah – Enzo had to give her something to distract her from finding out about Bonnie. But now he’s put Sarah in danger.

Sarah has no interest in getting to know Stefan, since he’s spent so many years controlling her life. She refuses to leave with anyone but Enzo, who at least allows her to make her own choices. Bonnie and Enzo take some of Sarah’s things out to the car, discussing whether Enzo can fight the hold Sybil has on him. He’s been trying, and he’s managed to hide his thoughts so she doesn’t think there’s anything she can hold against him, but he’ll have to go back to her to keep up the charade. Bonnie says she understands, then waits until his back is turned so she can vervain him.

Someone needs to take Caroline’s phone away, because she’s now on with Lizzie, telling her to behave so she and Josie can go to a carnival. When she asks to speak to Seline, the call gets disconnected. Damon zooms up to her in the hallway outside Sarah’s apartment, stakes her through the back, steals her daylight ring, and breaks her phone. “I was told to have fun,” he explains. I take back what I said about someone needing to take Caroline’s phone away, because now she really needs it.

In the apartment, Sarah criticizes Stefan for being with Caroline, the same vampire who once tried to kill her. Stefan says she wasn’t herself that day. Sarah doesn’t find that enough of a reason to go on a road trip with her. Damon suddenly bursts in through the window (drama queen) and grabs Sarah. He positions his hands to snap her neck, so Stefan blurts out that she’s Zach’s daughter. When they talked at the slaughterhouse, Damon said that his fate was sealed because of all the horrible things he’s done. Stefan wants him to know that he’s wrong. He’s not destined for Hell.

Georgie makes Alaric think she’s courting another sexual harassment claim by starting to pull up the bottom of her shirt. Really, she wants to show him a tattoo on her stomach. It’s the same symbol he found in the book. She saw it after a car accident she caused while driving drunk and texting. She woke up “somewhere else,” a place full of pain and fear and loneliness. She somehow knew she’d killed her best friend in the crash. She also knew she would be in that place forever. The only thing she could see was the symbol.

Paramedics were able to revive Georgie (but not her friend), and she served a year in prison for the crash. She passed the time reading up on myths and near-death experiences. She basically got a “Ph.D. in Hell.” She’s sure she’ll be going back there when she dies for good. Alaric believes she “saw a piece of the puzzle,” whether or not she actually got a glimpse of Hell. Georgie’s surprised that he doesn’t think she’s crazy. Listen, a guy who got turned into a vampire, died, was brought back two years later, and is now human again doesn’t get to call anyone’s experiences crazy.

Enzo wakes up in the back of Stefan’s car, which Bonnie is using to try to get him as far away from Sybil as possible. The problem is that when Enzo is too far out of Sybil’s orbit, she can use their psychic connection to try to pull him back, and it’s not pleasant for him. Bonnie reluctantly pulls over and tries to calm Enzo, who says his mind is bonded to Sybil. There’s no way to escape her reach. The longer he and Bonnie are together, the greater the possibility that Sybil will find out what she means to him. Bonnie refuses to let him go – she doesn’t want to lose him again. He assures her that she never lost him. She asks him to stay with her, but he needs to leave so he doesn’t put her in danger.

Stefan tries to convince Damon that letting Sarah live will “balance the scales.” Plus, it’s what Elena would want. He urges Damon to make the right decision – for their family, for Elena, and for Stefan. Damon lets go of Sarah and tells her to run, but Sybil’s waiting right outside her apartment door, and she immediately stabs Sarah. Stefan snaps Sybil’s neck and rushes to give Sarah his blood, but the neck snap did nothing to take Sybil out. She tells him to stay where he is, then asks Damon who Elena is.

Caroline can’t quite reach the wood Damon stuck in her back, and her daylight ring is too far away for her to grab without getting burned. Sarah’s in worse shape, though, since Stefan can’t fight the mind control Sybil is using to keep him from helping her. Sybil asks why Damon wasn’t able to fulfill his task. How was he able to disobey her? He must have will power and a connection to some humanity that he’s been hiding from her. After all these months, Sybil is just now realizing that he has a “loyalty leak.” She goes into his mind, asking where his subconscious goes when he tries to resist her.

