TV REVIEW: The Vampire Diaries Season 4, Episodes 17 and 18 – “Because the Night” and “American Gothic”

TVD_promoDouble review this week to catch up before the show goes on yet another hiatus. Damon takes Elena on a road trip to curb her crazy vampire urges, while Stefan works with an unlikely ally to try to track down Silas…

 

Episode 17: Because the Night

Damon takes Elena to New York to blow off some steam, but he’s got another motive. The vampire that Katherine sent after Hayley was a friend of his from the 70s, and had sold multiple identities to Katherine in the past. Going through his things, he finds a list of towns that Katherine might be hiding in. Meanwhile, Rebekah has shown up to complicate things for him, and she and Elena wind up teaming up against him.

Back in Mystic Falls, Stefan, Klaus and Caroline team up to try to find Silas. They figure out that he wants to use Bonnie to complete an expression triangle, which requires the slaughter of 12 witches before it is complete. Bonnie and Silas trick her father into contacting some witchy friends, and an entire coven shows up to “cleanse” Bonnie of expression. The whole thing goes pear-shaped when Stefan reveals to one of the witches that Bonnie is under Silas’s influence – the witch goes to kill her, but Caroline intercedes and kills her to protect Bonnie. The problem is that the witches were all linked, and all 12 die, completing the expression triangle.

After the triangle is completed, Silas appears to Klaus and tells him to bring him the cure. When Klaus refuses, Silas reveals that he has a white ash stake, and he stabs Klaus with it. He promises to make Klaus’s life hell until he delivers it.

This episode was an improvement over the last one, but only just. Elena continues to be utterly unlikable with her emotions switched off. I’ll admit, there are some vampires that can really pull off the whole evil, uncaring vampire thing, but she is not one of them. With her it just feels like she’s trying to prove a point, and that just makes it all the more pointless.

We got some more insight into Damon in this episode; while I normally enjoy getting some character back story, I am finding it difficult to relate to Damon recently, or to like him, even. He’s too cocky, too arrogant, and he pays for it when he lets his guard down and Elena and Rebekah trick him. I was right, though, when I said in my last review that he would quickly grow tired of cleaning up after this Elena – he’s finally started to realize that she is spiraling out of control and needs to be stopped.

Lexi made a reappearance in Damon’s flashbacks – we find out that Stefan sent her to Damon in the 70s when he was starting to get too out of control. After all, she was always really good at pulling Stefan back from the edge. But Damon isn’t as appreciative as his brother, and we find out that he tried to kill her to get her off his back. We also find out that the reason he staked her was because he couldn’t live with the guilt he felt every time he saw her. That’s Damon for you, always thinking only of himself.

The bits of this I really liked were between Klaus and Caroline. Klaus is definitely one of those vampires that can pull off the whole ruthless thing very well, but he also often forces others to take a good look at their actions.  Here, Caroline kills 12 witches – sure, she did it to save her friend, but it helps prove Klaus’s point that no matter our intentions, we all do terrible things sometimes.

Rating: 3/5

 

Episode 18: American Gothic

With Stefan and Damon on their trail, Elena and Rebekah find Katherine hiding in a small town in Pennsylvania. They discover that she has been meeting with Elijah, hoping that he will take the cure to Klaus and use it to barter for her freedom. When Elena reveals to him that she turned off her emotions because Katherine killed Jeremy, it threatens to ruin Katherine’s plans, as she lied to Elijah about it and now he feels he can’t trust her.

Damon and Rebekah search Katherine’s house for the cure. They think they’ve found it when she attacks Damon to keep him from getting to her hiding place. She surrenders the vial to Rebekah and escapes while she’s distracted. While Damon watches, Rebekah takes the cure – only to find out she’s still a vampire when she wakes, meaning that the cure was a fake. Katherine retrieves the real cure and takes it to Elijah, hoping that the gesture will help him trust her again.

Back in Mystic Falls, Silas has really gotten into Klaus’s head – he spends the majority of the episode in agony because Silas has convinced him that a piece of the white ash stake has broken off inside him. He asks Caroline for help, and as they argue about Tyler he realizes that the entire thing was an illusion. Still, it’s not a complete loss, as he and Caroline seem to come to a tentative agreement to be friends.

At the end of the episode, Elena warns Stefan and Damon that if they don’t stop trying to fix her, she will start killing people for absolutely no reason.

This episode receives bonus points purely for Elijah’s return. I am so very pleased to have my second favorite Original back – I am curious how all of this is leading up to the pilot for their spinoff. Not too much longer until we find out!

I continue to feel really bad for Rebekah – all she wants is to live a normal life and have a family of her own, but everyone keeps calling her crazy. And to have that hope when she thought she was taking the cure, only to have it snatched away was pretty heartbreaking. I really do want her to find some peace of mind, as I think deep down she’s actually a decent person who’s really capable of love and compassion.

Elena is still annoying – no change on that front.

I did really enjoy one of the last scenes between Stefan and Damon – they’re at odds so often lately that we don’t really get to see the depth of their bond anymore. But when Stefan reveals that he wants to leave once Elena is cured, Damon is visibly not ok with that. Given how awful he’s been these past few episodes, I’ll take it!

 

Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Mirjana

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