the Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries 8.7, The Next Time I Hurt Somebody, It Could Be You: Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas

1917: A camp full of migrant workers is sleeping peacefully on Christmas Eve when two children hear sounds outside. They think Santa’s arrived to bring them presents. Instead, it’s Stefan, and he’s there to earn his nickname as the Ripper of Monterey.

Present: Dear Elena, Stefan is giving himself a present this year: today. His deal with Cade kicks in at midnight, and he’ll have to give up his life and serve the devil for eternity. If he can’t find a way out, he wants Elena to tell Caroline that he did everything he could to get back to her.

It’s Christmas Eve, and Stefan wants to go all out. That means spending time with friends and family. It’s not just Stefan’s last day of freedom; it’s also Caroline’s last day with the twins before Alaric takes them away until they’re done dealing with Sybil. The girls ask if Seline is coming to dinner. Stefan takes them to get their Christmas presents as Caroline and Alaric discuss how to explain that their beloved nanny is never getting anywhere near them again. Alaric thinks there’s something even more pressing to discuss, and he advises Caroline to sit down first. Just then, Damon and Sybil arrive. Alaric is shocked that Damon is walking around like he wasn’t killed the night before (“he deserved it,” Alaric assures Caroline).

At Bennett Bungalow, Bonnie opens her present from Enzo, a miniature Eiffel Tower. She jokes that it’ll make a great paperweight. He tells her he’s taking her to Paris. Caroline calls, not to complain that they’re late for the gang’s holiday gathering, like Bonnie expects, but to tell them not to come. Damon showed up with “that psycho American Idol reject,” and Caroline doesn’t want Sybil around Enzo. Plus, she’s not happy with Alaric and Matt for killing Damon. She’s trying to keep things peaceful, since Sybil and Damon promised to leave the twins alone.

Enzo suggests that they take advantage of the circumstances to steal the tuning fork back from Sybil. Bonnie notes that they don’t know where it is, and there’s no way Sybil will just tell them. Caroline thinks that with enough bourbon in her eggnog, she will. She takes drinks to Sybil and Damon, who says they’ll stick to their promise not to do anything to the twins (whom Alaric is keeping out of the living room). Sybil argues that she saved them. “Put away your umbrella, Stefan – I don’t need your shade,” she says. Caroline backs her up, saying they can’t fault one sibling for the other’s sins. Ahem.

Damon invites Stefan to go get some family tree ornaments with him. He promises to explain why he’s there. Well, first he’s going to complain about Matt and Alaric killing and burying him while Stefan gets the ornaments from his room. He can’t muster up any sympathy, since Damon’s alive and well. Damon explains that their agreement with Cade let him come back.

Stefan asks why Damon’s there – they’ll be leaving together at midnight, so can’t they have some time apart until then? Damon examines a big wooden star decoration as he says that getting killed gave him the chance to hang out with Cade. Does Stefan want the same? Stefan says no, but Damon isn’t like his brother in that he doesn’t always let people make their own decisions. Plus, Cade wanted to see Stefan, so Damon stakes him with the star and sends him to meet their boss.

Cade greets Stefan “just behind the veil” in a kind of waiting room outside Hell. I imagine there are multiple waiting rooms, because if not, everyone gets to hang out in the living room of Vamp Villa on their way to Hell. Cade wants to discuss their partnership. Stefan thinks it’s pretty clear-cut, and he doesn’t have any questions beyond “do I really have to do this?” and “have you considered not making me do this?” He doesn’t think he’s the right person for the job. Cade says he’s perfect for it.

Sybil’s excited for Christmas Eve dinner, since she’s never had one. She offers to help Caroline carve the turkey, though her version of carving is just ripping it apart with her hands. She asks when Caroline and Stefan’s wedding is, dismissing Caroline’s reply that it’s not going to happen because of Cade. Sybil thinks Stefan will be able to fly through his tasks every day and get home to his wife.

