Remember: NO SPOILERS AT ALL PLEASE! Thank you!
Why did the show have Alaric erase Elena loving Damon (i.e., alter her memories so that she didn't remember the good things about him so that she didn't remember falling in love with him)? I think it's to deal with why Damon broke up with her in "Fifty Shades of Grayson." florencia7 mentioned in her post on her lj that she was a bit thrown about Elena calling Damon a monster in "Yellow Ledbetter" because Elena's never called anyone a monster. (Except she has actually, she's called herself one--in "We All Go A Little Mad Sometimes." But that's all about Elena's demons, which she dealt with then.) I had already come up with my theory, but reading that "monster" comment was the final nail in the theory confirmation. Why? Because of what happened in that episode when Damon broke up with Elena. Namely Enzo telling Damon he was a monster, and Damon believing that deep down so absolutely that he ended things with the woman he loves more than anything.
I wrote in that episode write-up that it was all about Damon and his issues. Seriously, this is what comes of Damon almost never been told of the good he does, but only been told of the bad. He just honestly believes that he's only a crappy dude. Damon thinks of himself as horrible whereas everyone else in their group thinks of themselves as good. Enzo repeating that refrain ("That's just who you are, who you'll always be…a monster.") just once again beat that belief into Damon's brain. And yet it's so ridiculous and no one, except for Elena, at this point seems to realize just how ridiculous and false it is. They have all done bad things, and in fact, Stefan has done worst things than Damon. Every single one of them are "monsters" on sliding scales and yet in their little group, only Damon is tagged as one and only Damon owns that branding. And until the others, and more importantly, *Damon* realizes that he is no more a monster than the rest of them; he will never accept that he deserves to be with Elena. That he deserves to be happy. And until he fully accepts that realization his journey will never be complete.
And, you know, honestly, until this conversation, I don't think Elena ever fully got that. [And] there was one particular line—that Nina Dobrev delivered flawlessly where she told him that she wasn't perfect and she said "I've done horrible things too" and that was so key to me. It was an acknowledgement that was no one else ever makes in their group really. Yes, they all do horrible things. But the others and Damon brush them under the rug as, you know, just things that happen, incidentals, but whenever Damon does something horrible it's proof that he's a monster. Only Elena doesn't see it that way, or at least, only Elena acknowledges that she doesn't see it that way.
And that's another key. I don't think that Jeremy or Matt or even Bonnie see Damon as a monster anymore. But none of them verbalize it. I'm sure that Jeremy hasn't told anyone else all the good that Damon has done. I'm sure he never told anyone that Damon tried to make Jeremy kill him while fighting the compulsion (which he did sooooooooo much better than Stefan did, thank you very much Klaus-y poo!). And I'm sure that Matt never told anyone that Damon's supposed big hissy-fit at the Original's ball involved him stopping Kol from killing Matt. And Bonnie's clearly never told Caroline that Damon saved her life, and Caroline obviously doesn't care that Damon has saved her life twice and Tyler's.
And the little things don't matter much to enough of them to be spoken of to Jeremy and Matt because they're at the point where they consider Damon one of them; he's just Damon. Cool, in control, bad-ass Damon who always gets shit done. They don't see the wounded soul, the broken man inside who feels worthless and rejected and believes that he's such a monster that he's willing to walk away from the greatest happiness he's ever known because he believes that everyone hates that Elena is with him… even if it's really only Stefan and Caroline. *sigh* Oh, Damon.
And doesn't this just highlight everything I'm saying about why this storyline NEEDS to happen this way? And, boy, it's why I really hope I'm right (despite the pain I know that is coming along with this). This is why Elena needs to think of Damon as a monster, and why everyone else needs to be the ones to point out that he's not to her; he's really, really not. And they all need to be able to show when and why he's proven time and time again he's not. Because the whole group all have these moments, these times when he's shown each of them individually that he's not a monster, that he's good, that he's been there for them, that he's saved them, that Damon Salvatore CARES. And it's not even actually about showing Elena that Damon's not a monster because she'll figure that out quickly enough on her own just like she did before. It's about *Damon* finally figuring it out. Because as I said way back in "Fifty Shades of Grayson" that until Damon realizes that he is no more a monster than the rest of them he will never accept that he deserves to be with Elena and that he deserves to be happy. Until he fully accepts that realization his journey will never be complete.
