Recap: ‘The Vampire Diaries’ – ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’

This week Elena and the gang are finally seniors, but no one’s truly excited about it. Instead of worrying about which college to go to and AP exams (though they’re probably worrying about that, too), they’re dealing with vampires and werewolves and hybrids, oh my. And given the current state of affairs, the theme seems to be loneliness. Elena’s lost Stefan, Caroline feels like she’s losing Taylor, Bonnie’s on her way to losing Jeremy and Matt’s already lost everyone. It definitely puts a whole new spin on senioritis. 

Elena has Ric train her in the fine art of vampire defense. Ric believes in her, even if she’s crazy to think she has a chance against a vampire who’s turned off his humanity. Read: she’s crazy to think she has a chance against Stefan. But really, she’s more likely to be struggling with her feelings for him than any physical attack. Like women all over the world, she’s discovering how much it stings when you find out your ex is a blood sucking jerk.

Bonnie, Caroline and Elena arrive at school, in wonderment at the fact it’s senior year. Okay, not exactly wonderment, given that they all look like war vets suffering from PTSD. Bonnie is trying to look on the bright side of her boyfriend seeing dead exes, and Caroline is trying to look on the bright side of her boyfriend having been turned into a hybrid. Elena, however, remembers that this should be her one year anniversary with Stefan, so she’s just going to be sad for a moment. But even she shakes it off. It’s senior year, after all!
Stefan has his dinner, I mean a bunch of girls, play Twister in the living room, which causes Damon (who is getting in touch with his inner Felix Unger) quite a bit of distress. Your dinner owes me a new rug! But Damon’s bad day is about to get worse. Rebekah shows up, demanding a place to stay. It seems Damon’s plot to kill Klaus has just gotten a lot more complicated with so many spies floating around. 
Bonnie tells Jeremy he has the power to (literally) get rid of the ghosts in their relationship, but I get the sense Jeremy doesn’t really want to kick Anna to the curb. Poor Bonnie. It’s not easy to compete with a beloved ex, especially if she won’t leave your boyfriend alone and you can’t even see her. 
Meanwhile, Matt is seeing his dead sister Vicki. Sitting in the parking lot, he reflects on how lonely he feels remembering that Elena dumped him and both his mom and Vicki are gone, but at least having Vicki around in ghost form is something. Vicki, sensing a golden opportunity, mentions to Matt that she could come back — if he helped her out. Oddly, it doesn’t seem like such a great deal. She won’t be alive, per se, but she’ll just be able to hang out in her invisible, ghostly fashion whenever she likes, not just when Matt thinks about her. Still, that’s enough for Matt. He’s on board. Oh, Matt, silly boy. Jeremy, however, is not so silly. He spots Matt talking with Vicki and alerts Anna to the bad news. Not Bonnie, but Anna. 
Meanwhile, Katherine tries to make Mikael wake up. She’s tried feeding him a wondrous variety of people, but nothing’s done the trick. Katherine whines to Damon over the phone, but he isn’t interested. She just needs to keep trying, because Mikael is their only hope. 
Tyler, who is feeling pretty great since becoming a hybrid, is making Caroline feel increasingly nervous. He has no problem wearing his breakfast on his shirt (and breakfast was a blood bag), but more importantly, he’s becoming fast friends with Rebekah. She’s keeping an eye on him for Klaus! Isn’t that swell? Caroline, of course, does not think this is swell at all. She can’t understand why Tyler doesn’t see Klaus and Rebekah as she does, but I think maybe she’s forgetting that Tyler’s affection for Klaus runs blood deep at this point.
Elena has problems of her own, however, or I should say problem. In other words, Stefan is back at school. It’s his job to follow Elena around, so he’s certainly not going to sit at home and let her have a tension-free school day. Elena tells Ric that they have to do something about Stefan, although I can’t imagine what that is. After all, she was pretty feeble during Ric’s vampire hunting classes. 
In addition to finding Stefan on her back like a cheap coat, Elena discovers Rebekah has also crashed her AP American History class. But Elena may not really be Rebekah’s focus. She’s actually much more interested in making Caroline’s life a living hell, as Rebekah joins the cheerleading team (which Caroline is on) and informs her she wants Caroline’s life, her charisma, her personality — and possibly her boyfriend. 
For some reason, Katherine finally finds the meal that awakens Mikael (a mourner at the cemetery) and she chats with the infamous vampire hunter. He’s furious that she’s given him human blood, as he’s denied himself of the stuff for ages. Katherine couldn’t care less, as she wants to know if Mikael can kill Klaus. His answer? He can and he will. However, I doubt anything is ever that easy on this show.
