the Vampire Diaries

The Vampire Diaries 3.6, Smells Like Teen Spirit: Strong Enough

Elena wakes up at 5:15 a.m. the first day of her senior year. She still has Stefan’s bite marks on her neck. She and Alaric head out to the woods so he can show her how to fight vampires. She’s trying out a weapon that straps onto her wrist and ejects little stakes when pressed into someone’s body. Basically, it’s what you would wear if you wanted to pretend to be Wolverine. Elena can’t get it to work on a training dummy, and Alaric says she’s not strong enough. She’ll need to do some weight training.

Alaric shows her a vervain grenade and reminds that when it comes to fighting vampires, humans only have the element of surprise as an advantage. He pops out the pin and hands the grenade to Elena, saying, “Surprise.” She throws it into the woods before it explodes. She doesn’t think Alaric is taking this seriously, but he needs her to realize that vampires have no remorse and will hurt whoever they want. Elena tells him he can use Stefan’s name, since that’s obviously who she wants to defend herself against.

Alaric gets that Elena wants to prepare herself in case Stefan comes after her. Elena guesses that he thinks she’s crazy to believe she can protect herself from him when he’s turned off his humanity. Alaric tells her that just getting out of bed makes her the strongest person he knows. She can do anything.

School is back in session, and Elena (wearing a scarf to cover her neck wounds), Bonnie, and Caroline take a moment outside the building to prepare themselves for their last year of high school. Caroline gives a pep talk, saying they’re going to move on from the events of prank night. Bonnie’s going to try to stop thinking about how Jeremy can see Anna and Vicki’s ghosts. Caroline’s going to try not to focus on the fact that Tyler is now a hybrid. Elena, however, has the most to overcome: Today’s the first anniversary of the day she met Stefan, who’s now one of the biggest threats to her life.

Stefan is living like Damon over at Vamp Villa, having loud parties with pretty women, some of whom are still alive. Damon, who’s upset that people are bleeding on expensive things, asks if this is what Klaus was imagining when he told Stefan to come home and keep an eye on Elena. Rebekah shows up and complains that Klaus abandoned her in Mystic Falls. Stefan doesn’t care. Rebekah has decided to move in, and Damon does nothing to stop her.

Bonnie’s a little chilly toward Jeremy since he didn’t tell her about Anna and Vicki, then had more conversations with Anna so he could help Damon and Katherine. Bonnie reminds him that he loved both Anna and Vicki, and never actually broke up with them. Their relationships only ended because they died. Now Jeremy keeps letting them back in. Jeremy says he doesn’t want any of this, but Bonnie thinks he’s choosing to keep seeing them when he has the power to stop.

Matt arrives at school with a special guest in his passenger seat: Vicki. He was thinking about their first day of school last year. He was worried about running into Elena, so Vicki told him to suck it up and show her what she was missing. Instead, Elena moved on to Stefan. Matt says it’s hard to deal with all the stuff in his life alone, so he appreciates getting to talk to Vicki again. She tells him she misses him, and there’s a way she can come back. Before she gives any details, Tyler interrupts, asking if Matt was talking to himself.

Katherine is still in North Carolina, trying to get Mikael to wake up and eat something so he’ll undesiccate. Damon calls her and she complains that Mikael won’t eat. He tells her to hurry it up so Mikael can kill Klaus and the gang can get Stefan back his normal self before he destroys Vamp Villa. Priorities, Damon.

He calls Elena next and lets her know that Rebekah (“Barbie Klaus”) has moved in, so Elena might want to stay away from Vamp Villa for a while. Elena asks what Stefan’s been doing. Damon lies that he’s been doing typical Stefan things like writing in his journal and fixing his hair. Elena asks for the truth, so Damon pretends he hears the bell and she has to go to class.

Caroline hangs up a flyer for a bonfire that night, a cheerleading squad event that will start the year off on a good note. She thinks she’ll have to talk Elena into going, but Elena has already made plans to be there. Tyler comes up to make out with Caroline, and the girls notice blood on his shirt. They rush him into a bathroom to chastise him for not being more careful. He tells them Rebekah got him some blood bags, since Klaus told her to keep an eye on Tyler, the first successful hybrid. Tyler’s way too okay with the arrangement and way too happy about being a hybrid.

This is turning into a couple’s fight, so Elena dismisses herself. As she leaves the bathroom, she runs into Stefan, recreating their first meeting exactly a year ago. He’s following Klaus’ orders to keep an eye on Elena, which means he has to come to school with her. As she starts to walk away, he grabs her arm and stops her, since she’s going the wrong way. She tells him to let go. Stefan stays he doesn’t have a choice about being there, so she doesn’t either. Alaric joins them and gets Stefan to back off, but Stefan slams Alaric against a locker instead and warns Alaric not to get in his way.

