Vampire Diaries Recap: S03E06: Smells Like Teen Spirit

Elena: But you think that I’m crazy to believe that I can protect myself from a vampire who has flipped the switch on his humanity.

Alaric: I think you found a way to get out of bed this morning. And that makes you the strongest person I know. I think you can do, pretty much anything.

Elena prepares to defend herself against her vampiric ex-boyfriend.
Elena prepares to defend herself against her vampiric ex-boyfriend.
Damon gets close and personal to teach Elena how to defend herself.
Damon gets close and personal to teach Elena how to defend herself.
Damon charms Rebecca so that Elena can lure Stefan away.
Damon charms Rebecca so that Elena can lure Stefan away.
Stefan has lost his humanity, but you can still see glimpses of his feelings for Elena.
Stefan has lost his humanity, but you can still see glimpses of his feelings for Elena.

Saving Stefan's Soul

The last time we left The Vampire Diaries, Stefan had just had his humanity stolen away by Klaus. Accordingly, Alaric and Elena train so that she can protect herself from Stefan, because without his love for her, what is keeping him from hurting her? Just Klaus’ orders for now. Elena is determined to learn and become strong, but Alaric still thinks she has a long way to go. Elena’s strength has always been more of the emotional variety than the physical, which Alaric is quick to point out given her frustrations.

Meanwhile, the school year has arrived and our favorite characters are now seniors. Our three favorite girls recap their boyfriend woes. Elena wins the “awful boyfriend” contest, as it is her anniversary, and she has to sport a purple scarf to cover the “love bite” she got at the hands of Stefan. Still, in any other contest, “boyfriend who is still in love with his dead-ex and has the ability to speak with her” and “boyfriend who happens to be a werewolf has recently turned into a vampire as well” would have been serious contenders. Unfortunately for Elena, her day is not about to get much better.

Because Stefan is still in Mystic Falls, partying it up with coeds, playing games like vampiric twister. When the festivities are over, he goes back to work, which includes shadowing Elena to ensure her “safety.” Which also means Stefan has to go back to school, and nowhere Elena goes will ever be free of him. Alaric steps up to the task of playing father once again and threatens Stefan. Unfortunately, there is little he can do against this experienced vampire on a mission. Klaus is very sincere about protecting his assets which means Stefan is very sincere about protecting Elena and her blood.

Now it’s Damon’s turn to have a heart-to-heart with Elena concerning Stefan’s latest betrayal. He interrupts her in the weight training room and has a variety of quips ready to use, such as:

“C’mon Buffy!”

-and-

“What’s your plan, warrior princess?”

Damon takes over Elena’s instruction, giving her the sexiest self-defense lesson ever. Up close and personal, he shows her exactly where she will need to stab to get to a vampire’s heart. With a few more tactics under her belt, Elena and co are now ready to enact a Stefan nabbing plan that will enable them to lock him away and starve the human blood out of him…

As planned, Elena and Damon show up at the annual start of school party in the woods. Elena’s job is to pretend to get drunk and wander off, luring Stefan away. Damon’s job is to flirt with Rebekah over s’mores to keep her occupied. He seems to succeed for awhile (which seems to make Elena jealous) until Rebekah stakes him in the stomach. Painful. But it keeps her off of Stefan’s tail nonetheless. Meanwhile, Elena has lured Stefan to the bleachers where she drunkenly stumbles and falls. Stefan uses his vampire speed to catch her, and the close proximity of the former lovers shows that the feelings between them are very much still alive. There is a little question that hints at something dawning on Stefan’s face; at least there is until Alaric completes the plan by shooting him with a dart. Score one for team Elena!

Matt tackles a spell to give his sister a better foothold on reality.
Matt tackles a spell to give his sister a better foothold on reality.
Vicki tries to burn Elena alive so that Klaus can no longer create hybrids.
Vicki tries to burn Elena alive so that Klaus can no longer create hybrids.
Jeremy and Anna cannot let each other go, despite knowing it might be best.
Jeremy and Anna cannot let each other go, despite knowing it might be best.

Restoring the Balance

In other supernatural news, the presence of ghosts is wreaking havoc in the lives of Bonnie, Jeremy, and Matt. Bonnie has been upset ever since Jeremy spilled the beans about being able to see and speak to his dead ex-girlfriends. “Put yourself in my shoes,” Bonnie explains, “You loved both of them. And you guys didn’t break up. They died. And you keep letting them back in… I think you have the power to decide whether or not you see them. Remember that.” Unfortunately for Bonnie, Jeremy does remember that, but at least in Anna’s case, he does not want to stop.

If only relationship problems were the worst of their troubles. Vicki, now being able to communicate with Matt (who looks much healthier now by the way), has something in mind. “What if I told you there was a way you could help me come back?” she asks him before disappearing from sight. Later, on the stoner side of the school, she explains further. There is a ritual that Matt could perform that would give her a stronger foothold in reality. Matt, missing his sister as he does, can do nothing but agree.

Jeremy walks by the ghostly rendezvous, and pretends not to see Vicki so that he can overhear their conversation. What he learns he brings to Anna, who states what should be obvious:

“She’s bad news, Jeremy. There’s nothing but darkness around her… You can’t upset the balance of nature without a price. If she’s using a witch’s energy from the other side, you don’t know what price she’s agreed to pay.”

