Arabian (arabian) wrote,
Arabian
arabian

5.22 - 'Home' (The Vampire Diaries), Take Two (I KNOW!)

Just a heads-up. Fair warning, this post (this very, very long post—I mean, ya'll, it's 11,000 words) does contain vague spoilers per Julie Plec for season 06 from the post-season-finale interviews. Just vague though, I'm still a spoiler-free queen. And it is looong. And has gifs. And did I mention it's long? And hopefully worth the wee wait.

Shortly after season 04 ended, Julie Plec mentioned two specific things that I want to touch upon. Firstly, she stated that they had come up with a mindfuck of an ending for season 05 nearly a year before. The second was that that they had originally intended for someone else to get the cure instead of Katherine. I wonder now if these two things are connected. There were moments and lines threaded throughout season 04—mostly the midway point—where the idea of Damon taking the cure came up, and of course it came up again in the finale after he was injected with the werewolf venom. Damon, I believe, was the original intended recipient of the cure and his season 05 arc was supposed to be dealing with a human Damon and how that would affect not only him, but his new relationship with Elena, and with Stefan. However, they went the Katherine-cure route, and as in the past, I think they simply postponed the Damon-human storyline. Why?

Well, let's look at the evidence. For one thing, why have we never been told who the original recipient of the cure was unless they intended to tell the consequences of that story at a later point? If they came up with the idea of Damon dying as a human on the Other Side as a cliffhanger of the following season’s ending the year before, it would make sense that we weren't told that he was supposed to get the cure so as to keep the buzz at bay. More so than there already is out there about the idea of a potential human-Damon, of course. But had Damon getting the cure originally been leaked, the press and non-regular fanfic writers/die-hard fans would have jumped on that nugget as well.

ETA: Actually, sugarsyringe found one interview where Plec did confirm that it was Damon. So, OK, then! (Here. I'm thinking that was the only place she mentioned it and never talked about it again perhaps because of the reasons I listed above. Because I've read a bunch of interviews where she talked about giving Katherine the cure and side-stepped who they originally intended on giving it too as if they didn't want to reveal it.

Moving on, Stefan, Elena, Enzo and Alaric are all still vampires. Enzo died as a vampire, as did Alaric, so, duh, not a question there. Obviously, they are still vampires. We clearly saw Tyler reacting to *not* being a vampire and with that happening, there's just no way that the others wouldn't have noticed the change in themselves as well. Plus with regards to Stefan and Elena... well, they got underground from the Grill to tunnels and were out of the no-magic zone fairly quickly. Now let's take a look at Damon.

1. He was at the Salvatore boarding house and on foot walking through the no-magic zone for we-have-no-idea how long before he came upon Jeremy and then driving with Jeremy even longer in the no-magic zone before they finally got out of Mystic Falls and joined Elena, Caroline and Stefan in the safe zone. It could have been five minutes; it could have been ten, maybe fifteen, minutes. We don't know.

2. What we do know is that when Damon and Elena were driving towards the Grill during Operation!Kaboom, Elena began to cough up water meaning that the death spiral was coming for them once more.

3. Elena wore her seatbelt and was thus incinerated immediately in the fiery kaboom. Damon wasn't wearing his and thus was thrown from the car, giving him even more precious seconds of life in the no-magic zone where he could die a non-vampire.

4. Most tellingly, when Damon found Liz, he tried mightily, using both hands and even grunted, to move the beam that was on her, but it wouldn't budge. Then along came Alaric, a vampire!, and he easily lifted it. Yes, Alaric is a super-special Original vampire, but he isn't *that* much stronger than Damon as far as we know. Uh huh.

 

5. Finally, the show has used Tyler as a precursor to Damon-related story arcs in the past (everyone's favorite… the sire bond!) and Tyler came out of the Other Side as a human. Hmm, next season, let's see who the next contestant on The Price is Right is. After Tyler, it's generally Damon.

So, yes, I do think that one Mr. Damon Salvatore did die before he reached the Other Side as a vampire, thus he'll be a vampire no more. However, he obviously reached the Other Side as a supernatural creature. Just not as a vampire. So what is he? This is where Silas comes in. Hahaa!

In "True Lies," Silas greets Damon by calling him a "distant nephew," acknowledging that Damon is a descendent of his (duh, I mean, Silas/Stefan, obviously a family resemblance and Damon and Stefan are brothers) which means... Yuppers! Damon is a witchwarlock/traveler, whatever. And we know, via Katherine (in "Dead Man on Campus"), that if one never practiced or was taught anything about it they pretty much know nothing about and are as good as not being a witch/traveler. And we know that Bonnie is so powerful a witch because she is a descendant of Quetsiyah/Tessa (:sobs: yes, I still miss her) because she was one of the two most powerful witches like EVAR! Hmm, and the other most powerful witch? Silas! Meaning that Damon would be pretty damn powerful too like Bonnie. Uh huh. And whatever Dries and Plec have cooked up for next season, I'm sure it has to do with Damon and Bonnie cooking up witchy-stuffs together.... (I'm so excite!) and that leads me to my more fanciful theory.

TESSA! Yes, I know this has very, very little chance of happening. BUT! Tessa *did* create the Other Side, so maybe Grams made her deal with Tessa and she created some little bubble in the Other Side to save Bonnie that included herself because she realized that Silas was a pompous bore and she wanted to go back and live her life after all. (Hyperventilates with hopeful longing that. This. Will. Happen! I know. I know. Hangs head in hopeless pessimism. It will not.) So add to that you'd have Bonnie—who is very powerful as a descendent of the uber-powerful Quetsiyah—and Damon—who is very powerful as a descendent of the uber-powerful Silas—and the actual Quetsiyah/Tessa. And together they would make the power of three! (Remember Shane (:sobs: I miss him too!) and the expression triangle?) That’s a lot of power.

And then, and then, and then... Tessa and Alaric! Because Alaric needs someone awesome and Tessa is awesome, if a bit psychotic. I admit that, but… I love her so much! Ahem. She can change for the better, and still be awesome. *Sigh* Fine, moving on.

But enough of my fanciful theory, back to Damon as a human. It fits with the overall theme going back to his confession in "The Descent" of him missing being human more than anything else and throughout the series to references of a happy ever after with Elena of the human kind, i.e., living a full life and growing old together. As well, apparently, Julie Plec has stated that the intention has always been to return Elena to a human state at some point. (These comments would have come after "The Departed" which is when I began my mostly Vampire Diaries spoiler-free existence so I'm not aware of them myself.)

