We start season 4 one day after the season 3 finale, with Elena waking up and realizing she’s in transition. ‘Growing Pains’ mainly revolved around most of the characters trying to find a way to keep Elena human, which results in Bonnie experiencing the repercussions of using dark magic. In the meantime the council members, led by Pastor Young, start to round up vampires and Rebekah gets on the bad side of Klaus, who is no longer in Tyler’s body, by destroying what he had left of Elena’s blood. The episode ends with Elena completing the transition and Pastor Young killing himself and the remaining council members by blowing up his house.
In ‘Memorial’, Conner Jordan, a new vampire hunter, was introduced. His arrival and Jeremy seeing his tattoo starts the cure storyline, which this season centers around. We also meet April Young, Pastor Young’s daughter, who returns to town for her father’s funeral. In the meantime, Elena is unable to keep any blood down, except when she feeds off a human. At the end of the episode, the main characters hold a small memorial for the people they’ve lost and Damon, unknowingly, gets a visit from Alaric’s ghost.
‘The Rager’ introduced us to Haley, a werewolf who helped Tyler break the sire bond. She visits Tyler, who is unable to leave his house thanks to Connor. At school Rebekah tries to push Elena’s buttons. Later at Rebekah’s party, Elena is infected with werewolf venom. Klaus, after realizing who Connor is, saves Elena. Later Elena loses control when feeding on Matt, and Damon promises to teach her how to control it.
The cure storyline goes into full effect in ‘The Five’. Klaus and Rebekah reveal a part of their history to Stefan, in which they found out that there is a cure for vampirism, to which Connor holds the key. Klaus and Stefan later dagger Rebekah, to keep it a secret. In the meantime, Damon, Elena and Bonnie visit Whitmore College, where they meet professor Shane, who is a believer. After feeding and partying with Damon, Elena becomes afraid of being too much like him. At the end of the episode it is revealed that Connor and Shane are working together.
In ‘The Killer’ Connor, while trying to enlarge his tattoo, takes Matt, Jeremy and April hostage at the Grill. Stefan, who is desperate to keep Connor alive, butts heads with Elena and Damon, who want to save Jeremy, Matt and April. Elena ends up killing Connor, which causes Jeremy to become a vampire hunter when his tattoo appears. In the meantime, Shane is helping Bonnie get her magic back. The episode ends with Elena writing in her diary, saying she lost herself. She later starts to hallucinate because she killed one of the Five.
In ‘We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes’ Elena’s hallucinations, which come in the form of Connor, Katherine and her mom, drive Elena to the point of suicide. The only cure to the hunter curse is if a potential new hunter, which in this case is Jeremy, makes his first kill. Klaus provides Jeremy with a hybrid he can kill, in exchange for a date with Caroline, who agrees. Damon manages to save Elena before she burns in the sun. Later Elena and Stefan break up because her feelings have changed.
The Miss Mystic Falls pageant returns in ‘My Brother’s Keeper’, and is won by April Young. Jeremy, now an awakened hunter, feels a strong urge to kill vampires, even his own sister. This comes into effect at the pageant when he almost kills her. Shane shows up and it turns out that he knows Haley. Caroline goes on her date with Klaus and seems to have fun. Elena feels a strong attraction to Damon during the pageant, and at the end of the episode, they make love, during which Stefan and Caroline figure out that Elena is sired to Damon.
‘We’ll Always Have Bourbon Street’ picks up the next morning. Stefan tells Damon about the sire bond, which is later confirmed when Elena is able to drink blood from a bag, because Damon says she can. Stefan and Damon then travel to New Orleans to find Charlotte, a vampire who is also sired to Damon. There they find out from a witch that the only way to break the sire bond, is to set her free. Back in Mystic Falls, Elena, Carline and Bonnie party at the Salvatore mansion. But a fight soon breaks out between Elena and Caroline, who disapproves of Elena’s relationship with Damon. She tells Elena that she’s not in love with Damon, but sired to him, which Tyler later contradicts when he tells Elena that the bond affects how you act, not how you feel. The fight is interrupted by the hybrids, who kidnap Caroline to get Tyler to give up his alpha-role. But Tyler fights back and the hybrids accept him. Later Damon tries to set Elena free but she doesn’t let him asking him if it feels wrong.
In ‘O Come, All Ye Faithful’ Mystic Falls has a winter-themed party. Tyler’s big plan to get rid of Klaus is ruined when Haley tells Klaus, resulting in a very haunting scene where Klaus kills all 12 hybrids. In the meantime, Damon and Elena visit Jeremy, Bonnie and Shane at the Gilbert Lake House, where Jeremy is trying to learn how to resist the urge to kill his sister. Shane manages to help Jeremy control it and Damon sets Elena free. Back in Mystic Falls April discovers the truth about vampires and un-daggers Rebekah while Klaus gets revenge on Tyler by killing Carol.
