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The Vampire Diaries’ Damon Salvatore and Elena Gilbert: The Top Ten WINNING Season 1 Moments for OUR Team!

 

It’s a choice that heroines in teen dramas have had to grapple with for ages: the brooding and sensitive good boy versus the unrepentant and dangerous bad one. 

And nowhere on television is that eternal question more fully explored than on the CW’s The Vampire Diaries, where good can be bad . . .

 . . . and bad can be deliciously GOOD!

Unlike in other shows, where the “good guy” is so bland and boring as to make the heroine’s choice completely obvious, writers Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec actually make a startlingly good case for both the “straight-laced” Stefan Salvatore, and his “fun loving killer” brother Damon.  Nonetheless, a choice HAS to be made . . .

Threesomes are fun, but they can’t last forever . . .

 . . . and I’ve made mine.  In Stefan’s defense, 9 times out of ten, when this sort of question is raised, I will throw MY lot in with the Bad Boy, without a second thought.  But there is something about Damon’s and Elena’s relationship that makes it special.

Unlike most heroines in these type of dramas, Elena is NOT drawn to Damon out of any sort of need for rebellion against authority.  After all, Elena’s parents are dead, and Useless Aunt Jenna certainly isn’t going to be “reigning her in” any time soon.  As for Damon, well, sure, his attraction to Elena may have started because (1) he wanted to stick it to his baby brother; and (2) she looked SO MUCH like his ex .  . .

 . . . but that changed almost immediately after he met her. 

Damon and Elena understand one another in a way no one else around them can.  They know eachothers’ vulnerabilities and weaknesses, as well as their respective strengths.  This allows them to be at ease with one another, and let their guards down in conversation. 

When Damon and Elena are in the same room together, the sexual tension between them crackles and pops like a sparkler on Independence Day.  And even when they aren’t saying anything, the pair can carry on entire conversations through eye contact and body language.

This is why what I am about to do here is so difficult.  When EVERY interaction between two individuals is electrically charged with sexuality, emotion, and meaning, how can one POSSIBLY boil down their entire complex relationship into JUST 10 scenes?   Nonetheless, I figured it was worth a try.  What follows are ten Damon / Elena scenes from Season 1 of The Vampire Diaries.  These scenes, in my opinion, really encapsulate the pair’s relationship, and comprise the best of what this couple has to offer.

[Note: For whatever reason, The CW has always been a bit finicky about what videos it allows us fans to embed in our blog posts.  Therefore, most of the below videos will require you to click on an internal link, that will redirect you to YouTube, before you can watch.  That being said, when I tell you the slight inconvenience you must endure to see the videos will be entirely worth it, I promise, I am not lying . . .]

10) Damon and Elena get flirty in Elena’s bedroom . . .

Nothing says “manly” like a boy in a pink bed, cuddling with a Teddy Bear.

Episode: “Under Control” – 1 X 18

Setting the scene: Elena invites Damon over for an emergency meeting to discuss Stefan, who has been acting strangely ever since he ingested Elena’s blood, during the prior episode . . .

Potent quotables:

DAMON:  “You ask, I come.  I’m easy like that.”

DAMON: (Calls out to a suspicious Jeremy, who is eating cereal in the next room) “No, Elena, I will NOT got to your bedroom with you!”

Why it made the list:  I love how Damon challenges Elena’s growing attraction to him here, by invading her personal space.  Watch the glee Damon takes in laying on Elena’s bed, hugging her teddy bear, fingering her photographs, and fondling her bras and delicates.  Then, at the end of the scene, Damon invades Elena’s person, as he moves in close, trapping her up against the vanity table.  In that moment, without saying so, Damon is forcing Elena to confront her feelings for him, and how they differ from her feelings for Stefan.

9) Damon gives Elena a rose

Episode: “Under Control” –  1 X 18

Setting the scene:  Damon and Elena are at a Founder’s Day pre-party, where Stefan is drinking heavily, in an attempt to dull his hunger for human blood.  Elena expresses her concerns to Damon as the two sit next to one another at the bar.  But Damon is more concerned about Elena’s brother, Jeremy, who has been asking questions about Vicki Donovan’s death. 

 (Background: After Damon made Vicki into a vampire, she violently turned on Elena and Jeremy.  Stefan killed Vicki to save them.  Then, at Elena’s request, Damon buried Vicki’s body, and compelled Jeremy to forget what had happened.)