I can't find this statement from her anywhere, but it's declared as fact all over tumblr and I personally find it quite believable that Plec & co. would be planning this. Putting Damon in that state first also makes a deliciously twisty amount of sense because while he'd still have Damon snark and 150-some odd years of being the bad-boy vamp we all know and love, that sensitive young human would now surface and wouldn't that be interesting? Think of what Damon said to Elena in "As I Lay Dying" while he lay well, dying in her arms: You should have met me in 1864. You would have liked me.

Ah, but will she now? And it also begs the question... what will human-Damon think of vampire-Elena? Especially season 06 vampire-Elena? There's been a lot of speculation that her reaction to Damon's loss will be to become much more Damon-like. Her instincts as a vampire have always been a lot more Damon-like than any other vampire we know. With her losing *yet* another person she loves, will she just decide ‘Fuck it! I'm done, screw this shit! I'm done being the nice girl. Bad-ass Elena is here to stay. Nice-girl Elena has left the building.' Not flip-the-switch Elena like flipped-switch Damon, but Damon as he was with Elena, only caring about the people who matter to her, being snarky, not giving a shit anymore, because you're gonna get fucked in the end anyway. Going dark, without going full-on darkness basically. I dunno, we'll see.

And will she blame Stefan? Because he was supposed to stay and wait for Damon and he didn't, regardless that he came through totally not of his own volition. Will she be one of the ones who doesn't give up on Damon and Bonnie? Plec has said that some will hold on and others will let go. Which category will Elena fall into? Holding on or letting go? I don't think she'll let go. But if she takes on the above persona, she might. I don't know. I think Elena will be lost in a way we haven't seen her before because every loss she's experienced in the past, even Stefan, even Jeremy last season, was a girl's loss. I'm not saying it was a child's loss, but it wasn't that of an adult. Losing Damon (and Bonnie—but Bonnie was a part of her childhood) was the first true loss of her adulthood.

Unlike Stefan, Elena truly had decided she was spending her life with Damon. She wanted to spend forever, a literal eternity with him. To lose that love can and will change a person. So I really don't know where we will find Elena Gilbert next season. Any other time before this, no question, I would say that she would never give up on getting Damon back. But I really cannot say now, and either way, depending on how they go, I don't think it will be out of character.

The next question is will Stefan give up? He tends to give up on things quickly, but it's his brother. It's *Damon* and if he gives up on him, that would shock me. Because it's Stefan and Damon. It's Damon and Stefan. Here they are, the two of them after so much time, so many years, decades, more than a century, finally beginning to get it right. In this last batch of episodes we've really begun to see these two bring it home. They've opened up to one another. They've kept some secrets, admittedly a big one (Stefan!), but even that one was done out of love, and even with the secrets, they've actually been more open and real with each other than they have been in so very, very long.

They are more like the brothers they were before Katherine Pierce came into their lives than they have been since they were human. It's just been glorious to behold. How anyone can watch any moment between the two of them, one thinking about the other and not see how much they love each other I don't even know. But what I do know, oh… forget Damon and Elena for a moment. Forget interviews, and cliffhangers and all of the other silly nonsense… I only needed to *not* see one thing to know that Damon Freaking Salvatore is coming back home next season.

He and his brother did not share one scene in this episode. They didn't even look at each other once. Damon and Stefan didn't get a goodbye. And there is no way, none, zero, zilch, zip, at all, no how that this would be it for Damon if Damon and Stefan didn't get a goodbye. So, again, forget everything else. Damon's coming home, not just for his girl, but for his baby brother. Thank you very much.

Bottom-line, I just gotta say, but for one small thing—which may or may not be wrapped up in my well-documented lack of Lexi-love—I really adored all of the Damon/Stefan stuff in this episode. And I'd like to say I'm shocked (shocked, I tell you!) by the Damon-haters pissing and moaning about how cavalier and uncaring Damon was about Stefan's death at the top of the episode, but I'd be lying my fool head off. Did they even take their eyes off of their phones while typing their outraged tweets and tumblr posts? For reals? I mean, really?

The look on his face when he walked in and could barely look at Stefan on the couch, boy was barely holding it together. Wrecking the girls' pretty (hella unrealistic) dorm room, trying to hold onto his sneering anger so that he didn't fall apart, it just broke my heart. And then the flipside at the end... man, the look on Stefan's face when the tones changed from a muted blue of the Other Side to the warm vibrancy of Mystic Falls after he caught a coughing Bonnie and he realized what it meant. He'd gone through and Damon was still on the Other Side.

     

He was utterly devastated. His "no, no, no, no" as he looked around, and then as he tried to explain. The sense of loss and confusion as if he couldn't explain it himself, couldn't understand how he could have allowed himself to leave Damon, his brother, behind. It was just heartbreaking. Then there was the final scene between him and Caroline (*sigh*) where he was just talking about happy his brother was, finally getting everything he wanted and Stefan was now so sad that Damon was gone. Just gone.

And, and, and…. he was doing the finger thing again! In "The Sun Also Rises" after Stefan found out that Damon had been bitten by a werewolf, Damon walked away and Stefan just helplessly stood there, his fingers flicking away. Look in the background as Elena is doing a very bad job of coming to terms with the fact that Damon has not come through yet and you can see Stefan doing it again. Those fingers flicking helplessly away. My heart! (Paul, you can't do this! The finger thing kills me dead! You can't do that!)

 

And then, grr, here comes my only complaint with the Stefan scenes (and one of my only two complaints with the entire episode). It did truly bother me that he equated losing Damon, his brother, with losing Lexi. I don't care if he's known her for over a century and that she was his "best friend." Whatever! Damon is his brother. His brother! That... that wench! should not be spoken of in the same breath as his brother especially in this situation. I did not like that. I know I said above that it may or may not have been because I don't like Lexi, but honestly, I don't think it was because of that. I understand that they needed to address Lexi being gone, but it should have been in the earlier scene when everyone was coming out. Tyler, Enzo, etc.

However loved Lexi is by the fanbase, and yes, I understand that I am very much in the minority when it comes to that character, she is not on the same scale as his brother and I do not believe I am in the minority in saying that. Still, disliking that they included a mention of her in that scene does not take away how much I loved, loved, loved Paul's performance. He just did an outstanding job. I know I had issues with his work in the beginning of the season—I was not impressed with his Silas during most of his run—but when he delivers, I must give credit. And Paul Wesley delivered in this episode big-time!

