The Vampire Diaries Season 8

The Vampire Diaries Season 8: Good Guys Go Bad — What Happens Next?

TVLine hits rewind on the TV season’s biggest “What Happens Next” finales, then invites you to predict the cliffhanger outcomes.

It’s been almost exactly one month since The Vampire Diaries wrapped its seventh season, and we’re still finding stray goosebumps. That final shot of Damon and Enzo stringing up the bodies of their (countless) victims will likely continue to haunt us until the series returns for Season 8 — or at least until we see the cast at Comic-Con next month.

All we really know about Season 8 so far — both from our interview with executive producer Julie Plec, as well as Stefan’s expository diary entry — is that the gang will likely be heading west in order to rescue Damon and Enzo from the grip of that yet-unnamed baddie with the gnarly fingies. Beyond that, all we can do is speculate. So let’s get to it!

Because this isn’t the first time our heroes have gone all Dark Side on us — need I remind you of Ripper Stefan in Season 2, de-humanized Caroline in Season 6, or Bonnie the Huntress from, like, a month ago? — we know there is a tried-and-true method for bringing them back to the light: the weight of a powerful emotional anchor! (Side note: I know this isn’t what ultimately saved Bonnie, but it is one of the first things they tried.)

So, who might save Damon this time? Here are our options:

* Stefan seems like the obvious choice, given how much of the series — and especially Season 7 — has been devoted to the tumultuous relationship between the brothers. And if they’re ever going to officially patch things up, the (potential) final season seems like a swell opportunity.

* Bonnie is also a viable option, now that she’s been publicly acknowledged as Damon’s strongest (platonic) female connection. Unfortunately, Plec acknowledges that Bonnie — especially without the use of her magic — will be “paralyzed” by the dire situation facing the gang in Season 8. And even if Bonnie is able to figure something out, I’m guessing she’d be more focused on saving Enzo. (Sorry, D!)

* This brings us to Secret Option No. 3, that elusive dark horse known as Elena Gilbert. Given that it was her voice which lured Damon into the darkness to begin with, it seems only natural that her presence would be able to snap him out of it; and we’ve seen these vampires plant enough visions in each other’s heads to know that a visit from Elena is just a hand-hold away. The obstacle for this option, of course, is getting Nina Dobrev on board. After speaking with Plec, we know that Dobrev recorded new audio for the season finale, but we also know that a full-blown return isn’t to be expected until the series finale, unless the powers that be “collectively decide it would be fun to bring her back earlier.”

So strap on those thinking caps, cast your vote below, then drop a comment with your best Season 8 theories: Who will save Damon?