Mayor Rudy Hopkins is not playing. Not only does the new man-in-charge dump vervain into the town’s water supply in The Vampire Diaries Season 4, Episode 12, “A View To a Kill,” he puts Mystic Falls on lockdown by reinstating a curfew and canceling all public events — including the ‘80s dance. Basically dude takes all the life-saving advice we’ve been giving for the last two seasons. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

The episode opens with Stefan regretfully waking up in bed with Rebekah. It is the proverbial morning after and as the Nice Guy Salvatore looks down at the Original sister’s bare arm draped across his naked body, he can’t help but flash an “Oh, crap!” expression. He vamps up, gets dressed, and tries to sneak out. But Klaus blocks his way. Apparently, the OV thinks it’s absolutely normal to sneak into his little sister’s house and spy on her before making a murderous proposal to her lover. “Help me dagger Kol,” Klaus proposes to Stefan. “Damon will be uncompelled. Jeremy will live and we’ll all be on our merry way to a human Elena.”

Talk about a buzzkill

While Klaus crushes Rebekah’s groove, Bonnie’s at the school doing Caroline’s bidding, blowing up 99 red balloons for the ‘80s-themed dance. Apparently the whole gang was supposed to help. When Bonnie calls to find out where they are, Elena says she couldn’t show because she needed to babysit/protect Jeremy, Matt needed to keep Jer company, and, well we know what Stefan was up to. Funny thing: Caroline and Tyler are not there either. Much like in last week’s ep, Blondie and the hybrid beast are MIA. But we digress.

As she chats with Bonnie, Elena starts to do dishes and burns her hands. The water is laced with vervain. After she hangs up, Bonnie calls her father to ask about the vervain. He proudly says that he laced the water supply, then he tells her about the curfew and the party cancellation and commands her to come straight home for a family meeting. But Bonnie’s not feeling it. The witch gives her dad lip about him trying to do her job. He reminds her that he’s trying to protect the citizenry. “Would you like me to read you all the names of people who’ve gone missing or who’ve died in tragic accidents in your senior year alone?” he asks. Good point.

Who you calling a witch?

As Bonnie reluctantly heads home for a mandatory “family meeting,” Kol tries to bite her head off. Literally. The vampire’s rationale: If he kills their witch, the others won’t be able to find the cure. It’s logical, but not well planned. Bon-Bon easily squashes his attempted murder. She magically cripples his body and pops a few of blood vessels along with a half-dozen balloons and lockers before running off. (Why she doesn’t just kill him right then confuses us.)

Meanwhile, Damon’s across town still locked in the Salvatore family dungeon. As you may recall, last week Kol compelled Damon to kill Jeremy. Today that order is still in effect. So, to prevent his brother from committing the crime, Stefan’s keeping Damon in the basement, weak and malnourished, subsisting on only small vials of blood. To annoy Damon to no end, Stefan feeds him without talking. And, to just stick it to his big bro, Stefan asks Klaus to babysit Damon while he tries to steal a white oak dagger from Rebekah, thus kick starting their Kill-Kol plan.

Stefan doesn’t know that Elena has her own Kill Kol plan. But he soon finds out. After Kol attempts to off Bonnie, Elena calls Stefan to warn him and shares her own homicidal deets. “I don’t want to just dagger Kol,” she says. “I want Jeremy to kill him.” Elena explains that they plan to get Kol alone, then Bonnie will magically restrain Kol while Jeremy stakes him. 

Stefan agrees to help with their plan, then he rides over to Bek’s house. He has been tasked with making nice with her, finding her dagger, and staking her with it. That way, when Elena and Jeremy kill her brother Kol, Bex won’t be able to retaliate. It’s a good plan. But you know what they say about the best-laid plans…

The belle of the ball

Stefan finds Rebekah at home, gleefully trying to pick out an appropriately atrocious ‘80s outfit for the dance. Poor thing. She doesn’t know that the shindig has been cancelled and that she is going to miss yet another high school dance Stefan gives her the bad news. Then, when he sees how much she really wanted to go, he asks her to be his date to the dance anyway. It’s a sweet, touching move — even if it is a duplicitous one. By taking Bex to the ball, Stefan buys time for Matt to search her place for the dagger. Bex suspects something is up, but she agrees to be his date anyway.

