It’s never really a merry Christmas on The Vampire Diaries is it? These holiday episodes are notorious for being disastrous and last night’s fall finale “The Next Time I Hurt Somebody, It Could Be You” had all the dinner party nightmares, brotherly backstabbings and heart-wrenching (literally) moments that made this fall finale pretty memorable.
The episode started by bringing us to the past–1917 Monterey to be exact–at the scene of a work camp on Christmas Eve. Two children are wondering when Santa will be arriving when they hear a noise coming from outside their tent. Only it’s not Santa, but another familiar magically-bearded man.
It’s Stefan, more specifically Stefan when he was the Ripper of Monterey and then he proceeds to slaughter the entire camp.
Flash forward to present day, a more sane Stefan is trying to make his last day with Caroline before becoming a servant to Cade special by planning a big Christmas Eve dinner. Only problem is that Damon and Sybil crash the party, and wherever they go, trouble isn’t too far behind.
Damon definitely ruins the day for Caroline when he kills Stefan with a Christmas decoration, well not really kill him, but temporarily brings him behind the veil so he can have a talk with Cade, who shows Stefan why he is the perfect choice to be his servant. It becomes very ghost-of-Christmas-past-like when Cade brings him to see all of the horrible things he has done during his time as the ripper.
When he brings Stefan to see the slaughtered bodies at the work camp, Stefan refuses to believe it. He says that he would have never done something like this on Christmas Eve, but it turns out that he did and he wasn’t alone. After the slaughter, he was carving the names of all the victims on the wall of an abandoned shack when, surprise of the night, Seline shows up.
Yes, Seline and Stefan’s paths crossed long ago. She was so moved when she saw the remorse in Stefan’s mind that she refused to send his soul to Cade in hell and wiped Stefan’s mind clear of the incident, which is why Stefan doesn’t remember the slaughter.
This isn’t the breaking point for Stefan though. He breaks when Cade brings him to Mystic Falls High School the day he first crossed paths with Elena explaining that Stefan bought darkness and evil into an innocent girl’s life and that act itself makes Stefan an evil person even if he had good intentions.
Stefan then makes his own terms to agreement with Cade: that he will become the ripper again and do what no other vampire can do, but after Cade has to set him and Damon free. Cade agrees and gives Stefan a year to become the ripper and basically bring as many souls as he can to him.
Cade is very doubtful though that Stefan will be able to let go of the ripper once he starts, while Stefan has hope.
Meanwhile, Caroline has to handle Sybil who was hacking away at the turkey, throwing slabs of meat into a bowl with her bare hands and snarkily trying to make small talk. Alaric and their kids also arrive bringing the tensions up a knot higher considering Alaric and Damon aren’t on good terms since in the last episode Alaric staked him.
To ease the mood Caroline starts giving out gifts to everyone, even Sybil. When she gets to Damon she gives him a small wrapped gift and says that one day she is hoping that he will come to her and apologize to her. That gift plays a huge role in the end of the episode.
After, Matt arrives with his father when the meal is about to start, this is when everything goes down the drain for Caroline and her perfect evening. Damon announces that they are going to play a game: whoever has done the worst deeds is going to die. He ends up grilling Matt’s dad, and it is revealed that his dad left Matt because he simply didn’t want to be a father again. Damon proclaims that this must be the worst things any of them have ever done and tries to kill Matt’s dad. All the madness is stopped though when Bonnie and Enzo arrive with the tuning fork.
Backing up a bit, Bonnie and Enzo had their own little side-story in this episode. When they wake up on the day of Christmas Eve dinner, Enzo adorably surprises her with a trip to Paris whenever she wants to go. Poor Enzo only got some new tee-shirts this Christmas, but it’s really nice to see that not all love is doomed for everyone.
During Caroline and Sybil’s talk, Sybil reveals that she has been staying with a wealthy family in the town next to Mystic Falls. Caroline calls Bonnie with the information and Bonnie and Enzo leave to check out this house. When they arrive it’s quite eerie. There’s a woman singing Christmas carols to her family and Seline sitting listening to the music and writing in a notebook. Seline invites them in, leading to one of the best scenes in the episode. It turns out Seline isn’t all that bad. She feels a lot of remorse of remorse for what she put Alaric’s kids through, and she tells Bonnie and Enzo the story of how she spared Stefan all those years ago and picked up his habit of writing all of his victims’ names down. So basically, Seline and Stefan are the same character, same can said for Sybil and Damon. Seline requests Bonnie and Enzo to relay a message to Alaric that she has to see the girls one more time so she can wipe their memories clean and completely disconnect them from Cade’s influence.
When Enzo rings the tuning fork at the Salvatore house, Bonnie has a bad reaction to it, a really bad headache similar to the one experienced by the sirens. Meanwhile, Damon gets Sybil out of the house and away from the sound. With Christmas Eve almost over, Stefan and Damon both makes big decisions before starting their work for Cade:
Stefan says goodbye to Caroline.
Damon gives Sybil the gift that Caroline gave to him, which turned out to be Elena’s necklace. This floods Damon’s memory with all things Elena causing him to rip out Sybil’s heart leaving her body sitting next to the organ on a town bench.
The episode ends with the two brothers driving away and Stefan going full dark.
The Vampire Diaries returns January 13 on The CW at 9:00 p.m.
Episode Rating: 9.5/10