“The Vampire Diaries” fans got a bit of a one-two punch at the end of last week’s episode, “My Brother’s Keeper.” First, Damon and Elena finally slept together after an intense build-up that grew over three seasons and finally spiked in Season 4. Whew! But while they were doing the deed, Caroline and Stefan discovered that Elena’s connection to Damon may have grown stronger because of a sire bond that compels her to do as he pleases.
Let’s just say it was a highly polarizing moment for fans of the series — particularly those fans who waited patiently (and not-so-patiently) for Damon and Elena to finally hook up. Some are intrigued, but it appears that a vast majority feel that reintroducing the sire bond in this capacity was a mistake on the part of the writers’. Some fans have pointed out plot holes (she hasn’t done everything Damon told her to do this season) or expressed frustration that it’s being used as a romantic catalyst, since Tyler’s sire bond didn’t inspire romantic feelings toward Klaus.
Because I am no longer writing in-depth recaps for “Vampire Diaries” episodes, I wanted to use this article to express my own opinion, but before I do, I want to warn you — it’s just one person’s opinion, and it’s just speculation. I haven’t viewed any future episodes of the show, and I’m not spoiled for any story beats specific to Damon and Elena. I’m just presenting this as an opportunity to discuss the show, not to reveal what’s coming next.
I have to admit, when I first found out the direction that the show was taking with Damon and Elena, I was a little bit disappointed. I don’t necessarily have a preference for Damon/Elena or Elena/Stefan, but when I watch a relationship develop on TV, I want to see it explored organically and honestly, without gimmicks or fan-service. After actually seeing the episode, though, I found that I really liked the way the reveal played out on-screen, and once I spoke with executive producer Julie Plec, I’m even more intrigued and excited by this new twist.
Plec told me, “Damon is a character who, his whole life — as a vampire and as a human
— was looking for love and acceptance, and for someone to finally say, ‘Hey, you’re good enough.’ He finally gets that from Elena, and now he
has to question it. He wants to believe it’s real. She truly believes
it’s real. But there’s that nagging doubt, as to how much of it is true
love and how much is the effects of a sire bond.”
Viewers have been looking at the sire bond as having the potential to be a complete negation of Elena’s feelings for Damon, but I think that’s the wrong approach. This isn’t erasing what’s been building between them; it’s just throwing an obstacle into it. TV relationships can’t ever be perfect, especially on a show like “The Vampire Diaries,” where things have to move fast and there always needs to be a twist. When Elena slept with Stefan for the first time, she immediately found out that she was identical to his ex-girlfriend, which forced her to question his feelings for her. This is similar to that, in that it forces Damon to question Elena’s feelings.
A large portion of the audience seems to be assuming that last week’s revelation implied that Elena’s feelings for Damon are entirely based on the sire bond, and are therefore not valid. There’s no evidence to support that, though. Yes, she probably liked the red dress because of Damon, and she probably can’t drink from a blood bag because of Damon. But nothing we’ve seen on the show would imply that she’s in love with him simply because he implored her to be. First of all, Tyler never fell in love with Klaus — in fact, he never even respected Klaus. Second of all, we’ve seen Elena’s feelings for Damon evolve over three and a half seasons. Even a die-hard Stelena shipper can admit that there’s been development there. Their kiss outside the motel last season hasn’t been forgotten.
In my opinion, the sire bond may have added an element of urgency to Elena’s feelings for Damon. Being a vampire may have given her the strength to end things with Stefan. But I think you’d have to be blind to assume that the sire bond created love that wasn’t there.
The wonderful thing about the sire bond element is that it’s going to put Elena in a position where she needs to prove her love to Damon. For three seasons, we’ve watched him try to prove himself to her. Yes, he’s made some (major) missteps, but that’s television for you. At this point, Damon is a reliable friend and a viable love interest, and there has been a lot of character growth to get him to that point. Now, it’s time for the tables to turn, and for Elena to convince him that they should be together and that her feelings for him are true. After her numerous rejections, it’s about time she find herself in a position where she has to tell him not only that she loves him, but why she loves him. It could really be quite poignant and beautiful.
As for there being plot holes with the sire bond story, I’d suggest that fans sit tight before pointing out any glaring errors. It’s true that Elena hasn’t done everything Damon has told her to this season, but as we saw with Tyler and Klaus’s sire bond, the connection doesn’t work like a game of Simon Says. While Tyler and Klaus were sire-bonded, there were several times that Tyler told Klaus off, or tried to go against his orders. The very act of going off into the woods to break the sire bond was in direct defiance of Klaus, since Klaus’s entire purpose at this point is to build a family of sired hybrids.
We’ve already seen on the show that the bond has grey areas, so it’s expected that it would have grey areas for Damon and Elena, too. Their bond works differently, obviously — Klaus’s hybrid sire bond is rooted in gratitude, since he freed them from their werewolf curse. There’s no equivalent to that in Damon and Elena’s relationship, so the technical points must work differently there.
While I’m sharing my point of view — let’s try not to fault Caroline for having one. Yes, she’s probably been overstepping BFF boundaries a bit, but she’s not exactly one to keep her mouth shut when she has an opinion, and I wouldn’t expect that to change now. Plus, Caroline has really only been privy to the absolute best side of Stefan. She’s seen him as a devoted, caring friend, and never truly witnessed his ripper side. When it comes to her, Stefan has earned the loyalty she’s showing now. Damon systematically abused Caroline in the beginning of Season 1. He’s changed a lot since then, but I can’t blame her for the fact that she doesn’t see him as a romantic hero.
I can see why some fans were irritated by Caroline’s voice over during
the Delena sex, and the way that the two scenes were woven together
instead of delivered separately. It was definitely a bit of a cold
shower. That said, this is The CW. “The Vampire Diaries” priority has to
be driving the plot forward, not titillation.
And yes, this whole thing is bound to be tough on Stefan, particularly given the moral grey area presented by the sire bond. As a huge fan of his character, I’m really looking forward to exploring a new side of him now. It’s hard to deny that Elena wasn’t particularly sensitive to Stefan in last week’s episode. (She had to stay at the Salvatore house? She couldn’t have crashed with Bonnie, or moved into Alaric’s empty loft, or compelled herself a room at the fanciest hotel in town?) But I think it’s important to give her some credit for being honest with both Salvatores and for finally knowing what she wants.
I really hated last season’s wishy-washy Elena, who couldn’t decide what she wanted or who she wanted. Now, she’s making adult choices, and telling people the truth about her feelings — even if it’s not necessarily what they want to hear, and even if it makes her seem inconsiderate. This show works much better when all parties involved are honest with each other, even when it comes to non-romantic elements. Will she probably eventually find reason to be interested in Stefan romantically again? Yes, probably, because this is a TV show, and I can’t imagine that there won’t be a “who will she choose?” question building to the series finale, whenever that may be. In the meantime, though, I’m looking forward to seeing how the romance between Damon and Elena evolves over the next couple of episodes.
Tune in to “The Vampire Diaries” on Thursdays at 8 p.m. EST on The CW.