Potent quotables:

DAMON: (Mimicking Jeremy) “Oh, but sheriff, someone buried her.  Who would do that?”  (raises hand)  “I know, I know!  ME!”

And later . . .

DAMON: (Upon agreeing not to use any more compulsion on Jeremy) “OK.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

Why it made the list: For me, this scene really illustrates the snap, crackle, and pop of Damon’s and Elena’s witty banter.  These two are clearly at ease with one another.  Check out the pair’s body language, as they angle their chairs toward eachother, and repeatedly brush limbs.  I also love the old-fashioned way Damon “courts” Elena, by selecting a rose from a nearby bouquet, sniffing it to make sure it is of top quality, and delicately placing it in her hand. 

So often, we forget that Damon “grew up” in the mid 1800’s.  This scene gently reminds us of that.  When Elena receives the rose, she can’t help but be flattered and intrigued by Damon’s gesture, even though she knows she shouldn’t be.

8 ) Things “heat up,” while Damon and Elena are in the kitchen together. . .

Episode: “Children of the Damned”  – 1 X 13

Setting the scene: Damon has dropped by the Gilbert home for dinner, unannounced.  After the meal, Damon and Elena wash dishes together.  Things quickly evolve from fun and flirty, to serious and intense, when Damon inquires as to Stefan’s true motives, in agreeing to help Damon free his long lost love, Vampire Katherine, from a nearby tomb.  Elena initially shrugs off the question, but Damon confronts her directly, imploring her to be honest with him.  She isn’t . . .

Potent quotables:

ELENA:  “Don’t do that”

DAMON:  “Do what?”

ELENA:  “That move was deliberate.”

DAMON:  “Yeah, I was deliberately trying to get to the sink.”

And later . . .

ELENA: “I’m wearing vervain, Damon.  It’s not going to work.”

DAMON:  “I’m not trying to compel you.   I just want you to answer me . . . honestly”

Why it made the list: So many of Damon’s and Elena’s interactions revolve around the issue of trust.  Can these two individuals trust one another?  Well . . . that really depends on the episode. 

For me, this scene can really be broken down into two parts.  The first part of the scene is lighthearted and flirtatious.  Notice Damon’s highly sexualized “Ohhh . . . mmmm” when he “accidentally” bumps into Elena on the way to the sink.  While Elena pretends to be annoyed by the grope, the sly grin on her face says otherwise.

The second scene is more intense.  Damon can sense that Stefan and Elena are lying to him, but instinctively trusts Elena, and refuses to believe she could do anything so dishonest.  When Elena accuses Damon of trying to compel her to tell him the truth, he appears to be truly offended that she would think he would do that to her, after all they had been through.  When Damon asks Elena if he can trust Stefan, he is revealing to her a vulnerable side of him that she hasn’t seen before.  She feels guilty about lying to Damon, as evidenced by the way her eyes drift downward, refusing to meet his, at 1:18.  Then again, she may just be mesmerized by those gorgeous lips of his . . .

7) Damon and Elena get wet (in the rain)

Episode: “Let the Right One in” – 1 X 17

Setting the scene: Stefan is being held captive by the Hidey Hole Vamps (a random plotline developed, and promptly discarded mid season).  The Hidey Hole Vamps came from the tomb Damon opened during “Fool Me Once” (Episode 14).  You know, the one that was SUPPOSED to contain Vampire Katherine, but didn’t?  So, understandably, Damon feels a bit responsible for his brother’s kidnapping.  Elena of course, is beside herself, and wants part in the rescue.  But Damon fears that if Elena comes along, the responsibility will become too much for him.  And he will lose both Stefan AND Elena, in the process.

Potent quotables:

DAMON:  (Lovingly cupping Elena’s wet face in his hands).  “Elena, I know.  But I don’t know how to get him out.”

Why it made the list:  This short scene is intensely emotional for both Damon and Elena.  Both characters have completely let their guard down.  Elena, who is intensely strong willed, and usually highly adept at keeping her emotions in check, is near tears, at the thought of Stefan being killed by the Hidey Hole Vamps.  She feels helpless, and has stored all her hopes in Damon. 

