From Being the Eternal Stud to “Taking Care of the Kids” – The Vampire Diaries Season 4 RE-Vamped Part 2: Damon Salvatore

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“I’m just stuck here fighting my brother, and taking care of the kids,” gripes Damon Salvatore to a ghostly Alaric in the middle of Season 4.

dalaric 1

dalaric 3

It’s a line that pretty well encapsulates the Elder Salvatore Brother’s role this season, in the same way that “Life sucks, wear a helmet,” another iconic line of his, embodied his role in Seasons 1 through 3.

life sucks get a helmet

teen wolf helmet fyeahmaxtheriot

Like many things about this season, being a Damon fan was a bit of a mixed bag in Season 4.  On one hand, in comparison to other seasons, the self-proclaimed stud had things pretty easy.  I mean, sure, he had his share of beat downs, stakings, and neck snaps, but there seemed to be a lot less of them than in previous seasons.

3 1 damon pours

Even his “Lethal Werewolf Bite,” in the Season Finale seemed less painful and certainly less symptomatic than his similar Brush with Death in Season 2 .. .

delena cuddle

shirt bye

Also on the bright side of things, let’s not forget that DAMON FINALLY GOT THE GIRL . . . not just once, but TWICE in a single season.

kissing delena

got the girl

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And even during the episodes when Damon and Elena weren’t together, he was constantly proving his worth by supporting and accepting her, when others turned their backs.

fine with her either way

Sounds good right?

nodding oh yeah

So, why the “mixed bag” you ask?

stefan shrug

Well, this was actually the first season that Damon Salvatore came very close to assuming Sidekick Status on his own show!

dont understand

I mean sure . . . he was being a “Good Guy” and “Taking care of the kids,” but at what cost?

soap dish smash

In previous Seasons, Damon Salvatore always had his own distinct character arc . . . one that was refreshingly separate from, though always tangentially related to, whatever drama he had going on with Stefan and Elena at the time.

damon soulful crying

In Season 1, Damon transformed himself from an angry villain hell bent on vengeance against his brother, and the town that sent him on his path to destruction .  . .

rawr damon

. . . to a hero, willing to risk his life for that very same brother and town.

2 21 - starmovinglove damon elena walking away

my hero

In Season 2, Damon went from a lovesick puppy, who pined over the same woman over a century at the expense of everything in his life, to a man capable of sharing his heart and soul, not just with one woman, but with three: Elena, Rose and Andie, each in different ways.

the love that consumes you passion danger

In Season 3, Damon struggled to find a balance between his loyalty to his absent brother, and his undeniably intensifying relationship with Elena.  As if that wasn’t difficult enough, he also endured two huge losses.  Alaric and Andie were the only two people with whom Damon felt he could truly confide, without judgment or accusation.  When they died, he felt more alone than ever . . .

damon crying color

In Season 4, Damon’s character arc was noticeably less distinct.  He helped Elena deal with her newfound vampirism.  He coped with the implications of the sire bond, and what they meant to his love life.  He mourned the loss of Elena’s humanity.  He struggled with the decision of whether or not to give Elena the Cure to Vampirism.

delena

Elena, Elena, Elena . . .

2 16 damon says stop talking

Can’t a guy get a storyline to himself?

Damon eye roll

That said, Damon did have quite a few defining character moments this season.  And I would be remiss, if I didn’t point them out in this post.

period piece damon 1

The Matt Donovan Dichotomy

dont damon me

I find it interesting that, in the premiere episode of the Season, Damon blames, and wants to kill Matt, for his unwitting role in Elena’s Journey Toward Vampirism.   (Had Stefan allowed Matt to die, Elena would have stayed human.)  And yet, at the end of the Season, Damon is the only character to recognize that Matt is the key to Elena’s regaining her humanity.  Damon’s ability to ultimately accept Matt as an integral part of Elena’s life, shows a huge amount of growth on his part . . .

thats humanity

Ch . .  . ch . . . ch . . . CHANGES

As a staunch and unapologetic Damon Fan, I was deeply offended by the fact that all the kindhearted things that Damon did for Elena during her early days as a vampire, were immediately discounted by TVD characters, and fans, alike, as a result of that pesky sire bond.   Yes, the sire bond was arguably to blame for Elena’s initial inability to drink blood from anywhere other than the human vein.  And yes, the sire bond both initially triggered Elena’s suffering from the Hunter’s Curse (Damon accidentally suggested that Elena should kill Connor), and ultimately cured her of that same curse.

damon to rescue

But that doesn’t make the unconditional love and acceptance Damon showed Elena during those difficult early weeks of her transition any less sincere.

3 11 delena not right now asheleyelizabeth1020

After all, Damon knew nothing about the sire bond, when he took Elena under his wing, and helped her to accept her new life as a vampire.  He helped her, comforted, and supported her, when no one else would, not because he knew she was supernaturally programmed to obey his every command, but because he loved her unconditionally, even during those times when she was at her most vulnerable and least loveable . . .

