The Vampire Diaries 809 Recap "The Simple Intimacy of the Near Touch" #TVD #WhenDamonKnew

Note: This episode’s title hearkens back to the Miss Mystic Falls pageant in Season One. 

Stefan is still having way too much fun being a Ripper for Cade. Damon is still trudging along with eye-rolling resentment, and you can see Stefan’s irritation at his brother’s attitude. The irritation intensifies when Damon gets a phone call from Sibyl and admits he still can’t seem to resist her instructions. She wants the artifact he menaced Peter Maxwell to acquire some weeks ago, so they’re off to Mystic Falls. Stefan comments that he’d like to burn Sibyl, which at least gives him something valuable to contribute.

Everyone’s interested in the artifacts this week, though. Seline has reached out to Caroline, indicating her willingness to work together to assemble this “weapon of terrible power.” To recap, there are three components: Damon has the striker, Seline has the bell, and the good guys have the tuning fork.

Bonnie’s back from Paris, and she’s wearing a vial of Enzo’s blood around her neck. To the viewer, it is instantly clear what the intention was with this macabre gift: Enzo wants her to have a dose of life-saving vampire blood on her person at all times, because he loves her and can’t always be there to protect her. Bonnie, however, fails to intuit this very simple and lovely intention. She explains to him that she can’t become a vampire, because Elena’s life is tied to hers, and Kai implied that any steps she might take to subvert his scheme would have consequences. “No witchy-woo,” as she recalls, were his words.

Former Miss Mystic Falls, Caroline Forbes, is proudly overseeing this year’s pageant. She always loved this stuff, and it’s beautiful how much she still does. This might be her best day in a while…right up until Stefan walks in, soulless and spiteful. It’s pure torture to watch him take pleasure in hurting her. Just like any soulless-Angel episode, he knows her so well, he can really cut deep.

Caroline has dispatched Matt and Dorian to find the bell and meet with Seline, respectively. Dorian uses the tuning fork on Seline, and when she complains, he reminds her that he was friends with Georgie, whom Seline murdered and sent to hell. She eases up on the attitude a bit, because she can’t deny she indeed murdered this dude’s friend. She starts filling in some details about the mysterious weapon, such as the legacy aspect: Only a descendant of the artifact’s creator can use it. We’re looking at you, Matty Blue. 

While Seline regales Dorian with backstory, Matt goes bell hunting. Seline has sirened a couple of cops to guard her place and kill anyone looking for a bell. Matt badasses his way through the hapless cops, doing no permanent damage because he’s a good guy. 

Interestingly, Damon suddenly finds himself able to resist Sibyl after all. Stefan ultimately explains to her that Damon is strong in this place, because, even if his memories are corrupted, his connection to this place is powerful enough to reawaken the feelings he can barely recall. This is the place, Stefan asserts, where Damon first realized he could take Elena from his brother. 

Sibyl gets Stefan to help her torment Damon. Stefan needles Damon with the ugly side to his love story. Elena went for you because I wasn’t there…that necklace you’re clinging to? I gave her that, and it was to protect her from you. Then Sibyl steps in and coos that Damon can’t afford to flip his humanity switch to the on position at this point, because he’d have to live with all the things he’s done lately, like killing Tyler Lockwood, bargaining away Stefan’s soul to Cade, kidnapping Caroline’s daughters, pushing Enzo to turn against Bonnie, nearly killing Enzo…it really is quite a lot of badness, and she correctly notes that both he and Elena will have difficulty moving on from those actions.

Sibyl overestimates her strength and her appeal, as usual. Damon is too strong in this place on this day, and he takes her down. The triumph is short-lived, though, because Stefan stabs Damon and takes the striker.

Hey, Stefan gave the striker to Caroline! That seems like a good sign…but oh wait, he also compelled all the Miss Mystic Falls contestants, had them drink his blood, and now intends to kill them all, right before Caroline’s eyes. He underestimates her, though (as usual!), and he’s only murdered one girl before Caroline takes him down.

The new vampire awakens, and boy is she as lucky as you could possibly say a new vampire could be…she’s got Caroline Forbes as her mentor. The way Caroline presents the new life that lies before her, it’s as if she’s describing life with a chronic medical condition. Nothing to be ashamed of, and it doesn’t have to change your plans; you can live the life you dreamed, and then some! You just have to make some adjustments.

Stefan awakens from his stake-induced time out, and he’s straight back to being a total dick. He makes fun of Caroline’s steadfastness and hope for the future, tells her he’s having too much fun to ever quit this life. She quite rightly throws his engagement ring back at him. 

Damon chains up Sibyl, planning to take his revenge for all she’s put him through, now that he’s free of her control. But he makes the classic mistake of leaning close enough to be grabbed by his captive…she uses her Siren powers to flip his switch. Bon voyage, Damon; have a nice guilt trip.

Laugh-out-loud moment of the episode: Dorian asks Seline how dumb she thinks he is, and she responds, “On a scale of Matt to Alaric, you’re somewhere in the middle.” 

This episode raises a great discussion topic: What is the worst thing Damon’s ever done? Up until this season, I would have answered that killing Lexi was far and away the worst act we’ve seen or heard about. Now, it’s kind of a toss-up between that and killing Tyler Lockwood, for me. What about you? Sound off in the comments!