because i love you. because you love me.
Okay, but let’s talk about Damon not being able to break compulsion, because it was absolutely amazing.
It doesn’t mean that Damon doesn’t love Elena enough, or that Elena doesn’t love Damon enough. It means that love isn’t measured in the amount of physically impossible things you can do for someone. It means that sometimes you just can’t, and it has nothing to do with your feelings, but everything with the limits of your own body.
This scene is a lesson Elena learns, a mark of her character growth. When Stefan couldn’t do the impossible and break the compulsion in 3x05, she took it as a personal blow. “He’s really gone now.” But now? Her reaction is “I want to see Damon”, she doesn’t hold it against him. She grew, she learned that she doesn’t live in a fairy tale in which love conquers all. Some things just can’t be done, no matter how much you love someone, because we live in a physical world that has limits. In 3x05, she reacts like a heartbroken teenager. In 4x11, she reacts like a reasonable woman. She isn’t disappointed with Damon, she recognizes that what happened happened because of objective obstacles, and she focuses on finding a rational way of removing those obstacles.
but.. damon did try to resist the compulsion. and stalled himself several times.
and asked jeremy to kill him twice. he could have just killed him immediately.
and it’s not fair to say that stefan was able to resist in 3x05 because he loved her and that damon wasn’t able to because he didn’t love her enough.
the situation’s slightly different, of course. stefan was compelled to feed off elena herself, while damon was compelled to kill jeremy.
but regardless of the situation, stefan and damon both did the same thing. stalled themselves. stefan was still going after her in 3x05, even before klaus compelled him to “turn it off”. he stabbed himself so he would be distracted from attacking her. same with damon. he asked jeremy to shoot him and end it.
they were both pretty selfless acts. and both difficult. and they both did it because they loved elena.
This whole “You’re sired to Damon” shit is getting really old. Because:
- “The sire bond doesn’t work like that” - Elena Gilbert.
“Being with Damon makes me happy. When I’m with him, it feels unpredictable. Like I’m free. It’s the most real thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life.”
One of the best analyses of the DE scene in 4x10 that I’ve ever read- written by NobodyLeaves:
That ILY scene blew me away. To me, that simple, profound conversation went so much deeper than just Elena admitting she loves Damon. To me, it was Elena saying that she loves Damon the way Damon loves.
Think about the progression of that conversation…
1. “Something happened today.” Ok, so what exactly did happen? Well, she was compelled to admit that she’s in love with Damon and isn’t in love with Stefan any more. Honestly? Not so shocking. Not even to Elena. In fact, I think the only thing that she seemed ‘shocked’ about was that she admitted it out loud and so easily in front of Stefan. And really, why would it be shocking to her? She knows she’s had feelings for Damon for a loooong time and she’s been fighting them just as long. Matt flat out told her she was in love with him last season; Ric even knew something was up when he asked her if she knew what she was doing with Damon; she actually made Damon a viable romantic option in the S3 ‘choice’; she told Caroline and Bonnie that she was (falling) in love with Damon and ’ I love you, but I’m no longer in love with you’ was pretty much implied in the break up with Stefan. So, no…that ‘revelation’ wasn’t what happened.
So what else? Well, I think that Stefan and his ‘epic’ love happened in all of its selfish and delusional glory. When asked why they broke up, he blames Elena for sleeping with Damon instead of the truth — it was mutual because they are no longer in the same heart/head space. And by using that as the reason, by the way, he labeled her a ‘cheater’, which she isn’t. The break up gives him no claim on her feelings/actions. Not any more. None. Zero. Nada. Yeah, he spun that one like it was a disco ball.
When it came to remembering not only the pain, but all of the love, happiness, etc. that she supposedly gave him, Stefan chose to opt out of both by asking Rebekah to compel him to forget. That was such a monumental choice, there was no way for Elena to ignore it, even if she tried — even if she wanted to. And he did it right in front of her, no hesitation. Consider the fact that Elena was given a similar choice by Damon — to forget that Stefan attacked her in the gym, that he’d turned it off — even though she was in pain, her response was 180 degrees opposite.
