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The Salvatore brothers took on their toughest opponent, yet, in The Vampire Diaries season 8, episode 14.

Things are really heating up as we get closer to the end of The Vampire Diaries. Literally…because of hell…and the fire. Get it? Read on for our review of season 8, episode 14, “It’s Been a Hell of a Ride.”

‘The Vampire Diaries’ 8×14 recap

What would Damon Salvatore do if he had to choose between killing the love of his life, Elena Gilbert, or his brother, Stefan Salvatore? If he’d been given that test in seasons 1-7, his answer may have been completely different, but in The Vampire Diaries season 8, the post-Sybil-mind-hell Damon Salvatore chose to sacrifice himself rather than choose between the two people he loves most.

Did any fans actually think that this was the last time we’d see Damon Salvatore alive? Probably not. However, the choice still matters, and the brief goodbye between the brothers was still heart shattering.

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If Damon had been made to choose between these two in the first few seasons of The Vampire Diaries, his choice would’ve probably been Elena, which would perhaps be the more selfish choice. In the later seasons, as he and Stefan grew closer, he may have had a more difficult time with the decision, but the outcome likely would have been the same.

Now that Damon has fully forgiven his brother for his mistake in 1864, this just wasn’t a choice that he was prepared to make. He sacrificed everything so his loved ones could live full, human lives, and it was pretty beautiful. He also got to re-sacrifice himself for his best friend, Bonnie! It was absolutely perfect.

the vampire diaries 8x14, stefan and damon salvatore

As far as I’m concerned, Damon has achieved his redemption as of The Vampire Diaries season 8, episode 14, “It’s Been a Hell of a Ride.” For me, he’s pretty much been there since he earned everyone’s forgiveness in “Nostalgia’s a Bitch,” but his willingness to give up his life in this episode sealed the deal. It proved that he actually is the changed man he’s been flaunting.

As far as redemption goes, I believe that Stefan actually went a long way in earning his in The Vampire Diaries season 8, episode 14, as well. Stefan obviously has many sins to atone for. They all do. They’re vampires, which loosely translates to “murder machine.” Look it up. In many of their cases, it would take many life times worth of good deeds for them to actually make up for what they’ve done. Therefore, their redemption must be earned in other ways.

For “resting guilt face” Stefan, in particular, his redemption begins and ends with himself. He needs to believe that he deserves forgiveness and happiness. Yes, he did take a step forward in earning Bonnie’s forgiveness in The Vampire Diaries season 8, episode 14, but that wasn’t his big, redemptive move. That came when he re-asked Caroline to marry him. That admission of worthiness, on his part, was a huge step forward.

Also, that scene was just freaking adorable. Proposal number two blew proposal number one out of the water completely. No contest. Stefan’s learned a thing or two in his few days as a human, it seems. The proposal was even more beautiful knowing that it means something completely different than it did before, now that Stefan is human. I was getting seriously worried about the June wedding and I’m so glad these two are back on track.

the vampire diaries 8x14, cade

Since her wedding planning was on hold at the time, Caroline had ample time to focus on a much larger problem. Josie and Lizzie are finally beginning to develop their magic, and it’s getting them into quite a bit of trouble. They were even kicked out of school because one of them set something on fire.

Kai took a forced break from his karaoke set list to offer some siphonly advice! Awww he’s so nurturing! Until, of course, he snapped Caroline’s neck and began to hunt the girls down with a large axe…I loved how this scene gave us some insight into why Kai is the way that he is, without altering his “pure evil” nature. He’s still completely sadistic, but at least we have a slightly better understanding of why he’s that way, now.

Kai hunting the girls hearkened back to The Vampire Diaries season 6, and the terrifying scene in which he hunted down his entire family. It wasn’t as scary as back then, since we just love him so much now, but make no mistake, he was not messing around when he swung that axe at the bed. This guy has a serious vendetta against Gemini witches!

Taking down Kai (with the help of Caroline) was probably Alaric’s most badass move ever, and boy, did he deserve it. In that moment I just remembered how absolutely lost he was when Jo was killed, and how unable he was to do anything about it. In The Vampire Diaries season 8, episode 14, he finally got to exact his sweet, sweet revenge.

the vampire diaries 8x14, stefan salvatore

On an even sweeter note, Alaric now plans to open a school for young witches. Apparently he’s never heard of Ilvermorny, so he’s going to create a place for his daughters to learn their craft, so they can better understand and control it. As long as he can get some teachers who are actually witches, I think this is a perfect fit for him. Maybe that’s why he’ll be heading to New Orleans after The Vampire Diaries ends. To acquire some witch talent.

That’s all contingent, of course, on the world surviving through the next two episodes, because somehow, Katherine Pierce now has literal hell at her fingertips. Does this make any sense? Well, no. Katherine’s been dead only a few years, has no magical/psychic abilities (not counting her traveler blood), and can’t possibly be the most evil being in all of hell.

However, consider my disbelief firmly suspended, because the idea of Katherine coming back to mess everything up for the boys, one last time, is just too tempting to pass up. I can’t wait to see the repercussions of her new position in The Vampire Diaries series finale, and everything that the last two episodes have to offer!

‘The Vampire Diaries’ 8×14 – Extra stuff

  • Kai singing karaoke is up there with the best The Vampire Diaries moments in history and you all know it. Followed closely by Stefan’s recitation of his Yelp reviews.
  • The Vampire Diaries season 8 is really illustrating where the phrase, “making a deal with the devil,” came from. All this guy does is make deals!
  • Bonnie got distracted at the end of the episode, but she had the Ascendant in her hand! Ascendant = prison world = other cure = more humans. #Math
  • Did they really just simultaneously discover that the Armory was a problem for their children and decide to stay there to school them?
  • The Steroline June wedding is next week!!! That’s all.

‘The Vampire Diaries’ 8×14 recap: What’d you think of the episode?

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