But, but, but... why did he have to? Some are asking. Why did Damon and Bonnie have to die? We know they're just going to come back. It doesn't even matter. Death never matters on this show. People die, they come back. Jeremy's died how many times? Elena's died how many times? Damon almost dies every finale? Pfft. Who cares. Well, I disagree. Quite emphatically in fact.

On this show, death matters. Sure, not according to most critics, and unfortunately, many a fan. Well, to that I say poppycock! Jeremy and Bonnie. Prior to this finale, and presumably next season with Damon and Bonnie (again), Jeremy and Bonnie are the only two characters on this show who were killed dead who were brought back from that fate. And Jeremy was actually not even intended to be brought back, but due to viewer response and the producers' realization that they could NOT do that to Elena, she got her brother back. And technically Bonnie was never brought back from death. She just had her foot on both sides—the living and the dead.

Have many a regular series and main recurring character been killed and brought back in the course of an episode? Yes. Is this a supernatural television show with actor contracts and fanbases that have a desire to remain on the airwaves? Yes. Shall I now list the many, many, many characters that have died? Or at least a sampling? Jenna Sommers. (Series regular). Vicki Donovan. (Series regular) John Gilbert. Katherine Pierce. Bill Forbes. Silas. Grams. Miranda Gilbert. Bree. Logan Fell. Rose. Brady. Aaron Whitmore. Noah. Frederick. Atticus Shane. Anna. Amara. Carol Lockwood. Pearl. Lexi. Slater. Andi Starr. Kol. Sage. Mayor Lockwood. (NotNow)Dana. Nadia Petrova (Thank Goodness!). Isobel. Zach Salvatore. Harper. Jesse. Finn. Tessa. Bill Forbes. Trevor. Grayson Gilbert. Jules.

The list goes on. Sure some of those we didn't care about. But some we did. A lot. Some we saw again in flashbacks. Some we saw on the Other Side. A lot. But they were still dead. And those that mattered to the ones still around NEVER STOPPED MATTERING. Elena and Jeremy have never stopped mourning their parents. Miranda and Grayson died before the show even began, but we still feel their children's grief over their death. Elena still talks about her parents. She hasn't forgotten them. Neither has Jeremy. He's still the boy who has lost just about everyone he has ever loved. Vicki died in the SEVENTH episode of the first season and we just finished our FIFTH season and her brother—her brother! not her father, or love interest, but BROTHER!—still mourns her. He has not forgotten her. He still thinks of her, still remembers her.

Bonnie still thinks of her grandmother. And her father was murdered by Silas at the beginning of the season. I admit it; I forgot about him and that happening. The show's writers didn't and so Bonnie didn't. She let that fucker go, and fly into oblivion. Alaric died two seasons ago and when Damon was recounting the people he wanted to come back to Bonnie, in his grief over his brother's death, he mentioned Alaric, and Grams to her. Damon hasn't forgotten the death of his best friend, and he didn't forget how important Bonnie's grandmother is to her. Bill Forbes died two and half seasons ago, and his name hasn't been mentioned in quite a while, but when they used his cabin in a recent episode, they took the time out of the plot-heavy mechanics and emotion-driven angst of the current storyline to give Caroline a moment to mourn in remembrance of the fact that her father is gone. What show does that? What teenage show does that? The freaking Vampire Diaries does!

This is a show that points out the permanence of death. Every single episode practically drips with how the death of Elena's parents has directed the very course of her life. Furthermore, the deaths that have followed continue to direct her life... and thus the course of the lives of practically everyone close to her. Other than love of family, friends and significant others, the only constant in The Vampire Diaries is death.

Death matters on this show. More than most television shows. Just because six characters (Bonnie, Jeremy, Alaric, Stefan, Tyler and Enzo—and four in this very episode while this complaint has been running rampant for years now which I just do not, will never, get) have come back from the dead does not in ANY WAY mean that death does not matter. How death is treated, how it is remembered, IF it is remembered, shows whether it matters or not. And on The Vampire Diaries, death matters very, very much.

Phew, OK, hopping down from my soap box, but let us still speak of death… someone's death in particular. Let's talk about someone who I've wanted to die for quite some time but who once again did not. Of course. And, surprisingly... alright, let's be real, shockingly, I am OK with it. Actually, I'm more than OK with it... I'm actually looking forward to see what happens with him being alive. I, of course, am talking about the human werewolf-cockroach hybrid known as Tyler Lockwood. Yes, he lives another season. But I am intrigued. Tyler is not only human, as in not a vampire. He's not even a werewolf anymore. So, erm, scratch the werewolf part above. He's just a human-cockroach hybrid.

So in season 01, Tyler was a jerk. We all know that. Stefan knew it—he of the broken finger from "Friday Night Bites," Jeremy sure as hell knew it. Even his best friend, Matt, knew it and he was his best friend. Caroline knew it and she wanted nothing to do with him. Well, now Tyler knows why he was such a jerk. He knows that his anger management issues, why he was so quick to be such an asshole, was because of that pesky werewolf gene… and he knows now that he has to control it. If he doesn't and he loses it for even a second—even without a Katerina Petrova-like vixen around to manipulate the situation—he could fly off the handle, accidentally kill someone and trigger the gene once again. Oops.

Tell me that isn't interesting? I certainly think it is. The only issue, of course, is that Michael Trevino is still playing our lovely human-cockroach hybrid and he remains (in my opinion) now tied for the least-talented in our bunch of oh-so pretty actors (the Michaels, sorry, Malarkey, you're awful pretty and all that, but you join the other Michael in the so-so acting department).

The only issue, you say? But, but, but… what about your devotion to the pretty of Stefan and Caroline? Are you not worried about how the H-CH will mess with their burgeoning beauteous love story? Actually, you know, I'm not. I truly do not think that Tyler is going to be a detriment to my darling Stefan and Caroline. (They'll have other obstacles, but of course). And I actually wasn't worried about Tyler in the Stefan-and-Caroline-sitting-in-a-tree scenario even before I read Julie Plec's interview wherein she basically said that Tyler was going to get a new love interest. :)

Now, Plec (or Caroline Dries, I forget which one) did mention that a friend would cause a complication. Obviously the mind jumps immediately to Elena, right? Well, not this mind. I just don't think we're going there. I think it's going to be Enzo or Matt. We know that Michael Malarkey (Enzo) is going to be a series regular next season and the question, of course, is what will be his arc? Will it involve Caroline? After all, after Damon, he interacted with Caroline the most, and much of that interaction involved flirting. In fact, his last line of the season was "See you around, gorgeous," to Caroline.

