Candice Accola (Image: The CW)

Because The A.V. Club knows that TV shows keep going even if we’re not writing at length about them, we’re experimenting with discussion posts. For certain shows, one of our TV writers will publish some brief thoughts about the latest episode, and open the comments for readers to share theirs.

  • Stefan was very committed to his Christmas decorations. It looks like a Yankee candle threw up in the Salvatore house.
  • “I killed you.” “What?!” “He deserved it.” Apparently, Damon didn’t die because of the eternal agreement with Cade. Well, that was overly simple and unworthy of the cliffhanger that preceded it.
  • Damon and Sybil crash Caroline and Stefan’s big Christmas bash, which is a convenient way to not have the cast in the same room for most of the episode, because it means Bonnie and Enzo have to stay away and go retrieve the magic anti-Siren tuning fork.
  • Stefan being a Ripper was once a fascinating aspect of his character, but it’s at the point where it almost feels tired. The show seems stuck on how to draw on its characters’ backstories without just repeating the same beats over and over again. (Damon’s arc feels just as repetitive these past few seasons.)
  • Elena was a doppelganger. Stefan didn’t ruin her life or make her dark; bad things were coming for her no matter what. Cade needs to stop it with that nonsense.
  • Stefan makes a deal: He’ll turn off his humanity, get Cade what he wants, and then Cade has to let him and Damon go instead of keeping them in servitude forever. I mean, sure. Seems reasonable.
  • Most of this episode involves Damon deciding who at the Christmas dinner he’s going to murder, and it’s honestly a bit boring. Remember “The Dinner Party?” Now that was dinner to remember.
  • It’s hard to figure out exactly where Matt’s story with his father is going. Is it simply going to be a runner for Matt throughout the season, or does his dad have a more significant purpose to serve? After being a tossed-off afterthought for so long, Matt still doesn’t quite fit anywhere here.
  • The most effective thing in the episode was Caroline giving Damon Elena’s necklace as a Christmas gift, and him then giving it to Sybil right before ripping out her heart. That felt like a Damon I want to watch, even though his motivations in that moment were a bit murky.
  • The episode ends with Stefan and Damon leaving Mystic Falls together, ready to do Cade’s bidding, and with Stefan flipping his humanity switch. Is the humanity switch the worst repeated plot device in show history? Discuss.

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