Note: This was originally posted in a lovely Caroline-defense post by youcallitwinter. If you're Rah!Team Caroline for this episode, you'd probably enjoy reading it. I chose to remove my post there because it was her Rah!Team Caroline cheer and I didn't feel that disagreeing so strongly in that type of post was cool. So I'm posting it here.
One of the contentions that youcallitwinter and other Rah!Team Caroline members have made is that Caroline's attitude toward Damon was justified because of his treatment of her when they were dating; especially when what takes into account this show's timeline and how it was less than a year ago that he treated her thusly. Fair enough. However, the problem (in my opinion) of using this as a reason as to why it makes sense that it would still be a driving force in Caroline's attitude is that all of the stuff that happened between then and now was much more recent. And that recent stuff mostly involves saving her life. Not once, not twice, not three times, but FOUR TIMES OVER. Yes, Caroline Forbes would be dead *dead* FOUR TIMES OVER were it not for Damon Salvatore.
As for that whole aspect, many have argued that Damon only saved her life to score points with Elena. To which I say? So? And, nuh uh, there was more to it than that! I mean, to say that his saving her life doesn't hold that much weight because he did it for Elena just doesn't fly with me. Who cares why he did it? He saved her life. Caroline is alive because Damon saved her life. Four times. Period. Sure, he did it two of those times to get brownie points and/or make things up with Elena, but he still saved her life. And there is definitely more to it than just scoring points with Elena.
Let's look at those four times --
1) "The Return" -- He gave her vampire blood to heal her from internal injuries. He didn't do this to get brownie points with Elena, he didn't do this to make things up with Elena. He did it to save Elena's friend because he cares about Elena and losing her friend would hurt Elena. He also did it to save *his* friend's daughter because losing Caroline would devastate Liz. Yeah, Damon saved Caroline's life because he didn't want her mother or her friend to feel that loss. How is that in any way, shape or form selfish? It's not. At all. No way. He didn't do it to gain anything from Elena or Liz. Sure, he asked Bonnie if it would make things square with him, but she said no ... and he did it anyway. And not just for Elena (so that she wouldn't suffer any more which is what someone who cares would do), but for his friend, Caroline's mother.
2) "Daddy Issues" -- He helped saved her life when the werewolves kidnapped her. Stefan and Tyler were already on the way; Stefan didn't call Damon, he just happened to be there with Elena. Did Damon do it for Elena? In part, yeah, but it was also about Caroline. I say this because (a) we never heard Elena specifically say 'go save Caroline for me!' She said 'don't kill Tyler for me." And (b) Damon flat-out told her don't think I'll do things just because you're the one asking. Being Damon, if he really didn't want to save Caroline, just to prove a point to Elena, he wouldn't have done it. But he did. And again, regardless of his reasons, he put his life on the line to go and help save Caroline.
3) "The Last Day" -- He rescued Caroline to stop the ritual from happening so that Elena wouldn't be turned, and would forgive him. Fair enough, totally selfish, right? Except, it wasn't totally selfish. He had no intention of rescuing Tyler. He didn't care. He just wanted the ritual not to happen. And as far as he knew it wouldn't because he'd killed Klaus' witch already. Klaus needed a witch, a vampire and a werewolf. So, as far as Damon knew, the sacrifice couldn't happen now because he'd taken out the witch. Yet, he still went and rescued Caroline because the witch dead or not, Klaus would come after his vampire and werewolf, so Damon saved Caroline. And then had no intention in rescuing Tyler. He only did so BECAUSE CAROLINE SAID SHE WOULDN'T LEAVE WITHOUT HIM. Damon risked HIS LIFE by letting a werewolf free on a full moon JUST TO SAVE CAROLINE. The sacrifice had been halted with dead-witch as far as he was concerned. He didn't have to let Caroline go, in fact, he could have kept her there since her ultimatum was save Tyler too or I'm staying here, never mind that Tyler being free put his life in jeopardy. He still chose to rescue Caroline.
4) "The Last Day" -- A rabid Tyler was going for Caroline. He was going to bite Caroline. Which would kill Caroline. With no time to think about how good he would look in Elena's eyes for doing so, Damon without thought, just doing it, took the bite for Caroline. On instinct, he took a deadly werewolf bite that was meant for Caroline. Again, how is that in any way, shape or form selfish? It's not. At all. No way.
