It is official: Nothing good ever comes out of a Mystic Falls party. Someone always uses the shindig to hide their dirty deeds and someone else always gets killed. Spoiler Alert: The Winter Wonderland party in tonight’s ep is no different. Even if, for a second, it looks like it might be.

Vampire Diaries Season 4, Episode 9, “O Come All Ye Faithful” opens with Elena (Nina Dobrev), once again, lying in bed with Damon (Ian Somerhalder). Only this time she’s fully clothed and they are not getting any kind of busy. Now that everyone knows Elena is sire-bonded to Damon the thrill is gone for the sexy Salvatore. It has been replaced by guilt. And Damon can barely at Elena without thinking of what he “took” from his little brother. “I told him that I’d set you free right after I didn’t’ tell him that we slept together,” Damon says. “So what do you want to do?” Elena replies. He looks into her eyes and admits, “I want to throw you back on my bed and never let you leave.”

Meet Delena: The New Non-Couple
But Damon doesn’t do that. Instead he and Elena head out to the Gilbert family lake house where Bonnie (Kat Graham) and Professor Shane (David Alpay) plan to try to hypnotize the vampire killer out of Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen). Little Jer is chopping wood when the couple arrives. He’s stiffens immediately when he sees Elena. But Bonnie calms him down. He tenses up again minutes later, when he has to verbally invite his big sister into their family home so that she can step through the doorway. Elena enters cautiously. And it’s all-good—until she makes the mistake of touching Jeremy on the arm. He instinctively turns to stake her. She stops him with a vamp submission hold.  Then things get… awkward.

Back in town, Stefan (Paul Wesley) visits Klaus (Joseph Morgan) to discuss the whole Jeremy/hunter dilemma. He finds the Original Vampire (OV) painting a donation to yet another Mystic Falls Charity Event. Klaus calls it an “expression of postmodernism.” Stefan describes it as a “post-modern snowflake.” They jibe each other a bit before Stefan asks about the sword that supposedly holds the key to the map that will lead to the cure for Elena. Klaus did indeed find it during his dig in Italy. And, in a sweeping move of trust, he shows it to Stefan and explains how it works.

Trust Fall
While the OV chats with Stefan, his 12 hybrid charges are across town planning his demise. Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) has talked Tyler (Michael Trevino) into leading them in plan that starts with the wolf dozen somehow capturing Klaus and ends with Bonnie using the body jump spell to put the OV into Tyler’s body so the hybrids can then trap the OV’s essence by burying him cement. Tyler thinks it’s the only way and that his sacrifice his a show of leadership. It all sounds wrong to us. And Caroline (Candice Accola agrees. “My boyfriend is a dumbass martyr,” she says when she tells Stefan the hybrids’ plan.

Back out at the lake house, Elena tries not to martyr herself as she sits across from her little brother, unarmed. Professor Shane’s theory for this treatment is that he needs to give Jeremy a “detour” to the “see-a-vampire, kill-a-vampire” conditioned response that comes with hunterdom. The PhD says that he’s trying to teach Jer to tap into the subconscious side of himself that recognizes Elena as a beloved sister who he shouldn’t kill. They put Jeremy under then ask him about Elena. He says, “She’s not even my real sister. She’s just the reason everyone I’ve ever loved died.” This sad, but oh-so-true statement reveals that, no, the hypnosis is definitely not working.

Let it snow, let it snow…

In fact, the only thing that is working the way it should is the snow machine Mayor Lockwood has parked in the middle of the town square. The fundraiser looks delightful. That’s why Caroline and Stefan are using it to distract Klaus. When the OV shows up to check on his donation, Car flirts with him and keeps him entertained, buying Stefan time to ransack Casa Klaus, looking for the sword.

Stefan doesn’t find it. So he heads to town to tell Caroline she will need to make Tyler call-off the Kill Klaus plan. “Well that’s not going to happen,” Tyler snaps when he overhears Stefan talking to Caroline. Ty gets mad at Caroline for sharing the deets. He, again, tells Stefan the hybrids will not call it off. When Stefan vamps up to Tyler, threatening to force him to squash his plans the other hybrids step out of the shadows and the tables turn. The wolves take Stef and Car hostage and march them out to the old Lockwood dungeons to prevent them from ruining the plan. Stefan tries to explain to them that they only need to let Klaus live long enough for him to find the cure for Elena. But Tyler comes back at him with their truth: The hybrids don’t want to be cured because, when their vampire half is taken away, they will go back to being werewolves who have to go through a painful change on every full moon, whether they want to or not.

Speaking of plans, Damon comes up with a great idea to help recondition Jeremy. Rather than have Jer focus on his love for his sister, D suggests, why not have him focus on his love for Bonnie — another person who would also be devastated if he took Elena out. This idea seems to work and they move forward with the hypnosis. While Bonnie and Shane work on Jer, Elena heads outside to reminisce about the last time she was out at lake house. You remember that time, don’t you — back when she was crazy-in-love with Stefan and the two played house while hiding from Klaus. Ah, memories….

Back at the Winter Wonderland party, Tyler bumps into his mother and, when she hands her under-aged son a glass of wine, he decides to tell her the hybrids’ plan. Tyler shares because, well, technically he will be gone for a while once Klaus hijacks his body. Mayor Lockwood hears this but clearly doesn’t process it right away, as the first thing out of her mouth is a lament over the fact that Tyler will miss graduation.