“I think I saw a horror movie that started just like this,” Bex says as they walk into the empty gym at Mystic Falls High. The room is fully decorated but dark and ominous. Stefan heads to the DJ table and cues up The Cure’s “Lovesong.” As the words, “I will always love you” bounce off the walls, he proceeds to drown in nostalgia. Having been daggered by Klaus, Bex literally missed that decade. She asks Stef about it. He cites Say Anything and the The Princess Bride as the best parts of the ‘80s. “So it was a decade of sentimental drivel,” Bex says. “Well, I was going to say love, friendship, and the possibility of anything happening,” Stefan replies. “You would have loved it. Because as much as we’d hate to admit it, we care about those things.”

Can’t we all get along?

Right now all Elena cares about is killing Kol. And she wastes no time getting that ball rolling. She calls Kol to propose “a truce in the name of Silas.” The OV is walking up her block when his phone rings. Apparently he was planning to make good on this threat to burn down the Gilbert house and dismember — but not kill — Jeremy. To see if Elena really means what she says, Kol vamps onto her front porch and rings the doorbell. He dares the Gilberts to invite him in for a “proper chat.” After a quick debate, Elena convinces Jeremy to do it. As he invites the vamp inside, Jer dashes out the back door to go get Bonnie.

The “truce” meeting is awkward. Nervous, Elena asks Kol to help her make a sloe gin fizz. The OV obliges, and they chat. Elena offers to stop looking for the cure if Kol promises to leave her brother alone. Kol doubts her sincerity. He starts playing Jeremy’s Call of Duty game and he’s killing it. He belittles Elena for being a vegetarian vamp who’s only killed one person. While they talk, Elena keeps checking her phone. Matt texts to say that he is unable to find the dagger. To buy more time, Elena asks why Kol doesn’t want to raise Silas to get the cure; Kol says that he used to run with witches so he knows how dangerous Silas is. He claims that modern day humans “have lost faith” so they no longer know who they should fear. Then, suspecting something is up with Elena, he leaves. A few minutes later, Kol calls Klaus. He has figured out that Elena and Jeremy want to kill him. He thinks his big brother is in on it. ”I’m going to rip off Jeremy’s arm and kill Elena just for sport,” he says. “Then I’m coming for you!”

It’s a family affair

When Bonnie gets home, she finds her father waiting to talk to her about Professor Shane, Expression, and her new wicked attitude. “I lost your mother to witchcraft. I don’t intend to lose you,” he says. Again, Bonnie tells him that she’s got things under control. As Bonnie and her father bicker, Jeremy arrives to tell her that Kol is at his house. The mayor tells Jeremy that Bonnie is “busy”. But Jer refuses to leave. “It’s important,” he says.

Bonnie starts to storm out and head to Elena’s house; when her father tries to stop her, she literally blows a fuse. Then she opens the door. Before she can step outside, her mother, Abby, arrives with vamp-eyes in full effect. Bonnie is surprised. And so are we. We don’t think both of Bonnie’s parents have been in the same room since Bon-Bon was in diapers.

Jeremy, however, is unfazed. He tells them that Kol is at his house and that his sister needs Bonnie’s help. “My daughter is done helping Elena Gilbert,” Abby growls. Jeremy instinctively tries to stake her, but Abby easily stops him. Then Bonnie warns him not to hurt her mother.

