The Vampire Diaries Wiki
The Vampire Diaries Wiki

Class is in session. You've all been compelled. You know the rules. Answer my questions honestly, no disobedience, no one leaves. April, my sweet, take notes. This is how you get answers in this town.

American Gothic is the eighteenth episode of the fourth season of The Vampire Diaries and the eighty-fourth episode of the series overall.


RACE FOR THE CUREElena and Rebekah take off in search of Katherine and find themselves in a small town in Pennsylvania, where Elena has a surprising encounter with another old acquaintance -- Elijah. Stefan and Damon are both concerned about Elena's state of mind and are determined to do what's best for her, but she makes it clear that helping her will be difficult. Damon is not sure how to react when Stefan reveals his unexpected plan for the future. Meanwhile, in Mystic Falls, Klaus receives Caroline's reluctant help and comes to a new understanding of Silas' powers.                          


Elena and Rebekah arrive in Willoughby, PA, appearing to be thoroughly annoyed by each other. Rebekah is becoming impatient about finding Katherine and The Cure while Elena is growing tired of Rebekah. Elena decides to take a beat and feed on a local woman, but her prospective victim thinks that she is Katherine and asks why she is trying to feed from her neck, since she told Katherine that she prefers her wrist. When the woman is pressed by Elena and Rebekah for more information on Katherine, it becomes apparent that Katherine has compelled the woman to forget everything about her unless Katherine speaks to her directly. As a result, the woman will only respond to Elena's questions and not Rebekah's, as she believes Elena to be Katherine. The woman also mentions that she is keeping Katherine's secret, but cannot remember what it is.

Meanwhile, Stefan and Damon are tracking Rebekah and Elena, who stole Damon's car in New York. They exposit that Sheriff Forbes found the car, and that it appears that the girls ran out of gas and abandoned it. Sheriff Forbes was also able to track down the car that Elena and Rebekah stole after they ditched Damon's. Stefan and Damon agree that Elena is ruthless without her humanity, and that they will not trust her until she is cured or until she turns it back on.

Back in Mystic Falls, Klaus is suffering from splinters of the White Oak Stake lodged in his back by Silas. Caroline walks in and Klaus asks for her assistance, only to learn that Silas is using his illusions to disguise himself as Caroline today. Silas demands the cure, and promises that he will make Klaus suffer if he continues to resist. He also informs him that while today he may be Caroline, tomorrow he could be anyone.

Rebekah and Elena arrive at the post office in hopes of discovering Katherine's address. When Elena greets the mailman, he also believes her to be Katherine and mentions that her hair is different. Elena replies that she cut it, but the mail main rebuffs her with doubt, saying that he had just seen her two minutes ago without the new hairstyle. Realizing that Katherine has been there recently, Rebekah and Elena split up to look for her; Rebekah goes in the post office, and Elena takes the parking lot. As Elena searches the parking lot, Katherine attacks her from behind, threatening to kill her, but Rebekah intervenes, throwing Katherine to the ground. 

Rebekah and Elena take Katherine to a local café. Although they are holding her against her will, Rebekah is much stronger than Katherine and Katherine does not challenge Rebekah or Elena directly. They demand the cure from Katherine, but Katherine redirects the conversation to Jeremy and in doing so, realizes that Elena has turned off her humanity. Katherine attempts to allude the two and claims she is going to get menus, but Rebekah quickly stabs her hand with a fork, which pins Katherine's hand to the table. The waitress approaches and realizes Katherine is hurt, but Elena forces Katherine to compel the waitress to forget what she had just seen. Katherine reveals that she is planning to use the cure to bargain with Klaus for her freedom. Elena scoffs and says she will screw all of them over, but Katherine states that she's changed and has no reason to screw over any of them. Rebekah frisks Katherine, securing her phone and tossing it to Elena. Elena finds an appointment in her phone at 2:00 pm with someone with the initials "E.M." Katherine looks concerned at Elena's discovery, and refuses to reveal the unknown person's identity. Elena intends on meeting the mystery person and decides to attend the meeting as Katherine. She demands Katherine's jewelry, jacket, make-up and shoes. Katherine says that Elena will never be able to pass for her.