3 10 don't know what i would do summerroberts

If Damon had his choice, he never would have chosen the Sire Bond for Elena.  So, why should he be punished for its existence?

act not feel big

Punish the writers for that one!

The Humanity Conundrum

Though Damon cannot be held responsible for the Dreaded Sire Bond, he’s a bit more culpable when it comes to the birth (and eventual “death”) of Humanity Free Elena.  Hard to shift blame on THAT one, especially when Damon literally MADE Elena turn it off . . .

turn it off

stone faced elena

Now, in Damon’s defense, his heart was certainly in the right place.  In one sense, Damon understands Elena’s dark side, in a way no one else does.  He knows and respects the part of her that isn’t all hearts and roses.  Damon also hates to see Elena in pain, and instinctively understood, that, in the days, following her last living relative’s untimely demise, Elena needed a vacation from the more self-righteous aspects of herself.

im not enough

What I think Damon SERIOUSLY underestimated, was Elena’s capacity and hidden affinity for BAD.  In a way, it was almost comical how shocked and offended the Salvatore Brothers were, when Elena started being rude and biting strangers, when that’s precisely what EVERY SINGLE VAMPIRE DOES WHEN HIS HUMANITY IS TURNED OFF!

dead waitress 1

Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t like Humanity Free Elena either.  But, perhaps, her existence was necessary, in order to get Damon and Stefan to take her down from that pedestal they both kept her on for three seasons.

3 finale happy ponytail elena

The Pedestal . . .   Here was yet another way that Damon proved himself worthy of Elena’s love this season.  While Stefan promptly washed his hands of Elena, the moment she stopped behaving all sweet and cuddly around him . . .

elena free stefan

. . . Damon merely shrugged off Elena’s “evil” antics, and became more determined than ever to get her the Cure . . . even if that meant losing her to her brother for good.  (And let’s not forget, that it was ultimately Damon who discovered the precise route toward FINALLY putting Elena’s humanity on reboot.)

damon help me

look

Yes, the CURE.  Never has a plot device been such a royal pain in the ass .  . .

cure one more time

take cure with me

the kat thank me brought cure

Damon made no bones about how he felt about the Cure.   He didn’t want it.  And he didn’t really want Elena to take it either.  Because as much as Damon deeply misses being human, and the touching vulnerability that comes with it .  . .

miss being human

3 9 humanity weak xangel63x

. . . he loves being a vampire more.  And I’d like to think that Damon wanted that for Elena too . . . wanted her to learn to accept the odd joys of vampirism, and come to accept her new self, even more than he simply wanted her in his bed at night .  . .

sexy delena 2

delena sex

Yet, nonetheless, when Damon got his hands on the cure, at the end of the season, he was going to give to Elena . . . even though her humanity was on, and she was back to herself.  He was willing to give it to her,  if she desired it, because he valued her happiness above all else . . .

get the damn cure

Well .  . . almost all else . . .

Damon Salvatore is not a black and white character.  He lives in the shades of grey, in between, even in seasons like this one, designed to show off his “softer, more romantic side.”    That’s what I’ve always loved about Damon.  Just when you think he’s going to go and get all mushy on you, he does something surprisingly shallow, like choosing death over taking the Cure, aging, and wrinkling that pretty face of his .  . .

damon eternal stud

I adore the fact that Damon can still be selfish and shallow, because it makes him all that much more real to me.  And I guess, based on Elena’s ultimate choice in the Season 4 finale, Elena Gilbert feels the same way . . .

worst one

not sorry

Even an Eternal Stud Needs an Ego Stroke, Every Once in a While . . .

When every woman in the world is a sly smile, and compulsion-laced stare away from sleeping with you, it’s easy to get a swelled head.

Even-Damon-does-it-3-taylor-swift-29830482-430-500

Damon Salvatore always did a pretty stellar job of portraying himself to the world as self-assured, to the point of arrogance . . . about his looks, his strength, and, most importantly, his sexual prowess.

wet damon 2

rocked world

But beneath all that bluster and bravado, was a vulnerable vamp who was surprisingly insecure . . .  one who had been taught, by the first woman he had ever loved, that no one could ever love him, on his own merits.

dont deserve

In past seasons, it was always the external things that kept Damon from finding happiness with Elena.  HER feelings for Stefan . . . HER distrust of Damon’s motives . . .HER fear of the dark influence loving Damon would have on her soul.  But in Season 4, the greatest enemy to Damon’s finding happiness with Elena was Damon himself.    As thrilled as Damon was when Elena FINALLY chose to give herself to him, in early Season 4, he was also cautiously skeptical.

sad damon

And it was this skepticism, that plagued his consciousness with doubt of Elena’s true feelings, the minute that pesky sire bond came into play . . .