Caroline plays along with the small talk, getting Sybil to spill that there’s a neighborhood she likes in Grove Hill. Caroline slips away to pass that along with Bonnie and Enzo. She’s annoyed that everything about the day is weird. Bonnie wishes Elena were there, not least because Damon wouldn’t be like this. This gives Caroline an idea.

She goes to Stefan’s room to get a gift box and finds his body. Damon tells her he’s not dead, then asks where Alaric is. Caroline rushes him but Damon holds her off. He assures her that Stefan will be sent back just like he was. Cade wanted a meeting, so Damon had to comply. No harm, no foul, and they can even wash Stefan’s blood off the star and use it as a decoration!

Alaric reads A Visit from Saint Nicholas (“‘Twas the night before Christmas…”) to the girls in the room Stefan remodeled for them. They call him Uncle Stefan and say he told them their “palace” is the safest place in the world. Alaric reminds them to never open the palace doors for anyone other than him, Caroline, or Stefan. Lizzie wants Seline added to that list. Downstairs, Matt and Peter arrive, so either Caroline didn’t tell them not to come like she told Bonnie, or they didn’t get the hint. Damon and Sybil are happy to see Peter. Caroline’s decided to turn to alcohol to get through the day, and it’s loosened her up a lot, so she greets them with, “Well, Damon’s alive, as you can see. Bonnie and Enzo are late, and Stefan’s dead. Merry Christmas – I’ve got gifts.”

Cade takes Stefan to Monterey in 1917, reminding him of the massacre he committed there. “If death is your canvas, this is your masterpiece,” Cade says. “Nothing but evil could produce this.” This was when Cade decided Stefan was his. Stefan says he wasn’t there on Christmas. He’s lived with the guilt of what he did for 100 years, but he wouldn’t have killed people on Christmas.

Caroline hands out presents, urging everyone to remember the spirit of Christmas. She thinks it includes forgiveness. Liz taught her to always be prepared, so she has a present for Seline. She also has something small for Damon, or at least the version of him that she’s sure will one day ask for her forgiveness. Damon says he brought something, too, but he can only give it to the “most despicably evil” person there. The gift is a trip to Hell. Hmm, I think Enzo’s trip for Bonnie would be a little more enjoyable.

Bonnie and Enzo narrow down the house Sybil’s taken over, but since it has a human owner, only Bonnie can enter. The owner is actually there, along with her family and a special guest: Seline. She gets the owner to invite Enzo in, promising that she won’t hurt him or Bonnie. She guesses they came for the tuning fork, since they definitely didn’t come to hang out with her. That’s why she used mind control on the family who lives there – she didn’t want to be alone for Christmas. Seline pulls out the tuning fork and asks to use Bonnie’s phone.

While the rest of the gang (well, the ones who are currently alive) eats dinner, Damon explains that he kills evil people. Caroline puts on her most cheerful facade, saying no one is going to die today. They’re going to have a nice evening together like Stefan wanted. Matt asks why Damon’s doing what he’s doing. Sybil says it’s his job. Damon doesn’t think Matt has any room to judge someone for killing people, since he killed Penny. Damon wishes Matt had looked even a little sad when Alaric killed Damon, since Alaric seemed to. But Damon forgives him, since he’s gone through a lot.

Alaric was being a good parent, just like he’s doing now, by staying with the girls instead of joining the rest of them for dinner. Damon wants to kill him, but just for personal reasons. This should be about principle. Caroline tells him it’s all personal. Sybil turns the focus to Peter, and Matt warns her to back off. Damon would like to know what he’s going to do if she doesn’t.

Seline calls Alaric and tells him that the girls need her help. She was training them to get them prepared for Cade, and she left a psychic imprint. If she doesn’t remove it, they’ll always be linked to her. Alaric tells her to just give Bonnie and Enzo the tuning fork already. Seline insists that she’s not the person Alaric thinks she is. She’s been trying to gain her freedom for years. He tells her to drop dead. So much for peace on Earth, good will towards men (and women) (and sirens).

Enzo notices that Seline has been making a list (and maybe checking it twice?). Georgie’s name is at the top. Seline explains that she’s the last person Seline killed. She made a list in reverse chronological order, a habit she picked up some time ago…in Monterey.