Klaus is still writhing in pain, attempting to remove the White Oak Stake's tip himself with pliers. Caroline arrives at Klaus's, annoyed because he has been incessantly leaving her messages while she is busy heading multiple prom committees. At first, Klaus believes Silas is disguised as Caroline and shouts at her to stop hounding him, but after Caroline engages in her usual banter and accuses him of phone stalking her, Klaus realizes it's truly Caroline. He asks her to cut the stake out of him. She refuses unless Klaus allows Tyler to return and vow not to kill him. They both become frustrated over each other's stubborn nature, and they engage in a verbal confrontation that ends with the severe pain suddenly disappearing. Realizing that Silas had compelled him to believe that he was dying from the White Oak Stake's tip lodged in his back and that he had only imagined the pain, he thanks Caroline for redirecting his thoughts. Caroline is stunned at their discovery of Silas' power, and is clearly worried about what he could do to all of them, if he can compel Klaus that strongly. As Caroline is about to leave, Klaus asks her if they are friends. Caroline brings up Tyler again, and he sighs before stating that he's not exactly scouring the world to find him. Klaus implies that he will not hunt down and kill Tyler, and the two mutually agree to be friends.

At a gazebo in town, Elena is waiting for the mystery person to arrive, and is surprised to discover the mystery person is Elijah. While believing she is Katherine, he kisses her passionately, adding to Elena's surprise. Elijah then asks for the cure. Elena replies it's in a safe place, and promises to retrieve it, patting him on the chest reassuringly. Elijah sees Elena's daylight ring, and realizes he has mistaken her for Katherine. He quickly jerks her back as she attempts to walk away, and asks where Katherine is.

Meanwhile, Damon and Stefan arrive in Willoughby, PA. At the café, Katherine and Rebekah bicker and Rebekah twists and breaks Katherine's wrist, but they are interrupted when Damon and Stefan approach. When they question the two on Elena's whereabouts, Katherine replies that Elena is probably in the town morgue by now. Looking satisfied with herself, Katherine reveals that Elena unknowingly went to meet Elijah and he probably killed her immediately after realizing she was not Katherine. Stefan leaves in search of Elijah and Elena, hoping she is still alive. He uses Katherine's phone to call Elijah, who demands Katherine be kept safe.

Rebekah and Damon force Katherine to take them to the cure. She takes the two to her house, and while retrieving it from its hiding place on her bookcase, she insists it is gone. Damon and Rebekah doubt her claims and Rebekah searches the rest of the house. Damon finds it suspicious to have a large fish tank with no fish, and notices it contains a sizable treasure chest. Upon attempting to procure the treasure chest, he is burned by the fish tank's water, revealing it to be imbued with vervain. Katherine takes advantage of Damon's moment of weakness with the vervain water, and dunks his head into it, further weakening him. As she is moving at vampire speed to exit, she is confronted by Rebekah at the front door. Katherine tosses the cure in the air, deflecting Rebekah and making a speedy departure, but Rebekah intercepts it. Damon is still lying weak on the floor from the vervain fish water, and Rebekah is holding the cure. Damon makes a less than feeble attempt to stop her, and cannot come up with a good reason for Elena to take it instead. Rebekah drinks the cure and faints onto the couch, unconscious. When she awakens, Stefan has arrived and Rebekah appears to be cured. Damon, having already expressed his desire to do so, tries to kill her by throwing a letter opener at her, but she catches it by impulse, stunning them all by her quick reflexes. She opens her hand to reveal a cut on her palm that heals before their eyes, and they realize the cure she drank was a fake and that it was probably a concentrated shot of vervain.

As Elijah and Elena wait for Katherine, they talk about Katherine and Elena maintains that he can't trust her, because she always lies. He retorts that she didn't lie about Elena's transformation into a vampire, and deduces that she shut out her humanity, asking her why. She states that Jeremy had died and that Katherine killed him, which shocks Elijah. They are interrupted by Katherine, who snaps Elena's neck. Elijah confronts her about Jeremy's death and is angered upon discovering Katherine did in fact take part in his death. Katherine attempts to stop Elijah from leaving angry, saying that he promised he would help negotiate her freedom with Klaus in return for the cure. He rebuffs her, feeling she only sees him as means to survive and gain her freedom.

