On the first day of their senior year, Elena, Caroline and Bonnie have a lot to look forward to: hybrid boyfriends, boyfriends that see their dead ex-girlfriends and last but not least, vampire ex-boyfriends that have been transformed into a blood crazed psychopath.
Now that she is down one vampire bodyguard, Elena is getting some training from Alaric to defend herself for whenever Stefan goes on another killing rampage. Meanwhile, Stefan is adjusting to life back in Mystic Falls with the help of some compelled co-eds when Damon sees that they have a new roommate, Rebecca. Just when Elena is hoping to get a break by going back to school, Stefan shows up to relive his senior year for hundredth time. Apparently that is crossing the line for Elena because after Stefan is in her history class, she comes up with a plan to take Stefan out of the equation altogether with the Damon, Caroline and Rick's help. Meanwhile, Matt's dead sister Vicky who may just have a way to come and go between worlds but it come with a price Matt can't afford. While all of this is going on, Katherine may have finally revived the long dead Michael who's hunger can only be satisfied by what you might be described as fine taste.
Smells Like Teen Spirit had a lot going on for it this week and while there were some definite hiccups, this continues their trend of solid episodes. Somewhat picking up from last week's The Reckoning, it's refreshing to see the story take a break from Klaus and focus on the core characters. What is unusually not apparent thus far is the lack of greater story beginning to develop in for the season bearing in mind that season three is officially a quarter of the way through but I think that this might all just change now that Mason Lockwood is back.
Too often have we seen Elena in the damsel in distress role but she was anything but that this week. She took charge of the situation and concocted the plan to stop Stefan (apparently the vampire hunter/history teacher Alaric couldn't come up with it) and in the closing moments of the show, we got to see her stake Stefan in the stomach.
Though the parallels between Elena and Buffy (the vampire slayer, duh!) are slim, you can't help but connect the dots between the similarities. Elena was madly in love with a reformed vampire who has suddenly been stripped of all humanity, reverting to his murderous ways in an eerily familiar was to season two of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The two shows are markedly different from one another and as long as Elena doesn't have to impale Stefan with a sword that prevents the world from being swallowed into hell (reference!), I'm cool with it.
Even though Smells Like Teen Spirit was great, it certainly had its share of flaws. Could the relationship between Caroline and Tyler possibly be more boring? After Elena hatches the plan to take down Stefan, Caroline is assigned to sleep with Tyler? Wait, what just happened there? Hopefully Tyler's new change in attitude means more than him just being a douche with Stockholm syndrome because Michael Trevino is a much better actor than what he was given this week and frankly, more interesting as just a werewolf. And was it just me or did everything with Vicky end just as quickly as it began? Considering that he only saw his sister in last week's The Reckoning he didn't get that much time with her and the storyline resolution was predictable from the beginning since Anna even warned us about her several episodes back. Lastly, the character Rebecca has been woven into the story with an almost complete lack of foresight. She will no doubt play a bigger role as the season progresses and with Klaus's return but in the mean time, she seems to be attending high school all over again simply because she is bored. Rebecca being emotionally disconnected from everyone also makes it difficult to identify with her for the same reason and my interest in her is intrinsically tied to Klaus. If she left with him and returned later on she would be more exciting and mysterious.
All in all, Smells Like Teen Spirit is another good episode but continues the trend of build without payoff. The last few moments of every show always have me more excited for next week than what I just watched but luckily, Stefan did turn out to be a crazed killing machine because that was something I did ask for last week. I can already tell Michael will be even more of a badass than I thought he would be but I am hesitant on the return of Mason Lockwood (wasn't he dead, like for real dead?). We'll have to wait and find out in next week's Ghost World.