So, I learned something, unrelated to the show, which we’ll get to. I know the episode title from the 10,000 Maniacs version of the song. I did not know Bruce Springsteen and Patti Smith recorded it in 1977. That makes it much more appropriate for the setting we had last night–a mix of present and past. 1978, to be exact, when Damon ate his way through New York until Lexi showed up on a quest to rehab him and turn his switch back on. This parallels with Damon’s mission with Elena, which is twofold–find Katherine/the cure and convince Elena to turn herself back on.
In the present, Damon and Elena arrive in the city and Elena trots off to get herself a new ‘do. They settle in at Billy’s, a dive Damon lived in back in 1978, owned by Will, who he killed last week. He’s making the case for his cover story by telling her about Lexi until a pissed off (isn’t she always?) Rebekah shows up and clues Elena in that this is a fishing expedition to find Katherine. Damon denies it but then they spend the rest of the episode trying to outsmart each other. In the end, Elena wins and she and Rebekah steal his car and head out with a list of Katherine’s recent addresses. In a funny coincidence, Damon finds out he was right on top of Katherine in 1978 and he unknowingly helped her reset her identity every few months.
Back in 1978, Lexi shows up in New York, at Stefan’s request, to help Damon turn his humanity back on. In a first, we see Lexi sort of let loose a bit and feed alongside Damon. They hang out for six months and part of her therapy is to get him loaded every night and then press him about Katherine, assuming that emotional trigger will reset him. He finally tells her that’s futile because it’s her that he wants. He kisses her and they wind up in bed on the rooof (one of many places in a long night as he tells Elena) until Lexi realizes the whole thing was Damon’s ruse to get her locked outside in the sun for a whole day (how is it Lexi never got a ring?)–her punishment for harassing him. I’d like to know if Lexi ever told Stefan all of what happened.
In Mystic Falls, Shane/Silas is working with Bonnie to orchestrate a massacre of 12 witches. Over at the Salvatores, Stefan summons Klaus, who arrives to find Caroline still cleaning up from Elena’s party and working her way through the half empties as she does. They banter a bit and she’s biting and he takes it, but because Joseph Morgan is so very good, his eyes give away that she can rail on him all she wants, he’s not going anywhere. Stefan comes in and explains that he asked Klaus to help because Silas is in Mystic Falls. Klaus doesn’t care until Caroline reminds him that having everybody in purgatory released back into the world would be no bueno for him. Then he’s listening.
They all go to Shane’s office and find the clues to the third massacre and head off to the woods, where Bonnie is meeting a witch she ostensibly asked for help in a cleansing. The witch conveniently brings 11 of he coven with her and they get started. Bonnie fights and fights as they do the ritual. Klaus and Caroline walk through the woods to the first site, which turns out to be wrong, and fight some more and she keeps driving in the daggers as she tells him he’s a horrible person who does horrible things because he’s horrible. That makes a mark.
Elsewhere in the woods, Stefan finds the ritual and interrupts, telling the head witchÂ that Bonnie is in thrall to Silas. The witch flicks him out of the (now bound) circle and starts a mojo to kill Bonnie. Klaus and Caroline arrive and Klaus is fine to let Bonnie die but Caroline can’t, so she swoops into the circle, not realizing they’re bound to each other, and daggers the head witch as Klaus screams at her stop. Then all of the witches in the circle drop one by one. Oops.
So Silas has his massacre and Caroline is wrecked at what she’s done. Klaus leans in and makes an overture of comfort and then cockblocksÂ her with the suggestion that maybe she should find someone better to do that for her. She stomps off and Shane/Silas shows up and offers Klaus a deal–his life for the cure. Klaus says he doesn’t have it, and snits about why should he care and then Shane/Silas holds up the white oak dagger. Oops2. Klaus flinches a little and then rushes Shane/Silas, who comes around behind him and stabs him in the back and breaks the stake off in him, just to the right of his heart. As a warning. Because he’s a bastard like that.
Back at Bonnie’s, she wakes up on her bed and finds Stefan there. She asks how she got there and Stefan asks her what she remembers and she says being on the island and nothing since. Oops3. And then he breaks the news to her about Jeremy. And that’s where we leave everybody.
It’s nice that Stefan and Damon can actually chat with each other through all this. The whole time, Stefan is looped on where they are and Damon is looped in on the hunt for Silas, so they can still align when they have to.
I didn’t like that Lexi fell for Damon’s bullsh-itÂ and got the added insult later of him killing her. He does at least tip his hand to Elena that part of that was self-flagellation because Lexi reminded him of all the terrible things he did when he was turned off, and he doesn’t want to let Elena roam in the off position for too long because when she gets her humanity back and everything she’s done floods back on her, he wants that to be a short list. Which, I buy, but still. HE KILLED LEXI.
I’m also still not feeling Elena. She says she doesn’t want the cure and she dismisses Rebekah for wantingÂ to be humanÂ but we still don’t have a beadÂ on who this Elena is yet.
As for Bonnie, I really never like total mind wipe things so we’ll see how that plays out. If she still has her powers, I say let her have Silas.
With regard to Klaus and Caroline, well, I’m coming around on that. Hear me out. It goes back to what he said to her at the Mikaelson family party in “Dangerous Liaisons,” the first time Tyler was missing. He laid out for her what being a vampire really meant–a long life, lived anywhere she wanted, doing whatever she wanted. If Tyler is well and truly gone and she’s going to live hundreds of years and Tyler told her to go and have a life, that’s in all likelihood going to involve a romantic relationship here and there. I don’t want to just see Klaus and Caroline go at each other like he did with Hayley (which was fine for them) but to actually connect with each other. There might be a great love in there (one of many if she’s going to live a long time).
I have no doubt Klaus loves Caroline. Probably more than anyone he’s ever loved. But that doesn’t make him any less a serial killer who’s gone above and beyond with cruelty when a plain old kill would do. I don’t want Caroline to redeem him, either. I want the writers to figure out a way to make it work. I’m sure 98.7% of that is the chemistry of Morgan with Candice Accola, so TPTB are backed into a bit of a corner there. Good luck with that!
If you missed this episode, you can catch it online. “American Gothic” airs next Thursday at 8 pm/, and then we have a couple of weeks off before a five-episode mad dash to the season finale.
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