There is this quote from early on in the show, possibly from Kevin Williamson, to the effect that The Vampire Diaries is the story of Elena falling in love with one brother and changing the life of another. Now, I may not read interviews but I do know this quote, because it gets bandied about all over the place as evidence of Stefan/Elena being endgame, and Damon/Elena never really being a threat to it. And I get that. It makes sense. Anybody who watched the first season of the show might well assume that Stefan/Elena is the love story and that Damon is the one who gets his life changed. Because Elena does change his life, no doubt about that. But the more we see of the triangle the more I’m starting to think the quote holds as a description of the show, but it works the other way around. Because Damon is the journey for Elena. He’s the one she’s spending four seasons plus learning to love. In contrast, she fell in love with Stefan in the first ten episodes of season 1, and that tells me that Stefan/Elena is not so much a journey as the set-up for another journey. And Stefan? He’s been struggling back and forth between the good and the bad in him for so long. This is decades of one step forward, two steps back – decades that make up more than a century. But he’s never really changed. And so I’m thinking that just as Stefan/Elena was the romantic set-up for the romantic journey between Damon and Elena, so Damon’s ability to be transformed by that love, is the set-up for the much larger and longer transformative journey that is Stefan Salvatore’s.
—  Rophdoes (x)

My problems with Elena in this episode are manifold: Elena’s supposed doppelganger curse, Caroline supposedly not understanding bloodlust, Elena’s failure to deliver on her promise to let Damon go, her callous rejection of Damon as a teacher and a friend, her flipping the heck out at the frat party when nothing truly terrible had happened, and her telling Stefan that the evening was “awful” without filling him in on the part where she was having the time of her life.

But guess what? All of the above has one simple explanation. And that explanation is this: Elena is in love with Damon.

I’ve believed this to be true for some time now, and no matter how many times Elena chooses Stefan, no matter how many times she reassures him of her singular devotion to him, no matter how many times she rejects Damon, no matter how many times she lets him believe that everything he stands for repulses her… I still believe it: Elena Gilbert is in love with Damon Salvatore. Nothing will shake my faith in that fact.

And the reason she can’t admit that, not even to herself? It’s not because of what is says about her, as she feebly protested to Caroline last season. Because really, being in love with Damon doesn’t say anything about her that dating Stefan isn’t already screaming at the top of its lungs. The real reason is this: she loves Stefan. She’s not in love with him anymore, but she does still love, fiercely and loyally, and she can’t bear to tell him it’s over, she can’t bear to let him go.

And that makes sense. I mean, look at how hard it was for Elena to tell Matt she didn’t want to be with him anymore. And that was before she had the majority of her significant relationships snatched away from her in the space of what? A year?

Elena is traumatised. I think a lot of people forget this when judging her actions or poking holes in her logic. She has experienced loss on a scale and in a time-frame that most of us won’t have to go through in our lifetimes: mother, father, biological mother, biological father, aunt, guardian… she has lost all of these people, so cruelly, so quickly, so agonizingly because of her. And you know what happens when you lose people? You cling to what’s left and you don’t ever want to let go. Stefan is built into Elena’s grief like mortar between bricks. She can’t dig him out. And if she tried she would never forgive herself.

Whereas with Damon, I think it’s quite easy for Elena to convince herself that since she’s never really let herself have him, she can never really lose him either – and that since she’s never really given him love, he’ll never feel the lack of it. It’s easy for now, that is. But it won’t be forever, and Elena knows that, and that’s why she’s behaving like an idiot in this episode. That’s why everything that is wrong will be made right.

The thing is that there is a conflation in this episode of enjoying being a vampire and enjoying being with Damon. Elena is purposely hiding the latter behind the former, because the guilt, and the implication of loss that it carries is more than she can handle. The reason she’s devastated on that porch, the reason she’s telling Stefan she won’t survive this, and clinging to him like she’s drowning all over again, is not because she stole blood from some randoms and enjoyed it. It’s because she did it with Damon. It’s because she wanted to do it with Damon. It’s because she felt good doing it with Damon.

And she wanted more.

