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Three things have become staples on this season of ‘Laguna Beach’: moping lovelorn exchanges between squeaky-voiced Rocky and Tessa; completely contrived relationship musings of player Cameron and omnipresent Nick W.; two or more awkward dinner dates edited in alternating sequences at voguish sushi restaurants (have these people ever heard of Italian!). Tessa’s nonexistent love life has become its own sort of pathetic staple, but after tonight’s episode that area of Tessa’s life (wait, is there any other?) is no longer as bleak as Jessica’s career prospects. After an unstated period of time, Tessa has now become enamored of Derek, a never-before-seen LB-er, coolly certified by Chase as un-dull dating material.

But there’s a catch. Derek is technically a part of the Cami-Kyndra crew that for some ineffable reason has developed some juicy animosity towards Tessa. Kyndra (who was totally called a “fake, stupid, two-faced, ugly bitch” by Jessica) and Cami (who during a $4,200 plus shopping spree in one store noted the novel heftiness of her figure) made it their personal missions to protect Derek (and ruin Tessa’s life). Tessa gave some cryptic insight into this silent feud to Derek citing her return from the hospital (where she was dealing with an allergic reaction to medication – clearly code for something else) as the turning point that abruptly and inexplicably ejected her from the power clique. Derek, praising Tessa’s personal strength, empathized with her and assured her that he knew how mean they could get.

On the other dating front, Jessica and Cameron simultaneously confronted each other with some pretty revealing truths. Jessica was so right in confronting Cameron for his mistreatment toward her and his promiscuity, but Cameron was so right in accusing Jessica of her whole bickering-flirting technique. These two were uncannily keen for ‘Laguna’ dating standards, but it may have been their last opportunity to show this newfound acumen. Cameron bluntly ended it (was there really anything there in the first place?) with Jessica in a park scene suggestive of those gripping Kristin-Stephen beach confrontations of Seasons One and Two.

The only thing appropriate after a break-up of something that never quite was is a nonverbal confrontation of bitchy glares and blatant snubs. Tessa’s belated arrival to a barbeque with Derek and Cami-Kyndra meant the clashing of two turfs. Cami-Kyndra et al walked away in utter disgust, making no excuses, leaving Tessa and Rocky with Derek and the boys. The encounter was priceless, but there was one little detail that I just couldn’t get past: Kelan had a non-speaking appearance and then got a name caption. Since when does a mere random flashing of a face warrant the name caption? What ever happened to the glory days of LB captions exemplified by the “Stephen’s Right-Hand Man” Dieter and “Party Enthusiast” Polster captions of Season One? We can’t blame everything on Kyndra.