Forever Young
While Bonnie reconditions Jeremy, Shane and Delena have a chat, which starts, as many Damon convos do—with the vampire threatening to kill the professor. Shane lets the latest threat roll off his back as he tells them that they don’t really need the sword to find the cure. He claims the cure lies with the first immortal, Silas, who was buried alive in a super-secret location that he has figured out. Shane tells them that if they dig up the great immortal dude his blood will end vampirism by being the cure for immortality. Or something like that. It all sounds like a load of bull to us. But Damon and Elena lap it up.

Damon calls Stefan right way to share the good news. And his little brother, who is being held captive in the woods, deep underground actually has strong enough cell phone reception to receive and answer the call. (Who is his service provider?!) After he hears the word, Stefan tells his captors. Convinced that he and Blondie will not ruin their plans, they let them go.

Back out at the lake house, Shane claims that the only reason he’s helping Damon and Co. is because he wants to be the researcher to uncover the first real immortal man. It will be his award-winning discovery. Freedom leads Caroline to make a discovery of her own. She realizes that, because they’ve stashed Rebekah’s (Claire Holt) daggered body in the tunnels they can “kill two original birds with one stone” and, instead of having Bonnie transfer Klaus into Tyler’s body, they could stash the OV in his Original Sister. For obvious reasons, Ty thinks this is a genius idea.

Caroline shares the good news with Hayley and the wolf girl immediately texts Professor Shane about their new “problem.” Shane tells her to fix it. And she does by sneaking up on Caroline and breaking her neck. She shoves Car into a bathroom stall and the Winter Wonderland Party then leaves.

Out in the festivities, Stefan and Klaus chat. Stefan confesses to breaking into the safe to look for the sword. He says he doesn’t trust Klaus. And the OV looks offended. “What do you want from me? A secret handshake?” he asks.

April makes a big discovery
Meanwhile the new Miss Mystic Falls saunters into the bathroom and finds Caroline’s lifeless body. She feels for a pulse, screams then runs for the door. Car wakes and blocks her exit. “Have you seen Hayley?” she asks. April is understandably stunned. Before she can recover, Caroline nonchalantly calls Stefan and tells him to go move Rebekah’s body because “That little werewolf slut has lost her mind.” Caroline quick-catches Stefan up on everything while Aprils stands crying in front her with her mouth open. After she ends her call, Caroline looks into April’s eyes and compels her to forget everything that just happened. Or, so she thinks. April, who now wears Jeremy’s vervain bracelet, can’t be compelled. A quick thinker, however, April plays it off, nods along to Caroline and walks out.

Meanwhile Operation Kill Klaus has begun. One of his hybrids shows up to summon the OV from the party. Klaus follows him out into the woods where he finds himself surrounded by menacing wolves. He thinks for a beat then proceeds to go redrum on the whole pack, snatching hearts out here, ripping heads off there. It’s a brutal scene.

While Klaus slaughters his underlings, Hayley seeks out Tyler and tells him that she made the whole story up because she’d cut a deal with a very powerful person who could help her find information on her family. She tells Tyler he’s got time to run. And he does, right out to the woods where he finds the slaughtered pack. Their bodies liter the ground inside and outside the old Lockwood mansion.

That’s what friends are for…
After Tyler walks out of the dungeon, April steps out of the shadows. Still shaking and crying she walks past a headless body over to the coffin stashed in the corner and opens it. Inside lays a daggered Rebekah.

After he talks to Hayley, Professor Shane says something that we don’t hear to a hypnotized Jeremy. Next thing you know Jer is back to his old, pre-hunter self.  He walks up to Elena and doesn’t try to kill her. Instead he hugs her. We keep waiting for him to try to stab her in the back but it doesn’t happen.

What does happen is that Elena pulls out the old family Christmas decorations. She, Jer and Bonnie start to go through them while Damon watches. Elena catches him and steps outside to talk to him. She playfully holds mistletoe over his head. But he brushes it aside, telling her to stop it. Damon reminisces about how he and Stefan used to celebrate Christmas. And he worries that his brother won’t be able to forgive him when he finds out what they did. To erase it, he decides to use the sire-bond to order that Elena stay away from him. “You’re going to go home,” he tells her. He promises to stay and help Jeremy finish the mark then adds, “I’m setting you free Elena. This is what I want. This is what will make me happy.” In response Elena looks disturbed. Pained even.

Stefan has a similar expression on his face as he sits in front of the fireplace back at the Salvatore manse. He tells Caroline that rather than feel relieved, he feels guilty that, at that very moment, Klaus was possibly being killed. He says the only thing that makes them better than Klaus is that they have “family we can trust.” Off this remark, Caroline decides to do a horrible thing: She taints Stefan’s faith in family by hinting that Damon is up to no good with Elena. “They’re together, aren’t they. How together are they?” Stefan asks. With one look and a well placed silence, Caroline tells Stefan everything he did not need to know about Damon and Elena. The truth is too much. He starts to trash his place.

Meanwhile Klaus marches back into the Winter Wonderland even, bloody, ragged and with an evil look on his face — like he wants to trash the town. Luckily almost everyone had gone home. The only person left was a drunken Mayor Lockwood. She walks by the snow machine, which, by this point is making a blizzard, then spots Klaus. Drunk or not, she immediately knows something’s wrong. When Klaus asks where Tyler is, she immediately starts to beg. ”Klaus, please. Don’t hurt him. He’s my son. He’s all I have.” Klaus thinks for a bit then replies, “And you’re all he has. There’s a beautiful symmetry to that. Don’t you think?” Then he grabs the mayors head and drowns her in the town fountain. And that is why we say Mystic Falls needs to call a moratorium on town parties.


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