Episode 3.22 TVD – “The Departed”

If I hadn’t made a left hand turn, if you hadn’t made a right, if I’d waited just a moment more, if you’d missed the light
If that car had never blown its horn, if that friend had stopped to talk
We’d have never met at all, if I didn’t take that walk
I’d have gotten there too early, you’d have gotten there too late
We are children of coincidence, coincidence and fate.

(“Children of Coincidence” – lyrics by Dory Previn)

The lyrics above flashed through my mind as I watched the final episode of Season 3 at the moment when it became clear that Damon had actually met Elena before Stefan saved her from drowning.

The episode opens with Elena waking to “So What” by Pink!  Dressed in her cheerleading uniform, she joins Aunt Jenna for breakfast.  Clearly we’ve flashed back to a pre-vampire time in her life.  We meet her Mom, and then, Elena awakens in present time, in a hospital bed.

Meredith is reassuring Jeremy that Elena has a mild concussion.  She asks him if there is anyone he wants to call.  Next thing you know, he’s locked horns with Damon, who is furious (as is Stefan) because Elena is now an exposed target.  The Salvatores are turning back.

Meredith encounters Ric in her office.  He spills the vials of vampire blood out on her desk, and tells her that her license is being revoked – and that Mayor Lockwood and Sheriff Forbes are also being relieved of their duties – Ric is in control!  He wants Elena released to his custody.

But when he goes to get her, her hospital bed is empty.  Matt, Tyler and Caroline has rescued her and brought her home (- is it me, or is this not the first place Ric will look for her?) Here she has another flashback to when she was a cheerleader, dating Matt, and Bonnie was her non-witch best friend.  And her best friend notices that Elena doesn’t seem to be responding to Matt the same way anymore – and admonishes her not to string him along.

Clearly, it is time to choose – which Salvatore brother will Elena select?

She wakes to find herself alone with Matt.  They reminisce.  She apologizes.  And she acknowledges that she needs to let one of the Salvatore Brothers go – just as Stefan appears.

(And right there – I knew what her choice would be – and I cried a little inside.)

There is an exchange between Stefan and Matt about choices – Matt is convinced that allowing Elena to make her own choices is wrong – but Stefan is all about free-will because he had it taken away from him, so he values it highly.  And while it is true that the freedom to make one’s own choices is a value to be treasured, one is not always aware of exactly what the consequences of a choice will be.  I shared Matt’s concern.

Enter Elijah!!

Elsewhere, Ric is interrogating Jeremy about the location of Klaus’ body, and Jeremy is not very cooperative.  Ric wants to kill Klaus and all of his line – and tells Jeremy once that’s done, Bonnie can spell him the way she did with Klaus – and they can lock him away so Elena can live a long, normal, human life.  Then when she dies, he will die and there will be no more vampires.

Meanwhile Elijah is attempting to strike a bargain with Elena, Stefan, Matt and Damon (by phone).  He says he and his family can take Klaus’ body and the weapon and scatter.  Ric will go looking for them – but they have been running for 1000 years – they are good at it.  They can surely make it another 50 years.  Klaus promises not to revive Klaus in her – or her children’s – lifetime.  But Elijah has broken his word before.  Damon is totally against the deal – but Elena goes for it.  (And here I am thinking “Stupid girl, will you never learn?”)

At the Lockwood mansion, Carol and Liz are explaining to Caroline and Tyler that they need to leave town after being out to the council.  They don’t have a choice – stay and die or leave and live.  Caroline is reluctant but Tyler convinces her it’s the right thing to do.  Caroline says she needs two hours to help her friends.

Damon and Bonnie arrive at a storage facility – and I’m excited.  I love Damon and Bonnie team-ups!  Damon has stashed Klaus’ body here.  Even Damon finds Klaus’ desiccated state creepy.  At Bonnie’s request, Damon leaves her alone with Klaus.  Something’s up and I have no idea what, but I’m sure it’s not good.

Stefan has an intimate moment with Elena, who is clearly struggling with her choice – and then we hear Stefan and Damon plotting.  Jeremy is going to lead Alaric to them.  Damon describes the stark contrast between them and their approaches.  For Damon, there is nothing more important than keeping Elena alive and he would sacrifice anyone and anything (including Elena’s free will) to ensure that.

Stefan, in contrast, believes in freedom to choose – no matter where the consequences of the choice may lead.

Damon hears a noise and hangs up on Stefan, assuming it is Rebekah.  But it’s Ric – who gets him in a lock and when Damon won’t tell him which storage locker Klaus is in – Ric breaks his neck – again.