Elena, who has just been called a human blood bag by her “protector” Stefan, tells Damon she has a plan and needs his help. She wants to lock Stefan up until Mikael kills Klaus. Damon wisely points out this is not a brilliant idea, but she asks him to do it for her. He shows her how to get to a vampire’s heart in what can only be called a shockingly steamy moment that involves the very unsexy words “sternum” and “ribcage,” then tells her he’ll do whatever it is she needs him to do. Lonely Elena doesn’t have to be lonely if she doesn’t want to be, but oh, well. 
Elena has Damon on board, but she needs a team of helpers, including Caroline, Ric and Tyler. Tyler? Only after Elena spills the beans does Tyler say he has no desire to be disloyal to Klaus, and of course doing anything to Stefan is disloyalty to Klaus. Damon explains to the group, after disabling Tyler, that he’s been sired, so he’s going to be loyal to Klaus above anyone — including Caroline. Caroline wants to know how to fix him. Um, apparently that’s not really an option. 
The plan, sans Tyler, is put into action. Elena goes to the bonfire and pretends to get blotto drunk. Damon flirts outrageously with Rebekah and feeds her s’mores to distract her. Elena pretends not to notice Damon feeding Rebekah (she does) or care (she does). Of course, she doesn’t see Rebekah, smelling a rat, stab Damon with a tree branch, but it might have made her feel a little better. Elena, luring Stefan to the football field, pretends to drunkenly fall off the stands — which causes Stefan to catch her and, apparently, let down his defenses, as Ric is able to shoot him full of vervain. It seems they didn’t need Tyler after all. 
Vicki, of course, hasn’t gone away, and Matt quickly performs the witchy ritual to grant her… well, not life, but a more active afterlife. It works, despite Matt’s lack of witch skills, and the bonus is that Vicki and Matt can actually touch one another. Everything’s going great right up until the point Vicki mentions she has to kill Elena. It’s part of her deal with the witch who told her the spell — she has to return balance to the world, and the best way to do that is to make sure no more hybrids can be created. 
Jeremy alerts Bonnie to Matt’s plan, and Bonnie is justifiably angry that he not only waited so late to tell her, but that he told Anna first. Bonnie and Jeremy may just want to break up and get it over with already. 
Caroline patiently waits for Tyler to wake up, after which she informs him he’s been sired. She knows this has to be the only reason why he’s acting like such a d-bag (her words) and more like the old, pre-werewolf Tyler than the one she loves. Amazingly, Tyler drops his defenses and promises to be a good hybrid and they fall into one another’s arms. It’s all very sweet and romantic, but I can’t imagine Tyler can turn off Klaus’ influence that easily — maybe when Klaus is far away, but I have to imagine things might be a lot different when he comes back to town. He’s not letting his hybrid fall under anyone else’s influence that easily.
It seems Elena’s plan to imprison Stefan is going off without a hitch. She and Ric toss Stefan into the back of his car and are about to drive away — just when Vicki sets fire to it. Elena, trapped inside with Stefan unconscious in the back, seems like toast.
Or she would, except that Bonnie is working with Matt to undo his spell to bring Vicki back. In other good news, Stefan groggily wakes up, kicks out the back door of the car, then loses consciousness again. Elena drags him to safety while Vicki disappears and Matt cries a bit. Poor Vicki. You would have thought Matt would pick his sister over his ex-girlfriend, but go figure. 
Caroline leaves after an evening of passionate lovemaking with Tyler, but that’s probably for the best. Rebekah’s just waiting to drop by with a tasty young girl for Tyler to eat, and I’m sure Caroline would not want to be witness to his gorging. It seems Caroline may have some tough competition for Tyler’s conscience ahead of her. 
As the show wraps up, it’s time for a number of nasty surprises. Katherine, eager to get the Klaus killing plan started, releases Mikael from his chains. She might have wanted to sort out what Mikael actually eats before doing that, as he doesn’t eat living things. Vampires, though? Delicious! 
Stefan and Elena have an almost-tender moment when he asks her why she saved him from the fire. She has hope! He says that makes her pathetic. She says it makes her strong — and then stabs him in the stomach with Ric’s stake puncher thingamajig. Nice to see Elena showing some spunk this week. 
In other afterlife news, Jeremy can’t stop thinking about Anna. She can’t stop thinking about him. Oops, they can touch one another. Yeah, Bonnie’s history. 
But wait! There’s more! Damon hears things crashing around his house and, assuming one of Stefan’s meals is scurrying around, he sighs heavily and starts cleaning up. But it’s no meal — it’s Mason. He’s back and he’s angry. Well, this should be interesting! 
Do you think Mikael is going to be a help or a hindrance or both? Do you think Elena is pathetic or strong to have hope when she could have Damon instead? And do you think Tyler is going to be Rebekah’s new boy toy?

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