As I mentioned earlier, Damon feels responsible for this whole situation.  He desperately wants to protect Elena and Stefan, and fears he is about to let them both down.  Damon, who has always been supernaturally strong, and can usually mask his feelings with bravado and snark, is completely stripped down and vulnerable here.  And he hates it .  . .

6) Damon watches Elena sleep

Episode: “Friday Night Bites”  – 1 X 3

Setting the scene:  Ummm, I think you all are smart enough to figure this one out on your own . . .

Potent quotables: 

STEFAN: (in voiceover) “I felt there was hope.  That somewhere deep inside, something inside Damon was human, normal.”

Why it made the list:  This scene, from the third Episode of The Vampire Diaries, is important, because it is truly the first time we see anything resembling humanity in Damon.  Up until this point, all we have seen him do is kill and manipulate people.  Every word spoken by him had an ulterior motive.  Every gesture was made in malice.  Here, we know, Damon’s actions are completely uncalculated, BECAUSE no one else can see them.  Not even Elena, herself, who is unconscious the entire time. 

It’s a short scene, only a few moments long, and (aside from the voiceover) dialogue free.  But those few seconds speak volumes about Damon’s complexity as a character, and his early feelings for Elena — feelings that would only grow stronger, as the series progressed . . .

5) Elena falls victim to Damon’s “Eye Thing”

Episode: “Founder’s Day” 1 X 22 (The Season 1 Finale)

Setting the scene: Elena has just changed out of her 1800’s attire, following the Founder’s Day parade, and a ride on the Miss Mystic Falls float.  Ever since Elena’s biological mother told Elena that Damon “loved her” (“Isobel” – Episode 1 X 21) things have gotten a bit awkward among our favorite Vampire Threesome.  And Elena desperately wants to clear the air. 

Speaking of clearing the air, things of become unusually chilly between Elena and her little brother, Jeremy, following Jeremy’s discovery that Elena has been keeping information aboutVicki’s vampiric demise from him.  She also played a major part in having Jeremy’s memory of the event wiped from his consciousness.

Potent quotables:

DAMON:  “I like you better like this.  The period look, it didn’t suit you.”

ELENA:  “Is that an insult?”

DAMON:   “Actually, Elena.  It is a compliment, of the highest order.”

And later . . .

ELENA:  “So, I think you should stop with the flirty little comments, and that . . . Eye Thing . . . that you do.”

DAMON:  “What eye thing?”  (Does Eye Thing . . .)

ELENA: “Don’t make me regret being your friend.”

Why it made the list: In this scene, we can truly see how far Damon has come, from seeing Elena as a conquest, and a doppelganger of his long lost love, to being a sexy, intelligent, and caring woman, in her own right.  The fact that Damon prefers Elena wearing modern clothes, to Elena wearing Katherine’s clothes, speaks volumes about how much his feelings for her have grown.  Further evidence of that is found later in the scene, when Elena tells Damon not to make her regret being his friend.

Initially, of course, Damon’s face, which has been playful and seductive, since the opening of the scene, falls.  Here’s a sexy popular playboy, one who has NEVER had any trouble with the ladies.  And he has just been placed in the Friend Zone. 

But what makes things really interesting, is what Damon does next.  We watch as he takes a beat to ponder his relationship with Elena.  Instantly, he comes to the conclusion that a friendship with Elena would be far better than no relationship at all.  He nods sadly, but with a deep understanding and respect for Elena’s strength, as she goes to talk to Jeremy.  And don’t even get me started on that “Eye Thing.”

4) Damon tries to compel Elena to kiss him / gets slapped in the face

Episode: “Friday Night Bites:  – 1 x 3

Setting the scene: Damon has basically been compelling Elena’s friend Caroline to be his blood whore throughout the entire episode.  But Caroline has started to bore and annoy Damon, so he sets his sights on greener pastures, Elena’s.  Never one to go about things the “hard way,” Damon corners Elena, alone in the parking lot, during a high school football game.  He plans to compel her to be his love slave, just as he has done with Caroline.  Little does he know that Stefan has armed her with a vervain necklace, rendering her impervious to all mind control . . .

Potent quotables:

DAMON:  “You’re right, I do have other intentions.  But so do you . . . I see them.  You want me . . . I get to you.  You find yourself drawn to me.  You think about me, even when you don’t want to think about me.  I bet you’ve even dreamed about me .  . . (Damon’s eyes glow green, with the power of compulsion behind them).  And right now, you want to kiss me.”