From The Ropher Awards:

Sophy Says:The trouble is that where most shows get more layered and emotionally and intellectually mature as they go on, Gossip Girl dumbed itself down relentlessly. By the time the finale came around I was expecting literally nothing good to come of it. I was expecting to roll my eyes and smirk and point and laugh and wonder how it ever stayed on the air for five and a half seasons. And yet somehow, it was much, much, much, much, much worse than I anticipated

The Gossip Girl series finale was so bad that I have actual conspiracy theories in which it is an industry in-joke, a secret I’ll just let it burn parody, a tongue-in-cheek attempt to see just exactly what kind of excrement these mindless drones that call themselves fans of this shit will swallow.

I’ve been wondering about that since it aired. I’m still wondering.

It’s not actually that the show hurt me, although hurt me it did – when it gave up on Blair and Serena, when it built Dan/Blair up into the most beautiful thing it had ever done and then tossed it aside in the space of one episode, only to get it out and stomp on it every now and then in the final season, when it humiliated Serena one last time and called it romance, and, perhaps most keenly, when it turned Blair Waldorf into the shallow, one-dimensional, trust-fund-baby bitch she sometimes used to pretend to be back when this used to pretend to be a show worth watching.

And I mean, I was going to choose Chuck and Blair for worst couple and then I realized that Dan and Serena probably deserved that honour more when all was said and done. On account of how Dan Humphrey was Gossip Girl and Serena thought it was a love letter that time he got her sectioned. And then I decided this shitfest needed a special category all its own.

It’s been months since the finale and I still don’t understand how it got written, performed, filmed and aired. I still catch myself thinking about Chuck and his father on the rooftop and covering my mouth because wow.

Most unintentionally funny scene in television history? Possibly. Worst series finale ever? It’s a definite contender. Worst thing that happened in 2012? 100% of people with functioning brains agree.

People often scoff at the idea that Damon could be a real boyfriend to Elena. What are they going to do, they ask rhetorically? Make dinner and watch TV? Well, the answer to that is… sure. Why not?

To be honest I think it’s been clear for a long time that that’s exactly the kind of couple they could be – alongside being the kind of couple who shag like rabbits on crack and sweaty-dance with blood dripping down their faces. As far back as when Damon was casually shifting Elena’s feet to sit down on the couch and leaving them in his lap, the signs were there. And then in season 3 there was the “sucky chilli” interaction. And now we have Christmas time at the lake-house, and Elena is reminiscing about beloved Jenna with beloved Jeremy and beloved Bonnie, and she’s gazing dreamily Damon’s way between tales of yore.

—  Rophydoes (x)

I don’t think Damon believes Elena loves him. I think he believes she believes she loves him. I think he believes she wants him – she wants to be with him – she wants him to want to be with her right back. But love him? Like the way he loves her?

Well that would be just about as grotesque as him being Bonnie Bennett’s friend.

When Silas muses that he has no idea why Elena likes Damon, it’s not because he has sat down and had a good long think about Damon’s feelings. He has little to no interest in Damon’s feelings and no need to dissect and discuss the way fandom does. If he wants to know what’s eating Damon Salvatore all he has to do is read his mind.

So when Silas says he doesn’t know what Elena would see in Damon what he’s really telling is us that Damon doesn’t know what Elena would see in him. Or maybe he does and maybe that’s worse. When Damon replies that that’s because Silas hasn’t had sex with him, okay, it’s hilarious, okay, it’s pure Damon, okay it’s the kind of thing he would say when it meant nothing at all… but it’s also the truth as he sees it.

Elena likes him because she likes having sex with him. Or that’s his best guess at this point, because that’s the only thing he knows he must be good at – because she keeps coming back for more, right? And that many orgasms over a summer cannot be wrong.

This makes me terribly sad but it stands to reason. You can’t be told you’re unworthy as many times as Damon has been – as he still is on a regular basis – even by the the girl who loves him – and not take that to heart – not believe in it to some extent. And at the end of the day, what did Katherine actually ever want with him? All we know for sure is she liked fucking him.

I’m not saying Damon thinks his relationship with Elena is equivalent to his relationship with Katherine – not even close. But perhaps we are at our least rational when we are afraid. Or perhaps Damon just remembers too well how much of a bitch hope is.

So I think a part of him already feels defeated with Elena. This – this bliss the two of them having been living in – has been a perfect aberration. They sire bond has been broken, but the honeymoon isn’t over, not quite. And when it is? It’s always going to be Stefan.

What they had was a real relationship, right? What he and Elena have is one big long one-night stand that is probably the result of the sire bond.

Silas was reading Damon’s mind then, just as he is reading it now, and what he is telling us is nothing new.