Meanwhile, Matt is serving up “over-honeyed tea” to Elena (and I recall that in the books on which the show is based, Matt’s last name is “Honeycutt”.)  Elena tells Matt for the first time that Stefan saved her life.  She says she doesn’t feel that she “owes” Stefan her life, but he made her glad she was alive, and that’s what love should be.

“You should love the person who makes you glad that you’re alive.”

But there’s a problem – when she is with Damon, he consumes her.  And she doesn’t want to lose anyone else – she’s sure if she makes a choice between the brothers, she will lose the one she doesn’t choose.

Flashback to “Family Night” ditch – Elena is calling Jenna from the bonfire, asking for a ride.  She and Matt have had a fight and she needs someone else to get her home.  Jenna hands the phone to Miranda, who tells Elena that Matt is trying to figure out where he stands with her.  He seems to have his life mapped out – and he is pressing Elena on the future.  She claims she doesn’t know how she feels – but Mom knows best.  Elena needs to tell Matt how she feels – and set him free.

Elena awakens in Matt’s truck – Matt has doped her! Matt is taking Elena out of town to keep her safe.

At the storage facility, Rebekah arrives.  Damon manages to grab and silence her as Ric comes upon locker 1020 – which is now empty, since Damon and Bex are rushing it out of the facility.  But Ric catches up to them – he quickly dispatches Bex, then Damon – and opens the coffin and plunges the Original Stake into Klaus’s heart!  Klaus catches fire – Ric removes the stake and closes the coffin lid.

And turns for Rebekah, knowing that Damon will be dead soon.  Damon pushes Rebekah behind him and tells her to run – and then takes on Ric, who quickly dispatches him and takes off.

Damon calls Stefan to tell him the bad news.  Both of them are feeling OK at the moment.  But they know it took an hour for the effects of Finn’s death to be felt by Sage.  And an hour is not enough time for Damon to return to Mystic Falls.  But it is not his own good-bye that Stefan is worried about – it’s the one between Damon and Elena.  Damon tells Stefan he will just have to say good-bye for both of them.

Jeremy tells Stefan Elena is not at home – he and Matt are getting her out of town.  Elijah and Caroline arrive and Stefan has to tell them the news.  Jeremy calls Matt, who tells Elena the bad news – and now she is insisting they have to go back before everyone dies!

But Matt tells her Damon is not with them – Damon is 100 miles from where they are, but they are driving toward him.  Elena has to choose – go back to Stefan – or forward to Damon!

Going backward is rarely a good choice!

Elena calls Damon.  She has made her choice – Matt is taking her home.  (And here my brain is going “stupid girl, stupid girl, stupid girl”.)  Not just to Stefan, but to Caroline and Tyler.  Damon presses her – and she makes it clear she is choosing Stefan.  (“stupid girl, stupid girl”).

And here was the kicker – TIMING.  Stefan came into her life at a critical moment – and she fell for him on the spot.  (Please go back and check the lyrics above!)  Elena cares enough about Damon to let him go.

But maybe if she’d met Damon first (please go back and check the lyrics above…again!)

Elena and Damon say goodbye – and Ric is pissed.  Rebekah has somehow eluded him.

Caroline has run back to meet Tyler – and BRAVO to Michael Trevino for his acting chops – the look in his face when Caroline tells him that Klaus is dead (especially when we find out later what has transpired with Bonnie) is wonderful!  If you get to watch it again – check out that big hug.  Tyler tells Caroline to leave.

Caroline has called Elena and let her know Tyler is starting to feel the effects of Klaus’ demise.  Matt is pretty broken up by it too.  Meanwhile, in the woods, Bex is telling Elijah about Klaus’ fate.  Elijah tells her Tyler Lockwood is dead, but how are the others alive if they are “descended” from Klaus?

Bonnie shows up at the Lockwood dungeon – and in walks a very much alive Tyler.  Once again – all the kudos to Michael Trevino – he’s got Joseph Morgan’s walk and attitude DOWN!  Brilliant!  There has been transference – and that explains the look on Tyler’s face in that hug with Caroline – Klaus finally got a piece of what he’s longed for.  Bonnie did a transference spell to save her friends.  And she’s not concerned with blowback from her ancestors or anyone else in the spirit world – she’s done being pushed around by them.