So I can't discount that he will a thorn in the side of whatever will happen with Stefan and Caroline, but I think that if he is… it will come later. I just think that his story will more involve losing Damon, tangling with Alaric and dealing with being free in the modern world without anything to hold him back and anyone to love. Yes, I know that Plec has already said that Enzo and Alaric wouldn't get along, but it makes perfect sense that they wouldn't. Both consider themselves Damon's best friend and even with him gone (temporarily), they'll be butting heads over their missing buddy.

So that leaves bachelor number two, Matt, and that's the one I'm leaning more towards for a few reasons. Firstly, Matt and Caroline's relationship unlike Tyler and Caroline, and Elena and Matt (and Stefan and Elena) never had any closure. Even going back to the midway point of this season we still saw slight signs of jealousy from Caroline towards Nadia from Caroline over Matt. And then we had the whole bit with Matt's phone. When we do see the characters' phones and the other character's names on their phones (such as Damon's name in Elena's phone in "True Lies") we just see names. However, when Matt was on the phone with Caroline, didja all notice how he had a nice, super-pretty picture of Caroline logged in with her name? And how the show made a very, specific point of showing that off? I sure did! I mean, it was really noticeable. Like noticeable enough that it took me out of the scene for a second to say ‘hey! Matt has a nice, super-pretty picture of Caroline on his phone!'

     

So, yeah, there's that. In addition, there is speculation that Matty Blue-blue will become a Sheriff's deputy next season… which would make sense. The Grill has been done kaboom'd (thanks Damon and Elena), and Matt has some pretty durn good experience handling some gnarly situations about now and the Sheriff knows that. So as a deputy for the Sheriff's department he would be at the Sheriff's office a lot with the Sheriff where the Sheriff is… where Caroline would visit because her mother is the Sheriff. And that means that Caroline and Matt would see each other even more.

And, even though Liz is OK with vampires, let's be real, Damon was her friend, not Stefan. She liked Damon, and she was OK with Stefan, but she also knew him as the Ripper and she had to deal with cleaning up his messes. If she had to choose a boy for her daughter, who would she prefer? Potentially vampire Ripper!Stefan or human!Deputy Sheriff Matt? Uh huh. Now, in the past, her mother preferring Matt over Stefan would be the kind of thing that would push Caroline even more towards Stefan… but it's not the past.

Caroline and her mother are closer, her mother almost died, Caroline saved her life not too long ago. Caroline has loved and lost people, including her father. Bonnie died, came back and is gone once more. She's growing up now. She knows that her mother wants what is best for her, what will make her happy and she wants to make her happy. Plus, Liz won’t be around forever while Caroline will. There’s time to appease her mother and wait for a shot with Stefan when her mother is gone. They have forever... literally. Oh and there's the whole… Stefan and Elena blah blah blah thing and Caroline’s prolonged cheerleading of them. ‘I can't be with the guy who I was pushing for Elena to get back with for like forever. Especially now that Damon is gone. Elena's really gonna need Stefan. What kind of friend does that make me?!'

But the heart wants what the heart wants. And as much as Caroline loves Elena, Caroline is a selfish person. She is. She's a good person; she has a good, loving heart. She's adorable, cheerful, optimistic, but she's self-absorbed, thinks of herself and is selfish even when she tries not to be. So it will be hard for her to not be with Stefan because she is falling and/or already has fallen in love with him. With him dying at the end of "Promised Land" and all that happened in this episode, it no doubt helped to solidify some of that for her.

And it’s been building and building between them for a while and it’s becoming something strong and right and real lately. As a Stefan/Caroline fan, I have been a happy, happy camper with what this season gave me with them, especially with the last batch of episodes, and, oh boy, this one was so incredible. From the beginning when Elena told Liv that Stefan was already dead, and then Liv looked in sadness at a steely-eyed Elena but that's not where the moment ended. Because it wasn't about Elena's pain. Instead, Liv *then* turned and looked at heartbroken Caroline... and the camera lingered on her. And I died. It was so awesome. I mean in a totally bittersweet way, but it awesome because Caroline was the focus of the scene as the person in the most pain over his loss. Not Elena. But Caroline! Totally inappropriate considering that Stefan was dead, but, whatever, pshaw, he's back to being undead now… SQUEE!!

     

Oh, oh, oh, and, of course, you know that whole 'Damon and Elena do bad things for each other therefore they are toxic' nonsense? Well, didja notice how Caroline totes did the exact same thing for Stefan when she killed Luke? Uh huh. It reinforced a point that I'll make later when I get to my Damon and Elena thinky-thoughts section that is my second of only two complaints with the episode. However, for now, still focusing on Stefan and Caroline, just seeing how Caroline went for it with Luke without hesitation, just zoomed over and killed him to save Stefan, an iciness in her eyes and in her voice when she faced Liv. We rarely see the vampire in Caroline, but she's got that vicious killer in her and she's wicked cold. She will cut you down if you threaten the ones she loves.

 

Fast-forward to the end, and we saw the other sides of Caroline. Whereas in the earlier scene, she was all cool, calm and in control, here she was anxious and at a loss because there was nothing she could do. She just had to stand there and wait for the ones she loved to come out of the Other Side. And once Elena was pulled through by Bonnie and she began freaking out over being there without Damon but only referred to as "him." And that's when Caroline began freaking out herself slightly, because, of course for Caroline the "him" could only refer to Stefan so she immediately wanted to know where he was. And when he came through, we saw her only moment of joy in the entire episode as she cried out his name.

And then it all went downhill from there. The devastation on his face as he was unable to wait for his brother. And then later sitting alone in the cemetery mourning the loss of the two people he'd known longest (pfft, Lexi), including his brother, but Caroline came to him. Caroline was there for him. To me it was so significant. They could have ended with Alaric being there for Jeremy in their final scene together since Ric had lost Damon, Jeremy had lost Bonnie and they could have comforted each other and reunited. It would have made perfect sense. And then cut to Stefan and Elena comforting each other since they had both lost Damon and had that connection, thus setting up an arc for the next season.