—  RophyDoes (x)

First of all it’s rare to hear someone speak positively about Damon. Like, it’s as rare as winning the lottery. Without a ticket. And I’m pretty sure it’s even rarer for Elena to get to be around to hear it. And her face when she takes it in. Shane is all “Damon is very intuitive,” and Elena looks down and smiles a tiny smile and looks like she almost wants to start nodding enthusiastically but catches herself just in time, and basically she is just generally warm and fuzzy and sort of smug about her man’s special abilities, and it’s just the sweetest thing ever. Elena has copped so much flack from everyone lately, well, okay, mostly from Caroline, for seeing the good in Damon, and so I think it’s positively delicious to have someone acknowledge a reason why she might. Even if it’s only the tiniest of non-moral reasons, it’s still a treat for her and for me, and I love that it went directly against Caroline’s hysterical protestations that not only was Damon a terrible person, he was also never right. Oh Caroline. Your judgment-clouding bias is showing. The truth is that Damon is almost never wrong when it comes to people and the ways they feel and the secrets they hold, and I like that Elena got a second to quietly revel in that fact with Shane.

He was right about her, after all. There was something between them. And she was lying to herself. He may have crossed the line sixty-five ways in that scene way back in 201, but he was not wrong, and Elena knew it then, and she knows it now.

—  Rophydoes (x)
Elena told Matt last season that she was choosing Stefan because “you should be with the person who makes you glad to be alive.” Well, you know what Elena, you’re still alive now. It’s a different kind of alive, but it’s still alive. And which one of the Salvabros is making you glad to be that way? Which one is making you feel afraid and ashamed? Which one is telling you it’s a wonderful thing to be you and to be here and to revel in it?

Damon would do anything for Elena, you guys. As long as he believed it was what she wanted. But right now he doesn’t and that’s the problem. Damon doesn’t believe for a second that Elena really wants to basically marry him. He doesn’t believe for a second that she’s going to feel exactly the way she does now when the sire bond is broken. He doesn’t want to invalidate her feelings by saying so when she asks, so he hedges with “I’m saying we don’t know”. But I think in his mind hope that her feelings are real is fading fast.

So if he turns human he won’t be doing it for her, he’ll be doing it for a pipe dream and he’ll have only himself to blame. And what’s worse, he believes that Elena will love Stefan again when the sire bond is broken. And Damon knows his brother. He knows that if she’s human again and loves him again and the two of them are able to pretend nothing ever happened, he will want her again in a heartbeat. And he knows Stefan would take the cure, with or without her, without a second thought. So it’s all too easy for him to see a Stefan/Elena endgame in which the two of them are human and oh so happy and he is human and not happy and the useless part of the group everyone feels guilty about.

I think Shane hit the nail on the head when he said that Damon felt his relevance slipping away. Because I think that’s exactly what he fears – being irrelevant. And that’s what human beings are, as a general rule. They’re irrelevant except in the measure in which somebody loves them, somebody wants them, somebody needs them, somebody calls them their own. And I don’t think Damon thinks he can have that with Elena or with anybody. So what would be the point of him as a human, exactly?

In Damon’s mind I think it’s better to stay a vampire so he can at least mean that to Elena and Stefan even as they mean everything to each other. Because as a vampire he can protect them where they can no longer protect themselves. As a vampire he can save them from the nasty little happenstances of human life, like car wrecks and cancers and sick children and even unbearable sadness. He can still be the hero if he can’t be anything else. And hey, he can still be the eternal stud, and he wasn’t lying when he said he liked that.

—  Rophydoes (x)
Okay, so this was the actual worst. Stefan snapping Damon’s neck, standing tall and saying “How does it feel, brother?” had my eyes rolled and my palm on my face. I would love to be able to call it irony, but the thing is that as long as nobody is around to raise a brow and be all ‘I’m guessing it feels pretty much like it did the last time you did it to him, when you were running Elena’s agenda and wanted him out of the way because he cared too much whether she lived or died…?’ then it simply stands as a ‘Bam’ moment for Stefan. Yet another instance of him painting himself as a victim and a hero, yet another instance of nobody correcting him, and nobody ever will because this is not the kind of thing that’s ever going to be brought up around other characters.
—  Sophy’s recap of 5x05 { x }

You guys, remember when Elena Gilbert didn’t know what she wanted? Remember when she wanted to make all those choices as she went along? Remember when she decided she’d spend her whole life with Stefan if she wanted? Remember when she didn’t know what love was?