Elena and Alaric confer in his classroom, and she tells him that Stefan’s presence at school isn’t good for anyone. They need to do something. But first, history class. Stefan kicks a guy out of his seat so he can sit next to Elena. Alaric starts talking about the Native Americans who predated Columbus’ arrival in the U.S., and Rebekah arrives and asks about Vikings. Alaric’s like, “Great, two troublemakers in one class. Is it too late to get a different job?”

Matt goes to the stoner pit to chat with Vicki again (he figured she’d be comfortable there, heh). She tells him that right now she can only appear when he’s thinking of her, but there’s a way she can come back permanently. She has help on the Other Side. Jeremy is passing through and greets Matt but doesn’t say anything about Vicki. In the bathroom, though, he tells Anna that he saw her, and that Matt can now see her, too. He heard Vicki saying that she has help on the Other Side.

Back outside, Vicki tells Matt she’s been talking to a witch who knows a ritual that can push Vicki from the Other Side to the real world. Jeremy asks Anna if something like that is possible. Anna says it might be, but Vicki would need a stronger anchor. Anna can only appear if Jeremy thinks about her, but if Vicki had more power than that, she could push through. Vicki tells Matt the same thing, adding that she could pass between the worlds without Matt having to think about her. Yeah, she’d still be a ghost, but Mystic Falls is already full of supernatural beings, so what’s one more? Besides, only Matt would be able to see her.

Anna reminds Jeremy that she sees darkness connected to Vicki. There would be more consequences to upsetting the balance of nature and bringing Vicki back. If Vicki’s using a witch’s energy, there’s no way to tell what price she agreed to pay. But Matt doesn’t know all of this, and since Vicki says she’s alone on the Other Side and coming back would mean they could be together, he’s willing to learn more.

After school, Tyler goes to football practice while Caroline runs a cheerleading practice. No one’s seen Dana (R.I.P.), so Rebekah volunteers to take her spot. Caroline tells her she can’t just pop up and infiltrate everyone’s lives. Rebekah says she’s only interested in Caroline’s life – her popularity and spunk and maybe her boyfriend.

Tyler wants to end practice already and go to the bonfire, so he compels his coach to call it a day. Caroline catches him and tells him to be more subtle. Tyler says everything’s under control, but she disagrees. He tells her he’s never been better. Klaus has given him a gift. Things get worse for Caroline when Rebekah shows off some impressive gymnastics skills and quickly endears herself to the rest of the cheerleading squad.

Stefan joins Elena, who’s jogging on the school’s track, and asks if she’s going to the bonfire. She tells him to leave her alone. He’s enjoying getting under her skin, and he asks if she’s taking a date to Homecoming; he doesn’t to be weird around the guy. Elena accidentally runs into another student, who apologizes. Stefan shoves the guy to the ground and tells him to watch it. (Shades of how he acted with Duke.) Elena’s mad, and Stefan doesn’t make it any better when he calls her a “human blood bag.” No offense, of course.

Katherine drips blood from some poor innocent cemetery visitor on Mikael’s face until he starts to undesiccate. He tells her to get the body away from him. Katherine remembers seeing Mikael in Chicago, but he’s not as scary as he was back then. Hmm, maybe it’s because he’s wrapped in chains and can only move his head?

Damon goes to Alaric’s apartment, where Elena’s lifting weights. She tells him that Stefan is acting like a completely different person. He pushes down on her barbell so she’ll have to work harder to lift it. He also calls her Buffy, so he’s dropped his 100 percent serious concern over her and is back to his quip-happy self. At least one Salvatore is acting normal, though Elena would prefer if at least one of them would stop being obnoxious.

She tells Damon that she wants to lock Stefan up until Mikael can kill Klaus and break his compulsion. Damon tells her that ending the compulsion won’t be enough; Stefan is high on human blood. Elena fixed that before, so she figures she can do it again. Damon says this is different, since his humanity is also off. Elena asks him to help her for her sake. She feels like she’s going to break every time she looks at Stefan, and she doesn’t want to give him that satisfaction.

Damon seems to be softening. He grabs Elena’s hand and puts it to his chest so she can feel his sternum. Then he spins her around and puts a hand on her side, near her spine. “That’s your way to a vampire’s heart,” he tells her. He’ll do whatever Elena needs him to do. No one will hurt her, especially not Stefan.