And now that brings us to a moment I mentioned in my write-up of "Yellow Ledbetter" that I loved: Damon telling Bonnie that just maybe the negativity between them is because she's always negative to him. I commented that it was about time that he said that to one of them. And it is. And by the end of the episode we saw a change in that *Bonnie* made a meal for them, Bonnie made a concession and was nice to *Damon* for once. I wrote above "I don't think that Jeremy or Matt or even Bonnie see Damon as a monster anymore. But none of them verbalize it." Perhaps by Damon telling this to Bonnie, her realizing it and this changing their relationship will have an effect on what is going to come later.
And what is going to come later? Well, that brings us to the finale of last season. One of my only two issues with that episode was the fact that Damon and Elena didn't resolve the whole supposed toxicity of their relationship. 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.
I think 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. 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.
That is what I wrote then. Flashforward to now: You see that second to last line above? "So it totally is possible that it is still coming." Well, yeah, I'm pretty sure it totally is still coming. However, it's going to be hella, extremely painful before then. Now, I think there was a VERY specific reason that, yes, Elena saw what happened with Caroline and Luke, why that spot was marked X, why all of that happened, and WHY that conversation between Damon and Elena did not happen. All of the above played out for Elena because *Elena* knows now that their relationship is not toxic. She knows now that she was looking at their relationship in a vacuum. But because of the extreme situation, it wasn't the time to sit down and talk it all out then. She figured they could do that later because, of course, Damon would come back.
On the other hand, Damon never had that talk with Stefan. Damon never saw that moment with Caroline or anyone else. Damon never had any indication from Stefan or Caroline or Bonnie or Jeremy or Matt or ELENA or anyone else that he and Elena are not toxic. He just figured they got back together because they are so freaking miserable without each other because, remember (and this is important!) even when he demanded she stopped loving him she told him that she can't. You see where I'm going here?
Yup, Damon is going to see that Elena is "happy" and Elena believes that she couldn't possibly really have loved this "monster" and that she needs to forge a new happier life not loving this serial killer, so, yup, Elena won't want her memories back, Damon will agree that it's best for her because they never had the whole toxic discussion. So while she's trying to have a normal, "happy" relationship with Liam, Damon, of course, will be trying to keep his distance because he wants what is best for Elena. However, he will also be doing everything he can to get Bonnie back and Alaric and, shockingly enough, Caroline will probably be doing some matchmaking--which includes the others pointing out that Damon has changed, he's not *the evul.* And, because Damon has changed, Elena will not only hear what the others are saying, she'll actually see that his actions, demeanor fit their words.
And eventually at some point, Bonnie will come back and she'll totally be team!Damon. And then we'll get the whole Elena realizing that Damon isn't a monster, there's way more to him than just the bad memories she has. And she'll fall in love with all over again--and we'll get to see it happen without the whole Stefan/triangle thing--and she'll get her memories back herself. But *sigh* this will happen over the course of the season and the memories coming back will happen? Who knows when… *double sigh* But, yeah, I'm resigning myself to this now and not to a Damon/Elena reunion in November sweeps because I do not want to get my hopes up. *triple sigh* And as I said the set-up is there from last season and if they are doing this it will certainly help in the long run in resolving a bunch of their issues, it just sucks because I want to see Damon and Elena HAPPY TOGETHER NOW AND FINALLY!
NOTE, THOUGH: I do still think that they also did this as a way to (a) make Elena not near-suicidal and going all vampire-killer until Damon came back, and (b) possibly work Liam into the group since it's just not truly a viable love interest for Elena, like, at all.
But we'll see what happens. I could be totes wrong! And, you know, I want to be wrong honestly. I want them to surprise me, surprise everyone and actually reunite Damon and Elena during November sweeps, get her memories back and actually put the two together and KEEP THEM TOGETHER! I mean, geez, no scenes at all so far this season, 95% of the back half of season 05 separated, the first half of season 05 together, but separated by location and the only time they were together and happy was offscreen. The season before separated by the sire bond. So, yes, I would LOVE to be wrong have the show surprise us, but, I'm not going to hold my breath. But… well see what happens.
I will judge the episodes on how they play out. I've really loved the season so far, and I don't love The Vampire Diaries just because of Damon and Elena and in the big picture, I've loved how Damon and Elena have been written. I just want to actually SEE them HAPPY together for longer than a few random scenes here and there.