The Vampire Diaries: Smells Like Teen Spirit (Review)

The Vampire Diaries: Smells Like Teen Spirit

Coming off the heels of the best Vampire Diaries episode in its two plus seasons on the air, this past week’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, while as impactful as the previous episode provides digestible fodder to continue forward on the season’s arc as well as insert new drama to go with its own blindsiding moments.

Picking up the pieces from “The Reckoning”, Stefan (Paul Wesley) is enjoying his new ripper status, making things difficult for Elena (Nina Dobrev) as he maintains his cover as high school student. His presence is slowly wearing her down as he has almost relegated himself to stalker, which only increases the similarities between he and Angelus, Buffy’s beau turned homicidal killer. While not as off the rails as Angelus, Stefan’s new personality is not at all charming to his peeps, though it seems that Damon (Ian Somerhalder) has the experience to keep his cool around Stefan.  To further complicate things for the good guys, Klaus’s (Joseph Morgan) sister Rebekah (Claire Holt), joins the Mystic Falls senior class. Her job is to keep an eye on Tyler (Michael Trevino). This doesn’t sit well with Caroline (Candice Accola), whose jealousy as his interest in Rebekah only increases her irritation with the other changes in his behavior where he’s more reminiscent of his pre-wolf d-bag persona, though by episode’s end, he becomes something more and, potentially worse.

A frustrated Elena needs him out of her everyday life and the gang tries to come up with a way to take Stefan out of the picture until they can ‘derippify’ him.When Tyler balks at the plan on the basis of it upsetting Klaus, Damon (Ian Somerhalder) realizes Klaus has sired Tyler, making the new hybrid loyal to his master. Once Tyler is out of the way, they go about their plan for locking Stefan up.

Part of the plan requires Damon to use his boyish charms to distract Rebekah. It’s a prospect that Elena, as she watches Damon in action, has a hard time watching. Stefan is at her side during the scene and recognizes the deep seated jealousy she has watching Damon flirt with Rebekah. This, coupled with a later scene between the two is just what the doctor ordered for Dalena fans. As much as she fights it, Elena continues to have more of her feelings for Damon surface of their own accord, so much so that others around her are becoming aware of it. The writers are doing a fantastic job not giving too much away; they are taking their time, aware of the delicate and unique nature of the relationship—as much as Elena herself is—building suspense for the moment she and Damon cross that chasm to a physical expression of what they are feeling.

Speaking of the physical, Matt continues his relationship with his ghost sister Vicki. His near death experience has opened a door for her to appear to him, and she does, eventually pleading for his help to come back into our world, a plea he can’t ignore. He ends up performing a ritual to bring Vicki into this world enough for her to touch him and create havoc around her. It’s not until the ritual is completed that she admits to him the price she agreed to pay to stay in the world. With Bonnie’s (Kat Graham) help, they drive her back into the beyond before she can take Elena’s life as payment but there are always consequences. Vicki’s interference allows Stefan to get out of the gang’s incarceration plans for him and, on a somewhat positive note, Anna (Malese Jow) and Jeremy are able to touch. While good for Anna, this can be no good for Bonnie as her distance and Jeremy’s lingering feelings for Anna will no doubt amp up the strife between the couple and begs the question, just how far will Jeremy go to make things right.

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” is a very good episode but a significant downgrade from the previous week’s offering (what episode wouldn’t be?). It presents a few nuggets of goodness, primarily the continued development of Damon and Elena’s relationship. They continue to get closer, their emotional connection emphasized by the smallest of gestures. It’s a primary reason for her strength in dealing with Stefan’s absence and most recent transformation but will also be a major part of the Stefan-Elena-Damon arc as it pertains to the entire season.

Michael (Sebastian Roche), the one thing Klaus seems to fear, is nearly free, thanks to Katherine, tough his freedom comes at a cost to the raven haired trouble maker. And the final scene, one that garnered my WTF reaction had Damon being rudely re-introduced to one Mason Lockwood (Taylor Kisch), the werewolf he killed last season. His appearance does not bode well for Mr. Salvatore and begs the question just where things are going in Mystic Falls.

Rating: B

Rewatchability Factor: 2 (out of five)

Vampire Bites:
  • Oh boy; did Tyler go Ripper on a helpless victim courtesy of Rebekah? Now that he’s got a taste of blood straight from the tap, how is that going to effect his behavior around his friends as well as his loyalty factor to Klaus?
  • I did not see this Mason thing coming at all. Going by the episode itself (and not the confusing preview of this week’s episode) things don’t look to good for Damon.
  • While not too enamored with the whole “Ghost” thing, I am very intrigued by the Anna/Jeremy connection. While it’s understandable why Bonnie is upset, her tuning Jeremy out is having the opposite effect of what she’s planned. He’s already drawn to Anna (one of my favorite characters) and her newfound ability to touch him will only serve to bond them even more.
  • So Michael’s taking Katherine’s advise to “grease those muscles up”, just not in the way she had planned. I’m sure his appearance is going to put a damper on things, starting with Rebekah and, quite possibly Tyler.
Killer Lines:
  • Damon: “Come on, Buffy…what’s your plan, oh Warrior Princess?” (to Elena)
  • Stefan: “My brother’s got his flirt on and you’re jealous. It’s alright, be jealous, by all means. I’m sure Damon will be thrilled.” (to Elena)
  • Stefan: “I’m sorry. Your tone implies that I’m actually supposed to care.” (to Rebekah)

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– Darryl (follow @djasper07 on Twitter)
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