She didn’t know what she wanted because she didn’t know Damon. She wanted to make the choices as she went along because one of them couldn’t be Damon. She added the caveat onto her lifetime with Stefan because a part of her knew she was going to want Damon more than she could wrestle away. She didn’t know what love was because she didn’t know how to love Damon – yet.

Now, here she is, completely, consumingly in love for the first time in her life, and she knows exactly what she wants – she knows exactly who she’d never choose to live without. And she’s basically proposing about it.

This is the most reckless thing Elena has ever done that doesn’t involve throwing her life away to save someone else’s. And initially when she asked Damon to take the cure and offered it up as a proof of her love – of the truth and enduring certainty of that love – I giggled. Oh Elena, I thought, You want to be human anyway – you have nothing to lose here. But then I realized that she very much does.

One thing Elena has never wanted to do is hurt Damon (or Stefan). What’s the worst way she could ever hurt him? Maybe by offering him this dream and not being able to live it out with him. Maybe by telling him she wanted everything with him that would in fact be with Stefan, while he stood by, the human hanger-on, with nothing to be – nothing to mean – nothing to matter about.

Elena would feel monumentally guilty if she asked Damon to become human with her and fell out of love with him. The guilt she feels for falling out of love with Stefan when she became a vampire against her will would pale in comparison. So it is a risk for her, as much as it is for him. And she’s willing to take it, and he’s… not.

And it’s all because of the damn sire bond.

Sure, a lot of people will be saying that Elena’s proposal is motivated by the sire bond in the first place. They’ll be pointing to all the things I pointed to in my opening paragraph above and crying OOC. Elena would never, they would say. Canon dictates that she is cautious. And how the hell is Sophy of Rophy advocating what would essentially be a teen wedding when she was so down on Finn and Rachel about theirs?

Well, this is different, that’s all. Elena becoming human is necessary for them to live a life together, because the sire bond must be broken. And then Damon becoming human is necessary for them to live a life together where Elena is human. So what is she going to say? ‘Take the cure with me and I’ll grow old with you if I want?‘ Like that’s really going to cut it with everything they’ve been through together, with everything they’re still going through together right now. Like that’s really what’s in Elena’s heart.

Yes, Elena has been shown to be a cautious person in matters of the heart and the rest of her life. But we’ve also never seen her in love before. Sorry, Stefan/Elena shippers, I really am. And you can put this down to the sire bond if you want to – for now – while that option is still on the table to soothe you. But Elena has told us clearly and unequivocally that she has never felt something this real before. So why wouldn’t she be less cautious about it than she has been about all those other less real feelings she’s had?

Why wouldn’t she throw all the shoulds and mights and maybes to the wind and just know that she’s never going to not want to be with Damon? Why shouldn’t she say it if it’s what she feels? Why shouldn’t she mean it if it’s what she wants to live?

I tend to be cynical about love. Bella’s instantaneous and “irrevocable” infatuation with Edward based largely on the colour of his eyes made me gag. But the thing is that there is nothing quick or shallow about the way Elena has fallen for Damon. And whilst I’m all for advocating caution and leaving choices open for yourself in life when you are young, I also think it’d be pretty sad to feel these kinds of things for someone and not follow it through to its exquisite conclusion.

And that’s what Elena’s been doing with Damon since day one – not following through. I don’t blame her for that at all. In fact I think it was smart of her, even if a large motivating factor for the restraint was simple fear. But it’s too late for any of that now. She’s in love. It’s done. There is no going back.

—  Rophydoes

Sophy says: A lot of people think Damon/Elena was the big deal in this episode, but I have to disagree. Damon/Elena is nice and all, but I have a few other OTP’s now. Witness my new-found devotion to:

Elena/Damon’s Shirt
Elena/Jumping Onto Bed
Elena/Imaginary Watch
Elena/Cute Outfits
Elena/Sex Hair
Elena/Damon’s Bathtub

Of course, you could say that all of these are pretty much sub-ships of Damon/Elena. And all of them fall under the heading of Elena/Happiness too. What a coincidence!

Seriously though, Elena in Damon’s shirt was just about the best thing. Because they even remembered that it was ripped and had her basically enjoy the fact that it was ripped, because she kind of likes her bra and kind of wants Damon to see it, you know? I loved how cute and coy she was standing there in the doorframe, with her big smile and her “Hey.”

