Any episode of The Vampire Diaries is a good episode of The Vampire Diaries. But one that opens with Damon (Ian Somerhalder) in 1977 wearing a leather jacket, draining a couple of new love birds as the Talking Heads plays is truly great. Welcome to Season 4, Episode 17, “Because the Night.”
Damon has brought Elena (Nina Dobrev) to New York. She wants to know what the catch is to this supposed vacation. Damon swears there isn’t one. He wants her to have fun. “In a city with so much life, a little death goes unnoticed,” he tells her. Elena — the newly bloodthirsty version — likes the sound of that. She likes it so much, in fact, that she goes and gets sort-of bangs, and some streaks of pink hair dye. You know, the way New Yorkers do.
Damon doesn’t get a haircut; he uses her absence to call Stefan (Paul Wesley) and explain the real reason for the trip. Will, the vampire he killed while hunting for Katherine (Nina Dobrev) last episode, tended bar and got vampires fake identities. He lived in New York, and Damon wants to get to his apartment and see if it leads him to Katherine. Stefan is cautious, because, just like your grandma, he gets worried when you go to the big city unsupervised.
Back at the Salvatore mansion, Caroline (Candice Accola) is annoyed, missing Tyler (Michael Trevino), and stuck on party clean up duty. She’s slugging leftover liquor slurps, when Klaus (Joseph Morgan) appears. Caroline wants him and his bad attitude to disappear, but he won’t; Stefan has summoned him, because Silas is back and up to no good. It’s all hands on deck.
Bonnie (Kat Graham) is completely in Silas’s thrall, even if he’s still disguised as Shane. His power immense. But he needs Bonnie’s help, and he’ll do anything to get it — even invoking the memory of dead Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen). This is enough to soften Bonnie, who listens as Shane details the plan for his final massacre.
Damon is giving Elena the tour of his New York. Of course in the ‘70s the Factory was too clean and CBGB’s wasn’t quite what Damon was looking for. But Billy’s — the club where he’s brought Elena — was the place to be for the true underground scene. Its where he fisrt met Will, the owner of the club. Turns out it didn’t stay so underground for long: Lexi caught up with Damon.
Bex Tags Along
But story-hour with Damon is cut short by the arrival of Rebekah (Claire Holt), who’s furious with him for ditching her. Now it’s a threesome of the strangest order — a foursome if you count Elena’s fancy new hairdo (and how can you not?).
Rebekah is still the victim of her own internal vampire-baby-making clock, which means she’s still just as desperate to acquire the cure as ever. Elena’s just as cure-greedy - but not because she wants to take it. In fact, Elena will stop at basically nothing to keep Damon from finding it.
For his part, Damon does his best to distract Elena with memories of his time in New York during the ‘70s with Lexi. It doesn’t take long for Elena to realize that her once-upon-a-time-lover is trying to do to her what Lexi did to him back then: flip on the humanity switch. She has no intention of caving so quickly, but does decide that Lexi’s legacy of having a little fun couldn’t hurt. Using the broadest possible interpretation of this idea, Damon, Elena, and even Rebekah quietly compel a fellow concert-goer into not screaming as they feast upon her. Uh yeah. Pretty sure Lexi would the opposite of approve of their antics — only back in the ‘70s she did just that with Damon.
Back in Mystic Falls, a threesome just as strange (again, a foursome if you count Klaus’s lips... and how can you not?) of Stefan, Caroline, and Klaus are on the hunt for the site of the last slaughter Silas needs to open the gates of hell, etcetera, etcetera — you know how SIlas is. The OG witch himself has finally managed to convince Bonnie to call up her mom and ask her to bring along her coven to a totally-not-a-murderous-trap meeting in the woods. Stefan and his crew, terrible at cartography though they may be, are hot on Bonnie’s brainwashed trail.
In New York, the bar has gone cool. The band is so cool that we have no idea who they are, because we are very, very old. [Editor’s Note: The band is Dead Sara. Dave Grohl knows who they are, but he’s Dave Grohl.]It’s the kind of place that’s so cool the hipster standing beside Rebekah and Elena pretends to have no idea that they are draining the blood of the concert goers. The duo proceeds to have loud debates about each other’s motives and abilities when it comes to tricking Damon into handing over Katherine’s whereabouts and thereby, the location of the cure. Elena thinks Rebekah is too emotional, what with her desire to make babies, to think straight. Rebekah calls out Elena for having no emotions. This would sting more were it not, you know, less of an insult and more of a fact.
Nothing Says Lovin’ Like Something From the Coven
In Mystic Falls, Klaus and Caroline think they’ve isolated the location of the next massacre. Caroline is terrible at maps, and Klaus thinks this is adorable. They bicker and makes eyes with each other. It would all be potentially cute had it not cut to Bonnie meeting up with Asia, a friend of her mother’s, in the forest. Bonnie’s mom wouldn’t come to the meeting — but she sent a friend in her place. Bonnie thinks she’s got the upper hand until she realizes that Asia has done one better — and brought along her entire diverse coven. They are there to cleanse Bonnie, not knowing that everybody’s favorite Bennett witch has every intention of being the only one to make it out of the pentagram alive.
