Episode 2.18 TVD – “The Last Dance” or “Here’s to Duplicity” (04/20/2011)

I have another confession to make.

It took me a week of following other TVD fans on Twitter for me to figure out what “ship”“shipper” and “ship wars” meant.

And as far as that goes, I don’t see the point of arguing.

Clearly, the dramatic tension of “The Vampire Diaries” lies in the conflict between Damon and Stefan being in love with the same woman – and in Elena being in love with Stefan, but having feelings for Damon.

Take away that tension – i.e. have Elena confessing her love for Damon and throwing Stefan overboard – and the whole point of the show is gone.

The best part of this show for me – besides the complicated plot lines, the history, and the characters – is Damon’s struggle with his emotions.

I’m a Damon lover, but I love him precisely because of his struggle.  Lately, he’s been trying to manage his emotions, but they continue to plague him.

Lexi was right – they will be his undoing – unless he can learn to control them.

But while Damon goes through his emotional hell, he continues to serve and protect the woman he clearly loves – Elena.

Now I don’t know about you, but I did not have friends like these kids when I was in high school.  Nor can I honestly say that I felt strongly enough about anyone to say I’d die for them.  Lucky for me, I was never in a situation where I had to make that choice.

But this is Mystic Falls, and things are different here.  Elena and Bonnie have a BFF bond that’s tighter than anything I’ve ever seen, and it was played to excellent effect in this episode.

Once Elena finds out the risk that Bonnie is about to take, she implores her not to do it – but Bonnie explains that if she doesn’t use her power and something happens to Elena, that would be worse for her than dying.

And then Bonnie lays it on the line to Elena.

“Would you do it for me?”

And we all know what the answer it.  Case closed.

Again, I did not have friends like these!

After the initial confrontation with Klaus, Damon and Bonnie make their plan.  With Damon stating clearly that he’s willing to do whatever it takes – “Klaus does not get to win tonight – are you still willing to do whatever it takes?”  – Bonnie agrees.

Bonnie puts on one heck of a power display against Klaus. She protects her friends by shutting the door and keeping it shut, but it appears she kills herself in the process – and does not defeat Klaus.

Elena and Stefan finally get into the room only to find Bonnie dead.  Elena comes unglued and Stefan is helpless to do a thing to comfort her.  Damon comes to the rescue, offering to get the body out of the way before she is discovered and all hell breaks loose.

The moment when Damon shuts Bonnie’s eyes is as warm as their moments together on the dance floor, and it was very nice to see.  No one loves Elena more than these two.

Not even Stefan.

So it makes perfect sense to me that they are united in their plan to protect Elena.  No matter what lengths they have to go to.

But Bonnie is not dead.  Quickly and cleverly, Damon and Bonnie devised a scheme that has Klaus thinking he’s won this round, and Bonnie continues to be the “secret weapon” for the moment.

Alas, when Damon arrives back at the Salvatore mansion, Elena is furious to find out he knew of Bonnie’s plans to sacrifice herself and didn’t tell her.  And before he has a chance to tell Elena the truth, she smacks him across the face.

Then he tells her that Bonnie is alive.  That they had to deceive everyone in order for their reactions to be real – and get the upper hand against Klaus.  If they all believed it, so would he.

Brilliant!

Damon leaves the room, with Stefan following close behind to find out why he wasn’t let in on the plan.

And Damon tells him.

Stefan would not have agreed to it – would have told Elena, and would have been too concerned about what might happen to everyone else.  Damon, therefore, is always left to make the difficult decisions.  She may hate him, but he will be the one to keep her alive.

The look on Damon’s face when he confronts Stefan is heart-breaking – it’s “I love her more than you do – I am willing to do ANYTHING to protect her – you can’t make the tough decisions – why can’t she see that and love me?”   He’s controlling it all, but it is there, on the surface, ready to erupt.

Like I said – heartbreaking.

When Elena comes to Damon’s room to apologize, he drinks a toast to duplicity.  And although he is referring to the deception that they’ve pulled off, for me it is significant that it’s Elena he is saying it to – because he’s been duplicitous with her.

Loving her but not letting her know it.  Telling her but not letting her remember it.

But he does let her know where he stands.

“I will always choose you.”

To Damon, no one is more important than Elena.  He would let everyone else die if it meant she’d be saved.

“I hope you find another way.”

Elena has always been willing to sacrifice herself so no one has to die.

So just like that, she finds another way!

She goes straight to the Salvatore basement, straight to Elijah’s body, and she pulls the dagger out!

And already I am wondering how the team of “Bad-Ass Bonnie” and “Duplicitous Damon” are going to protect her from whatever comes next!

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