The Vampire Diaries 802 Recap "Today Will Be Different" #TVD

To start with, this episode is a bit of a bummer. I love Damon, and he’s increasingly succumbing to the Siren’s mind control. I am really invested in Bonnie & Enzo (I refuse to use shipper names, sorry/not sorry), and I hate seeing them apart. I want this Siren’s ass kicked more than I remember wanting any Big Bad taken down, because she’s interfering with my favorite characters. So let’s talk about what happened in this downer of a week in our final season of The Vampire Diaries.

Damon and Enzo are still bringing lousy people to the Siren, whose name is revealed to be Sibyl. I guess evil tastes better or is more nutritious or something, so that answers the question of whether they were choosing evil folk for the sake of their own consciences. Regardless, Damon is switched off just enough to live with it, while Enzo is fighting with all his willpower, resisting Sibyl’s mental invasions, presumably never sleeping so his subconscious can’t reveal his secrets. One secret in particular, of course: Bonnie. To protect her, he must restrain his thoughts and emotions, essentially avoid thinking of her, even though the hope of being with her again is the only thing giving him the strength to fight. It’s a tightrope walk on the edge of utter hopelessness; Michael Malarkey does a terrific job selling the constant vigilance, deep distress, and the struggle to hold onto himself.

Still, Sibyl is a jealous bitch, and she can’t stand not having all of him. She makes yet another assault on his mind. Fighting to keep her out, Enzo feels her searching specifically for a meaningful name–someone he wouldn’t want to see harmed. He’s terrified she’ll find Bonnie, so he gives up an alternate: Sarah Nelson.

Remember Sarah Nelson? Enzo was mad at Stefan, and he’d discovered that there was a random college girl Stefan had a mysterious connection to…turned out Sarah was the last living (human) Salvatore. Good old Uncle Zach had fathered a baby, presumed dead by most, after Damon (in one of his dark periods) murdered her pregnant mother. The baby was saved and spirited away, financially provided for by Stefan. Stefan kept the secret from Damon largely because the shame over what he’d done was actually good for Damon, so absolving him of his greatest shame would be dangerous. When Enzo found out about Sarah, he forced Matt Donovan to puppy-dog her, and he introduced her to the world of Mystic Falls and vampires, all the stuff her vampire ancestor had worked so hard to shield her from. Ultimately, she left town and went to college in North Carolina to start a new life, drinking vervain tea and carrying a vervain epipen, because the hell with vampires.

Back in Mystic Falls, Stefan, Caroline, and Bonnie are still watching crime patterns to find Damon and Enzo. When two women named Sarah Nelson turn up dead in North Carolina, Stefan realizes this is about his last living relative. He thinks Enzo might be trying to get their attention, to draw them in the right direction. No matter what, he’s got to go protect Sarah. A plan is agreed upon by all three…too bad Bonnie isn’t so much committed to the plan as to getting Enzo out of there, no matter what.

Enzo and Damon approach Sarah. Sarah recognizes Enzo instantly, of course, and again we get just beautiful work from Michael Malarkey as he can’t let Damon realize he and Sarah know each other, so he has only his eyes with which to beg her to treat him as a stranger. For all Damon knows, this is yet another random Sarah Nelson, and Enzo needs it to stay that way while he figures out how to save her. 

Sarah pulls out the vervain epipen and doses Damon. Go, Sarah! She’s all WTF to Enzo, who is apologetic but unyielding about the fact that her life is irreversibly in danger; she has to get out now. They go to pack up her belongings, and Bonnie, Stefan, and Caroline are waiting in her dorm room. (I guess this is one of those vampire invitation loopholes, where the residence is too fundamentally temporary to be secure.)

Enzo does his best to stay stoic, the perfect heroic knight. He can’t react to Bonnie, can barely even look in her direction. Responding emotionally, creating a bright new memory he’d then have to hide, is too dangerous. He’s just barely keeping the existing emotions and memories out of Sibyl’s reach. Bonnie has been wallowing in misery too long, though. Lonely, heartsick, helpless, unable even to do magic, missing her lover and her best friend, being the odd man out with the happy couple always on display, she’s way past the edge of rational decision-making. She can’t hold on to the evidence of Enzo’s love for her, now that she’s faced with the real Enzo, who won’t make eye contact. She vervains him and drives off, abandoning Stefan, Caroline, and Sarah.

