I’m A Work In Progress – D. Salvatore, 2×04 Memory Lane

This is a fly by post with my thoughts on the D/E motel scene and the final D/E scene in episode 3×19. I haven’t watched the whole episode nor do I plan to at the moment. I also haven’t watched any of the episodes since 3×13. With that frame of reference established, I’m going to start with the last scene first.

It’s possibly one of the most flawless moments in TVD history, certainly between these two. In this and the motel scene that famous “understanding” was back and for once it was verbalized. They’re finally telling each other the things that they’ve learned or noticed about each other and giving each other a chance to fill in the blanks or confirm what they always suspected to be true about each other.

I titled this post with one of Damon’s lines from Memory Lane. It always stuck out in my mind because he said the words to Jenna but he was looking right at Elena. In one of the drabbles from my Coming Home series, I wrote that the words and the look were almost a warning or a statement of intent, Damon’s way of telling Elena that one day, he was going to be the kind of man that she could love at which point, she’d have no place left to hide. Well, that day appears to have come.

Damon’s response to Elena’s fear of her own feelings was the perfect one. We’ve seen Elena push Damon to accept responsibility and consequences so many times. Now he’s pushing her to do the same when it comes to her emotions. He’s not going to make it easy for her to run from what she feels, nor should he. He finally feels worthy of her. He might still struggle with his Stefan issues or be scared that Elena won’t choose him over his brother but he doesn’t seem to doubt that he’s good enough anymore and that is a massive step forward for him character wise.

As for Elena, I adore her. Sometimes, I think Damon himself doesn’t quite realize how many times he wrong footed her, how many times he went out of his way to damage her fledgling faith in him. The miracle of all it is that despite his (and Stefan’s) best efforts, Elena has fought long and hard to keep sight of who she believes Damon to be, at his core. That’s the man she’s fallen (or falling depending on how you want to look at it) in love with. But she’s scared to commit to him. She’s scared to tell the world that she loves him because he is scared to let the world see the man that she fell in love with. He only shows that side to her and for a long time, it allowed her to question and grapple with whether or not what she saw was even real. Now that she knows or has decided that it is, she’s questioning whether or not it’s enough.

When you love Damon, you spend a lot of time defending him. We all know that and we all know that it ain’t always easy. More than her feelings, I think Elena is wondering if she can stand by him through thick and thin. The AMAZING thing about that struggle though is that she inherently understands that Damon will accept nothing less than everything and more to the point, she believes that he deserves nothing less. The whole not doing things in half measures? She and Damon have that in common.

Damon is right to stand his ground and put the choice on her shoulders. But Elena is right not to commit before she is ready. But I think (I hope) people are finally seeing that Elena has never taken pleasure in hurting Damon. She’s not trying to lead him on or break his heart – all the opposite. It’s as hard for her as it is for him and has been for a long time but I don’t think that’s been obvious until now.

Moving onto the motel scene. I particularly loved the conversation about why Damon doesn’t let other people see the good in him. Because as I said above, this is actually quite a large part of Elena’s problem. It was raised in the episode where they fought after he tried to kill Caroline’s father as well. She said something along the line of not wanting him to be what other people think, implying she wants him to be the man she sees in him instead.

And here Damon explains that he is loathe to deal with people’s expectations. I’ve been saying this for years so I felt kind of vindicated 😆 Believe the worst of Damon and he’ll go out of his way to deliver – at least that’s how it used to be. Now and with Elena, it’s different. I think one of the reasons she was so overwhelmed is because the enormity of it finally hit her. For centuries, Damon has lived down to expectations and only for her and with her has he tried to do the opposite. It is a hell of a thing to realize that you’ve had that kind of impact on someone, never mind on someone like Damon.

And as for the kiss, it’s never been a secret that she’s attracted to him or that she wants him. But that kiss was fueled by a lot more than just lust. She wanted – and still wants – to be close to him. But wanting something and knowing how to have it are two different things. It’s Elena’s turn to be a work in progress and eventually she’ll get to the point where she’s looking for ways to be with him rather than reasons to run.