That night, as everyone else gathers for the bonfire in the woods near the school, Elena, Damon, Caroline, and Alaric go over their plan in Alaric’s classroom. Elena will lure Stefan to a place where they’re alone, and Alaric will shoot him. Bonnie could provide help, of course, but Elena wants to keep her out of this since she can’t trust Stefan not to hurt her. Caroline’s job is to get the old jail cell ready to hold Stefan. Damon’s job is…I don’t know, moral support? He notes that Rebekah will probably be an obstacle, so Elena tells him to distract her. Damon says it would be easier if he had a dagger to use on her. Elena tells him to use his charm. Alaric comments that he might have better luck finding a dagger. (He’s still mad that Damon killed him.)

Tyler joins the group, and Elena asks him to get vervain from Carol’s supply so they can use it to keep Stefan weak. Tyler objects, since Klaus wouldn’t approve. Caroline reminds him that Klaus is the villain here. She doesn’t get why Tyler is acting like one of Klaus’ minions. Damon, however, starts to figure it out. Tyler says that Klaus made him who he is, and Tyler owes him everything. He starts to leave, but Damon stabs him with…something and puts him down. He tells the others that Tyler has been “sired.” He feels loyal to Klaus because Klaus’ blood made him a hybrid. That means he’ll do anything to please his creator.

Rebekah and Stefan are at the bonfire, and she’s moping because Tyler isn’t there yet. Really, he’s just a way for her to entertain herself until Stefan decides he wants to be with her. Elena arrives and gets a drink from the keg they’re hanging around. She tells Stefan she’s having fun and chugs her beer. Stefan reminds her that she has trouble holding her alcohol, but Elena replies that she’s not going to listen to a blood addict.

Matt’s skipping the bonfire so he can do the ritual to bring Vicki back. It involves blood and the photo of himself and Vicki from their childhood. It works, and now he can not only see and hear his sister, but also touch her.

Bonnie’s annoyed that Jeremy had another conversation with Anna, even though it was about trying to keep Matt from doing something potentially bad. When Jeremy mentions that Vicki’s been talking to a witch, she gets even more annoyed. She tops out when she learns that Anna’s in the room with them. She tells Jeremy she’s going to go stop Matt from resurrecting Vicki.

Vicki tells Matt that in order to stay, she has to restore the balance of nature. The solution is to get rid of Klaus’ hybrids. Of course, at this point there’s only one hybrid, Tyler, and Matt isn’t going to let Vicki kill him. Vicki says that’s not her plan – Elena’s the key to creating hybrids, so she’s the one who needs to die. Matt objects, but Vicki shuts him up by knocking him out with a wrench. She’s sorry, but this is what she has to do to stay in the real world.

Back in the woods, Elena’s enjoying herself, even though she can’t escape Stefan’s watchful eye. They exchange some looks that anyone unfamiliar with them might consider flirty. Damon arrives and joins Rebekah at the fire, where she’s having trouble roasting marshmallows without burning them. Their body language and interaction might also be considered flirty. Elena’s watching them, and Stefan accuses her of being jealous. She denies it with a force that means she’s definitely jealous.

Matt calls Bonnie, who’s now at the bonfire, and tells her that he screwed up. Meanwhile, Vicki, who’s also there, picks up a discarded cigarette and gets an idea. Damon and Rebekah keep chatting/flirting, and she wonders why he’s being so nice to her. She realizes he’s distracting her but isn’t sure why. She stabs him with a branch and leaves him by the fire.

Tyler wakes up on the couch at Lockwood Landing, where Caroline has brought him so he can’t interfere with the gang’s plan. She informs him that he’s sired to Klaus and is going to keep putting Klaus’ needs first. Tyler denies that he’s Klaus’ “pet” or under his control. Caroline says something else is controlling him, then, because he’s acting like his old self, the self she would never be friends with. Tyler apologizes, saying he hated how he used to be. Caroline reminds him that since he’s part vampire now, everything about him is heightened, so he needs to be careful. He promises he will and asks her not to hate him. “Everything I like about me…is you,” he says.

Stefan finds Elena on the school bleachers, lying on her back and looking up at the stars. She’s drunk, so he tells her to go home. She says she’ll find her car, but she can’t even walk straight, so that’s a horrible idea. She taunts that Stefan isn’t as fun as he should be as a Ripper.

He tells her he’ll drive her home, but instead of following him off the bleachers, she climbs over the railing so she’s standing on the end, a good distance off the ground. She’s not too steady, and when she almost slips and falls, she teases that Klaus wouldn’t be happy with Stefan if she got hurt. Elena takes her hands off the railing, which he’s not happy about. This time, she does slip and fall, and Stefan zooms over to catch her before she hits the ground. She says she knew he would. After they exchange a meaningful look, Alaric shoots Stefan with vervain darts and knocks him out. Alaric isn’t thrilled that Elena’s drunk, but she notes that the plan worked.