And later . . .

ELENA:  “I am NOT Katherine!”

Why it made the list: The acting in this scene between Ian Somerhalder (Damon) and Nina Dobrev (Elena) was positively brilliant.  For starters, the sexual tension between these two is undeniable  — even though, at this point, Elena is trying desperately to deny it, and Damon is trying to force it, for his own personal gain.  When Damon first makes his speech about how “hot for him” Elena is, we, as viewers, know that a lot of what he is saying true.  Elena DOES feel drawn to Damon.  She DOES think about him, even when she doesn’t want to.   And she HAS dreamed about him.

But what’s really interesting is to watch the scene from Elena’s perspective.  That dreamy, faraway, look in her eye.  The way she keeps leaning closer and closer to him, as he speaks, unable to break eye contact.  The first time I saw the scene, I wondered, for a moment, whether Damon had SUCCEEDED in compelling Elena to want to kiss him, in spite of the fact that she was wearing vervain. 

Then I wondered whether Elena knew what Damon was trying to do.  Based on that theory, she was  just pretending to fall under his spell, only to catch him off guard, when she went in for the slap later.  But here’s the thing:  at this point, Elena doesn’t KNOW that Stefan and Damon are vampires.  (Notice how Elena didn’t catch on to Damon’s ironic intimation, that he was MUCH older than Caroline.)  So, she has no idea, they are capable of mind control.  So, Elena’s seemingly lovestruck initial reaction to Damon’s words?  It was REAL!

3) Damon and Elena do the “Mating Dance”

Episode: “Miss Mystic Falls” – 1 X 19

Setting the Scene: Elena has unwillingly agreed to take part in the Miss Mystic Falls pageant.  Stefan has agreed to be her escort.  But on the day of the pageant, Stefan mysteriously disappears.  (Turns out he’s gone all blood lusty, and has set out to eliminate Elena’s competition, by eating it.)  Unbeknownst to Elena, Damon has stepped in to fill Stefan’s shoes, and, subsequently, save the day.

Potent quotables:

USELESS AUNT JENNA:   “What is she doing with Damon?”

ALARIC:  “I have NO IDEA!”

Why it made the list:  Like the earlier referenced scene, where Damon watched Elena sleep, this scene is nearly silent, save for the music to which the contestants dance.  I love the first part of the scene, where Elena has her “Oh so Teen Cliched” Staircase Moment, and we see Damon’s eyes light up with love and sexual desire, as he sees her in that blue dress for the first time.

You can see the changes that take place in the couple, as the dance progresses.  When it first starts, the two are wary of one another, stiff and business like.  But then the music starts to take over.  Smiles form on their faces.  They are actually enjoying THIS! 

Damon’s a surprisingly good dancer (much better than his younger brother).  The first part of the dance, during which the partners can’t touch, is a mating ritual in every sense of the world.  Damon and Elena circle one another like predator and prey.

But things really heat up when they are finally able to grab hold of one another.  He grasps her body firmly, in a manner that is strong and protective.  They both get a bit lost in the moment, wanting to move in closer, but unable to do so, based on the regimented nature of the dance.  When the music stops, and the pair are forced to break from one another, they both seem a bit jarred by the intense emotions this experience has brought to the surface.

2) Damon kisses Elena Katherine

Episode: “Founder’s Day” – 1 x 22 (Season 1 Finale)

Setting the scene: At the Founder’s Day Carnival, Bonnie, at Elena’s behest, used her magic to rescue Damon from death by fire.  Filled with gratitude, Damon goes to Elena’s house to set things right with Elena’s brother, Jeremy, by explaining to him, what truly happened with Vampire Vicki.  As he leaves the house, he runs into who he THINKS is Elena.  (It isn’t . . .)

Potent quotables:

DAMON:  “I’m not a hero, Elena.  I don’t do good.  It’s not in my nature.”

KATHERINE (as Elena):  “Maybe it is.”

And later . . .

DAMON:  “She did it for you [saved me], which means that, somewhere along the way, you decided that I was worth saving.  And I wanted to thank you for that.”

KATHERINE (as Elena):  “You’re welcome.”