After Jeremy leaves, Abby drills Bonnie about Professor Shane and Expression. Again, Bonnie claims she’s in control. This time, when she tries to leave, Abby drugs her and knocks her out. Abby plans to call in a bunch of sister witches to perform a magic intervention. But Bonnie wakes up before Abby can finish making the second dose of drugs. Bonnie magically breaks her mother’s wrist. “I don’t belong to the spirits anymore,” Bonnie says. “I belong to myself.” She apologizes then leaves for Elena’s house.

Fight, fight, fight!

A second after Jeremy arrives home, Kol returns and he attacks. The Gilbert sibs put up a good fight, shooting or staking the OV multiple times. Still, Kol is older, faster, and stronger. In an effortless one-two move, he knocks Jeremy down the stairs then throws Elena off his back and skewers her to the wall with piece of the hallway banister. He leaves her hanging then grabs Jeremy and drags him off.

As she watches Kol drag her brother down the stairs, Elena struggles to free herself. Once they reach the kitchen, Kol ties Jeremy to the table then he grabs a meat cleaver. He apologizes for the “sting” he’s about to inflict then he raises the cleaver. Before he can slice into Jeremy’s right arm, Elena stops him. She grabs Kol’s arm and shoves the cleaver into his shoulder. Meanwhile Jeremy frees himself, hops up, grabs the rinse hose on the kitchen sink, and douses Kol with vervain-laced tap water. Kol screams and recoils. Elena snatches a dagger from his pocket and tosses it to Jeremy. Jeremy stakes the OV and they watch as he growls and bursts into flames.

It turns out that Elena and Jeremy are not the only spectators. When they turn around, they see Klaus — with tears in his eyes — standing on the porch, watching through the broken front door. “We had to,” Elena says. She points out that Klaus intended to do the same thing. “I was going to make him suffer on my terms,” Klaus yells. He then announces that he plans to carry out Kol’s plan to burn down the Gilbert house and kill them as they try to escape.

As Klaus shouts at the Gilberts, Bonnie arrives. “Invite him in,” she commands Jeremy. Jer does as he is told. Klaus immediately gives chase, and Bonnie uses her friends as bait. When Klaus enters the living room, she magically walls him inside, drawing, she would later say, on the power of the moon.

School daze
Back at the high school, Stefan spots the dagger hidden in Bekah’s boot. In an attempt to trick her into taking her shoes off, she tries to get her to reenact the hallway-sliding scene from The Breakfast Club. Matt hides around the corner, watching. Bex plays along at first, then she gives up, takes the dagger out of her boot, and hands it to Stefan. “Go ahead, take it,” she says. “You’re right. I do care. I want stupid Koala corsages and a prom. I want to have kids with a guy who loves me enough to stand outside my window with a stupid boom box. I want to be human. So let Klaus put down my brother and let’s go find the cure.”

We could hear Matt’s heartbeat quicken as heard this. So we know Bekah must have heard it too. Still, she did nothing. Neither did Stefan. Respecting Bex’s raw, vulnerable moment, he took the dagger, looked off in Matt’s general direction, then led her towards home. He did not have the heart to use it against her.

Stefan got the news about Kol on the way home. After they arrived, he told Rebekah, who immediately started crying. Stefan reminded her that, with Kol gone, they could find the cure and she would have a chance to “be human again.” 

X Marks the Spot

Meanwhile, Jeremy, Elena, and Bonnie head over to Casa Salvatore to wait for Jeremy’s mark to grow. Stefan arrives a few minutes later, carrying the headstone from Silas’s grave. He tells them that he didn’t dagger Rebekah because she is on their side. “Let me guess, she pledged her allegiance to you while you were naked in the sack,” Damon says. Everyone pauses, waiting to see how Elena will respond. She doesn’t. “I bet you were just dying to get that out, weren’t you, Damon?” Stefan replies. The brothers trade barbs until Damon up and decks Stefan. Before the younger Salvatore can stand and retaliate, Jeremy starts screaming. He rips off his shirt and they watch as the hunter mark crawls up his arm and across his chest.