  1. There are so many parts of this post I want to quote, but I’m going to keep it simple and say I could not agree more with eveything you said – particularly the part about…no, everything. I agree with everything 110%. And seriously this peice of writing gave me chills. Your understanding of both Damon & Elena is something that never left you, even when your enthusiasm for the show did.

  2. Ciara – please come back to the Delena circle. We all miss your insightful recaps!
    Love your comments above – can you come and post it on the circle so all of the other newer members can share your thoughts?

  3. That’s exactly what I felt about it.

  4. So happy to see you’re back with such a nice post! This episode really deserved it as I felt that for the first time in ages it moved the DE relationship in the right direction. Not that I mind the slow burn but it was about time they actually laid the cards on the table. The makeout session was so hot but when it comes to DE, we expect nothing less of course (those two manage to sex each other from across the room) but more to the point, for the first time we saw Elena being open about her feelings for Damon to Damon himself. But most importantly, Damon feels worthy of her now. Elena is smart, she’ll figure it out. And he’s not gonna make it easy for her but hey, this is Damon after all. She’s the one to chase him now and I can’t wait to see it xD Did I mention that I love the fact that Rose is one of us?? Lmfao, voice of the DE fandom xD Looking forward to reasons for more posts of you, Ciara
    x x V

  5. I’m so happy. I loved ep.19 and you made a post about it.
    I agree wuth all that you said. It was an amazing episode, very well written, and only ian to make two words an epic moment, twice… “Why not?” and “do you?”
    I Know that probably next episodes we will have again a step backward in their relationship, but i don’t care… i have a lot of hope now.:)