After four seasons, Damon had come to accept Elena’s rejection, as a matter of course.   So, when she behaved differently with him, it was difficult for him to lower his guard and just live in the moment.

ready to fight

The look on Damon’s face in the Season finale, when Elena FINALLY chooses him, of entirely her own accord, is one of beautiful ecstasy, but also one of shock . . . almost as if he can’t believe that fortune and true love have finally found him . . .

happy damon

Damon’s happiness in “Graduation” is hard fought, and well deserved.  As Damon fans, we rejoice in the opportunity to share this with him  . . .

3 8 dance

At least until next Season, when the writers will undoubtedly screw it up . . .

damon pissed nian somerhalder

And there you have it . . . Damon Salvatore in Season 4.

love you damon

ian says awesome

Next up?   The Big Bad with an odd penchant for drawing snowflakes, and collecting Caroline-sized dresses in his closet . . . Of course, I’m talking about Klaus Mikaelson .  . .

klaus cheers

See ya then, Fangbangers!

[www.juliekushner.com]  [My Tumblr] [Fangirls Forever]

6 Comments

Filed under Damon and Elena, Damon Salvatore, The Vampire Diaries

6 responses to “From Being the Eternal Stud to “Taking Care of the Kids” – The Vampire Diaries Season 4 RE-Vamped Part 2: Damon Salvatore

  1. I totally agree with you, Jules!

  2. Totally in awe of the way you managed to work the words ‘tangentially’ and ‘dichotomy’ into a recap! ROAR! Okay not arguably my favorite character–I could have just read this for the pictures! lol And I do agree that him ‘getting the girl’ could get mucked up in the first episode of Season 5–we all know that nothing is ever *cough Elijah quote cough* ‘always and forever’ on TVD! I agree, your analysis that Damon didn’t actually get his own storyline this season–never quite thought about it that way. The ‘big’ plotlines he did have were all tied to another character–his too quick shut-off of Elena’s emotions, the sire bond itself, his handling of The Cure, Matt being the worst and best thing for Elena’s emotions… hell, maybe he didn’t even drink as much this season (except there seems to be an eternal tumbler in every episode–and Damon did get a pocket flask in Season 4 that made quite a few cameos). In examining Damon’s huge speech to Elena about not apologizing–there were actually some shades of Season 1 Damon in there. I’m Damon Fucking Salvatore, eternal asshole since 1864, and I don’t care what you think! lol Except! When he pronounced himself selfish–well, i actuality he’s actually become pretty selfless. He risked death so Elena could have The Cure, even though with her humanity off she kept professing she didn’t want it. He continually sacrifices his own chances at some sort of happiness in favor of his brother, and yes, he’s even managed to save the Mystic Falls residents on occasion. I suspect when he discovers that Silas-as-Stefan dumped his brother unceremoniously into the quarry, he’ll move heaven and earth to get him out. Tiny plot point: Getting shot with a wooden bullet only ‘laced’ with werewolf venom is much less potent and slower acting than actually getting bitten. I think that made for the rather unspectacular ‘near death’ scenes–he didn’t really get close until 007 3/4 Vaughn, Galen Vaughn unloaded 2 more bullets in him. But it did cause a pretty nasty looking hickey! lol Can’t wait for your next installment! :)

  3. sassyfran

    There you are Jewls, with your own batch of AWESOME Sauce. I have been missing your recaps. I have to be honest I would be the biggest Damon fan, since I love me some IAN, but his totaly disrespect of Bonnie blows it. I can’ begin to tell you HOW I hate the way they treat witches and in most case people color on this show that sucks so bad. Anyway, I did want to stop over and say HOWDY love your recaps as always. I am looking forward to The Originals more than Season 5 of TVD but only time will tell how that will work out. I would LOVE to do something combined for the PLL premiere for summer please email its been forever.

    HUGS,
    Sassyfran

  4. Whycat

    Great analysis, thank you–you’ve really elucidated what was so dissatisfying about Damon’s characterization in this (disappointing) season, namely the deficiencies of his Elena-centric storyline. Much the same could be said of Stefan, with result that both brothers often appeared both pathetic and controlling. I am very curious to hear what you have to stay about Stefan, who had even less going on this season.
    The loss of Damon’s relationship w/Alaric truly took its toll on his dimensionality as a character, and I’m surprised that he didn’t develop more of a friendship with another character. The tiresome sire bond issue really did linger on until the bitter end, only to be resolved during the season finale. As much as I appreciated some of the more engaging moments of the season, there was something of a pall over it–perhaps b/c some of the characters were less likeable, too many bait-and-switches?–which lessened my emotional investment in the series. I have greatly appreciated your recaps, a fine balance of criticism, insight and enthusiasm that has kept my interest piqued. Please continue!

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