Stefan and Damon check in, because they have excessive amounts of family plan minutes to burn through. Once Stefan’s briefed Damon on the impending massacre, Damon let’s him know that his trip to New York is shaping up to be a pain in his own well-shaped behind. He’s making the call from inside Will’s hoarder-style apartment. All the identify thief’s info is arranged by birthday so Damon can’t locate Katherine’s file. Luckily, Stefan, ever the attentive boyfriend, has it, and Damon gets his digits on a list of address that could lead to Katherine’s whereabouts. Elena bursts into the apartment, forcing Damon to cut short his call.
Lex Talk About Sex, Baby
The former punk does his best to distract Elena with more details about his time with Lexi — sexy details! See, it turns out that while Lexi was attempting to turn on Damon’s memories, she also turned on his... other parts: ‘70s Damon, his sleeveless shirt, and his leather jacket all profess their love to Lexi. They proceeded to bang on every possible surface.
Not one to be outdone, Elena suggests that they revisit Damon’s past and take this storytelling session to the roof for a repeat performance. They leave a glowering Rebekah alone in the club. But she can handle herself and she quickly proves it, face-shoving a wannabe punk who dares to enter her dancing space.
In the forest cleaning, things are getting intense for all parties involved. Stefan, ever the white knight, tries to clue Asia in on what’s happening. This backfires and Asia makes a move to kill Bonnie. When Stefan tries to stop her, she uses her powerful Vampire-Ice-Headache witch powers to send him running.
Bonnie’s scheme isn’t just giving Stefan a headache. Klaus and Caroline have gotten turned around in the woods, and it’s put them both in a bad mood. Before they know it, they are revisiting the scorched earth of their own relationship, with Caroline finally making it clear that she no longer thinks of Klaus as someone worthy of redemption. “Sometimes,” she says, “people who do terrible things are just terrible people.” Klaus is upset. He will probably write a poem about this later. Or possibly do another drawing of Caroline standing beside a horse. Because he is an eight-year-old, secretly.
So Caroline’s already in a terrible mood when she arrives at the clearing to find out that her best friend is about to be killed by a pack of nervous witches. Stefan is on the fence about saving Bonnie, but Klaus makes no bones about it: better that Bonnie die than the 12 witches. That would give Silas all the power he needs. Caroline, never one to meditate on deep moral conundrums, stabs Asia in the heart, killing the entire coven and freeing Bonnie. Also, you know, setting up the opening of the gates to hell on earth, but really, what’s a little hell on earth between besties?
Damon isn’t fooled by Elena’s rooftop come-on. He calls her out of her not-so-smooth move to get the paper he took from Will’s apartment out of his pants. Then he finishes the story of he and Lexi in the ‘70s. It turns out that he wasn’t in love with her and she didn’t turn his emotions back on. Damon had just set her up, lulled her into a sexy-time stupor, and then trapped her on a roof in daylight to punish her for all the months of trying to torture him back into feeling real emotions. Elena points out that hating anyone as much as he hated Lexi was an emotion — so maybe Lex had helped him after all. Before Damon can process this revelation, Rebekah breaks his neck and the two ladies escape, like a vamp version of Thelma and Louise.
In Mystic Falls, Bonnie wakes up in her bed. Stefan is beside her. It becomes apparent very quickly that she has no recollection of anything after the moment Jeremy tried to pull the cure from Silas’s fossilized grip. That means she’s got a tough, tough, tough emotional road to start heading down. Not only is Jeremy, her former flame, dead, but she’s indirectly responsible for the death of a dozen people.
One of our favorite blonde vampires is more directly responsible, and as such, Caroline is having a hard time facing the fact that she killed all those witches. If Klaus weren’t emotionally defective and like a pre-reformed Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, he would realize that this is perfect opportunity to comfort Lady Caro. Sadly, he decides that instead of doing this, he and his ruby red lips would rather zing her for calling him terrible. Oh, Klaus. You loveable scamp.
But Klaus isn’t done yet, ladies and germs! Oh no. You see, he’s not alone in the clearing. Silas is there! And Klaus isn’t exactly shocked to see him. Hedging his bets, Klaus has seen fit to — in the words of Beyonce — bow down and make sure everything has gone Silas’s way. He only hesitates briefly when Silas asks him to bring the final step to his plan to fruition by giving him the cure. Any wishy-washiness Klaus might have felt goes out the window when Silas reveals that he has the white oak steak that is capable of killing the Original. This makes Silas the boss, and we ain’t talking Springsteen.
In New York, Damon gets a taste of what waking up on the roof must have been like for Lexi. He finds himself dazed and alone when his phone rings. It’s the girls; Rebekah has broken his radio, and Elena has taken his keys. They are taking his convertible, the list of addresses he found at Will’s, the exceptional hair, and going on a Katherine hunt. Now this should get interesting!