28 October 2011

The Vampire Diaries S3 E6 "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Spoilers Ahead

This season definitely smells like something but I don't think it's teen spirit. And may I just thank the writers for appropriating my generation's anthem of ultimate apathy and using it for the title of an episode that revolves around a lame high school's even lamer "Spirit Squad." Kurt Cobain is rolling in his grave (then again he already does that every time Courtney Love opens her mouth). But I digress.

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" (shudder) starts with Elena and Alaric getting up at an ungodly hour in order for him to teach her how to fight vampires. I don't know who she expects to be defending herself against exactly since all the vampires she knows are either her friends, in love with her, compelled to protect her, or too strong even for other vampires to fight. But best to be safe I guess. The fact that she's too weak to trigger the staking device strapped to her hand isn't exactly a promising start, though.

Damon, meanwhile, wakes up to a house of dead and/or bleeding girls and his Ripper brother thinks it's all a big joke (or at least nothing to get riled up about). Damon's annoyance only increases when Rebecca shows up on their doorstep and invites herself in (literally--isn't the house still in Elena's name? How did Rebecca just walk right in?) It seems Klaus was in such a hurry to leave town that he left her behind (or he left her to keep an eye on Ty; both explanations are given). So she's decided to crash with the Salvatores even though neither of them wants her there. And she calls them rude.

But Rebecca isn't the only one making herself at home where she doesn't belong. It's the first day of school and while all the girls are preoccupied with their boyfriend troubles (Bonnie's upset that Jeremy sees his ghost exes; Caroline is worried about Klaus-sired hybrid Ty; and Elena...well, you know...) Stefan decides to show up and play student again. After all, he does have to keep an eye on Elena. And woe to anyone who gets in his way (Alaric, various random students).

While Elena is dealing with Stefan Caroline is having the worst first day of school ever *pout*. First Ty is somewhat out of control. He comes to school with blood on his shirt--from a blood bag that Rebecca hooked him up with. He's also super stoked that he's Klaus's first successful hybrid, not to mention one of Klaus's assets (along with Elena). He's not too careful about compelling teachers in front of other students, either. Even worse Rebecca has decided to become a student as well--and she makes it clear she wants Caroline's life, including her boyfriend. But before she steals Ty she takes over Caroline's beloved Spirit Squad. Oh noes--now it'll never be the bestest year ever!!

Elena's already figured out that this isn't going to be a great year so she starts working out as a way of getting strong enough to fight the bad guys. You can see why Damon would be amused when he walks in and finds her lifting a barbell. With barely any effort he pushes down on it so Elena can't lift it. Yeah, she'll be ready to fight vampires any minute now. Giving up on the weights she tells Damon that she wants to lock Stefan up until Michael kills Klaus and the compulsion is broken. Damon does what Elena hates and points out reality: in this case that even without the compulsion Stefan is hooked on human blood. So Elena breaks out her default response: do it for me, Damon. Ugh. Anyone else sick of the way she uses and manipulates him? Yeah, taking advantage of someone who loves you is definitely the right way to go. But, of course, he gives in and even shows her (all sexy like) how to properly stake a vamp.

Damon, Elena, Alaric, and Caroline get together to work out a plan for capturing and containing Stefan. They want to ask Ty to raid his mom's vervain supply for enough to keep Stefan down for awhile but it turns out Ty's not on board. Why? Because putting Stefan out of commission isn't in Klaus's best interests. Rather than attributing Ty's weird behaviour to compulsion (the reasonable conclusion), Damon figures out he's been "sired." Siring is apparently really rare and involves excessive loyalty to a vampire's maker. Ty is putting Klaus's good ahead of his own and there's no cure.

Once they get Ty out of the way our heroes put their cunning plan into action. At the bonfire party while Damon distracts Rebecca (with somewhat over-the-top marshmallow flirtation), Elena gets drunk and makes sure Stefan knows it. He then spends the night following her around to make sure she doesn't get hurt. (He also calls her a lightweight, which is weird because I seem to recall a road trip with Damon where she nearly out-drank him.) There's a vaguely interesting bit when Elena watches Damon flirt with Rebecca and is definitely jealous (although she completely denies it).