Vampire Diaries returned after (a long) winter break with ‘After School Special’. Rebekah is back with a vengeance, holding Elena, Stefan and Caroline hostage in the school library. She compels them to tell the truth leading Elena to confess that she’s in love with Damon. Kol tortures Shane to get the location of the cure, who tells him that it’s with Silas. Kol then tries to kill him, but Bonnie saves him with her new magic, and almost kills April in the process. April later tells the sheriff and Bonnie’s dad, who’s the new mayor, what’s been going on. Caroline finds Tyler, who had been forced to turn by Rebekah, and he tells her that it’s all his fault and he should’ve been able to save his mom. The episode ends with Elena telling Damon she loves him, Stefan and Rebekah teaming up and Damon and Jeremy arriving at a bar full of newly created vampires, courtesy of Klaus.
In ‘Catch Me If You Can’ Damon, Jeremy and Matt are hiding from the new vampires and they’re later joined by Elena. Damon and Jeremy return to the bar to kill them but find Kol has already done it for them. Jeremy manages to escape but Kol compels Damon to kill Jeremy. After a long chase, Stefan snaps Damon’s neck and locks him in the basement of the Salvatore boarding house. He then goes to Rebekah’s house, after spending the day with her going through Shane’s stuff, and they sleep together. The episodes concludes with Elena telling Jeremy she wants him to kill Kol.
‘A View To Kill’ brings us the 80’s decade dance, which is cancelled by Bonnie’s dad. This doesn’t stop Rebekah and Stefan, who’s supposed to dagger Rebekah. He ends up not doing it and tells Elena that Rebekah’s on their side. Bonnie’s dad brings in her mother to help Bonnie but he fails when she once again proves how strong her new magic is. She then joins Elena and Jeremy, who managed to kill Kol after a long fight. She traps an enraged Klaus in the Gilbert living room. By the end of the episode Damon joins them, after Kol’s compulsion has worn off and Jeremy reveals his complete tattoo.
In ‘Into The Wild’ Elena, Damon, Stefan, Rebekah, Bonnie, Jeremy and Shane travel to the island where the cure is hidden. Caroline and Tyler stay behind in Mystic Falls to watch Klaus, who’s still trapped in Elena’s kitchen. As a way to get back at Tyler, who keeps taunting him, Klaus bites Caroline. Tyler calls Klaus’ bluff, knowing he won’t let Caroline die, which Klaus later confirms when he cures Caroline. On the island, Stefan does his best to avoid a catfight between Rebekah and Elena. Damon voices his distrust of Shane, who tells him that Bonnie needs him to help control her magic. Elena asks Damon to take the cure with him but he declines and is later attacked by one of the Five. Jeremy disappears, and so does Bonnie when she goes looking for him, leaving just Elena, Stefan and Rebekah. Later it is revealed that Shane has orchestrated Jeremy’s kidnapping.
‘Down The Rabbit Hole’ picks up right where we left off with Stefan, Elena and Rebekah continuing their search for the cure. They’re helped by Caroline and Tyler back in Mystic Falls who discover there’s only one dose of the cure, leading Rebekah to turn on Stefan and Elena. Klaus forces Tyler to go on the run, giving him a head start before he goes after him. Bonnie, Jeremy and Shane are the first ones to get to the cave, but Shane gets injured leading Bonnie and Jeremy to continue without him. Meanwhile Damon is captured by Vaughn, a hunter who also wants the cure and who later attacks Bonnie and Jeremy in the cave. ‘Elena’ comes to Jeremy’s rescue, but it turns out to be Katherine. She then feeds Jeremy to a starved Silas and runs off with the cure. Silas then snaps Jeremy’s neck, killing a character who has been on the show since the beginning.
In ‘Stand By Me’ Elena, who is convinced the Gilbert ring will bring Jeremy back, and Stefan return home with Jeremy’s body. Back on the island Bonnie awakes completely healed. ‘Shane’, who later turns out to be Silas, convinces her to help him bring down the other side so that Jeremy (along with every supernatural creature) can return, which she pitches to the group once home. When Elena finally realizes that Jeremy isn’t coming back, she breaks down. To help her, Damon tells her to turn her emotions off. An emotionless Elena then burns down her house, with Jeremy’s body inside.