Instead, they chose to have Stefan share his grief with Caroline. She came looking for him. She sat with him and he welcomed her presence. He shared with her his feelings. And he cried in her lap, while she held him, cradling him to her, coincidentally, similar to how she had held Tyler after the first werewolf transformation which had been the start of their relationship.

 

So, with that conscious decision made to show Stefan with Caroline, and not Elena, closing out the season, all of the other choices that deconstructed the true love story of Stefan Salvatore and Elena Gilbert appear to be complete. Because truly that is what happened this season. I found myself thinking back to what Elena said to Damon before she made her first declaration of love to him: "It's the most real thing I've ever felt in my entire life." And now we know just how true that was because she and Stefan, but especially Elena, will never know how much of what the two of them shared was ever real.

And the Stefan/Elena fans wonder why Elena’s reaction to Stefan’s death at the top of the episode was so less pronounced than it was to Damon’s. Firstly, we didn’t see Elena first hearing about his death. Secondly, Stefan is not her boyfriend, Damon is in part because thirdly, she’s no longer in love with Stefan and she is in love with Damon. Fourthly, when she saw Stefan, she *did* react. She was in shock and she was upset, gasping his name as she fell to her knees in front of him. And finally, she wasn’t that horribly upset because she knew that Damon and Bonnie had a plan to bring Stefan back from the get-go. But mostly, she loves him, cares for him, but she is not in love with him and thanks to what we know about the doppelganger spell... we will never know how much of the love she felt for him was ever really real.

And not only is there the doppelganger spell to contend with, but you also have Damon's compulsion when he first met Elena. He guessed correctly that she wanted "a love that consumes you. You want passion, an adventure, and even a little danger." And then he compelled her to get everything she wanted. And what did she do when she officially met Stefan? She convinced herself that Stefan is what she wanted, he was her passion, her adventure, and he was danger. Then, of course, on top of that, a much, much bigger piece of the pie is the doppelganger spell. There was a spell put on them 1,500 years ago to be drawn towards one another.

Stefan and Elena fell in love with each other; they had feelings for each other because of the spell that Markos created. Yes, they care about each other. Yes, they love each other. But how quickly it happened, how "epic" and dramatic it all was, was because of the spell. It was all heightened *because* of the spell. There is simply no way of knowing just how real their feelings for each other ever were. Think of that moment when Stefan walked into the boarding house after Markos had dropped it and they looked at each other and Stefan said "it's over." It wasn't just about the visions they were having. It was all of it, that mystical attraction that had been there from the beginning, it was gone.

And with it gone, we know that they love each other because they still care for one another, but just as obviously, they aren't in love with each other at all and that connection is gone now too. And remember we know that Elena had already fallen out of love with Stefan and in love with Damon of her own accord even while under the spell's power. And Stefan had fallen out of love with her and was falling for Caroline (yes, he was!) even while under the spell's power.

I've been thinking of how much this effects the Stefan/Elena arc from the very beginning a lot recently. How Elena has always been so damn quick to overlook things with Stefan that she doesn't with anyone else (not just Damon, but anyone, not even Jeremy) that has always driven me insane. Or how Elena and Stefan have always made each other so stupid with each other, bringing out the worst in each other because they don't think. Or how Elena has ignored her feelings for Damon beyond reason and stayed with Stefan beyond his sell-date, like what? It's as if, oh, I don't know, they have been driven by a greater force beyond their control. It's been one of my top three non-stop constant issues of rare complaint with the show. And *now* it makes sense, perfect and utter sense.

That tells us just how much of a fantasy that Stefan and Elena have always been and it makes looking at everything from the Pilot and on with such new eyes. Stefan and Elena are the fantasy. Damon and Elena are the reality. And what has the show been telling us from early season 01 on and continually threading through the entire series since? That when it's real you don't walk away. And Stefan and Elena are not real. And Damon and Elena are real. They're messy and complicated, but they are real.

They, however, are not toxic. While I did love what we got with Damon and Elena, I wasn't pleased with what we did not get—in that there was no resolution to the whole toxic nonsense. And we actually had the perfect opportunity with the perfect set-up in the perfect timeline. Caroline killed Luke to save Stefan without hesitation right in front of Elena. Later when Elena and Damon were talking in the forest they could have talked about the whole supposedly toxic nature of their relationship then. That was the time to acknowledge. That was the time to say that it's not Damon and Elena who are toxic. It's the entire Scooby Gang that is "toxic," if that's what they want to call it.

And, really, it would have just taken a few lines. Elena softly looks at him, all doe-eyes shining in the sun-filtered forest. "I know we said we were bad for each other, that I had to bend my moral compass for you," and Damon would sigh, but she'd cut him off, taking his face in her hands (because that is their thing). "But Damon, we're not bad for each other. We're there for each other. We protect each other. That's what we all do. I protect Jeremy and Bonnie, and Caroline protects Stefan and Bonnie. Like you would protect any of us, and not just me. We protect each other and we do what we have to do because that's who we are. Yes, sometimes you do things that I wish you didn't, but that's who you are and I love you, Damon, all of you. I love you." And then Damon would look at her, all wide-eyed and vulnerable with love shining from his eyes, lips slightly parted in wonder like how did I get this lucky? And then smooches! And the rest of the scene could play out as scripted.

Or something like that. But the whole toxic/bad for each other discussion should have been had before the big separated by "death" goodbye. Obviously they were reunited and together, but it felt a wee bit glossed over and I don't like when Damon and Elena gloss over things because those two don't gloss. It's not them. They are not a gloss-over-type of pair. And the show has done such a remarkable job with not like *ever* glossing over stuffs with them. *sigh* It's just so frustrating because they were actually taking steps to get to that point where, like I showed above, all that was needed was a few lines because everything else was set up. It was there! We were there. We were like, actually, right there! At the spot. It was marked X! All we needed were the words. At least, I did.

They could have cut out, oh, I don't know, a few Lexi lines to give us this with Damon and Elena, thank you very much! *double sigh* OK, fine, I guess to be fair, when Damon comes back, they may wind up addressing it then. Because we did have that PERFECT set-up. So it totally is possible that it is still coming. I just really, really, really would have preferred that it came before the big separation.

