‘The Vampire Diaries’ Recap: The Ripper Returns

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Previously on The Vampire Diaries, Sybil and Selene, two siren sisters, showed up in Mystic Falls bringing hell with them — literally. They were bound to kill morally corrupt people whose souls would be released to Arcadius (Cade). Selene wanted to use Caroline’s twin daughters as a bargaining chip to get out of her and her sister’s contract with the devil, Cade, but Sybil had a better idea. She offered up Damon and Stefan instead. Then, Stefan upped the ante and made his own deal with Cade. If Cade would give him one year, Stefan would become the Ripper again in order to meet his soul quota faster.

We’re in the homestretch of The Vampire Diaries series finale. There are only a handful of episodes left, and I’m not quite sure how there is going to be enough time to tie up this storyline. This episode lacked a lot of the action we’ve recently seen, but it offered plenty of mind fuckery. Let’s get to it.

Stefan and Damon Attend Anger Management

Stefan and Damon are on a brotherly road trip looking for every opportunity to murder people who are sinners or at least have the potential to be sinners. An anger management support group seems like a place where you would find that type of crown. Damon cuts straight to the chase and let’s the group know why he’s there. Then Stefan asks a guy if he would let other members of the group die in order to save himself. Stefan compels him to answer honestly. The guy says yes, he would let them die. He wants to live and doesn’t care about the others. That’s a wrong answer. Damon lunges forward and sinks his teeth into the guy’s neck. When he looks up, he realized Stefan has already killed the entire group. Stefan dabs the wound of his current victim. He says that not having the blood drip helps him control himself.

Stefan is trying tho be extra cautious. He wants to make sure that he remembers he has something to go back to when this mission is all said and done. He knows that he has to keep himself and his thirst for blood in check. As we find out in the end of this episode, this is easier said that done.

Caroline Forbes Reporting

Caroline is working on a story about Founder’s Day, which for some reason means she needs to hang out all day at Mystic Falls High School. She is supposed to spend the day in a history class working the alumni angle for the story. She is soon shocked to learn that her history teacher is none other than siren Sybil.

Sybil has complete mind control over the class. She warns Caroline that if she attacks her or does anything to compromise the situation, she’ll kill all of the students. Caroline is forced to comply. Sybil asks the class if they know when Mystic Falls was founded. Everyone raises their hand except for Caroline — which means Caroline will be called upon to give the answer. Caroline emphatically responds, “Mystic Falls was founded in 1860 when a Lockwood, a Forbes, a Fell, a Gilbert, and a Salvatore gathered to sign the township charter.” Wrong! Sybil explains her ancestors took credit for founding the town, but long before the charter was signed there were a group of people who lived in Mystic Falls. She said they were burned to death because they were different and misunderstood. Caroline asks if she’s talking about the 100 witches who were burned at the stake in 1790. Sybil has a lot of vivid memories from that time — like the delicious smell of burning flesh that lasted for days. Out of nowhere she asks if the class wants to go on a field trip.

The class trip is to the spot where the witches were burned. Caroline and Sybil are having a conversation while the students are milling around in the background raking and building stakes. Caroline wants to know why Sybil was there the day the witches burned. She says she and her sister were looking for souls for Cade and the witches took exception. Sybil says the witches gave some help to a local medicine man who was making a church bell for them. The bell had a special purpose. None of them realized that Selena and Sybil had befriended the bell-smith.

Meanwhile, Matt is at the Armory. There he runs into Dorian who is handing over an artifact to Matt’s dad. The three of them are sifting through Mr. St. John’s records about the sirens. They find a piece of paper that lists a bunch of measurements for what turns out to be a bell. Matt’s dad explains his family used to make church bells.

Back at the witch field, Caroline realizes the students are tying other students to the stakes they just built. And they’re being doused in lighter fluid. Sybil says she wants the bell that Matt’s dad threw off Wickery Bridge in 1992. Caroline can’t refuse because if she does then the students will be burned to death.

Caroline calls Matt to see if he’s seen his dad lately. She explains that Sybil is after the bell he tossed. Matt says the bell was plucked out of the river the same time Elena’s parents’ bodies were recovered. He tells Caroline her mom kept the bell in storage. Sybil wants Caroline to take her to the garage.

