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Damon’s tangled memories are the key to his redemption in ‘Nostalgia’s a Bitch’

They say people never really die as long as their memory stays alive within you — and “The Vampire Diaries” took a deep dive into Damon Salvatore’s (Ian Somerhalder) subconscious on Friday night (Jan. 27) to see exactly what he’s keepin’ alive.

While it’s a little confusing at first to figure out exactly what Caroline (Candice Accola), Bonnie (Kat Graham), and Stefan  (Paul Wesley) are looking for in Damon’s head — drowning in the emotional waves after Sybil turned his humanity back on — it gave the series one last chance to bring back a lot of old favorites one last time.

RELATED: Nina Dobrev to return to ‘The Vampire Diaries’ & we know the series finale episode title

We see Henry (Evan Gamble), the soldier Damon saved in the Civil War, Matt’s sister the unlucky Vicky Donovan (Kayla Ewell), Caroline’s mother Sheriff Forbes (Marguerite MacIntyre), Bonnie’s grandmother (Jasmine Guy) …and Tyler (Michael Trevino). While it was great to see everyone, just like the episode title says, “Nostalgia’s a Bitch.” None of these people can actually free Damon from his misery, as it turns out. The only way Damon sees a way to possibly atone for his sins is if he never became a vampire in the first place. And whose fault is that?

damon and stefan gif Damons tangled memories are the key to his redemption in Nostalgias a Bitch

The key to bringing Damon out of this mental hell hole is not asking forgiveness from others — although it’s terribly satisfying to hear Damon give his sorries to everybody, especially Matt (Zach Roerig) — but ultimately Damon’s freedom lies in the ability for him to forgive Stefan. After nearly eight seasons, the show is finally touching on the fact that Damon just might harbor a grudge towards Stefan for turning him. (As the Sirens have been explaining since they first revealed themselves, of course.) But this isn’t this just a little bit anger, it’s nearly two hundred years of nursed resentment.

These guys are brothers, and blood is thicker than water, so ultimately Damon knows that matter what heinous thing Stefan does, he will be able to find a way to forgive him: Much to his chagrin, he will never stop loving his brother. It’s impossible.

RELATED: ‘The Vampire Diaries’ finally addresses that series old question: Which Salvatore brother is more evil?

Finding a place in your heart to forgive a person you love that did you wrong was the theme of tonight’s episode: Bonnie forgives Damon for running away when she needed him most. Remembering each word by heart, he tells her the letter he wrote her all those years ago, that she was too enraged to ever read. Letting this anger go, and clearing the air with her best friend, brings immense relief to Bonnie’s tearful eyes and vibe — we really get a sense of how hard this latest twist has been for her.

bonnie and damon gif Damons tangled memories are the key to his redemption in Nostalgias a Bitch

With everyone making amends, and peace with Damon’s transgressions, the focus on these final few episodes will have to be on bringing Stefan’s humanity back. Cade (Wole Parks) is back in town, and — after setting the siren sisters on fire! — he delivers a complicated “Sophie’s Choice” ultimatum in exchange for Stefan’s freedom: Either someone kills the love of his life, Caroline… Or Cade burns the town of Mystic Falls to the ground! Yikes! Guess someone’s feeling a little… epic.

“The Vampire Diaries” airs on Friday nights at 8 p.m. ET/PT on The CW.

Category: TelevisionTV Shows: The Vampire DiariesCelebrities: Candice Accola Ian Somerhalder Kat Graham Paul WesleyTV Network: The CW

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