Damon and Stefan search for Elena, and Damon admits he made a mistake when he hesitated in stopping Rebekah from taking the "cure", and he has come to accept that Elena would be better off human. Stefan argues that while they continue to judge Katherine for not changing, the brothers themselves continue to fight over the same girl. Because of their reoccurring mistakes, Stefan claims that while he owes Elena a chance to be human again, once that has happened, he intends to leave and start over somewhere else without her in his life. This catches Damon off guard, and he tells him that they need to focus on getting the cure first, and then they can talk about what to do from there.

Katherine confronts Elijah on the street, after retrieving the real cure from its hiding place. She admits she has spent so many years hiding and lying to protect herself that she began to believe her own lies, and that while she can't remember the person she was when they met, she wants to find out. She gives him the cure, and tells him that he owes her nothing, that she is leaving it to him to decide what happens from there. Rebekah appears seconds later, and asks him for the cure. Elijah can't understand why she wants it, but she tells him she wants to start over, have a simple life, and die when it's time to die, reminding him that they have had a hundred lifetimes together. She asks him again for the cure, and before he can answer, Klaus calls. She hands the phone to Elijah, who tells him that he's on the way back to Mystic Falls with the cure. Klaus says he imagines Elijah has a list of demands, and he replies that he doesn't have many. He and Rebekah get into the car and begin the trip back to Mystic Falls.

At the end of the episode, Stefan and Damon meet up with Elena at the local café. She explains that she has made it clear that she doesn't want the cure, she will never want the cure and that she wants them to drop the subject and never speak of it again. When Damon scoffs, she repeats herself, telling them to back off or there will be consequences. Stefan notes that when he had turned off his emotions, Elena refused to give up on him, and as such he intends to do the same. The waitress approaches the table to fill up Elena's now empty cup of coffee, but before she can do so, Elena jumps up and snaps her neck, killing the waitress instantly. She tells Stefan and Damon the waitresses death was a consequence of them attempting to cure her. If they continue attempting to do so, there will be a second, tenth and hundredth victim whose blood will be on their hands. She calmly steps over the dead body and disappears into the night, leaving a concerned look on Damon's and Stefan's faces as they realize just how far gone Elena is without her humanity.                  


Main Cast

Recurring Cast



  • AntagonistsSilasElena Gilbert and Katherine Pierce.
  • Elena and Katherine come face-to-face for the first time since the incident on the Island.
  • Elijah and Katherine are revealed to be in a relationship.
  • Elijah kisses Elena thinking that she's Katherine. This is the first time that Elena impersonated Katherine, after multiple instances in which Katherine impersonated Elena.
  • Klaus believed that Silas had broken a piece of the white oak stake into his back in the previous episode to the point where he actually felt the piece scraping against his heart. However, the true extent of Silas' psychic powers was ultimately revealed for the first time when Caroline made Klaus so angry that he snapped out of the illusion that Silas had cast on him, and Klaus realized that Silas never had the stake in the first place—he had only made Klaus imagine that he did.

Body Count



Behind the Scenes

  • This episode started filming on February 8.[1]
  • Scenes in Willoughby were actually shot in "Stone Mountain Village" in Stone Mountain, Georgia.[2]
  • This episode had about 2.46 million viewers in the USA, which was 0.19 million less than the previous episode.
  • Hashtag during the airing is #KatFight

Cultural References

  • American Gothic is a painting by Grant Wood, in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago. The painting shows a farmer standing beside his spinster daughter.
  • Also American Gothic is an American horror series starring Gary Cole, created by Shaun Cassidy and executive produced by Sam Raimi.
  • American Gothic is the American form of the literary movement known as dark romanticism.
  • "Every cloud has a silver lining" is a phrase used to tell someone that there is a brighter side to the problem they are facing.


Stefan: (to Damon) "What happened to the guy who thought Elena should embrace being a vampire?"
Damon: (to Stefan) "That guy got his neck snapped in New York, and she's a pain enough as it is."
Stefan: (to Rebekah) "You have no chance at finding this cure."
Silas: (to Klaus while in Caroline's form) "I will bring you nothing but misery."
Elena: "I think I just found Katherine."
Elena: (to Katherine) "Give me the cure. Now."
Katherine: (to Elena) "Yeah, like that's gonna happen."
Damon: "Looks like we have a winner."