Enzo awakens and immediately starts begging her not to do this. They have to go back, there’s no choice. He starts bleeding from the ears and nose, and she finally stops the car. He explains he literally can’t escape Sibyl. Sibyl must be defeated in order to free him. Anywhere he might try to go, she can find him and punish him. He tries to convince Bonnie how hard he’s working to keep her safe from Sibyl, but she’s still too emotional to listen, so he makes a painful mistake: He kisses her. It helps her to believe in him again, but it creates a bright, powerful new memory that he can’t hide as easily. 

Back at the dorm, Damon is a dick. He yanks off Caroline’s ring and tosses it on the opposite side of a sunlit window, trapping her in a corner. Then he goes for Sarah, preparing to kill her right before Stefan’s eyes. 

Stefan pleads with him, reveals Sarah’s identity, finally tells Damon that his greatest sin is undone (I never really got this, btw, how killing OMG-so-many-people is easy enough to put behind you, but killing one who was pregnant is the one thing that makes you feel like it’s time to change your life. And even if Sarah’s alive, it doesn’t change the action that very reasonably was assumed to have killed her, and it doesn’t bring her mother back to life. Why is the unborn baby placed so far above the woman in this moral equation? This whole “worst act of Damon’s” concept has never worked for me). Damon seems to be listening to Stefan…but here comes Sibyl, who plunges a knife into Sarah’s stomach.

Sibyl uses her mind control powers to force Stefan to sit by Sarah and watch her die, helpless to act. She chides Damon for almost letting Sarah get away, and she has had just about enough of her toy’s ability to resist her. Taking advantage of his emotionally charged state, she is able to invade the corner of his mind he’s been hiding in to stay sane: He’s been running the memory of meeting Elena on a loop, reliving that life-changing moment to hang onto who he is. 

Now that she’s found it, though, she can play with it. We see the memory loop start over, but it’s her face instead of Elena’s. Stefan describes this as the moment when Damon is lost to them.

Caroline confronts Bonnie over going rogue on them, but Caroline has come a long way since she got vamped. Remember how selfish human Caroline was? Vamp Caroline has been deep, understanding, and a total badass. As Katherine accurately noted, she did Caroline a huge favor by killing her. Anyway, we’re reminded again how awesome Caroline is when she easily empathizes with Bonnie’s pain and forgives her for acting out. How many other people would pass up the petty recriminations portion of the program? Caroline knows Bonnie will be in self-inflicted pain; her friends have the chance to ease that if they resist the temptation to pile on. We could all learn a lot about friendship from Caroline Forbes.

Meanwhile, back at the Armory, Georgie is still begging Alaric to sexually harass her. I don’t think there’s a nicer way to see it; she’s a brash young intern, constantly hitting on her boss. She needles him about the “hot nanny” like a jealous girlfriend. She also happens to be uniquely useful to the active investigation, though.

The crate that was put in the vault, presumably therefore the crate from which the Siren escaped, was brought to the Armory in 1790 from Mystic Falls. (Does that place have a hellmouth under it or what?) There is a symbol associated with the crate or its cargo, and that symbol is also, strangely, tattooed on Georgie’s stomach.

Georgie tells Alaric her terrible backstory. She was driving drunk AND texting, and she crashed her car, killing her best friend. As the paramedics worked on her, she was dead for about a minute, during which she saw hell. She was revived, but she sees her life as just a brief respite before inevitably returning to hell for what she’s done. The symbol is the only clear visual memory she had after she awakened. She tattooed it on herself, presumably, as a permanent reminder that she is damned.

Enzo reluctantly returns to Sibyl and Damon. He no doubt believes he has prepared adequately for Sibyl’s inevitable mind invasion, but he’s not expecting a tandem attack. Damon grabs Enzo’s heart, shocking him with the pain, fear, and betrayal. Just as Enzo’s emotions are raw and unshielded, Sibyl goes in. Yep, she’s able to easily key into the fresh new memory of his kissing Bonnie that very day. 

Also, Stefan is renovating a room in the mansion for Caroline and Ric’s kids to stay over if they want to. It’s really sweet and stuff, but I can’t look at the Stefan and Caroline relationship without thinking of the deathbed letter from Liz Forbes; Stefan burned it because switched-off Caroline told him to, and I’ve never really gotten past that. I feel like he could have gotten the letter back out the slot Elena had slipped it through, and then their relationship wouldn’t have that shadow over it. Anyway, Stefan proposes to Caroline, and I guess we’re supposed to think this is awesome. I just think, Man, you burned up her mom’s last words rather than trying to find a way not to; this relationship will never really work for me.

What about you? Do you love the engagement? What things like that do you have trouble getting past? Start the discussion below! 

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