They put Stefan in Alaric’s SUV as Vicki looks on with her now-lit cigarette. In Alaric’s classroom, Bonnie tells Matt to detail how he brought Vicki back so Bonnie knows how to return her to the Other Side. Alaric spots an empty gas can next to the SUV and thinks it’s from the bonfire. In actuality, Vicki has poured it around the car, and when she drops her cigarette, it goes up in flames. Elena’s in the SUV with Stefan, and she can’t get the door open (looks like there’s some interference here from the witch on the Other Side). Vicki joins her in the SUV, apologizing for having to do this.

While Alaric tries to break a window, Bonnie and Matt start a spell to send Vicki back to the Other Side. Elena crawls into the back of the SUV, where Stefan’s waking up. He kicks out the back door, giving them an exit. Vicki grabs at Elena’s legs, trying to keep her in the SUV.

Suddenly Vicki’s inside with Bonnie and Matt. The spell is working, even though Matt can still see his sister. Bonnie tells him that she’s still there because of him, so he tells Vicki he has to let her go. She promises not to hurt anyone else, but Matt knows it’s wrong for her to be there, even if it means they don’t have to be alone anymore. He says goodbye to Vicki, the one thing he never got to do a year ago, and Bonnie finishes the spell to get rid of her. Outside, Elena gets out of the SUV, and she and Alaric pull Stefan away before it explodes.

Damon tends to Elena’s wounds at Vamp Villa as she comments that he did a good job distracting Rebekah. Damon thought Elena was too drunk to notice. “I was faking most of it,” she says. “So was I,” he replies. Alaric interrupts before the two can have any deeper moments together.

Caroline and Tyler have completely sat out the rest of the plan by having sex at Lockwood Landing. After she leaves, Rebekah shows up with a girl for Tyler to snack on. He resists as long as he can, then drinks with Rebekah.

In North Carolina, Mikael explains to Katherine that he didn’t want to drink the guy she brought him because he’s been denying himself human blood for a long time. He asks why she woke up him. Katherine says she wants to kill Klaus, but now she thinks Mikael won’t help. She’s wrong – Mikael says he can and will kill Klaus. Katherine frees him from his chains and asks what he eats, if not living things. The answer is vampires, which he demonstrates by drinking from her.

On their way out of Vamp Villa, Elena tells Alaric that it’s okay if he wants to repair his friendship with Damon. Alaric says he doesn’t, but she tells him that Damon misses him. Stefan joins them and congratulates them on their ambush. He says Elena needs him and he’ll always protect her. They’d be better off keeping him around.

Elena and Alaric start to leave, but Stefan stops them by asking Elena why she didn’t just let him die in the fire. She tells him she still has hope, even after everything he’s done. She knows who Stefan really is better than anyone, and she’s not going to give up. Stefan tells her that makes her pathetic. Elena disagrees – it makes her strong. She slams her hand into his stomach, ejecting the little stakes from Alaric’s contraption.

At home, Jeremy tries to call Bonnie, who won’t take his calls. “I shouldn’t be here,” Anna says. He shouldn’t be thinking about Anna while he’s calling Bonnie. Jeremy says he didn’t realize he was. He admits that he can’t stop thinking about Anna. The feeling’s mutual, and she puts up her hand so they can pretend to touch like they’ve done before. But this time, they can actually feel each other.

Damon is cleaning up Stefan’s party mess when someone zooms around Vamp Villa, breaking more stuff. He thinks it’s Stefan, but he’s wrong. It’s Mason Lockwood, and he’s very happy to be able to hurt Damon.

Keep in mind: Vampires can develop sire bonds to the vampires who turn them.

Etc.: Vampires are once again able to enter Vamp Villa without an invitation because Elena’s temporary death voided the deed. Instead of having her sign it again, Damon…just lets vampires come in and do whatever they want. Good job, Damon.

A bonfire on school property? Okay, sure. A bonfire on school property with no chaperones and students openly drinking alcohol? Come on.

Knowing what we find out from The Originals about how Klaus feels about Rebekah getting romantically involved with people Klaus considers his family and friends, I wonder how he would have reacted if Rebekah and Tyler had ever gotten together.

I’m not convinced that Stefan’s humanity is off in this episode. He clearly worries about Elena, both when she’s on the bleachers and when she starts drinking. I think his attitude is a combination of his blood relapse and an effort to keep Elena at a distance so he won’t hurt her, or so she won’t interfere with Klaus’ plans and make him mad.

The marshmallows are a metaphor for Damon and Rebekah! They’re hard on the outside, but if you remove that layer, they’re soft and gooey! I get metaphors!

The number of cars the gang destroys over the course of the series must make their insurance companies very suspicious.

Why didn’t the gang continue the plan after the fire? Stefan was unconscious again; they could have at least locked him up in the basement of Vamp Villa.

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