So, yeah, Damon saved Caroline's life four times and all four of those times (with DI being the least) had mitigating circumstances that made it perfectly clear it was not just about getting brownie points with Elena. And, again, this all happened MUCH MORE recently than their relationship when Damon was a full-on dick, didn't have his humanity switch turned on. He has since then, time and time and time again, shown how much good he is capable of. Caroline also knows that Damon cares a gazillion times more for Elena than he ever did for Caroline during that period. Even emotionally, she knows it's not the same. Now, if she had been specific re: her relationship with him, I would have been fine with her commentary towards Elena, but it was the pervading OOH! DAMON = BAD! that bothered me.
And, frankly, I find it hard to believe that Caroline would still hold such a huge grudge about that knowing that --
(a) Damon had his humanity switch off, and was operating under a different set of rules, something that she can understand now being a vampire herself.
(b) Has forgiven Matt time and time again despite the fact that he emotionally wrecks her apart ALL THE TIME.
(c) Forgave Tyler for hesitating when she was locked in a cage after being tortured for hours, and helped to set Elena (and Stefan up).
She's a forgiver. And Damon has done a SHITLOAD to make up for that early treatment. Look, I know many viewers are pissed that other than a hallway throw-down and a "you suck" Caroline and Damon have never even remotely dealt with how he treated her. I get that, I'm actually one of those viewers, but to cheer on Caroline being so mean, and kicking Damon's ass NOW in the third season because of something that happened at the beginning of the first season just because it wasn't dealt with adequately by the show isn't fair to Damon. It would be like Elena suddenly getting furious with Stefan for not telling her that she looked like Katherine. That's something that drives me, as an anti-Stefan/Elena viewer, crazy that it was just glossed over. But to bring it up now when so much more (good and bad) has happened wouldn't make narrative sense.
Narrative sense? Ding, ding, ding. That's the key here. Writer Brian Young really seemed off the ball in the narrative flow. There wasn't an emotional connect with what's been happening with these characters to how he had them (namely Caroline, Alaric, Rebekah and Stefan) act in this episode. Unfortunately, Caroline -- with an issue going back the farthest and unremarked upon that was driven by this failure of a strong narrative flow -- came out smelling the least like a rose.
There has been argument that Caroline was coming at this from the point of view as Elena's friend, wanting to protect her. I could totally be behind that, except for how she broached it. Had she made any sort of disclaimer such as "I know he's better, or he's not the same guy from when he first came to town ... BUT he's still DAMON!" I would have been fine, but it was the unmitigated vibe of he's the evul! that really bothered me. Be Elena's friend, point out the Damon-ness of Damon, but still acknowledge that he's not this evil, sick monster he was when they first met him. Caroline actually warned Elena herself of the vampire-ness of it all back in 2.04 (even if it was from prodding from Katherine, it was all true). Yet, that was delivered in a note of 'well, vampires are vampires,' thus absolving Stefan -- because Stefan kept Elena in the dark about the reality of vampirism. But now that it's Damon, suddenly it's not vampirism, it's OH, DAMON IS BAD! And that is what bugged me. Be a good friend, fine, but don't lay it all on Damon's feet as if he's the big bad who hasn't been working his ass off for however long to save ALL of their lives on a fairly regular basis. He's not all bad, and THAT is how Caroline was portraying him.
The bottom-line is that, for me, it all comes down to the phrasing. Had she just acknowledged that he's not the same jerk he was with her, I would have been fine, totally cool with her pointing out "BUT HE'S STILL DAMON!" Because, yeah, he's still Damon. But she didn't. All of her comments (pre-that final scene) read as if Damon is evil, evil, evil, evil. All bad, bad dude, no, no, no, no. No acknowledgement that he's not. That he has done SO MUCH for all of them. NOTHING from her at all. Her line "doing bad things to good people," and the follow-up, "I'm the honestly police," were the worst examples of that. She was stating, as it came across what she believes, an absolute, honest fact. Damon is bad. Period.
And he is not.
That is why that as much as I love Caroline, as much as she's my girl, I believe that her attitude about Damon -- a guy who, yes, treated her horribly when they first met, but has since then saved her life four times, saved her mother's life (were it not for Damon, Lexi would have killed the Sheriff), bonded with her mother and has become her only friend, tried to smooth things over in their relationship and make Liz accept Caroline as her daughter even as a vampire, rescued Tyler, helped rescue Matt when Tyler was all were-wolfy, and has worked his ass off to save this town time and time again, including all the people she holds dear -- is just not fair. Yes, I really do blame the writer here. I didn't think it rang true with Caroline. I didn't think it was in character. But it's what we got, and her attitude about him, considering everything that has happened since Damon came to town (especially the last four months or so), was just wrong.