And then she threw herself at the bed and it was like the opposite of that time she launched herself at Katherine/her own tortured psyche and came up empty. This time she came up Damon, and she was pretty damn pleased about it.

Then there’s Elena and her imaginary watch which is just. I don’t even have words for how cute it is. And how long has it been since we’ve seen Elena be lazy and abandoned in love like that, you guys?

When Elena gets to school is when I noticed Elena/Cute Outfits – I was kind of distracted by all the Damon/Elena going on back at the boarding house. And you know this really is a new one. That’s not to say Elena has never looked nice before. She always looks nice, and on special occasions she looks spectacular. But she hasn’t looked cute and youthful like this until this season. And it really is refreshing to see her dressing like a teenager, and like someone who’s having fun with life and isn’t so self-loathing that it would be a crime to wear anything other than jeans and a shirt just because you want to.

Then there’s Elena/Sex-hair, which frankly, I don’t see how anyone could not ship it. Like, I’m pretty sure Caroline ships it deep down.

Next up: Elena and her blood-bag! It was the sweetest! Look at her little face! She’s so happy she gets to be like everybody else! She gets to not hurt people by not being the doppelganger anymore and she gets to not hurt people by not having to feed from them. We’ll ignore that pesky issue of the blood-bag diet probably being less morally defensible than the snatch-eat-erase diet. Because seriously LOOK AT HER FACE. AND SHE’S SIPPING IT LIKE SHE’S A 10 YEAR OLD WITH ONE OF THOSE LONG WINDY STRAWS. AND NOW I’M IMAGINING HER WITH ONE OF THOSE STRAWS THAT HAS GLASSES AND A HAT. GOD. CUTEST. And just to preempt any complaints that Elena/Blood-bag isn’t really about Damon, since he caused the problem in the first place… well okay. You’re right. Damon’s blood did cause the problem in the first place by being stolen by Meredith and transfused into Elena’s body and combining with her feelings to trigger a sire bond Damon knew nothing about when he said otherwise perfectly innocuous and right things about her needing to not start her life as a vampire on Stefan’s bunny diet. It was totally not his fault. Meanwhile, it’s very much his ‘fault’ that he went ahead and proved his worst nightmare in order to make her happy. Damon could so easily have given himself wiggle-room when testing whether the bond was real. He could so easily have telegraphed to Elena in subtle ways that he didn’t really want her to keep the blood down. Or he could have flat-out told her he was testing for a sire bond so she’d know not to prove it. Or he could have just told her not to tell Stefan when it worked and to keep drinking from the vein to make him happy. But he didn’t do any of that. He made sure the test was fair, and he took the consequences on the chin. At the end of the day, Elena speaks the truth: he is the reason she’s standing there sipping on the blood-bag like a goofy, happy, loved-up vampire-girl.

Elena/Table/Champagne is pretty much self-explanatory. Nobody could not ship that.

And Elena in Damon’s bathtub is just about the best thing ever. Did anyone else really, really, really love Nina’s delivery on “Being a vampire is so weird. Oh my god, I love this bathtub! Why don’t we come and hang out in here more often?” It was just so adorably somewhat-drunk and loved-up and everything-is-new and instinctively-possessive-of-Damon’s-space. AND I LOVE HER YOU GUYS. I LOVE HER IN LOVE. I LOVE HER HAPPY. ELENA/HAPPINESS FOREVER.

For now I’m going to ignore the fact that I ship it slightly less than Elena/Free Will.

—  Rophydoes
When Stefan had sex with Elena for the first time she did not know who he was. I don’t feel that this is an exaggeration. At no point during their “epic” all night conversation did he tell her a scrap of the truth about Stefan. Like how he’s not just a vampire, he’s a ripper. Like how he’s killed what? Tens of thousands of innocent human beings? Like how he yanked their heads off and drank from their brain stems? Like how he slaughtered her ancestors? Like how if he himself doesn’t snap and end up brutally murdering her or people she loves, he has this seriously unbalanced brother who’s likely to follow him into town and do it for him? Like how that brother would take a particular interest in her because she looks exactly the same as this girl they both used to be in love with? Like how he stalked her for months to make sure she wasn’t that same girl? Like how he had to know her? Like how he knew things about her – deeply intimate things like how she has a doppelganger, like how she’s adopted, before she did? Before he ever contrived to bump into her outside the boys’ toilets at her high-school?
—  rophydoes