The Vampire Diaries 3.06 "Smells Like Teen Spirit" Review

A tv review article by: Shawn Hill

What could be more exciting than the annual Mystic Falls Senior Bonfire? Almost nothing, at least to Caroline, who tries to keep Bonnie and Elena focused on their senior year and all of its rites of passages. Unfortunately, being a vampire, a witch and a doppelganger in Mystic Falls (respectively), they've all already lost their innocence. On some level, they all know it.

I agree with the writers that our cast of "teens" is the most interesting part of the show, but I don't really agree with the ease with which they've all forgotten about Klaus. This week, even in absentia, he makes it clear he hasn't forgotten about them. His agents, it turns out, are everywhere, infiltrating even the Fang Gang as they try to unite to develop some sort of defense.

First there's Stefan, ensorcelled into being Elena's cavalier bodyguard (since she's the hybrid blood bank), which means tailing her around the high school halls even though he's bored as hell with his "100th senior year!"

Alaric is getting it just as bad as Elena, because not only is Stefan a student in his American History class, so is Rebekah, Klaus's skanky sister (who has adapted all too readily to current social mores), who's actually most interested in watching over Tyler, the first successful hybrid.

This sits poorly with Caroline, especially when Rebekah uses her vamp abilities to stalk her to cheerleader practice, and impress all the other girls on the squad. In an interesting twist, the Original is entertained by the youngest vampire of all, or really by Caroline's popularity and social skills, and wants to figure out up close how she ticks.

Ric is training Elena to fight with his Slayer weapons, but has to get over the hurdle of her being a skinny girl without enough physical strength to use them. This is pretty silly, as Nina Dobrev is hardly a shrinking violet; it's better when he praises her courage in the face of the town's vampire problem, and weirder when everyone is very slow to realize that Tyler (the happiest hybrid on the planet) isn't really on their team anymore. He's been "sired," meaning he's also another willing servant of Klaus.

All of that serves to keep the Klaus plot going, barely, but more interesting are two other frontiers: Katherine trying to awaken Michael (who doesn't eat the blood of living things), with her limited patience getting her in way over her head almost immediately; and Matt and Jeremy finding their respective hauntings intensifying.

It's nice for Vicky, short-lived wild girl that she was, to get another chance to shine, but the spell Matt does to bring her back (he's desperately lonely) endangers everyone. It seems the witches from the other side want Elena dead now, too.

And they're not the only ghosts getting insistent this week. Vicky tricks Matt into the spell that serves her purposes, but Anna gets more substantial too, without Jeremy doing anything. And then Damon gets an unexpected visitor with a pretty substantial grudge, meaning that the lines between the living and the dead have grown very thin this October in the Falls.

Temptation, poltergeists and reckless self-destruction, during yet another town-wide event timed to get all the warm bodies in the same place. I'm sure next week there'll be another. Time for this group to wise up and circle the wagons, or they won't all survive the season. Their demons are coming back home.


Shawn Hill knows two things: comics and art history. Find his art at

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