I don’t know how it happened, but somehow, we’ve come to the start of the final season of The Vampire Diaries, a show I have loved — probably a little too much — since the moment Stefan Salvatore’s voiceover started telling us his story. And because each episode of the final season is titled with a line of dialogue from season 1, I want to start each recap with a brief trip down memory lane as an explainer to said title.
“Hello, Brother”: The title of this episode comes from the pilot of the show. In fact, those are the first two words ever uttered by Damon Salvatore, lovable bad boy and eternal stud. After Stefan hears about another “animal attack” in Mystic Falls, he rushes home with the realization that he’s not the only vampire around. And there, on his balcony, is Damon, his older brother, who’s back in town in the hopes of reuniting with Katherine (a plan we’d learn later in the season).
And now, years later, the season kicks off with Stefan desperately wanting to save the brother he despised all those years ago. In the pilot, Damon’s arrival was the worst thing Stefan could imagine. And now, all he wants is to get his brother back from whatever it was that took him.
We pick up a few months after the end of season 7, and more importantly, Damon and Enzo are still on their killing spree. In a shot that perfectly mirrors the opening of the pilot, a young couple is driving through the fog — the fog! — before they somehow manage to swerve around Damon, who’s standing in the middle of the road. (His favorite trick.) But sadly for this couple, Enzo’s just a few yards away, and when they hit him, well, their fates are sealed.
This scene definitely wins the award for most meta lines. First, there’s the soon-to-be male victim saying, “To be honest, I’m just glad the whole vampire craze is over.” And then there’s Enzo and Damon’s entire discussion about how maybe it’s time to say goodbye to the standing-in-the-middle-of-the-road trick. After all, it hurts.
As Damon and Enzo drive their latest victims to their favorite slaughterhouse, we get a bit of explanation as to what’s happening inside their minds. As they put it, they’re unwilling employees — slaves, if you will — to this creature that’s controlling them, and it’s their job to bring the worst of humanity to the warehouse.
After asking their victims about their dirtiest deeds, they decide the male shall be fed to whatever it is in that bloody water while the woman gets to die a respectable death. (Enzo bites her.)
Just like that, the beast has been fed, and Enzo and Damon are off to get some sleep. Welcome to season 8.
Back in Mystic Falls, Caroline and Stefan are enjoying some time not sleeping while Bonnie writes in her diary to Elena. She tells her best friend they’re no closer to finding Damon and Enzo than they were months ago. And when the string on her guitar breaks, she flashes back to a time when Enzo was around to fix her broken strings, a memory that causes her to break down.
Poor Bonnie is dealing with losing the men she loved, while Caroline’s biggest concern seems to be the fact that her nanny is way too hot. It’s in her rant that we learn Ric is now running the Armory. Caroline’s worried he could be susceptible to hot nanny charms, though she should probably be more worried by the fact that a couple of interns just showed him how to isolate his sense of touch in order to walk through a wall in the vault.
I gotta admit: Seeing Ric in a dark ancient tunnel just feels right.
NEXT: Damon loves Fifty Shades of Grey