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The Vampire Diaries: Why Stefan Killed Enzo In Season 8

In season 8 of The Vampire Diaries, why does Stefan rip Enzo’s heart out in front of Bonnie, right before the couple is on the brink of happiness?

Since season 5 of The Vampire Diaries, Stefan (Paul Wesley) and Enzo (Michael Malarkey) have had an increasingly strained relationship, especially when the latter is misled to believe that Stefan had killed Maggie, his lover, during the 1960s. Although Enzo has died more than once throughout the series, with Stefan playing a direct role during his second and third death, it is in Season 8 Episode 11, “You Made a Choice to Be Good” that Stefan kills Enzo for good, right when he is on the brink of happiness with Bonnie Bennet (Kat Graham). However, why did Stefan kill Enzo ruthlessly in the first place?

This series of events can be traced back to Arcadius, better known as Cade (Wolé Parks), the world’s first psychic, who in death came to be known as the Devil and the creator of Hell. When Seline kidnaps the siphoner twins, Lizzie and Josie, and plans to sacrifice them to Cade, Stefan offers himself and his brother Damon as servants in their lieu, to which Cade agrees. This deal with the devil has far-reaching repercussions, as Cade asks Stefan to turn his humanity off and transform completely into his murderous alter-ego, the Ripper, whose bloodlust knows no bound. Left with no choice, Stefan agrees on the condition that he and Damon will be released from Cade’s eternal servitude. Now under Cade’s influence, Stefan is given a final task by him: the choice to either kill Elena or a 100 people with morally-ambiguous pasts.

Although Cade offers a similar deal to Damon, wherein the choice is between 100 people and Caroline, Damon refuses while convincing Bonnie to use the cure on Cade so as to kill him once and for all. In the meantime, Stefan changes the lease of the house that Bonnie and Enzo are at, where a comatose Elena is also hidden, causing Enzo to be no longer invited in. Right after Bonnie gets the cure from Elena, Stefan rips out Enzo’s heart right in front of her, leading to his death once and for all. While it is clear that Stefan kills Enzo due to the fact that his humanity is turned off, it is important to note that at this juncture, the prospect of killing Elena is paramount to Stefan, as he deems her partly-responsible for his fraught relationship with Damon. In his focused zeal to get to Elena, Stefan finds Enzo and Bonnie in his way, which spurs him to kill Enzo without hesitation. Right when he swears to kill Bonnie, she stabs him with the vampire cure meant for Enzo, which turns Stefan human again.

Although one might argue that Enzo’s death is purely circumstantial and that Stefan’s actions stem from the urge to protect the twins, the end result is cruel and heartwrenching, especially for Bonnie, who has always put the happiness of others above hers throughout the series. Although their relationship was rocky from the start, Enzo and Bonnie grew closer after he saved her from the Armory in Season 7, and the two fell in love, wanting nothing more than to share a life together. As Elena’s blood contains the cure to vampirism, Bonnie intended to make Enzo human again, which would allow them to have a family and grow old together. However, Stefan’s actions dash these dreams for good, leaving Bonnie utterly anguished and heartbroken, spurring her to let out an unearthly scream, which creates a psychic blast of sorts, along with an alternate dimension.

The Vampire Diaries season finale saw Stefan sacrifice himself and die as a human, which, in a twisted way, completes his redemption arc and grants him peace in the afterlife. Although Damon and Elena finally get their “happily ever after,” this narrative decision comes at a major cost, leaving the fates of other major characters, such as Caroline’s, up in the air, as she loses Stefan less than twenty-four hours after marrying him. Moreover, Bonnie is the only character whose fate is left uncertain, which is cruel in a certain sense, as she has perennially been treated as a character meant to save others at the cost of her own happiness. Although the finale shows Enzo watching over her from afar, their shared dreams of an idyllic future remain forever lost, with the ache of lost love haunting both the dead and the living for the times to come.

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