As for the rest of the gang, Matt is preoccupied with his ghost sister instead of actually taking part in any school-like activities. He's happy that he gets to talk to her again and she uses that to her advantage, telling him that he can help bring her back. She won't be alive exactly but she'll be able to come and go as she pleases instead of having to rely on Matt to pull her across. All he needs to do is perform a ritual while a witch Vicky is in contact with on the other side works some magic from her end. But oops--Jeremy overhears and hurries to tell Anna all about it. Anna is distressed, insisting there's darkness around Vicky and that if she crosses over it'll upset the balance of nature. Next step: talk to Bonnie.

Bonnie is pissy because Jeremy spoke to Anna before he spoke to her, especially when she realizes that Anna is still there with them. She storms off to find Matt and deal with the Vicky situation. By then it turns out Matt has already successfully performed the ritual. What started out as a happy reunion with his sister goes bad fast when Vicky explains that part of her deal with the witch involves her restoring balance to the world. She informs him that Klaus's hybrids can't be allowed to survive and since they need doppelganger blood she's going to have to kill Elena. When Matt finally confesses everything to Bonnie she decides to try a magic-blocking spell to keep Vicky from crossing over.

Back to Elena's sidekicks, Caroline is busy having a talk with Ty about his obnoxious behaviour. After he swears he doesn't want to be his old jerkoff self again and promises to be good he and Caroline end up getting naked. Damon gets put out of commission with a marshmallow-roasting stick through the gut when Rebecca realizes he's trying to distract her. But even though she's pissed that he's trying to distract her and she leaves--where does she go? She disappears. You'd think she might try to find out why Damon is distracting her--especially since Stefan is nowhere to be found.

Stefan is still following drunk Elena and she's now hanging out by herself at the top of the bleachers. This leads me to an(other) issue I have with this episode. The bonfire everyone is attending is the "Spirit Squad" bonfire. Which makes it a school-related event. The bleachers would indicate it's even on school property. So (a) where are the teacher chaperones and (b) how are all these students drunk? I love how everyone on the show is negative about drug use and looks down on the school stoners but binge drinking among underage kids is just fine. I guess drinking is just cool. And Elena shows how cool it is when she climbs over the railing on the bleachers. Even Stefan asks if she's 5. Of course she falls like an idiot (what's worse is she does it on purpose) and Stefan bolts to catch her. When he does they have a moment ("I knew you'd catch me"--well, yeah, because he's compelled to!) A second later Alaric shoots Stefan full of vervain.

As they load Stefan into Alaric's car and Elena gets in after him we see Vicky standing nearby. We also see a gas can and the cigarette in her hand. Sure, she has to kill Elena--why not kill her in the most horrible way possible? Vicky throws the cigarette and the car is quickly engulfed. The doors and windows are also stuck shut. As Alaric fails to break the window Vicky materializes inside the car. At least she has the decency to apologize to Elena, even if she can't hear it. Meanwhile Bonnie is trying to work the spell to stop Vicky. Elena manages to rouse Stefan long enough for him to kick out the back panel of the SUV. Just as Vicky is about to prevent Elena from escaping she disappears and reappears in the room with Matt and Bonnie. Matt finally says goodbye to his sister and Vicky disappears for good. Wow, anticlimactic. Once Elena gets out of the car she and Alaric drag Stefan away as well. Then the car blows up. Just another day in Mystic Falls.

Back at Damon's he insists on putting burn lotion on Elena. I think it's silly but whatever--it gives them an excuse to continue their ongoing romantic tension. Elena comments on his flirting with Rebecca and he responds that he thought she was too drunk to notice. She says she was faking most of it and he responds with "So was I." Yes, very sweet. And yet she's still obsessed with Stefan. There's really no accounting for taste.

