The Vampire Diaries 4.18- "American Gothic"

A tv review article by: Shawn Hill


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4.18- "American Gothic"

Elena and Rebekah head their stolen car towards Pennsylvania, where they find a small town totally under the spell of Katherine. Everyone knows her, but no one will speak of her, unless they're talking to her directly, which is a seemingly genius plan relating to vampire compulsion with one glaringly visible flaw: Elena is her exact doppelganger. That Katherine, always rushing the details. 

Newly amoral Elena is quick to exploit her advantage, and she makes a pretty good team with Rebekah, though points if you automatically know who's the brains and who's the braun in that dynamic duo. 


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Meanwhile, Damon teleconferences with the real love of his life, his brother, to let him know that Vamp Elena is a "total bitch" and Stefan in turn lets him know where they can go find his car, which the girls abandoned pretty quickly for a stealthier ride. Damon warns there better not be a scratch, which there isn't, because those girls are tidy like that. They just want to get to the Cure first, which they almost do, because Katherine gets wind of Elena being in town, and is about to kill her (as she gloats about already doing to Jeremy, which, didn't Silas do it really and Lady Miss K just let it happen so she could grab the Cure and run?), when Rebekah the bruiser kicks her not quite Original-class ass and shuts down her BS.

Well, to the extent that you can with Katie, which no one has managed to do for long. It's a joy to watch Nina Dobrev channel Amoral Elena, Vamp Elena as Katherine, and "skanky" original Model Katherine all in the same episode, and it's more than just the kicky hairstyle (Elena looks pretty in her new cut; Katherine looks like she could be on staff on Vanderpump Rules) that sets them apart. The three girls actually get into a fashion pissing contest. This episode is so great for those of us wanting Elena to take charge of her own path. All she apparently needed was her own superhero ally for the heavy lifting. Right up until the unfortunate final scene.

Vampire Diaries American Gothic

Another great moment comes when Stefan and Damon show up, and encounter Katie under house arrest by Rebekah, while Elena is off conferring with Katie's secret love (and supposed Cure repository). All four have to listen to Katie regale them with tales of her sexual wiles, which leads to in unison groans and mouth-barfs. Until they realize she sent Elena off unprepared to meet Elijah.

Elijah! And Katherine! Same episode! Finally. It doesn't even matter that he's inexplicably in love with her, and doesn't realize that he's only a tool to negotiate her release from Klaus hunting her throughout the centuries. Klaus does that with a lot of people, it seems, as Caroline will also plead again with him to free Tyler from that burden this week. Vamp Barbie is a little slow on the uptake however (still reeling from her witchicide last week), until she finally realizes she actually has a bargaining chip. Silas has made Klaus think he's horribly injured. We should have known you can't break the Son of White Oak stake that Alaric made with Esther, though it was nice to see Klaus squirm for once. Pass on the scrawny shirtless bloody wound.


Vampire Diaries American Gothic

The boys immediately run off to "save" Elena from the vicious Elijah, but Elijah would never kill her on a whim. Not only is he the smartest Original by far, they've had the same special connection she forged with both Salvatore Bros. from the start. Really only Klaus has been immune from her charms amongst male vamps, and that's because of the two, he's already the bigger Diva. Must be why he hates Katherine so much, actually. 

No, Elijah's talk with Elena leaves him angry with Katie instead, who has to make some big gestures to continue to buy his loyalty. That's her life, really, always has been.


Vampire Diaries American Gothic

The capper is disappointing, as Elena and Rebekah (now allied with her brother and heading home for a family talk with the Cure) basically get their way, and Elena basically has 98 problems left, and two of them are bros. To prove she'll do what she wants (which does not include ever taking the Cure), she kills an innocent as an object lesson. From whom she doesn't even drink. She's going to regret that later.

Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at


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