The Vampire Diaries season 4 episode 17 review: Because The Night

The Vampire Diaries takes a trip to New York City in the seventies, and is all the better for it. Here's Caroline's review...

This review contains spoilers.

3.17 Because the Night

As flashback episodes of The Vampire Diaries go, Because the Night was definitely one of the better ones we’ve seen. It helps that the time period of 1977 doesn’t require our regular actors to don silly wigs and too-tight corsets, but the novelty of having a shiny new Elena to watch also lifts the enjoyment level. As we saw at the end of last week’s episode, Damon and Elena are heading to the city that never sleeps where, as Damon puts it, a little death can go completely unnoticed.

We start with a flashback to Damon’s switched-off period in Manhattan, where he gained a reputation as a serial killer so notorious that Stefan and Lexi heard about him back in Mystic Falls. Enter Lexi, as she tries to show Damon enough of a good time to convince him to turn his humanity back on. This is Damon’s plan for Elena in present day, also, but he didn’t factor in how wily his new and improved girlfriend can be. Add Rebekah to the mix, and he’s well and truly outnumbered.

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We met this new Elena last week, and I expressed my admiration in my review, but it’s here that we truly get a look at what she’s capable of without those pesky human emotions. She’s so rational and ruthless now that she sees Rebekah – the girl who drove her off a bridge – as a “big emotional variable” that would only hold her back. Every scene these two share is brilliant, crackling with tension and slash-worthy sisterhood that I’m sure has a sizeable internet following already. It was only a matter of time before they teamed up in the search for the cure their male companions were too ineffectual to find.

The dual storyline of Damon and Elena’s respective times in New York allows the flashback structure to stay bearable throughout. It also needs to be said that having Lexi back on the scene is always a treat, and The Vampire Diaries deserves a medal for how many times they can feature a character after their death. Seeing more of Lexi and Damon’s relationship pre-staking should also add some nice context when re-watching the first season, and having Damon actively regret what he did to his brother’s life-long best friend and companion has been a long time coming for fans.

What transpires back in Mystic Falls will have ramifications for two story threads: Silas’ rise to power and Klaus and Caroline’s relationship. Starting with the former, arguably more important, element, we discover that Bonnie is fully aware that Shane is actually Silas in disguise. This is a big relief, since watching Bonnie stupidly accept everything her professor tells her was getting tedious. Via some more sneaky emotional manipulation, Silas convinces her to invite twelve witches to ‘help her’, and then to kill them and complete the triangle of sacrifices – twelve humans, twelve demons and twelve witches.

Stefan, Klaus and Caroline try desperately to prevent this but, when it looks as though the witches are going to overpower Bonnie and kill her instead, Caroline steps in and stabs the coven leader. This causes the eleven other witches to die alongside her, and Silas has completed his trio of sacrifices. Instead of watching Bonnie act like a moron, we get to watch Caroline do it instead. I think we can all understand saving a friend instead of a group of strangers but, when the whole of humanity is at stake, you might think twice. We’ll have to wait and see what this means for the threat of Silas and his undead army, but it won’t be good for our gang.

Klaus is certainly relishing this turn of events, despite the rare threat a gang of dead vampires and werewolves would pose to him, as it means that he gets a little slice of revenge against Caroline. Earlier in the episode, she drew a line under their relationship by saying that “people who do terrible things are just terrible people,” but now she see’s that things aren’t as simple as that. Of course, Klaus has done far more terrible things than kill twelve people to save a close friend (he killed twelve of his hybrids, after all), but it’s fun to see their moral compasses start to align a little more.

Next week sees the return of Katherine and Elijah, just in time for The Originals back-door pilot the week after, as Elena and Rebekah finally catch-up to the cure. See you there.

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Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Bring It On, here.

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