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The Vampire Diaries - S8E14 - It’s Been a Hell of a Ride

Previously on The Vampire Diaries, “The Lies Will Catch Up To You”

The Vampire Diaries is on a bit of a hot streak. Enzo’s death and Bonnie’s resultant new power, and the return of Kai have given this final season the boost it sorely needed to move through its final chapters with exciting momentum. While there were a few scenes this week that threatened to drag the improved pacing down, overall it was another installment that makes it impossible not to get hyped for the next one. A lot of that hype is thanks to one big twist. You guys, Katherine Pierce is coming back! OK, before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s talk about this week.

The Good

Once again, Kai was the highlight. It’s clear Chris Wood has a blast playing this character and the writers seem to thrive on crafting his dialogue. No matter what he’s doing, it’s enjoyable. Drunken karaoke? Yes, please. Menacingly walking through the halls of the armory, looking for children to kill? Awesome! Even when he’s hit a low point, chained up and forced to listen to Spin Doctors, he presence is irresistible. I have a feeling this isn’t the last we’ve seen of him, but if it is, he is one of a few characters TVD never, ever wasted.

Images: The CW

Images: The CW

Stefan killing Cade would have gone under The Bad section, except the ultimate consequence of his action changes everything. At first, it looked like Stefan (please pronounce his name the way Kai does) was getting a big win by defeating the Devil, and that was simply not okay. Stefan (seriously, there’s something satisfying to saying it like Kai) didn’t deserve this epic, days of Hero Hair past moment, particularly since he was acting like such a stubborn, silly ass about it. He clearly doesn’t quite grasp the limitations of being human yet. Now that we know this was all just a ruse to get Katherine in charge, Stefan killing Cade doesn’t seem like a win at all. Except, of course, for the audience. It’s fantastic news for us!

The bet between Cade and Kai, and the resulting Katherine twist, was perfectly executed. Not only was it a genuine surprise, it also retroactively “fixed” what originally felt like missteps throughout the episode. It seemed like an unbelievable oversight for Cade to be so careless with the one weapon that could destroy him, but it’s obvious now he left the sword lying around on purpose. And though it does feel like a bit of stretch for Cade to give up his throne just so Katherine could unleash terror on the Mystic Falls gang, I’m here for it; cause Katherine. Damon’s logic about how he came back to life was downright ridiculous in the moment – c’mon, psychic blasts can’t do everything – but it’s clear this was all part of the bet, too. This level of storytelling has been absent so long, I forgot this show was even capable of it. Well played, TVD, well played.

The Bad

Caroline and Stefan are getting married, again. These two give me serious whiplash. How will this marriage even work in 15 years? How about 30 years? The biggest problems aren’t superficial, either. Stefan might age super well, but his energy levels will decrease as Caroline’s stay the same. How will they maintain the same interests when they’re at such different life stages? Love conquers all, I guess, but for how long? Thankfully, this show will be long gone before these characters get close to diving into that subject matter.

Ric wants to open a school for supernatural kids – okay, whatever you say, Professor X. How many children like Josie and Lizzie even exist? What research has he done? Maybe he should try home-schooling the twins first. And speaking of the twins, I had speculated their spike in magic was going to “stir some shit up” before the series ended, but I was wrong, very wrong. In fact, since nothing came of this except learning why their magic spiked at all, focusing on them this late in the game feels like a giant waste of time. Especially considering it seems this was only in service of pushing Ric towards his harebrained school idea. Didn’t Kai just explain the armory is the worst place to bring siphons?

The Exciting

The Woman, the myth, the legend; Katherine Pierce is on her way back to Mystic Falls for one final showdown! I suppose we should have seen this coming, but with TVD’s incessant mentions of Elena, it was all too easy to forget the possibility of a Katherine comeback. Even when Nina Dobrev confirmed her return for the series finale, it seemed only logical it would be to reprise her role as Elena. Well, thank goodness TVD can still manage to keep a few really good twists in its back pocket. Can you imagine what a massive letdown it would have been if Cade and the Sirens were really the final Big Bads of this show? I was ready to let it be Kai, but Katherine is the infinitely better choice – there is so much history there, so much tension, so much unfinished business. And there’s no one who can torture a Salvatore brother like Katherine can. Looking back, it’s hard not to wonder how much of the Hell plot line was created just to get to this point. Because, of course Katherine would be in Hell, and I bet her deliciously evil self was next in line for the throne even without Kai and Cade’s bet in play.

Fellow ProFan Shanna has a theory and it’s pretty exciting. Since Bonnie now has the exact power Cade had, what if she could create an alternate realm for her friends’ souls to go when they die? Which would save them from a lifetime in Hell with Katherine. She’s already created a world for Enzo, so it seems logical she could do it again. While this does imply Bonnie would be everyone’s savior, again, it would also solidify her as the most powerful person ever in the Mystic Falls gang. Since she’s doing quite the opposite of Cade, it would kind of make her a God. And unless there’s some unforeseen magical side effect, it wouldn’t require her to sacrifice herself in the process. Like I said last week, it still won’t be enough to wipe the sidelining slate clean, but a scenario where Bonnie is factually, as well as in our hearts, the absolute best is a win nonetheless.

The Vampire Diaries S8E14 Stefan & Damon

Final Thoughts

  • This week’s title is another winner. When telling Elena how he’s always hated Stefan for turning him, Damon reconsiders for a moment: “I suppose I should thank him; it’s been a hell of a ride.” When Damon repeats the second half of that line to Stefan in this episode, it’s far more sincere. And even though there was no chance Damon was actually about to die, he genuinely thought he was, so the sentiment still counts for something.
  • It’s hard to watch Kai and Bonnie be at odds with each other. I fully understand why Bonnie could never do anything less than lock him in a prison world, but it’s a bummer when your faves don’t get along.
The Vampire Diaries S8E14
  • 8/10
    Plot - 8/10
  • 8/10
    Dialogue - 8/10
  • 7/10
    Performances - 7/10

"It's Been a Hell of a Ride"

Starring: Kat Graham, Ian Somerhalder, Paul Wesley, Candice King, Matthew Davis, Michael Malarkey, Zach Roerig

User Review
5 (1 vote)
About Jasmin George (185 Articles)
An avid reader of TV Guide in her youth, Jasmin has been a fan of all things television since she can remember. She’s very passionate about story, especially the kinds that use cameras and actors to convey them. When she doesn’t have her eyes glued to the tube, you can find her listening to podcasts or reading reviews about, well, TV. Yeah, Jasmin might have a slight addiction but she’s perfectly happy to coexist with it.
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