OK, phew! Now that both of my issues are out of the way. SQUEE!!!!!! Let us talk about my joy! Erm, well, maybe joy isn't quite the word since I did cry. I mean, real tears running down my face, like every time I watched the goodbye scene. Every single time. I watched it about five times the night it aired. And I cried every time. And over the course of the week that followed, I would still tear up when I watched it. Then I just heavily sighed when I watched it after that until I went a few weeks without watching it, then a fresh watch, and yeah, the tears came back. Damnit.

But, you know what, screw it; I'm still going with joy. You know why? Because while the last batch of episodes have kinda, sorta, totally said that Damon and Elena are IT as the THE couple, this episode pretty much said that Damon and Elena are the endgamiest of all endgame OTPs. Everything in this episode screamed endgame LIKE WHOAH!

*sigh* From their first scene where Elena once again made it perfectly clear that she wants to spend eternity—which she and Damon *literally* have—together to their very last scene where all of our hearts were ripped beating out of our chests until next fall at some point before Julie Plec and Caroline Dries kindly allow us to once more fill our chest cavities (eww, gross! Hey, I am doing a Vampire Diaries write-up!) , Damon and Elena had me all verklempt.

But let us revisit that first scene. And I'm gonna *sigh* again.

 
 
 

Yes, I talked above about how I would have loved to see closure on the whole silly, toxic thing, but it doesn't mean that I didn't LOVE that we got closure on something else. I talked plenty lots in the early episodes of this season about how part of what was wrong with Damon and Elena was that in their romance they'd started to hide things from one another. A huge strength in their relationship had been how they didn't lie to one another; they were straight up with each other. Suddenly, with that switch in their status they were suddenly keeping secrets to "protect" each other.

Well, after a full season of this causing problems, the two of them push-pulling away from each other, breaking up, making out, drawing back towards each other, they finally are back in the right place. They are together romantically… *and* being honest with one another. Instead of keeping the secret of being trigger-boy for Operation!Massacre, Damon told Elena the truth even though he knew she wouldn't like it. He told her the truth, dealt with the consequences and they talked it out. Like adults. No burying their heads in the sand, no going behind each other's backs. Face to face, honest and open. Fantastic. Loved. It.

And the kissy-face was pretty awesome too. As was the oh-so-lovely fade to white which gave us a not-so-subtle clue that our boy, Damon, is, but, of course, coming back home to his girl. He promised her he was coming back. Obviously, it ain't right away, but of course, he's coming back. That "I promise you" paired with the fade into glowing white being the same as the glowing white light at the end with Damon and Bonnie was an absolute sign that Damon is definitively coming back to Elena. He will indeed keep his promise to her. That was one of those technical foreshadowing tricks shows love to throw out at audiences. And it was yet another obvious sign, again, not that I really needed any obvious ones, that Damon is coming back.

However, what will not be coming back is Damon's Camaro because that baby done be blown up good. Unless, in a nostalgic touch of missing him, Elena buys an exact car like his. That would be kinda sweet, not likely, but it would be sweet. :shrugs: It would be a nice memory of all their road trips, and the last time she drove with him where they last didn't tell each other "I love you" even though they both totally did even though they didn't. And I loved that.

"Damon, I –" She looked at him. He looked at her. And then went all Han Solo on her. "I know." And that was all they both needed to say. They both nodded. And it was beautiful. The smiles, the looks in their eyes. It said "I love you" just about as well as words could have and showed how far they've come. They don't even need the words anymore; they are both—even Damon—that confident in each other and their love for one another. And then Damon put his hand over hers and his 1969 Chevy Camaro Convertible went kaboom.

 

And then they were on the Other Side making their way to Bonnie, but they were separated in death. Elena, seat-belted in, first insisted to Alaric that she had to find Damon, but trusted him to do so. Then she got to Bonnie first and wanted to wait for Damon, and she was so adamant that she couldn't leave him behind; she wouldn't leave him. And then when forced against her will back to our Earthly plain she was near-hysterical to Bonnie, betrayal in her voice, near-betrayal and shock on her face when Stefan came through without Damon. It was all unreal to her, the emotions crowding through. We saw her begin to feel the pain in a way we haven't other than when she lost Jeremy. And then Bonnie came to her and she realized that Damon was gone, truly gone and there was no hope of getting him back and it was time to say goodbye.

The first time that we heard Damon tell Elena "I love you" she didn't know that he said the words to her. The last time that we heard Damon tell Elena "I love you" once again she didn't know that he said the words to her. Both times, she knew that he loved her, and she knew that he was going to say something along those lines but her reaction to the knowing was totally different.

In "Rose" back in early season 02, Elena had an idea that he was leaning towards a confession of love and she didn't want to hear it and when he did say it, she was struck silent and let's face it, she really didn't want to deal with it. Here, that unheard declaration would have been received and returned joyously. Ah, how times change. Except for the whole Damon-giving-beautifully-heartfelt-speeches-and-Elena-not-hearing-them thing. That just keeps on happening. It's their thing.

Oh, but that thing this time. Damn. It just keeps on wrecking. Yes, I watched it again just for this write-up. Damn. You just have to stop and think about it. Damon is giving this poignant speech and it's alternately melting and breaking our hearts because it's so beautiful and it's filled with so much love and peace and acceptance because he's lived such a long life filled with strife, hate and revenge. He's never truly known love and acceptance and even though he's had it for such a short time with Elena, because he had that with her, it was worth it to him. So he means what he says. It truly was worth it. Loving her, being loved by her is worth the previous 173 years versus the brief span of time he had with her.

But then you have to stop and think... think about Elena and there is no alternate of heart melting. It's just heartbreaking. Because Elena has had love. She had the love of both parents. It was good and strong and true for all of the 16 years she had them. She had Jenna. She has Jeremy. And Bonnie and Caroline. The love of Matt and Stefan. And Damon. She's loved and been loved in return for all of her life. She's had love, peace and acceptance most of her life. It's only the last few years that she's known strife, danger, fear, and hard times. And so for comparison, Damon—whom she clearly now considers the love of her life—she's only had truly for a few months and so it's not enough, not enough at all.

And on top of that, Damon is looking at Elena. He's seeing her face for the last time, he's touching her, drinking in these last moments, saying these final words of love to her, getting these final memories of her to cherish. But Elena? Elena has nothing but an empty mausoleum. She knows he's there, but she can't see him. She can't feel him. She can't touch him. She can't hear him. All she sees is swirling dust around her. All she can touch is empty air. All she hears are her bitter words to him because he lied to her; he promised her that he would come back to her. All she hears is the wind blowing. The sound of her tears. Her heart breaking.