In ‘Bring It On’ Elena, who no longer cares about anything, has rejoined the cheerleading squad. Stefan, Damon and Caroline fail to reel her in, as she continues to cause trouble. Meanwhile Klaus tries to get information from Haley about Katherine’s whereabouts and they end up sleeping together. He then directs her to the location where she might find her biological family. Damon and Rebekah, who are also looking for Katherine, run into an old friend of Damon’s. Damon kills him so that he won’t have to suffer a long and painful death thanks to the werewolf bite Klaus had given him. At the end of the episode Damon takes Elena to New York.
‘Because The Night’ takes place in 2 different locations: Mystic Falls and New York. Damon and Elena travel to NYC to follow up on a lead on Katherine and are accompanied by Rebekah. Damon shares a part of his past with Lexi and is later double crossed by Elena and Rebekah. Back in Mystic Falls Silas convinces Bonnie to complete the last sacrifice. Stefan, Caroline and Klaus try to stop it but when Caroline sees the twelve witches are trying to kill Bonnie, she kills them to save her friend and unintentionally helps get Silas one step closer to bringing down the other side.
In ‘American Gothic’ we find Elena and Rebekah in Willoughby where they find Katherine. Seeing as she refuses to tell them where the cure is, Elena goes to meet Katherine’s ‘friend’. But it turns out to be Elijah, who quickly realizes who she is. Back in Mystic Falls Klaus is tormented by Silas. Caroline reluctantly helps him and the two seem to grow closer. Meanwhile Stefan and Damon have found Rebekah and Katherine but Katherine tricks them and escapes. She ends Elijah and Elena’s conversation by snapping Elena’s neck. Elijah no longer knows if he can trust her, but she later gives him the cure and tells him she wants to be the girl she used to be. The episode ends with Elena killing a waitress and telling Stefan and Damon that if they keep trying to fix her she’ll keep killing.
‘Pictures Of You’ brings us prom, where Elena steals Caroline’s dress, Matt and Bonnie are prom king and queen, Rebekah finally gets to attend a dance (and hates it) and no one dies. Elijah tells Rebekah that she can have the cure if she can spend one day as a human. She’s almost successful but she heals April who was attacked by Elena. Silas crashes the party disguising himself as one of them but Bonnie manages to shut him out and later sees what she thinks is his real face. After spending the evening pushing everyone’s buttons, Elena attacks Bonnie, who fights her off. Stefan and Damon then lock her in the cellar. Silas, as Rebekah, steals the cure. Klaus receives a letter from Katherine telling him there are witches conspiring against him.
Episode twenty was the backdoor pilot for the spin off show ‘The Originals’. The episode focused on Klaus as he travels to New Orleans to find the witch who’s plotting against him. We’re introduced to Marcel, Klaus’ former protégé who now rules the city; Cami, a human waitress and Sophie, a witch who’s had enough of Marcel’s rules. Elijah joins Klaus and they find out that Haley is pregnant with Klaus’ baby. Sophie wants to use this as a way to get Klaus on her side but he tells her to kill Haley and the baby. He eventually changes his mind and pretends to join Marcel. Elijah goes back to Mystic Falls to convince Rebekah to join them but she refuses. He also says goodbye to Katherine after she asks him to stay.
‘She’s Come Undone’ revolves around getting Elena’s humanity back. Stefan and Damon try torture, but after she calls their bluff, they bring in Katherine, who then leaves Elena’s door unlocked so that she can escape. Matt and Rebekah grow closer and Caroline becomes Silas’ new target. He almost kills her mother to lure out Bonnie. Bonnie later makes a deal with Katherine, promising to make her untouchable like Silas. Damon kills Matt, who was wearing the Gilbert ring, and in doing so manages to bring out Elena’s humanity. When all of the emotions start to overwhelm her, Stefan tells her to focus on only one. She focuses on hate and tells them she wants to kill Katherine.
In last week’s episode ‘The Walking Dead’ Bonnie drops the veil. In doing so she brings back Alaric, Kol, Jeremy, Lexi and Sheila. While Alaric and Lexi reunite with their best friends, Kol goes after Elena, only to be stopped by Stefan and Jeremy. Silas reveals to Bonnie that he’s been fooling her all along, letting her think she was in control. But after Sheila convinces her that she’s strong enough, Bonnie turns Silas to stone. Jeremy manages to bring out the rest of Elena’s humanity, derailing her from her plan to kill Katherine. Alaric gives Damon the cure he took from Silas and tells him to get the girl. Bonnie tries to do a spell to keep Jeremy amongst the living but she passes out. The episode ends with Rebekah and Matt being confronted by Alexander, Connor and Vaughn and Bonnie waking up to see herself dead on the ground.
Now this week it’s the finale. Our main characters are graduating, while the town is being overrun with supernatural creatures who are back from the dead. Now the big questions are: Will we see more familiar faces? What will happen to Bonnie? Will the veil stay down? But most importantly: Who will get take the cure?