Cade shows Stefan himself in 1917, after he’s killed all the migrant workers. He’s devastated by what he did, but Cade doesn’t care that he felt bad. For some reason, Seline did, though. She’s there in 1917.

1917: As Cade shows Stefan through this weird cross-dimensional flashback, Stefan goes to a cabin and carves the names of all his victims in a wall. Seline approaches and hums to bring him under her control. She tells him to rest “in torment” because Cade has claimed his soul.

Present: Seline tells Bonnie and Enzo that she was going to kill Stefan and send his soul to Cade, but he was the worst killer she’d ever come across. She didn’t see evil when she looked into his mind, just anguish.

1917: Stefan guesses that Seline can see into his mind, and he knows she thinks there’s evil inside. He’s ready for her to kill him – he deserves it. He was made into a Ripper who craves blood all the time. He wants the release of death.

Present: Seline says she saw Stefan as an innocent man who had to become a monster to survive. It’s a story she knows well. He might have deserved Cade’s punishment, but she didn’t want to be the one to decide that anymore.

Watching their encounter from the outside, Stefan realizes that Seline erased his memory of meeting her. Cade tells him that she just altered his subconscious to make him forget on his own. Stefan says that she made him see he was “worthy of a life.” That was when Cade knew he’d lost her. He developed an interest in Stefan instead. He was a horrific killer who escaped his fate and turned Seline, Cade’s best killer, into “a mush of remorse.” That made Stefan valuable. That’s why Cade was so eager to have him as a servant. Stefan refuses to ever be the Ripper again, for Cade or anyone else. Cade’s disappointed, since the Ripper would be the perfect minion.

Seline tells Bonnie and Enzo that she just wanted a way out. She always wanted to be mortal and free. Instead, she’ll be tortured in Hell when she dies because Sybil cut her out of her deal with Cade. Redemption is Seline’s only option. She wants to see the twins so she can undo what she started with them. Enzo tells her they’ll talk to Alaric, but he can’t promise anything. Seline is optimistic, saying the path to forgiveness starts with a single step.

Alaric joins the rest of the gang at dinner as Damon’s quizzing everyone on their worst sins. Peter lists gambling and cheating on his taxes. Uh, how about abandoning your children? Alaric says the worst thing he’s ever done was not make sure Damon was really dead. Caroline’s tired of the conversation, but Sybil’s enjoying hearing everyone’s confessions. Damon agrees with me that Peter’s worst sin was ditching his family. He can’t use the excuse that he was young. Where has he been in the 20 years since then?

Caroline calls the conversation off, but Damon zooms over to Peter, holding a knife. He cuts Peter on the jaw, then threatens to slash his throat if he doesn’t explain what’s kept him away. Peter admits that he was ashamed. Kelly was pregnant with Matt, and Peter didn’t want to stay in his hometown and work a low-paying job. He had to get out. Damon doesn’t buy that as a good enough reason, so Peter wins the prize for being the worst person in the room.

Cade continues playing the Ghost of Christmas Past by taking Stefan to Mystic Falls High on his first day, moments before he met Elena. If they’d never met, Stefan might not be facing what he’s facing. Stefan says this is when he was a good person. He loved Elena. Cade says she had enough tragedy in her life, but Stefan just had to insert himself in her life. He took someone good, who was headed down the right path, and “veered her right into the median.” He didn’t intend to, and he wanted to protect her, but the only way he could have done that was to never meet her. Instead, he took a stranger and turned her into something dark.

Stefan notes that he can’t take that back. Cade says he can do it again. He can find other people who would barely squeeze their way into Heaven and send their lives off-course. Stefan argues that Elena’s a good person. Cade says he wants good people who can be made into evil ones. Their souls are his favorite to feast on.

Sybil fixes up Peter’s wound in the kitchen, telling him that while Damon came to give something, she came to get something. Peter doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She goes into his head to get more information (or maybe just to cause him pain so he’ll tell her what she wants to know). The others hear him cry out in the dining room, but Damon warns them not to interfere. Bonnie and Enzo arrive and Enzo hits the tuning fork against the kitchen counter. The sound incapacitates both Sybil and Bonnie. While Enzo’s distracted by seeing Bonnie in pain, Damon zooms into the kitchen and whisks Sybil away.

Stefan wants to wrap up his time with Cade, and he asks what happens if he refuses their deal. Cade says he’ll just wait for Josie and Lizzie to grow up. Stefan makes a new offer: He’ll become the Ripper again and turn off his humanity to be a more efficient killer, but he wants a reduction in his sentence. Cade agrees to only make Stefan serve him for a single year, then let both him and Damon go. But he’s pretty sure that once Stefan’s the Ripper again, he won’t want to go back to his normal life. Stefan disagrees, which just makes this more interesting to Cade.

Damon and Sybil take a walk downtown, and she praises him for following his instincts and saving her. She thinks something’s changing in his heart. Damon credits the holidays. She asks if the present in his jacket pocket is for her. It’s the one Caroline gave him, but Sybil doesn’t complain, since it’s a necklace. Specifically, it’s Elena’s vervain necklace. Damon remembers giving it back to her on her birthday, which means Sybil hasn’t altered all of his Elena memories. He puts it around Sybil’s neck, then tears out her heart and takes the necklace back. (Insert your own “last Christmas, I gave you my heart” joke here.)

On the way home, Bonnie wonders why the tuning fork affects her and the twins. Maybe it sends out a signal only witches can hear. Enzo hopes the sirens aren’t witches; it would be an insult to Bonnie’s kind. She remembers Sheila saying that witchcraft comes from psychic energy. Before Bonnie knew she could do magic, she thought she was a psychic. She hates having a connection to the sirens and Cade. Enzo thinks this is the perfect time to take their trip to Paris. She admits that her present for him was T-shirts, since she keeps stealing his to sleep in. She feels bad for not matching his level of gift-giving. He tells her she’s the gift he always wanted.

Caroline waits in Stefan’s room until he finally wakes up. He takes her to the entryway of the house so he can kiss her under the mistletoe he hung there. He wanted one thing he planned for the day to go right. He tells her that the deal with Cade has changed, and he only has to serve Cade for a year. He doesn’t want to have to say what the conditions are. They only have a few minutes left together, and he wants to enjoy them.

Seline comes to Vamp Villa and meets up with Alaric and the twins. He’s agreed to fulfill her request, though he’s laid down some terms. She tells the girls they’re going to play a game, and afterward they won’t remember her. She puts her hands on their heads and removes the psychic imprint.

Matt drops Peter off wherever he’s been staying, neither of them speaking to each other. Back at Vamp Villa, the girls open presents and Caroline soaks up what will be their last time together for a while. Stefan’s leaving town on foot when Damon pulls up beside him and offers him a ride. He suggests that Stefan turn off his humanity now so it won’t be so hard to leave. Stefan doesn’t want to yet.

Damon’s pleased to be back on the road with his brother. They should pick a theme song. As they cross the border on their way out of town, Stefan closes his eyes and turns off his humanity. It’s all Damon could have hoped for for Christmas. The Ripper is back.

Significant item update: Bonnie and Enzo have the tuning fork.

Etc.: If I’m Damon, I’m reminding Alaric of how he killed me for the rest of my life. I’m using it to get out of stuff I don’t want to do (the twins’ school plays, helping Alaric move) and bringing it up any time he’s annoyed with me (“yeah, I wrecked your car, but you know what I didn’t do? Kill you”).

Speaking of that, Damon is genuinely more ticked off about being buried than he is about being killed.

[J. Walter Weatherman voice] And that’s why you don’t keep sharp wooden decorations around if you’re a vampire.

There’s a funny throwaway moment where Seline’s mind-controlled host gives Bonnie and Enzo drinks, and Enzo sniffs his and then pours it out.

I wonder why people have to serve Cade voluntarily. Why does the devil care whether his minions are slaves or there by choice?


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