 
 
 

It's just devastating. Damn.

But the heartbreak isn't over because then Jeremy finally found out that when the Other Side goes, so does Bonnie and as he came racing to see her one last time, the others begin to realize it from his reaction. They haven’t just lost Damon, more importantly to most of them, they are losing Bonnie as well. And we are left with those final moments of Damon and Bonnie standing there on the Other Side, holding hands, not the people they would choose to be with at the end, but there they are... seemingly, the two last people on the Other Side and all they've got is each other.

Hopefully they will be enough for each other until they come home.

Hopefully it’s not going to hurt.

Fade to white.

 

Damn.

But… again, I'm not really worried at all about Damon coming back, he promised Elena he would come back to her. So, I'm not worried about Bonnie coming back because she’s with Damon. And if anyone can get it done, it’s those two. And we all know there was a reason we had that Bonnie/Grams scene. Whatever it was that Grams did (TESSA!) that she told Bonnie about is what is going to get Bonnie (and thus Damon) back, I'm sure. And, really, I absolutely love that Damon and Bonnie are going to have this bonding experience.

I love how these are the only two of the group who get shit done. It's always been only these two who get shit done. And starting with the end of season 03 when Bonnie put Klaus in Tyler, we started to see that Bonnie was beginning to get that sometimes you have to make choices that aren't black and white and it's freaking hard. And that Damon had been put in that spot a lot, and she was starting to get that. We saw stuff, moments with that, playing out that motif that strengthened their relationship. (When Joshua Butler wasn't directing, of course, ahem.)

So, I really am interested to see what happens with these. Especially if I'm right, and Damon is going to be a witch warlock/traveler and we see Bonnie maybe working with/teaching Damon witchy stuff. That would be awesome! I'm thinking/hoping that we'll get at least four to six episodes before those two manage to get brought back because I think it will be interesting to see how their relationship is different and how that effects the dynamics when they return.

And really how it will be for Damon? Not only because he'll obviously be different as a human (if he is), but also because Damon will be in *such* a different place relationship-wise. Prior to this season, it's been Damon having pretty much one person on his side (if he's lucky) begrudgingly except for the last two season where Elena was fully on his side. But next season, he'd have Elena, Stefan fully (because of no residual Elena-feelings, and OMG!I have my brother back, yes, I'm so happy, I love him! YAY!), Alaric, Enzo, Liz, possibly his minions— Jeremy and Matt, and now Bonnie. And of that group, only Jeremy and Matt would be begrudging. That's like… whoah!

But having Bonnie on Damon's side, as Damon's new BFF would be very interesting and something I would find a lot of fun to watch. I think that Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham have great chemistry onscreen. Obviously, I don't want to watch them in a romantic sense, and I don't think for a second the show would go there, but as friends, I think it would be marvelous and would also really create a fascinating dynamic because of the whole Caroline versus Damon issue. Because you've got Caroline with her Damon, well, issues and the people she is closest to outside of her mother now (with her dunzo with Tyler and Matt) are Elena, Stefan and Bonnie and they would all be Team!Damon now.

So, yeah, a Damon and Bonnie true friendship dynamic, I would very much like to see. And frankly, I would love to see Damon have a friend who is not sarcastic or snarky and could give him good Elena-advice without it being weird or creepy (sorry, Ric!).

Even if she is still young. She's mature beyond her years, aged by all that has happened, but she's still young and how she handled this whole thing did truly show that. And what happened, at least with Damon, could have been avoided had Bonnie not done things as she did, i.e., kept the truth of the situation from everyone. Not telling the others about the difficulty in the transference was just one of the issues that added to their lack of planning. Had they known about that, they wouldn't have added so many people to the list, including Elena. And had Elena not been there, Alaric wouldn't have spent the time talking to her, but would have instead gone straight after Damon and that time was literally the difference between Damon getting through and not. Bonnie was trying to not let them know so she could keep them from knowing the pain it was costing her, but it wound up making things worse and cost Damon his undead life.

But it doesn't make me love Bonnie any less, because there was no malice intended in her not telling them. There was only love. She just wanted to help them all without them knowing her pain. She just wanted to give all of them, the people she loved, their loved ones before she and everyone on the Other Side was taken away forever. That’s my girl. ♥ My favorite moment with her was after she pulled Elena through, seeing the devastation on Elena's face, she looked at her, determination on *her* face, she told her "It's OK, I can do this."

 

She wanted to bring Damon back for Elena. She meant to do this for her best friend. Oh, Bonnie. The look of such relief on her face when Damon stood before her and put his hands on her arms because she was doing it, she was bringing him home for Elena. And then nothing. Oh, my Bonnie. Broke my heart. But then, hell, this whole episode broke my heart. Damn Caroline Dries and Julie Plec. That was the freaking plan. And they succeeded! Damn them!

Onto random thoughts… (Hah, you thought I was done? Almost!)

- I'm OK with Elena going all suicidal with Damon in Operation!Kaboom because the plan really was to come back. It was about rescuing Stefan together. It was about committing to each other, this relationship, this adventure that was their lives all-out, or as she said, "going all in."

- Phew, Liz made it out alive another season. Yes! Aww and Damon was so concerned for her. I ♥ Damon and Liz so much. So sweet. Hmm, I wonder if Caroline will find out about this from Ric? Like if she'll make some disparaging comment about Damon in front of Alaric and he'll angrily say that Damon lost his chance to come back because he stayed behind too long on the Other Side to make sure her mother didn't die. That would work for me. I mean, I love me some Caroline, but someone needs to let Caroline in on the fact that Damon Salvatore is not THE EVUL!

- YES! Matt Davis will be returning as a series regular next season. BOOYAH! Do the celebratory dance of joy! Although, really? Ric comes back… and Damon dies? As someone elsewhere said, they are the male/male version of Romeo and Juliet. *sigh* Oh, and can I say how happy I am that that the show did not ignore what I've been thinking of ever since Damon told Enzo that he would bring him back from the Other Side? I mean, I kept wondering why no one was mentioning Ric or Lexi (ugh) or Grams when talking about brining Enzo back. But nope, the show didn’t forget. Yay! I love when my show doesn't let me down.