Matt wants to take this opportunity to be a hero. He and his dad are trying to figure out where the school field trip is so they can save the kids. Matt’s dad explains why he threw the bell off the bridge. He was one of the dopey guys who would stand by as the bell was rung during the Founders Day Parade — the bell that his family created. It made him mad that his family was never accepted as being founding members of the town. He says they were the very first family. It was only because of them there was even a town at all. The Lockwood’s, Forbes’s, and so on had money while the Maxwell family did not. So, in 1992 Matt’s dad rebelled and threw the charter bell into the river. (Seems legit.) Also, it turns out the charter bell fits together with the tuning fork to create an instrument 1,000 times more powerful than the tuning fork would be on its own. That’s why Sybil wants it so desperately.

Caroline and Sybil are in Caroline’s garage. They don’t find the bell, but they do find a note from Selene insinuating that she herself found the bell. Sybil becomes enraged and from a distance, sends the siren call for the student to light the stake fire back at the witch field. Luckily, by this time, Matt and his dad have figured out where the field trip is and are able to cut the kids down before anything happens. And then Matt gets mad at his dad for never telling him about his family history. Because status is everything

Is She Good or Evil? Does it Really Matter?

Stefan is taking his mission for Cade very seriously. He and Damon are sitting on a patio scoping out their next victim. Stefan spots a pretty woman and determines that she is a doctor. He says because she’s so young and already so accomplished that she must have a dark past. Damon counters saying maybe all of the good in her life is the reason she’s so driven. Stefan has a way to find out. He takes out a syringe and vervains Damon in the leg.

Damon wakes up in the hospital. He’s very weak from the vervain dose. Stefan tells him he’s been doing some research on the doctor. Her name is Tara, and she does in fact have a dark past. Her parents were killed by a drunk driver in a car crash 10 years ago. But now, she dedicates her life to save others. Damon still believes that she is a good person and therefore doesn’t want to kill her. Stefan has another idea. He has Damon connected to a vervain drip which gives Tara the illusion that he’s dying

Stefan confronts Tara and asks her to let Damon die. She says she can’t do that, she took an oath. He tells her that Damon is a terrible person with a terrible past, and if he lives he’ll just continue to do terrible things. She’s still not budging — not until Stefan compels her to believe Damon is the drunk driver who killed her parents.

Damon tries to convince her it’s not true, but he’s too weak from the vervain he can barely speak. Finally, he changes his tactics and just apologizes. It’s not enough. She euthanizes him. Stefan is sitting out in the hallway listening to the whole thing. Once Damon’s time of death is announced, he goes through Damon’s bag of belongings. He finds the necklace he gave to Elena in the pocket of his jacket.

Later, Stefan is waiting for Tara in the parking lot. He tells her that she failed the morality test. It’s all pretty messed up, actually. Damon shows up and of course she’s confused. Damon is still trying to convince Stefan to let her go. He says she deserves a second chance. Stefan is done with Damon’s soft side. He pulls out the necklace. Damon tries to play it off like the necklace doesn’t mean anything. Stefan knows better. He says the only reason he picked Tara is because she reminds him of Elena. The necklace and memory of Elena trigger his conscience and it’s holding him back.

They later continue this conversation in the car. Stefan says the necklace is causing Damon’s humanity to keep flickering through. Damon still insists that the necklace has no bearing on his emotions whatsoever. He grabs the necklace from Stefan and throws it out the window in order to prove he doesn’t care. That isn’t enough for Stefan, though. Damon stops the car, lets Tara out of the backseat, and tears into her neck while Stefan looks on. It’s really pretty creepy.

The next morning, Damon returns to the stretch of road where he tossed the necklace. There is a chain gang picking up trash. He talks to a guy asking if he’s seen anything valuable. The guy says he hasn’t. They have a conversation about penance and whether or not people can change. Damon is worried about Stefan. He says things are fine now, but if he takes a turn for the worse all bets are off. The guy turns around to walk away. Damon realizes he’s been talking to an inmate. For a second, you can see the thought flash through Damon’s mind. This guy is an inmate, and therefore morally corrupt. Damon is supposed to kill him for Cade, but he doesn’t. He turns around and sees the necklace on the ground and picks it up.

Meanwhile, Stefan is staking out the hospital for victims. He finds a nurse and feeds on her. He dabs the teeth mark on her neck with his thumb to clean up the blood. Damon walks in to find that Stefan has killed every person in the ward. There is blood everywhere! Stefan has completely lost control.

What did you think of tonight’s episode? Do you think Stefan will be able to come out of this? Let me know in the comments below.

The Vampire Diaries airs Friday’s at 8/7c on The CW.

(Image courtesy of the CW)

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