Vicki is appealing to her brother’s loneliness, and I think it will hurt him even more in the end if he helps her. After all, blood magic usually spells evil, and that is why Vicki needs Matt’s help.

In essence, the ritual is simple. And it works. The price? Vicki has to restore the balance by making sure the hybrids don’t survive. Matt instantly fears for Tyler’s life, but Vicki assures him Tyler can live. It is Elena who must die. She vanishes to start her mission, and Matt panics. Luckily he is smart enough to call Bonnie.

Vicki uses her ghostly skills to set Alaric’s car on fire while Elena is still in it. Elena struggles to get out of the car as a distant Bonnie tries to understand the ritual so that she can reverse it. Luckily Stefan, who they had drugged and put in the back of the car, wakes up long enough to kick the trunk door out, leaving the way open for Elena. Vicki tries to stop Elena from leaving the burning vehicle, but Bonnie’s spell pulls her back home before she can do anything. “The spell’s working, Matt. She’s still here because of you,” Bonnie tells Matt when Vicki appears. Matt does what Jeremy cannot and severs his connection to his sister, cutting her connection to the real world. Now Elena is safe from that threat, at least.

Speaking of Jeremy and his ghostly visitor, he and Anna get much closer despite Bonnie’s wishes. She tells him that she probably should not be there. “Problem is,” he explains, “I don’t think I can stop thinking about you.” They touch. It looks like her foothold has gotten stronger.

Tyler promises Caroline that he will mend his ways, but sometimes temptation is too much.
Tyler promises Caroline that he will mend his ways, but sometimes temptation is too much.

Taming the Hybrid

Stefan is not the only one Klaus left behind with a mission. As Damon comments, they “have a new housemate: Barbie Klaus.” While Stefan was ordered to stay in order to protect Elena, Rebekah was tasked with watching out for Tyler. Being the first successful hybrid transition, he is of the utmost importance to Klaus, so who better to ensure his safety than Klaus' dear sister?

Meanwhile, Caroline is trying to hold on to the Tyler she is dating. High off of the very fact that he survived the hybrid transition, Tyler is not acting like himself. In a test of his new-found powers, He compels his coach to give the football team the rest of practice off. And when Elena and friends come to ask for help in dealing with Tyler, he alone opts out. Apparently, his actions are a result of a sire bond that he has developed with Klaus. He wants to please Klaus, who made him. Unlike the vampires of True Blood, apparently sire bonds are rare in the world of Vampire Diaries. Just another problem to add to the pile!

When Caroline confronts Tyler about his mood swings, he opens up with his struggles. “Just… don’t hate me," he begs, "Everything I like about me… is you.” How can you hear something like that and not forgive him?

But if that were the end of things, it would be too easy. Rebekah is still around, as she is all about Tyler embracing his new self. Tyler is trying to be the man Caroline wants him to be, but Rebekah is there to provide the perfect temptation. When she shows up with a live snack, Tyler can only hold back so long before he gives in to his bloodlust and breaks his promise.

Katherine dangles a mouse over a comatose Michael.
Katherine dangles a mouse over a comatose Michael.
Michael awakens.
Michael awakens.
Something has gone horribly wrong, as the dead Mason Lockwood reappears to get revenge on Damon for killing him.
Something has gone horribly wrong, as the dead Mason Lockwood reappears to get revenge on Damon for killing him.

Awakening the Beast

All episode long, Katherine has been trying to wake Michael, the vampire hunter. I loved

watching Katherine trying to entice Michael by dangling a mouse over his nose. She is about to give up, but Damon forces her to continue trying, which is unfortunate for the lone human who enters the cemetery. Finally, it is fresh blood that causes Michael to wake, but he immediately demands that Katherine take the blood away.

Apparently, Michael has been depriving himself of blood for as long as he can remember, but he can still kill Klaus, he promises. Given what we know about vampires and their strength after drinking human blood, this claim seems unlikely. But Michael clarifies how he gains nourishment: “I don’t feed on living things…” he proclaims before attacking. Katherine as dinner. How refreshing!

Oh, and one more thing. The departure of Vicki opens up the door for other visitors. Remember Mason Lockwood? He was Tyler’s werewolf cousin. Alaric and Damon killed him. Well he is back, and he looks ready to take some revenge on Damon. When one door closes, another does open, but that is not always a good thing.

How It Stands

With the failure of team Elena’s plan to corral Stefan, things on that front are much the same as ever. Stefan is infuriatingly NOT himself. But Elena now is better able to handle how her life has changed. When Stefan calls Elena pathetic for holding on to hope, she punches him in the stomach, releasing her stakes into his body. She now has the force and conviction behind her punch to make the stakes release.

At least Damon has Elena’s back, but he cannot protect her from his current position. With Mason “back from the dead” in one way or another, he now has to fear for his afterlife. And the presence of Mason begs the question: how many other ghosts will be able to visit Mystic Falls?

One ghost, at the very least, will stay. Despite objections from his girlfriend, Jeremy has not only refused to Ana go but also given her the opportunity to interact more strongly with reality. How long can that relationship safely last?

As always, a new episode of The Vampire Diaries brings us answers to questions that only bring up more questions. The ghost problem will be addressed at the very least in the next installment “Ghost World.”

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