As Elena and Alaric are leaving, Stefan is up and recovered. He points out to them that they need him and are better off with him around. Sure--it's not like Elena is friends with any other vampires. He asks Elena why she saved him from the fire and she responds with a speech about hope and not giving up. He calls her pathetic and she finally manages to trigger those hand stakes right into his stomach (seems to be the favourite non-lethal area for staking). Apparently she's all strong now. After a whole day of working out. Maybe I should run around the track and lift weights for 10 minutes.

Caroline and Ty have missed all the action that didn't directly include them but Caroline refuses to stay the night. The second she's out of there Rebecca shows up with a compelled girl as a present for Ty. He tells Rebecca to leave but when she bites the girl on the wrist, he's there a second later helping himself to neck. So much for his promise to Caroline.

I should also take a minute to mention vampire vampire-hunter Michael. Katherine has been trying to revive him with the blood of various humans and animals with no success. It seems he's not interested in eating anything. Katherine's about ready to give up but after an "encouraging" phone call from Damon she agrees to give it another shot. She grabs the nearest person and force feeds Michael, partially reviving him. He then becomes rather insistent that Katherine take the blood away, which she reluctantly does. Later Michael apologizes and tells her he's denied himself human blood since he was turned. He also tells her he can and will kill Klaus. Katherine removes his chains as he claims he doesn't feed on living things. So guess what he eats. Apparently Katherine is dumb as dirt because she has to ask and, surprise, he grabs her and bites. A few moments later she goes limp.

As the episode winds down Bonnie is still avoiding Jeremy. But then he admits to Anna that he can't stop thinking about her (Anna, not Bonnie). Anna says she feels the same. As they reach over to hold hands they're shocked to find out they can actually feel each other. They have no idea what it means. Meanwhile as Damon is cleaning up at home a vase falls over and breaks while someone/something streaks by. Of course Damon assumes it's Stefan but a second later he's thrown across the room and knocked out and it turns out ghost Mason is in the house. Okay so bring on the angry ghosts.

You can probably already tell how I feel about this episode. Not loving the ghosts, the plot holes, the overwhelming lameness of it all. It's extra disappointing because we know how great this show can be. Maybe it'll pick up. I hope so because I have better things to do than watch shows that bore and annoy me. Even if they do star Ian Somerhalder.

Fang Files

Appearance: Pale human until the vampire emerges, then dark/red eyes, dark facial veins and prominent fangs.

Strengths: Ability to compel humans (Originals can also compel other vampires). Super strength, speed and gymnastics abilities. Unsurpassed skill at taking liberties.

Weaknesses: Stakes, vervain, blood lust, fire. Siring (excessive loyalty by a vampire to their maker).

Mythology: Vampires can turn off their emotions and humanity at will. Originals can only be temporarily "killed" by a certain type of dagger plunged into their hearts; when the dagger is removed the Original returns to life (only now it turns out there is some way to kill them permanently).

Sound Bites

Damon: [to Elena] Yeah, so you might not want to come around here for awhile. We have a new housemate: Barbie Klaus.

Elena: Who are you?
Stefan: I'm the guy who's been assigned to protect the human blood bag. I mean, no offence or anything.

Elena: Which is why it's your job to keep her [Rebecca] away.
Damon: How? She's an Original. Last time I checked we're out of daggers.
Elena: So then preoccupy her with your charm.
Alaric: You might have better luck finding the dagger.
Damon: You ever not going to be mad at me, Ric?
Alaric: Doubtful.

Elena: [As Damon presses down on the barbell she's trying to lift] What are you doing?
Damon: Helping you out.
Elena: Damon!
Damon: Come on, Buffy.

Ty: [to Caroline] Everything I like about me is you.

Ty: You should go.
Rebecca: You sure? I think my brother would want his hybrid to indulge in everything life has to offer.

The Vampire Diaries, Season 3 Episode 6 "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Written by Julie Plec and Caroline Dries. Directed by Rob Hardy. From The CW.

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