… how the hell is SE fan service though? Like do people not understand that things are meant to continue from previous seasons?
In season 4 before the sire bond this was SE:
This is the episode she sleeps with Damon (4x07):
and then in 4x10:
4x12, when she finds out that he and Rebekah slept together:
So, what, in season 5 that connection, that love, that angst is supposed to disappear because of a sirebonded love in which the summation of the DE relationship is: a tawdry blood-sharing scene that Damon manipulated Elena into performing, a tawdry dance at a frat party while they’re high on blood, first sex then morning sex then talking about how things would be so much more fun if they were having sex plus a couple of hugs and Damon pushing her off Wickery bridge to save her, him turning off her humanity which then sets other destructive situations in motion? Like really? They actually don’t do much in season 4.
It makes sense that in 5x01-5x02 Stefan would dream of Elena when it’s been iterated and reiterated that she’s a direct link to his humanity:
And Elena’s frenzy about his whereabouts:
keeps in line with their relationship:
and the fact that she broke compulsion for Stefan
keeps in line with how entwined they’re supposed to be and that Stefan can calm her through an emotional storm:
Her being focused on Stefan and not on Damon:
(love that gif btw)
keeps in line:
Her relief at getting Stefan back:
keeps in line:
and Elena nearly kissing Stefan in 5x04:
with all of the history and intimacy and chemistry they have not to mention how that chemistry and intimacy is rushing to the forefront because they’re just being together:
because it never went away, like that vibing is still present.
And Elena being jealous
keeps in line with Elena being jealous over Caroline and Rebekah and Katherine in season 4:
and season 2:
and Elena wondering if she and Damon will ever be able to talk like her and Stefan:
keeps in line with the fact that Stefan knows who Elena is and she can’t talk to anyone the way she can talk to him especially not Damon:
Like as in Stefan and Elena realizing they still had feelings and like they got back together
Ah ok. Well the funny thing is, I think it’s a journey that starts from 4x07 onward, these moments either verbal or nonverbal, where one of them or both of them recognize the romantic undercurrent of their situation but don’t do anything about it because the larger circumstances are fucked up and confusing:
This isn’t just Elena thanking Stefan for stopping Jeremy and getting that shard of glass out of her neck, this is intimate, she’s rubbing his hand with hers, parting her lips, staring at him intensely, that sense of safety and relief of Stefan comforting her is clearly still there, like she’s good now.
In 4x10, it’s interesting because it’s an episode dedicated to tearing SE down brick by brick but when Elena and Stefan are alone, he asks her “You’re sorry that you slept with him or you’re sorry that I found out?” and she responds with:
There’s a sense of regret there, it’s subtle, but “I’m sorry about all of it”? It could’ve just been “I’m sorry that I hurt you” and she follows him down the hall:
This isn’t Elena just being a compassionate person because she didn’t do this with Matt when Stefan came to town and Matt was upfront and almost heartbreakingly honest about his jealousy and his desire to win her back. She legitimately just stares at him. There’s a desperation to Elena in 4x10 that indicates feelings despite her sirebonded “When he looks at me all he sees is a broken toy”
And 4x11, I believe that in that moment Stefan was over it and he was exhausted and he was done:
but Elena so clearly wasn’t:
And that sense of loss and heartbreak is quiet but it’s there and Elena’s visibly experiencing it but again nothing is being done.
In 4x12 when Damon outs Stefan sleeping with Rebekah, I think it’s a moment where both of them realize an attachment is still there because they share a glance:
and I think it’s a time when they both realize there’s a tether because Stefan has no reason to be embarrassed or to feel like he’s betrayed Elena but the fact that he does suggests that he knows Elena would be hurt, which is different than Elena feeling a type of way like when Damon slept with Rebekah:
and everyone knows Elena’s hurt, like her facial expression is hurt for a while too:
It’s reminiscent of this Derena quote when Serena finds out Dan may sleep with someone else:
4x16 when Elena has no humanity, she’s not supposed to care about anything and yet:
and Stefan asks her specifically if she’s jealous in a tone that indicates he knows that she is:
like they know:
and it’s different than how she interacts with Damon because with Stefan, she’s honest about what she feels without any sort of emotional attachment to it:
but with Damon, she handles him and tells him what he wants to hear and manipulates him without the guilt that she had when she manipulated him with humanity:
And that’s an important distinction because an attachment and a connection and a romance is still there with SE which Elena and Stefan recognize but they’re in no position to do anything about it, which happens again in 4x19:
4x22 was another episode that was supposed to usher Stefan on to moving on because Lexi tells him to take a hint when Elena punches him except Elena’s freaking out over Stefan possibly having feelings for Katherine:
like she’s in this chaotic mindset, saying that Katherine needs to die, she doesn’t believe Bonnie is linked to her and then she just randomly accuses Stefan of having feelings for Katherine? That’s indicative of a subconscious fear.