It goes to the road where he met Elena. Sybil watches as he relives their first encounter again. She goes further into his head, seeing his memories of their relationship. “Yeah, I can fix this,” she says. She then takes Elena’s place, altering Damon’s memories to make him think he met Sybil that night instead.

Stefan tries to get through to Damon, urging him to help Sarah and fight Sybil’s control. Damon asks why he should. Stefan watches helplessly as Sarah bleeds out and dies. Damon and Sybil are ready to leave them both there. Stefan will be free to go once Sybil’s far enough away from him for her hold on him to break. She tells him not to worry about Damon: “I’ve taken over his last mental refuge. I’m giving it a little remodel.” Stefan warns that Damon is stronger than she thinks. Sybil disagrees.

Bonnie returns to the apartment building alone and gets Caroline’s ring for her. She regrets going rogue and taking off with Enzo. Plus, it was all for nothing, since she couldn’t get him out from under Sybil’s control and had to let him go back to her. Caroline’s annoyed that Bonnie ditched their plan, but Bonnie wanted Enzo to be her priority. She had a plan, too – a life with Enzo like what Caroline and Stefan are getting to have. Bonnie’s happy for them, but seeing them together makes her feel alone.

Caroline promises that she isn’t and apologizes for being a bad friend. She was too caught up in her own drama to think about how all this is affecting Bonnie. They’ll save Enzo and they’ll go back to their insane but wonderful lives. Bonnie’s happiness is important to Caroline, and the gang will fix this. Stefan joins them, about to make their day even worse with news about Sarah.

Alaric gets home from work later than expected, though Seline isn’t upset that she had to stay late with the girls. He tells her he’s working on a weird project involving a journal from 1790, a tattoo, and “unconfirmed reports of Hell as a place that offers up not only emotional turmoil but ancient mystical runes.” Seline quips that he must not date much. As she’s leaving, Georgie calls to tell Alaric that she found the missing artifact. It’s a big tuning fork, and it’s marked with her tattooed symbol. “I think it was made in Hell,” she says.

Enzo meets up with Damon and Sybil at the hotel, and Damon grabs his heart to hold him still so Sybil can take a look inside his head. She sees Enzo with Bonnie, telling her to let him go back to Sybil. She turns to drive away, not wanting to watch him go, but he grabs her and kisses her first. He promises that he’ll never stop fighting – like he said before, he’ll sail past the sirens to get back to her.

Caroline wants Stefan to talk about what happened when they get home, but he doesn’t want to think about how he’s the “last Salvatore standing.” Damon is his only remaining blood relative. It’s Stefan’s fault – he’s endangered or killed every other member of their family. Caroline reminds him that his brother isn’t gone, but Stefan disagrees. Damon belongs to Sybil now. She urges him not to give up hope, and he says he won’t.

He takes her to the room he’s been renovating and reveals that it’s a bedroom for the girls. Caroline’s touched that he thought to make them their own space in case they want to visit. He tells her to check out an antique dresser. Inside one of the drawers is a ring box. She teases him by asking if it holds a friendship ring, since he won’t actually say what she wants him to say. He teases her back by using too many words to propose. She tells him to get to the point, and when he does, she says yes.

Significant item update: The Armory has the tuning fork.

Etc.: I have no problem with Nathalie Kelley’s (Sybil) acting, but her inability to completely disguise her Australian accent drives me crazy.

Does it count as irony that Sarah doesn’t like Stefan because he’s never let her make her own choices? I’m going to say it does.

The song that plays when Stefan and Caroline get engaged is by the Fray, which means Candice King’s character got engaged during a song performed by her real-life husband.

Trivia: Caroline’s middle name is Elizabeth.

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