But Bex is pissed.  The deal made with Elijah is off – Klaus is dead, and the only way to get rid of Ric is to get rid of Elena.  And as Matt and Elena drive across Wickery Bridge, Bex stands in the middle of the road.  Matt swerves to avoid hitting her (why – what harm would that do?  She’s immortal, for the lord’s sake!!!) and his truck flies through the air and into the water – in virtually the same place where Elena and her family went just a few years ago.

In the water, Elena is reliving the experience of being in the car with her parents.  And Damon is getting the crap kicked out of him by Ric at the storage facility – and reliving an experience of his own – the first time he met Elena.

And it was before Stefan saved her!  (Please go to the top of this post and read the lyrics!) Before Elena’s parents came to pick her up from the bonfire, Elena encountered Damon on the road.  He thinks she’s Katherine, but Elena tells him no. He’s momentarily taken aback – but then we see the Damon of Season 1!  They have a conversation – Elena’s fight with Matt, his mapped out future, she doesn’t know what she wants.  Damon, who’s been around a long time, tells her she wants what everyone wants.

“A love that consumes you.  You want passion, adventure, and even a little danger.”

Now, isn’t that what I’ve been saying for 3 years??  This is the life Damon represents – passion, and adventure, and risk.  What fun.  I don’t pretend to understand how Elena can still want a life with Stefan – steady, solid – and BORING Stefan.

But that’s me.

As Elena’s parents approach in their car, Elena asks Damon what he wants.  And he says he wants Elena to get everything she’s looking for – and as he says it, he is compelling her to forget he’s been there.

Back in storage, Ric is about to stake Damon, but when Damon reaches out to defend himself, surprisingly he is able to fight Ric off – Ric is getting weaker – and Damon knows it’s because Elena must be dying.

Back in Matt’s truck, Elena is flashing between her current experience with Matt – and her former experience with her parents.  In both dreams, Stefan arrives.  In the past, Elena’s father tells him to save Elena.  But in the present, Elena tells Stefan to save Matt.

Why?

Is Elena sacrificing herself to save the people she loves – knowing that if she dies, Ric will die also? Is she sacrificing herself knowing that Stefan and Damon are about to die, and life without them is not worth living?

As Ric dies in a distraught Damon’s arms, Jeremy is calling Matt wondering where the hell he and Elena are – and he encounters Ric in the hall – and realizes he’s a ghost!  Which means Elena…..?

….is lying on a gurney with Stefan looking over her.  Damon arrives at the hospital, and demands that Meredith tell him where she is!  And Meredith tells him – Elena had a cerebral hemorrhage – Meredith gave her vampire blood.

And Elena wakens………

And this is THE BEST SET UP FOR NEXT SEASON EVER!

Did Elena know Meredith had given her vampire blood?  Did she make the decision to save Matt knowing she’d “live”?  Was it part of her plan to spend eternity with Stefan, knowing she’d made the right choice for her at this point in her “life”?

Or is she going to wake up a vampire, and have all her memories flooding back – the ones that Damon compelled away?  She will learn she met Damon first, and he suggested a life far different than the one Stefan represents.  She will wake with her most dominant trait magnified – how will she see the brothers Salvatore from this new perspective?  Will she regret her decisions?

So, this turn of events nullifies “Elena’s choice”.  The triangle begins all over again –with a totally new set of rules.  How will Stefan look to her now that all her emotions are magnified?  What does steady, stable, and boring look like – especially if your true nature is strong and adventurous?  And if, being a vampire, you no longer need safety and security?

And how will Damon look when she remembers everything he’s made her forget?  Elena will see the side of himself that Damon claims he hides so he won’t have to live up to expectations – but which is really a protective mechanism so he can avoid being hurt.  Elena will see that vulnerability.  How will she feel about that?

And let us not forget that in addition to being a vampire (should Elena complete the transition – there’s another choice!), Elena is also a doppelganger!  Not only that, she is descended directly from the Original Petrova doppelganger, Tatia.  What does that mean in the mythology?  Will Elena have special attributes as a vampire/doppelganger that the other vampires don’t have?  (The ability to make the transition back to human form, for instance?)

Oh, the possibilities!!!!!

Next season is going to be like all the other seasons – all about the choices we make and where they lead us.  Elena will be reflecting on her choices of the past – and living a new life with new choices.

I can’t wait to see where this new journey takes us all.

If the planets were in perfect place, if your sign was on the rise
if my stars were in complete accord, but the sun was in your eyes
You’d have only seen my shadow, as I passed you on the street
and it might have been a hundred years, before our souls would meet again
and we would still be strangers, too early and too late
we are children of coincidence, coincidence and fate.

(“Children of Coincidence” – lyrics by Dory Previn)

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