Damon: (angrily) "If they so much as even scratched the paint on my car..."
Stefan: "Why don't you just be grateful Sheriff Forbes was able to track down the car after you let them... mmm, you know... steal it from you?"
Damon: "Remind me to send her some mini-muffins. Do we really need ten gallons of gas, or do you making me just lag this around as punishment?"
Stefan: "They ditched your car after they ran out of fuel-- we gotta fill it up. We've got a hundred miles before we get to Willoughby."
Damon: "Yeah, well, I don't remember that name from the list of places I got in NY."
Stefan: "Ah, the list. You mean the list they stole from right under your nose after you let your guard down? They'll be there. Sheriff Forbes tracked down the car they stole after yours."
Damon: "Screw the muffins, I'll get her champagne if Elena is wherever it may be."
Stefan: "Willoughby. Cream Corn Capital of Pennsylvania. They'll be there. Let's just hope we get to them before they get to the cure."
Damon: "Oh, silver lining. If Rebekah takes the cure, then she is mortal. We can just kill her right then and there."
Stefan: "Oh! Dark cloud. Elena stays a vampire forever. Look, why don't you just table your revenge fantasies for now and just keep your eye on the prize? Find Katherine, get the cure, get out before you get your neck snapped ... Again."
Damon: "Believe me, I learned my lesson. Elena without humanity is a stone cold bitch, and I won't trust her until we get the old Elena back."
Stefan: "Look at that. We are finally on the same page about something."
Damon: "Look at that."

Rebekah: "You know, it's funny, I've always been a little envious of the legend that is Katherine Pierce. The way you could wrap men around your little finger. The way Elijah betrayed Klaus for you. The way the Salvatore brothers stumbled head over heels for you. And yet, here we are, all these years later, in a town that you've had to compel into liking you. (She laughs) Oh! I'm sorry. I shouldn't laugh. It's really more sad than funny."
Katherine: "You know you can't split the cure with Elena, right?"
Rebekah: "She doesn't want it."
Katherine: "Oh, no? But you do. You wanna take it? Are you really that dumb or just naturally blonde?"
Rebekah: "I want a normal life again."
Katherine: "You mean you want a do-over. Well, guess what? You can't have it. The cure will only take away your immortality. Everything else you hate about yourself, you'll still wake up with that in the morning, and you won't even be able to compel yourself a friend."
[Rebekah grabs Katherine's wrist and twists it hard]
[Stefan and Damon appear]
Stefan: (to Rebekah and Katherine) "Ladies. Playing nice?"
[Damon sits down]
Katherine: "There goes the neighborhood."
Damon: (to Rebekah) "I see you've got Katherine already." (to Katherine) "You're losing your touch, evil one."

Damon: "Do you know where she is?"
Katherine: "I can give you a hint. Start by looking at the town morgue. She's probably dead. She went to meet up with a friend of mine. You may know him? An Original brother? Impeccable taste."
Rebekah: (stunned) "Elijah?"
Damon: "Elijah's here?"
Stefan: "Well, you sort of have to question Elijah's impeccable taste if he's friends with you."
Katherine: "Oh, when I say "friend," I mean "friend."
(Damon and Rebekah groan with disgusted looks on their faces)
Katherine: "It probably took him about ten seconds to realize that she wasn't me. At which point he probably yanked her heart right out of her chest."

Elijah: "You've abandoned your emotions. Why?"
Elena: "My brother's dead. Your girlfriend killed him." (Elijah looks shocked and horrified) "You didn't know? Of course you didn't."
Elijah: "She lied."
Elena: "I hate to say 'I told you so,' but... duh."

Elena: "You boys are all the same. Damon and Stefan still think that the girl they love is still in here somewhere too."
Elijah: "You can't blame them for having hope, Elena. It would be a shame if the world lost a soul as compassionate as yours."
Elena: (quotes Elijah's letter) "'Your compassion is a gift, Elena. Carry it with you, always and forever.' I remember reading that in a letter once."
Elijah: (smirks) "Well, the writer sounds positively gifted."



Last.fm_play.png "Forget Me Not" – The Civil Wars
Last.fm_play.png "Days Long Gone" – Don Gallardo
Last.fm_play.png "Why Try" – Young Summer



See also