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Hell’s Bell: The Vampire Diaries Episode 8.12 “What Are You?” Recap

The series finale of The Vampire Diaries is getting closer and closer with each passing week. Yes, that means the last new episode ever of TVD, but I’m a glass-half-full type of gal and that also means each week is even more intense. Nothing’s off the table and it’s no holds barred. “What Are You?” is no different! After mentally recovering from the unexpected and frankly, gut-wrenching turn of events of the last episode, this week things are a bit more mellow and very somber at times. But in true TVD style, that doesn’t mean a few surprises aren’t included.

This week as we learn more about the history of Hell’s bell, we also learn some family history of our beloved Matty Blue Eyes, which happens to be tied to Bonnie’s ancestors as well. Stefan tries to grasp his new reality as a human and of course Caroline is right by his side. While Damon makes a deal with Cade to save Stefan’s soul and discovers the way to kill Cade along the way. And Bonnie says goodbye to the love of her life and a couple more familiar faces pop up.

The episode’s title references the same question Elena asked Stefan in season one. She finds herself at the Salvatore Mansion questioning Stefan about his existence. All the clues make sense, but Elena had no idea vampires were even real, so she finds herself in disbelief.

The same can be said for Stefan this week. He finds himself human again, something he probably thought wasn’t possible anymore. After all, it was Elena who wanted to be human again. A human life together is something she and Damon planned for their future. Obviously, human wasn’t something Stefan or Caroline planned. And you bet if it was something either Stefan or Caroline even remotely wanted you better believe Caroline would have made sure they discussed it. She would’ve planned their last day together as vampires down to the exact minute. Stefan’s first day as a human definitely does not go as he would’ve wanted. Instead, he gets some instant karma. He’s only been human for less than a day and already is pulled over by the police. He has bloody hands which land him in jail and if it couldn’t get any worse, there’s a rap sheet on him a mile long.

Luckily, he has a really good fiancé. And thank goodness Caroline didn’t take any of the awful things he said to her sans his humanity to heart. Caroline saves the day! At least when it comes to Stefan. She compels his release from jail and then helps Stefan find the little girl waiting in the police station’s mom, who he stuffed into a trunk and left for dead. Caroline heals the lady even after she stabs Stefan as he was trying to help her. If all that Caroline’s done for Stefan this week doesn’t earn her some brownie points or fiancé of the year, I don’t know what would. It’s too bad Stefan becoming human has him questioning what that means for his and Caroline’s relationship and their engagement. Obviously, he must still love her. As usual, he probably thinks he’s considering what he thinks is right for her. He’s most likely still reeling from all the carnage he left in his wake working for Cade or living as a vampire for the past hundred plus years.

Overwhelmed with grief, Bonnie avoids her friends and stays at her house in upstate New York mourning the loss of Enzo. To everyone’s surprise including Bonnie’s, she opens her front door to find Abby, her mom, has come to be by her side. Honestly, I thought we’d never see or hear from Abby again. She is supportive and helps Bonnie perform a ritual to return Enzo to the Earth. They call to Enzo asking if he’s present to show a sign and a huge gust of wind knocking Bonnie over. She wakes to find Abby throwing gas onto Enzo’s body just before setting him on fire. Abby explains how she was able to see Enzo’s death and felt his pain without any magic. It was a dark place, filled with pain and torment. And that is why she needed to protect Bonnie from her allowing her grief to mislead her down the dark path. Abby was never really good at being there for Bonnie when she needed her even she admits this, so it’s truly a welcome surprise to see her finally able to be there for her daughter at a time she needs her most.

The Maxwell necklace turns out to be a witch talisman tied to Matt’s ancestor. It gives Matt visions and makes him sleepwalk. Alaric finds him in the Armory late at night, so he and Dorian decide to help Matty tap into his visions to see why he’s having the visions. Meanwhile, Cade gives Damon a deadline to bring him the Maxwell journal or he’ll take Stefan’s soul to hell. So Damon’s off to the Armory to sweet talk Matt into giving him the journal and tags along for Alaric and Dorian’s insight into Matt’s mind, which happens to be an awesome flashback explaining so much! Always love a TVD flashback!

The flashback transports us to an older time in Mystic Falls. Ethan (Matt’s ancestor) puts the finishing touches on the bell as he and Beatrice (Bonnie’s ancestor) discuss the magic infused in the bell to drive out the ‘monsters’ killing the townspeople. They use a journal and special decoder to communicate back and forth about their plan. And just when I thought we’d seen the last of those annoying sirens, here comes Sybil. She shows Ethan where the weapon is to kill the devil (Cade), but as usual, she’s up to some evil scheme. She has the magic altered in the bell to unleash hellfire on Earth killing the whole town and freeing Cade, so she and Seline can kill him and be free. Ethan is sirened to ring the bell and unable to warn the others, so he resorts to the journal and decoder to warn Beatrice. She and the witches join hands to try to stop it and protect the town, which explains how all the witches burned to death all those years ago. Ethan and Beatrice run into the cave to lure Sybil and Seline into a trap. The sirens sing in their creepy ghost storytelling by the campfire sounding style to sire Ethan to kill Beatrice. But she traps him in the room where his remains were found along with the weapon to kill Cade. Ethan writes it in the journal how to kill Cade because he was sirened not to say.

As all this comes to light, poor Matty has a heart attack during the bell’s ringing from the intensity of everything. And I might have had one myself as well. Alaric and Dorian allow Damon in the room to heal Matt with his blood and thank goodness it works because two heartbreaking deaths in two weeks would be beyond gut-wrenching. Damon, who’s never one to miss an opportunity when he sees one, swipes the Maxwell journal to give to Cade and save his brother. Cade spares Stefan and burns the journal. Of course, Alaric is furious, but Damon comes through for everyone and did a little reading before handing the journal over to Cade. I don’t understand this though because if Cade knew Damon wanted to kill him before because he can read minds, how did he not know Damon knows where the weapon is to kill him. Anyways, Team Badass (Damon and Alaric) reunite for one last mission; to kill Cade a.k.a. the devil. And I literally screamed at the TV in excitement when Kai shows and asks to join forces with them.

Now, do Damon and Alaric consider making a deal with another devil?? I love Kai and all the badassery that comes along with him and as awful as it sounds there’s just something about him that’s so fascinating to watch. Perhaps it’s all because of his good looks or charm. But it’s all fun and games until dude kills his pregnant sister…on her damn wedding day. And to top it off, he puts Elena under the ‘sleeping beauty’ spell with her life tied to her best friend meaning they’ll never see each other again. Damn Kai that’s beyond cruel! And now, he shows up a couple years later from hell mind you and wants to play nice? I love a story of redemption just as much as the next person, but what’s the catch? There has to be a catch. Kai Parker just does not do anything out of the goodness of his heart. While I hate for the inevitable end of TVD to come, I cannot wait to see how things transpire.

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Stephanie Flasher

My name is Stephanie. I love all things TVD related. I'm an absolute Delena fan, but I appreciate ALL 'ships and do not believe in spreading hate. I also love The Originals. Both shows have gotten me through some really tough times and allowed me to make some pretty great friends. While I am truly sad to see TVD come to an end, I look forward to seeing what comes next for the beloved cast we watched grow up over the past eight years. TVD will always hold a special place in my heart. #TVDforever


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