Why it made the list: At first blush, it may seem like sacrilege to put a scene that didn’t even INCLUDE Elena, in a list of the “Top Ten Best Damon and Elena” scenes.  But the fact remains, that, from Damon’s perspective, this WAS Elena, to whom he had bared his soul, and with whom, after an entire season of trying and failing, he had finally shared a kiss.  All this time, us fans always assumed that Damon did “bad things” simply because he wanted to.  Now, we realize, that he did them, because he thought himself to be completely incapable of goodness.  He is confused by, and uncomfortable with, his growing humanity, but at the same time, excited by it.

And Damon is excited by Elena, who for the first time, seems truly open to his advances.  He kisses her tentatively at first.  And then, when she doesn’t pull away, really lets himself get carried away in the moment.  His hands cup her face, his fingers run through her hair.  All thoughts of this awful day, escape from his head, and all that is left is love and passion.

In hindsight, we can see that “Elena” was different — that she seemed colder and more aloof, then she had in previous scenes.  A few cocked eyebrows and vague responses here and there, betray Katherine’s lack of knowledge, as to what has been going on in Mystic Falls this season.  She notices the change in Damon immediately, and is bit intrigued by it, especially since, all this time, she thought SHE was the only woman who held any power over him.  And when they finally kiss, Katherine shows none of the extreme guilt the ever-faithful Elena would experience had she just made the decision to cheat on her vampire boyfriend.

And it’s this complexity, that makes the scene so compulsively watchable . . .

And finally . . . (drumroll please)

1) Damon returns Elena’s necklace

Episode: “Fool Me Once” – 1X14

Setting the scene: Having recently learned that Stefan and Elena have stolen the spellbook that he needs to free his love Katherine from the tomb, Damon feels hurt and betrayed.  After all, the couple had promised to help him get Katherine back, and Elena had given Damon his word that their intentions were genuine.  Later, Elena comes to visit an uncharacteristically broody Damon at his home, waving the metaphorical “white flag” and carrying the proverbial “olive branch.”

Potent quotables:

ELENA:  “I was protecting the people I love, Damon.  But so were you, in your own twisted way.  As hard as it is to figure, we are all on the same side, after the same thing.”

DAMON:  “Fool me once, shame on you.”

And later . . .

ELENA:  “You and I, we have something.  An understanding.  And I know my betrayal hurt you — different than it was with Stefan.  But I promise you, I will help you get Katherine back.

And still later . . .

DAMON:  I didn’t compel you in Atlanta, because we were having fun.  I wanted it to be real.  I’m trusting you.   Don’t make me regret it.

Why it TOPPED the list: This scene contains everything we LOVE about Damon and Elena, all rolled up into one beautiful and sexy package:  the witty banter, the silent looks filled with meaning, the complex innuendos, the invasion of personal space, gentle caresses, and an admission, on both Damon’s and Elena’s parts, that their relationship is special.  It travels far beyond the expected boundaries of friendship.  The episode, begins with a betrayal of trust, and concludes with the ultimate exchange of trust.  Elena, who has always secretly worried that Damon has been trying to compel her (how else could she explain her strong romantic feelings for him), really puts herself out there for Damon.

By taking off the vervain necklace that protects her from mind control, Elena is exposing herself completely to Damon.  She might as well be standing naked before him.  And Damon, who wonders whether he will ever be able to trust Elena again, has the perfect opportunity to exert ultimate power over her.  And just like in Atlanta, he refuses to take that opportunity.  He will not take advantage of Elena in that way.  When Damon closes in on Elena, and reaches behind her to take the necklace, she is frightened and a bit aroused.  All of this is evident, when, to her surprise, Damon gently clasps the necklace back around her neck.  

A gentle brush of Damon’s fingers across Elena’s throat is enough to send her eyes rolling back in her head in pure ecstacy.  But this scene isn’t just about sex or power.  It is about love, friendship, understanding, and a willingness to let someone see you at your most vulnerable.  And THAT is why this scene made Number One on my list . . .

Season 2 of the Vampire Diaries premieres Thursday, September 9th at 8 p.m. on The CW, and we all know what THAT means — more juicy Damon and Elena scenes to gush over and explore.  I for one, CAN’T WAIT!  Can YOU?

Neither can HE! 😉

[www.juliekushner.com]

 

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