- One of the side effect joys of having Alaric back is that because he is close to Damon and he is a father-figure (technical step-father) to Elena is that the potential bonding that could have reconnected Stefan and Elena is less likely to happen now because Ric will fill that void. And can I just say, oh boy, are Elena and Jeremy really going to need Alaric now since they've both lost their significant others?

:Bounces happily: I'm just so thrilled he's coming back.

- You know who's not coming back though? And I'm just as happy about that! Lexi! WHEEE!!! What joy, what bliss knowing that I don't her hanging over my head anymore. *sigh* I'll only ever have to deal with her in flashbacks and we only have a few of those and she can't show up in *that* many! I will seriously not miss her at all! My goodness, she rubs me so very much the wrong way. She's so fake and annoying, and ugh, I can't stand her.

- So, nice to know that there was clearly a hair salon on the Other Side what with the new do's our folks come back with… Alaric.

     

- So I really did think that Katherine was going to turn out to be Stefan's doppelganger soulmate and that Elena was just the red herring for that, as I talked about a bunch in the early episode write-ups, but obviously I was wrong. Of course, I didn't expect Katherine to die. Oops. I'd say rest in peace, Katherine, but she really doesn't deserve it.

- I didn't want to talk about the performances during the write-up because I wanted to just focus on the emotion of the scene and what it meant for the fictional characters, so I'll write about them here. Throughout the episode, but especially during that final scene, both Nina Dobrev and Ian Somerhalder knocked it out of the park. Obviously Dobrev had a showier role with the tears and Elena's devastating heartbreak which she portrayed to a remarkable, devastating degree that just wrenched at my soul, but Somerhalder did an equally wonderful job at the other end of the spectrum.

As I wrote above, Damon was coming from a completely different frame of mind (and heart) than Elena… he could see her, touch her, get his final moments of grace and goodbye with her. And he was so at peace in such a way that Elena was not and you could practically feel that emanating from his every being in that final scene even as you felt his sorrow at leaving her behind. Both of them gave masterful performances.

- Since they managed to come up with ways to have Stefan and Elena interact somehow (even if it was only briefly) in every episode (or at least Nina Dobrev and Paul Wesley with Silas as "Stefan" in season 05—in "True Lies"), I can't imagine they won't do the same for Damon and Elena in season 06. Someone suggested that we may get flashbacks to their summer of love and that is certainly possible. I know I wouldn't mind! Either way, I would be *very* surprised if the writers didn't come up with some inventive way to allow viewers to see Damon and Elena interacting until Damon is back.

- *Sigh* Grams and Bonnie always break my heart and make me cry. I will miss Grams so much. I truly will. I've always loved Jasmine Guy as an actress and it saddens me that we won't see her anymore on this show. With very little screentime she created a strong, sassy, sensitive, warm-hearted, three-dimensional character whom I loved deeply.

- Hmm, why was Amara able to live through centuries of being an anchor but Bonnie could barely handle a handful of months? Is it because she was a statue? Yes, yes, she was crazypants (TM, Damon), but still… she took it much better than Bonnie. Yeah, I think it was the whole statue thingie. emofordino answered this one. Due to the travelers drinking the doppelganger blood and Markos coming through, it weakened Bonnie. So there ya go. That was answered in the last few episodes, but I forgot about it.

- I admit, I didn't notice it until just rewatching that Damon/Elena goodbye this last time (only my gazillionth watching) but after Elena slips down and Damon kneels in front of her, there is a hazy, warm glow with dust motes that it strikingly similar to a small section of the love scene from the "I Know What You Did Last Summer." It’s a heartbreaking parallel. Damn you, show! Damn you, Grismer!

 

- So I mentioned above that Plec said there was going to be a new love interest for Tyler, and another interview mentioned that there be would a new love interest in the age range for Tyler, Matt or Jeremy. Sooo I don't know if this just means that the love interest is for Tyler, or if Matt and/or Jeremy is getting one as well. And if that is the case, does that mean that in however long the time jump is Jeremy has given up? Sadly, I think he may have. We will see. We will see.

- Speaking of Jeremy, now that Bonnie is officially gone, gone and dead without even her presence around does that mean that Jeremy's Hunter-born vampire-hating instincts will come to the fore once more or is that gone completely with Tessa, Silas and the Other Side? After all, the Hunters belonged to her and were tied to the whole hunt for Silas.

- Just a note on Katherine. As far as I can see, Katherine was sucked into a void as the other supernatural creatures were as the Other Side disappeared... but, they were already ON the Other Side. Katherine wasn't even allowed in. So I still say it was the witches not allowing her admittance, because remember that Markos and the travelers hadn't done their sacrifice to send him through yet. The Hell/void/wherever Katherine went that we will never see them again is where the others have gone, true, but I still believe that Katherine was just denied entrance by the witches and/or Tessa because, as I said back then they knew that Katherine could and would hasten the end somehow… or Tessa did not want to deal with an Amara-look-alike walking around.

Tessa be crazy. I ♥ her.

You know what else I ♥ ? This show. So very, very, very hard. I still think that some of the first half of the season could have been smushed together to up the pace a bit. That was the learning curve portion of the season for Caroline Dries. However, by the midway point, I think she was up and running and I have no complaints. I think this season has been fabulous. I've enjoyed the traveler storyline tremendously. I don't think it's confusing (if you pay attention). Yes, it's taken the whole season to play out, yes, you've had to draw in information from previous seasons and keep account of what's been said, but it all fits together.

I've loved the strengthening of all the character's motivations, relationships, friendships, realities. I love how the show continues to still have fun, how it pokes fun at itself at times. I love the adventure, the humor that can still be found, the drama, the acting (except for the dreadful Olga Fonda—seriously, show! WHY!?!?), the romance, the beauty of it all. The family, the friendships, the love story, they way life matters, love matters, all love matters. I just love this show so very much. And I appreciate every single one of you who has stuck around with me for as long as you have, who have found me recently and enjoy what I have to say and respond in turn. Thank you. Here's to a great season, and can't wait for another one!
Tags: alaric saltzman, bonnie bennett, caroline forbes, damon salvatore, damon/bonnie, damon/elena, elena gilbert, ep discussion-tvd, ian somerhalder, jeremy/bonnie, nina dobrev, stefan salvatore, stefan/caroline, the vampire diaries, tv
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