  6. Ciara, THANKYOU, ThanKYOu, THANKYOU, THANKYOU soooooo much, so much, so much, so much!
    I know i sound completely insane but i feel so gratified because i did whine at one of your previous posts- begging you to review 3 19 really and this is more than i dared to hope. You don’t get it, really, NO ONE in the DamonElena forum analyzes them as- as- as IMMACULATELY as you do. I’m totally shouting this out this time, because I just need you to understand how much i adore it when you review. I never feel like anyone else voices out my thoughts the way you do and i never feel like anyone notices as much i do and the things i don;t notice and then you point them out and its utter awesomeness really. i have missed your critiques i really have, i’d stopped watching TVD season 3 for a while without even realizing it, and most of the first few episodes i watched on youtube like you- mainly because- at the back of my mind i figured- why watch when you felt it wasn’t good enough anymore? i was so scared for Delena this season, so convinced the writers were gonna screw it up, like you feared.
    I LOVED s2 and it’s finale but yeah, a lot of times in s3 i wasn’t feeling it.
    But- AGain- THankyou for starting to write again because that really just brought my faith in the show again like it had never been gone. And i started to enjoy delena again. they really are just spellbinding in their way.
    The show honestly doesn’t make sense, Ciara, until you kindly put it in perspective for me. From a more cold point of view it may just seem that Elena is being heartlessly selfish, toying with both Stefan and Damon, telling stefan with big earnest orb like eyes that she loved him one second and making out with Damon the next (btw when i saw her kissing him in the Canadian promo- this breathless, raspy, scary SHRIEK left me- a sound i have never identified with myself- i am not a screamer- but i was just so….happy) But you make me see that Elena really is just- human. She doesn’t know whether she should go for the guy who clearly, beyond a doubt loves her but is just- so volatile. The arms of the ocean carrying me. All this devotion rushing over me. But the arms of the ocean deliver me. To actually embrace the kind of love- completely unbelievable love Damon has for Elena would truly be a scary, terrifying process for Elena- no wonder she’s been trying to pretend it doesn’t exist- she doesn’t want it- for so long. So she wants to accept Damon the way he needs her to accept him, she does but because his feelings matter- weigh so heavily for her- she can’t bear to let him in if it means that by the end of the road she won’t be able to carry through. she couldn’t bear hurting him like that. she has to let him in, when she’s sure- so sure- not when ‘she doesn’t know what she feels’.
    but I did NOT expect Elena to kiss Damon. This was a Huge step for her especially and for both of them. She’s finally coming to terms with the possibility that she wants him, needs him, cares for him far more than she should….loves him. truly loves him. Elena has been standoffish with Damon so many times, been huffy and holier than thou so often- without even meaning to it has come out that way once too many- that i loved finally how She broke the walls of their relationship. in so many ways, she accepted all that he is to her. A person like Elena does not weigh in the consequences of making the first move lightly.
    And i am so proud of her.
    Damon- is Damon. i don’t know what was going inside of his head when he caught her looking at him like that (ha. drooling more like). i like how she asked him why he’d never told her about Rose and how he mumbled it had nothing to do with her, so he’d never told her about how he’d given Rose that gorgeous, tear provoking dream (best episode of TVD btw. okay well, almost) I like how she snuggled closer like asking a best friend for a secret and asked why he’d never let anyone see the good in him. Damon’s reply- said in such a spine tangling, softly somber tone swept me. Because when people see good they expect good. I don’t want to live up to anyone’s expectations.
    So much sadness in that voice. it hurt. Elena, apparently frustrated at this reply turned away, shaking her head, unsatisfied with this answer. This- i think- was live proof of her struggling to find an excuse (have Damon find her an excuse) to find him less than perfect for her and call the whole thing off. Run from her feelings once more.
    He holds her hand- trying to make it up to her? and the panicked look of her face- the way she runs away- i don’t know what she means when she say’s don’t and what he means when he says why not? Elena….but everything is answered with the way she kisses him. I swear, i feel like she was making up for lost time.
    The look on her face when Jeremy interrupts and the smile on her face when Damon and Jeremy leave- priceless! Then when Damon snarls at Kol not to touch Elena- that was pretty priceless too. And of course finally the melting look on Elena’s face when Damon holds her face in his hands and even after all the pain he’s just went through moans about how she’s bleeding and the smile with which she assures him she’s fine- and the second thoughts she has (to an unskilled eye, this is just Elena playing hot and cold again) and she turns away, jarring Damon into interrogative mode.
    Why did this happen? why did you do what you did? Why test me like that? Why turn away now? what do you feel? How can you still not know what you feel? Damon feels like he’s given her all he had inside of him and then some. He’s not going to wait to be hurt again. He’s not going to let her run away without a clear answer again. he has been there for her, brought out every shred of protective instinct and goodness to surface for her while taking care of her all this time- and searching for Stefan. He’s done everything he could have- he’s ready to do more. but Elena not giving him a straight answer after all of that- well, it must have stung.
    I saw the photo of Elena crying in Stefan’s arms in the next episode and i can’t help but think this is her confessing and trying to let go of something she loves the idea of- who doesn’t love the idea of safety and pure love and warmth and forever?- and i’m so glad that this season really was all about Delena and not Damon’s heart break that i feared. or is it too soon to be sure?
    Either way i happen to remember you saying that s2 was all about elena realizing that she had feelings for Damon. You know, i agree but guess what my analyzes is?
    I think s2 was all about Damon truly coming to full terms about how much he loved Elena- to him not being able to tolerate the thought of her knowing- to him compelling it out of her- to him finally lying dying in her arms and confessing what he might have sworn he’d never confess unless on his death bed- the thing he was so scared to say- his journey towards realizing it’s always going to be Elena.
    S3 in retrospect i think is all in Elena’s perspective- its her coming to full terms with how much Damon loves her- to realizing if she can and that she does love him.
    Ciara, don’t ever give up on TVD okay? the episodes may not be stellar but you know the last few ones of the season are the best ever, so please don’t give up just yet. i missed your writing so much until you started writing back

  7. Oh Ciara how i miss your reviews. Heck how I miss you in the forum. I thought of you after this episode, and am so glad you watched it. Finally after 3 years we got our moment. It was beautiful and all I could hope for. If it had an ILY they could end the show and I would be happy. I really hope that Elena finally does realize Damon is the one she wants, but I cautiously wait for the finale. I hope you are there with us.

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