Then we move on to season 5 and Stefan is sort of everywhere for Elena because she’s been thinking about him and worried about him:
and Stefan is dreaming about Elena to pull him through:
OK, people want to chalk that up to Elena simply feeling bad and Stefan holding onto something that isn’t there anymore, but then in 5x02:
Her anger about Stefan being in pain is such a powerful trigger it almost causes her to kill a whole bunch of people and then there’s this moment when she’s yelling at Damon:
That is a breakthrough, this is clearly indicative of what she feels with regards to Stefan and with regards to Damon and the fact that Stefan is what causes such a compulsion but also what breaks her out of it?
While Stefan is still dreaming about Elena to get him through the suffering:
simultaneously but individually realizing that a connection still exists, a strong one, a romantic one, one that they ignore because Stefan is drowning and Elena just got with Damon.
obviously the fact that Elena rushes to Stefan and doesn’t even notice Damon is indicative of a lot:
but it’s not until they get back to the mansion where I feel like a realization is being, well, realized, like what happened in the cabin is instinct but now that Stefan is safe, the way she watches him:
and how she puts on his ring:
That’s knowing. Even the way she says “We missed you” and I just realized Damon watches her as she speaks:
In 5x04, I mean it’s pretty self-explanatory, this is just Stefan and Elena hanging out and they’re vibing and they’re laughing and that pull is still there and Elena has to stop herself from giving into it and even without memories Stefan is feeling it, that is a huge marker of them realizing that something is still there but not doing anything about it:
and she’s legit confused:
And in 5x06 when she finds out he’s at Tessa’s, she loses her mind:
and rants to Damon about Stefan being over there and then goes over there:
whereas Stefan can’t not be there for her even when he’s mad at her:
Then 5x11 there’s that flare-up again:
and again they both know:
but they both actively put Damon before themselves, like Stefan talks about how in the past Elena never gave up on him and is asking her to extend that courtesy to Damon because he knows she isn’t, that instinct isn’t there, they both know that.
In 5x16 when Stefan tells Elena about Katherine’s plan to win him back, there is so much unsaid, so much in their stares and it’s not Elena’s *shrug stare:
this is a weighted stare, so there’s knowing happening here and then Stefan leaves and Elena lets him:
And then the infamous 5x18 episode, this is the episode I think that they’re both aware that they know their connection exists:
And they lament the ending of their fantasy human life together in a way that’s full of such longing:
and when Stefan talks about their relationship in real life, despite the fact that a lot of the things he said happened didn’t happen like growing apart, they were ripped away from each other because of a stupid sire bond but despite all of that, there isn’t a sense of distance there, I get a sense of regret and sadness, like when Elena says “I died” as a part of their journey and what they went through, she died and got sired and chose Damon and her tone is very sombre when she says it:
and it’s as if they declare they’ll always love each other as a way to make up for the fact that they aren’t together:
and there is such an emotional safety and intimacy that Elena can rest her head on Stefan’s shoulder:
and this ridiculous line:
honestly boils down to “Do you think Damon and I will ever be this close?” “No.” And I think this is when they actively albeit nonverbally decide to just stay not doing anything. I think they were already on a path back towards each other from 4x07 but this could’ve been the turning point/defining moment/suddenly I see moment, which I think it was, they just chose not to do anything about it, but this could’ve been when they did or begun to because then you have this:
just moments of them being friendly and yet not so that when Stefan dies in 5x21 that could catapult Elena giving into her realizations throughout two seasons.
and then in 6x04, they’re having so much fun together and Stefan’s vows mostly can be related to their relationship:
and there are sort of quiet moments of realization:
The 6x08 phone call:
and then a moment for them to ponder about what’s being said, now considering that Stefan goes to Caroline after this and Elena goes to Damon after this an argument could be made that they both realize they want to love their respective love interests in this manner and perhaps they do, want to but I think this moment is indicative of them loving each other this way, I mean even in this phone call they’re both being honest with each other and telling each other everything, which they can’t do with the people around them,but instead of acknowledging that, they’re trying to gun for the next best thing because they’re both involved with other people sort of.
Then you have 6x11 and the ring
I think this would be a turning point episode for me because everything is still at the surface, it’s always there and every time something threatens it like this moment or another woman or Stefan hating her, Elena loses it and I would have her realize that because of what happened in the season before and even in the episodes before including things like this:
or we could take this moment and move on and tie it with other moments:
Stefan is just always on her mind even when she doesn’t fully realize it and then 6x16 could be another turning point:
and I think 6x22 is another 5x18, a recognition of how much they still love each other, a recognition of that romance but an active disregard or burial of it, I would also make that more apparent:
and then seasons 7 and 8 are just Stefan re-realizing these things in subtle but consistent ways:
So when 8x16 comes around and we’ve got these moments from season 4 until now, 8x16 is yet another 5x18 moment first non-verbally: