The Vampire Diaries Season 8 Episode 9 Review: The Simple Intimacy of the Near Touch

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Cocky Ripper Douche Stefan continued his reign of terror on The Vampire Diaries Season 8 Episode 9, this time turning his sarcastic truths toward Caroline and zeroing in even more closely on Damon.

He's pretty unlikable at the moment, and I can't decide if I want him redeemed by the series end or if the final run should leave him in this bloodthirsty, Cade-serving state. 

Stefan Returns to Mystic Falls - The Vampire Diaries Season 8 Episode 9

An argument can be made for either side, really. 

On the one hand, fans who want to see Steroline reunited with the promise of a happily ever after are probably clamoring for Stefan to come to his senses.

On the other hand, we've done this Ripper song and dance so many times and he's SO over the top mean this time that he shouldn't get a pass for the things he said while he was high on blood.

Seriously. He doesn't get a pass for the horrible things he's saying to the people who care about him just because his humanity switch is off. Damon never really has, so this should be no different.

We've seen it time and again. Stefan goes Ripper. Someone de-Rippers him (usually Lexi, but also Caroline) and then he's unaccountable for everything.

It's old. It's tired. I don't want that engagement ring he tucked in his pocket to become the magical talisman that gives him a conscience like Elena's necklace is currently doing for Damon.

There's a line he shouldn't be able to come back from. He's toeing it. Tap dancing ALL OVER IT. Even if he's not wrong about some things. 

Caroline does love to relive her glory days and that's part of the reason she stays in Mystic Falls. But that delivery? Yikes. 

Caroline gets half a dozen high fives for tossing that broken chair leg through his heart when he started turning girls into vampires. He deserved it.

(By the way, I forgot for a split second that the brothers can't be killed right now and wondered how Damon didn't just pull the hanger out of his heart and go after Stefan. Then when Stefan started desiccating I thought Caroline had killed him and I was ultra confused. Then I remembered and went "oh...right.")

Anyway. We have seven episodes to go and there's seriously no telling if we're after redemption for Stefan or if he'll end up one of our villains. 

With the speed with which Matt is assembling the bell, it's possible we could be looking at a Stefan vs. everybody else final few episodes unless Seline's big reveal is that the bell will open up a portal from Hell and souls will be able to crawl back out while they're shoving Sybil in.

THAT would be a doozy.

Katherine, Lexi, Anna, AUNT JENNA, Vicki, they could all come waltzing back through the open door. And Georgie, though Dorian's the only one who really cares about her. 

(What I wouldn't give for this theory of mine to be true and for Cami to come back to The Originals Season 4...)

Surely her big secret can't just be that a Maxwell has to ring the bell, which, ugh.

We couldn't have given Matt this supernatural family back story before now? NOW he (and his father) are the only two people who can save the world?

Oh. Okay.

I mean, don't get me wrong. I'm glad we're working on a way to get rid of Sybil, Cade, and even probably Seline, but that it can ONLY be done by Matt Donovan meaning Matt is FINALLY useful is just silly.

Yes, I know Matt has proven useful time and again. He's been reliable and faithful to his town. He's survived, repeatedly. But this level of usefulness just feels a little too on the nose.

One thing I found interesting tonight is that we finally got a little bit of clarity on how Sybil's mind-wiping was supposed to work and backfired.

Damon was supposed to lose all sense of connection to Elena, meaning memories and all. But fragments of the really important ones have remained. (I just watched Travelers on Netflix so this is feeling very parallel right now.)

Things like the Miss Mystic Falls dance, returning her necklace, the super poignant moments in their relationship are the memories he can't shake, but he also can't remember why the memories are so important. 

Damon knows they're in there, ready to pop up and rattle him whenever they want, but he can't feel them. 

Somehow, tonight, he managed to find a way to fight back against Sybil, much to their mutual surprise. But I'm still not sure what it means.

He didn't have some sort of flood of memories and feelings to give him further willpower to fight back against Sybil. He just decided that he would, and maybe that's what he needed all along. 

He just needed to be resolute in saying no to her. He needed to say no and mean it. 

I'm totally speculating. To be honest, I'm not even sure I believe what I'm saying right now. I'm super confused by his sudden ability to resist her after knocking her over the head with the striker. 

And since Sybil has mind-whammied him again, we might not get an answer as to how this all worked. Maybe The Vampire Diaries Season 8 Episode 10 will reveal something hidden in Damon's subconscious. Maybe it won't.

It's not shocking that Bonnie doesn't want to turn into a vampire, and to be honest, I'm glad she's sticking to her guns about not turning into one for the sake of forever love with Enzo. Sure, it'll suck for him to watch her get old and die, but that's what love actually is.

Except then she threw us all a bit with her new plan.

Hands down, the most interesting thing to happen tonight was Bonnie's plan to steal the cure from Damon so that she and Enzo can be happily ever 70 years or so.

Like. 

That's huge. Enormous. 

It's a big middle finger to Elena in a terrible way. 

If I remember correctly, Damon will be able to take the cure from Elena and she'll continue aging normally because she's about 18 years old. Damon will continue to age normally as a human so long as no one drains the cure from him.

If Enzo gets the cure from Elena, there will be no more cure for Damon. And Damon can't take the cure from Enzo because then Enzo would start to age as rapidly as Katherine did.

I mean, turnabout's fair play and Bonnie and Enzo will sort of have to expect retaliation if they go through with this plan, but wow. Talk about a jerk move.

Does anyone else have any other theories as to how the cure storyline plays out that don't involve Bonnie turning on Elena?

Sound off in the comments below with your thoughts on tonight's episode and don't forget you can always watch The Vampire Diaries online!

The Simple Intimacy of the Near Touch Review

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Miranda Wicker is a Staff Writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Vampire Diaries Season 8 Episode 9 Quotes

Take it from me. Elena Gilbert never really goes away.

Stefan [to Sybil]

Seline: I sure am trusting you. With a weapon of terrible power.
Caroline: Well, I sure do love a weapon of terrible power.