And after choosing to erase her from his life, what did Stefan do then? He walked away without looking back. He cut her off like she was limb that needed to be amputated or a disease that he needed to eradicate. Or a broken toy he could easily discard. And in that moment, he showed how much of a selfish, petulant brat he is — how unwilling he is to even hear her out or even try to understand that she isn’t Katherine. She didn’t purposely try to hurt him; she hasn’t tried to play the brothers against each other; she’s been as honest as she can with both; and what happened with her and Damon — as evidenced by just how long she’s been fighting her feelings for him (and still lost) — was something out of her control. The only difference between Stefan’s Elena and Damon’s is that she finally took her hands off the denial wheel and just let things happen with her and Damon. And boy, did they happen.
But Stefan can’t see that. Because in that moment, it was all about Stefan and only Stefan. As it has been in so many other moments — when he told her his time with her had been a waste, when he told her didn’t care about what she thought about him anymore, when he tried to force feed her his blood and almost drove her over Wickery Bridge — just to name a few.
And Damon? On his deathbed, he admitted to choosing wrong paths and making mistakes then confessed he wouldn’t change a thing because then he wouldn’t have met her. Not loved her. Not been with her. Just simply meeting her/knowing her was enough for him. She now knows about his first ILY confession that he then compelled her to forget. She remembers all the times he’s come to her rescue, has stood by her side. Even after all the times she’s rejected him. Shoot, he’s even done all of that while, at times, taking a step back and pushing her toward Stefan.
And all of that brings me to…
2. “I realized something about you…” I’ve always maintained that Damon and Stefan love in two completely different ways. The show has made a big deal about ‘selfish’ vs. ‘selfless’ love. I prefer to call it unconditional (Damon) vs. conditional (Stefan) love. I’ve always also thought that the SE conversation where she tells Stefan that Damon doesn’t know what love is, quickly followed by ‘but neither do I’ then the epic flip of ‘but I know I love you’, would majorly play into Elena’s love for Damon.
And I think we just saw it happen.
At this point, Elena has loved both brothers and has been loved by both. She now knows the difference in the kind of love they are capable of. And the kind of love that she truly responds to. The kind that frees her, makes her stronger, gives her peace. Beyond that, she’s seen it in action recently. At the risk of his own happiness, Damon lets her go so she can be free to make her own choices. Stefan lets her go, so he doesn’t have to hurt. Damon wants the cure for her so she can regain her free will, have a normal life. Stefan wants the cure to ‘fix’ her, to get back the girl that loved him. Damon has loved her so completely and selflessly, never expecting anything in return (as evidenced by his continued surprise each time she gives him more of herself). Stefan wants it his way or no way at all. Damon has loved her as both a human and a vampire. Stefan has only loved Elena, the human.
Elena has seen this. She’s felt it. She gets it now.
3. “…about us.” This isn’t Elena talking about them as a couple. Or referencing the fact that they love each other. This is Elena identifying with Damon. She sees herself in him and vice versa. She now knows how he loves and realizes that she loves the exact same way. Remember the bed scene when Elena is telling Damon that Rebekah ‘loves blindly’ then pauses, looks at him then looks away? I’ve always thought she made the mental connection from ‘loving blindly’ to Damon, then herself. They both throw themselves into love — blindly at times. They’re both loyal, no matter what it costs them. Each of them cherish the moments they’ve experienced and don’t want to forget, even if the memories include bad ones. Neither of them walk away. Because, when it’s real, you can’t.
And then we FINALLY see what all of this was leading up to…
4. “…I’m telling you, it’s the most real thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life. I love you Damon.” She uses these strong qualifiers to convey just how BIG this is to her. This isn’t the high school ‘love’ she had with Stefan. This is way far beyond that. Which is why she was able to tell Damon that they would let Stefan go in S3 and that they always survive. Which is why she trusts Damon, without hesitation. Why she turns to him when she needs someone to hold her together. Why just being with him makes her happy. It’s also why Stefan is only a distant memory now. And why, even though she initially went after Stefan at the school, she once again, let him go.
She now knows what it’s like to love the way Damon loves and to be loved by Damon, his way, in return. I think this person that she is with Damon — the one she was so afraid to be — she’s realizing is so much better than she ever was before. And it makes her happy and free and strong. She’s literally blossomed under Damon’s love while Stefan is both emotionally and romantically toxic for her. So why would she actively choose to chase after something (someone) who doesn’t do any of those things for her? I think that’s why she let him go at the school. And for those who want Elena to ‘choose’ Damon over Stefan, I think she just did. And has been ever since she and Stefan broke up.