Friday, October 21, 2011

Vampire Diaries Post Mortem: Smells Like Teen Spirit

Stefan won't leave her alone
Hard to believe that in story time it's just been a year since Elena met the Salvatores for the first time.  It's been a hell of a year with something like fifty episodes of danger, action, adventure, love, passion, loss and mayhem.

And vampires and witches and werewolves, oh my.  Smells Like Teen Spirit is hardly a departure for the series that takes the action and keeps ratcheting it up until sitting back in your seat is damn near impossible.

The episode opens at 5:15 in the morning with Elena turning off her alarm clock, then it's off for some Buffy the Vampire Slaying lessons with Alaric.  I love that she is not a natural.  Alaric tells her she has to build up her upper body strength to do it, but reminds her that she got out of bed this morning, she is putting one foot in front of the other and that makes her one of the strongest people he knows.

Meanwhile back at the Salvatore mansion, Damon has to step over the corpses to come down the stairs.  The boys also have a new houseguest as Rebecca moves herself in.  Seems like Klaus left his baby sister behind when he skedaddled.  Rebecca also enrolls in Mystic Falls High and has her sights set firmly on Tyler, much to Caroline's chagrin.  Seems like she wants her Stefan back, but she doesn't like the dark, emotionless Stefan either.

My Bodyguard

Damon and Stefan have completely reversed their first season roles. Damon calls to tell Elena to avoid the Salvatore manse for a time.  He doesn't tell her why, but considering Stefan's rip-roaring appetites, Damon doesn't want Elena to have to deal with that.  At school, Stefan stalks around behind Elena like a psychopathic bodyguard, which is essentially what he is.  He haunts her in class, follows her on the track and even knocks down a kid who 'bumps' her. 

Elena is sick with worry over it, because this Stefan scares the crap out of her. 

Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

Bonnie is finally having an issue with Jeremy seeing his ghostly exes.  She points out that Jeremy is only seeing Anna because he wants to (which is true), particularly since he's been able to keep Vicki out.  Matt, meanwhile, is enjoying having his sister back, even if it's leaving him ripped up inside.  Since his deep swimming escapade, he can still see her.

I have to admit though, I loved Jeremy cruising the stoner pit and not even acknowledging Vicki, but revealing to Anna that he saw Matt talking to her.  Way to go Jere.  Unfortunately, Matt's lonely as hell and when Vicki talks him into doing a spell, he agrees to do it.

Turns out Vicki has help from a witch on the other side, she tells Matt all the things to do (including a really bloody handcut ow) and for Matt to call Vicki home.  It works.  But Vicki now has to keep up her end of the bargain.  Matt is surprised when Vicki says the balance has to be restored, Klaus can't make hybrids.  He starts to defend Tyler, but Vicki says no, she's going to kill Elena and knocks big bro out.

Note to Matt: always read the fine print when dealing with supernaturals

Team Effort

Elena can't handle Stefan's behavior, she plots with Alaric, Damon and Caroline to trap Stefan and put him in the Forbes family torture chamber until they can figure out a way to free him from Klaus' compulsion.  Tyler refuses to help because Klaus wouldn't be happy.  Ut-Oh, it seems that when Klaus turned Tyler, he 'sired' him which means Tyler's first loyalty is to Klaus.  Damon pumps him full of vervain to drop him and Caroline takes him home until they can figure out what to do.

The three set their plan in motion for the welcome back to school bonfire. Elena starts drinking and drunk Elena is awesome.  She's got sass, tart and loses some of her wounded angel air.   She tells Stefan to stuff it when he tells her she's drinking too much, bodyguard boy doesn't like it, particularly as Elena keeps knocking them back.  Meanwhile, Damon heads over to romance Rebecca with some marshmellows to distract her.

And Elena gets jealous watching.  Body guard boy teases her, but tells her she should tell Damon she's jealous, it would make his day.  Elena disses him again.   She wanders off alone to the bleachers at the football field, far away from the fire and sure enough, here comes Stefan, the bodyguard boy.  Elena does drunk great.  She finally lets herself fall off the bleachers, hoping that Stefan will catch her and when he does, Alaric drops him with two darts of vervain.

Brilliant, but risky.

Vicki Screws It Up

Alive or dead, Vicki is a screw up.  Elena and Alaric load the drugged up Stefan into the car and are hurrying to get him to lockup when ghost with the not so most drops her lit cigarette into the gasoline trap she's laid all over the car.   Elena is trapped inside the burning vehicle with Stefan and Vicki keeps the doors locked.  The fire rages and Elena has to wake Stefan up to kick out the back door, they make it, but the whole thing blows up.

Meanwhile, Bonnie works a spell to send Vicki back and Matt says goodbye, but we've already got problems, because Anna and Jeremy are touching.  Cue the Twilight Zone music.

Damon Tends Elena

Damon is cleaning Elena's burned cheek, which reminds me, I totally forgot the hot moment earlier in the episode when Damon finds Elena training with weights. He puts pressure on the weight to show her what she really is up against and calls her Buffy affectionately.  Then he gives her a very sweet and sexy demonstration of where to hit the heart. 

Elena also takes up Damon's cause with Alaric, because she is sure Damon misses him.

Elena tell Damon he looked cozy with Rebecca.  He smiles slightly and said he thought she was too drunk to notice.  She retorts that she had to drink some, but she had to act her part.  Damon meets her eyes and reassures her, he was acting too.  The relief Elena experiences is palpable until Alaric interrupts the moment and it's time for Elena to go.

Tyler Takes a Walk on the Wild Side
Tyler isn't above compelling his coach

Despite making up and out with Caroline, Caroline leaves teasing Tyler that he has to earn an overnighter.  That's okay, because as soon as she's gone, Rebecca shows up with a human for Tyler to feast on.  Poor Tyler, he's drunk on the blood and he goes for it.  I know he dosen't want to go back to being that jerk from his pre-werewolf days, but I sense a difficult road in his future.

He's Awake

Katherine spent the whole episode trying to wake up Michael and I had to wonder from our first meeting if he wasn't a vampire who hunted other vampires because he drank from them.

Guess what?

Katherine was his rejuvenating snack.  Hard to feel any sympathy for the witch with the heart of narcissistic ice.  But I can't wait to see where this goes.

Honey, He's Home

Speaking of difficult futures, remember the ghost spell Matt did? I knew the small print needed closer examination.  A force roves around the Salvatore manse, destroying vases and breaking dishes.  Damon's still cleaning the blood up from Stefan's last party when he gets knocked a dozen feet back into the wall.

Mason Lockwood is back and he's pissed.

And yes, I know he's a ghost. 

So who's next? Grams?  Jenna? Isobel?  Pearl?  Who would you pick?

Side Note: Kudos to the writers for all the Buffy references in this episode, anyone who watched that series will remember Angelus haunting Buffy and how his cruel, coldness broke her heart.  Emotion Off Stefan is definitely taking a page from that book.

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