When Elena confessed her feelings for Damon, his life seemed like it couldn't get any better. Now that Caroline and Stefan have discovered Elena's love is due to a sire bond, is Damon willing to give up the one thing he wanted most?
Though it's incredibly rare in vampires, Caroline and Stefan believe that Damon has sired Elena which would explain her actions of late. Stefan breaks the news to Damon who doesn't buy any of it at first but when he tests the theory by having Elena drink from a blood bag, she doesn't get sick and he knows it's true. To break the bond and free Elena from Damon's persuasion, the two of them take a trip to New Orleans while Elena has a night in with Caroline and Bonnie. Much to Stefan and Damon's disappointment, there isn't a true way to break a sire bond. The only real way is for Damon to break it off with Elena so she can decide on her own; leaving Damon with a hard choice to make. Back in Mystic Falls, everything is going well for Elena, Caroline and Bonnie until a few hybrids show up and take Caroline. Even while Klaus's latest batch of slaves fight to break free of his control it is up to Tyler to save Caroline and become the leader he needs to be.
While not as bad as last week's abysmal, My Brother's Keeper, We'll Always Have Bourbon Street started well enough but ended on a low note. After several seasons of watching Damon come through and do the right thing when it counts, it's difficult to believe that he would act differently in this situation. The reason for this is at the end of last season, we saw that Damon met Elena before Stefan but still let his little brother keep the girl when she made her choice. He also didn't give up on Stefan when he was compelled by Klaus for the better part of a year and this isn't any different.
The idea of choice and free will has been brought up through the sire bond storylines but hasn't had the pay off The Vampire Diaries was hoping for. Tyler explained his sire bond to Elena and said that when he was under Klaus, he hated doing everything that he asked but did it anyways because he felt like he didn't have a choice. This is in direct contradiction to the episodes last year when he explained that he felt great (never better as a matter of fact) and liked doing everything he asked. As I recall, he felt free because he didn't have to worry if he was even doing the right or wrong thing. Compared to what he said this week, it sounds like the writers weren't even paying attention to what actually happened. As a fan of the show, I pay attention to the details and expect the people behind it to do the same and the continuing liberties that are being taken with the mythology and history are becoming a distraction.
Though Damon is usually one of the most well written characters on the show, his reluctance to do the right thing give up Elena doesn't feel genuine. Damon has always wanted Elena to pick him over Stefan and even though he knows that the choice wasn't completely hers, he continues to fight Stefan almost every step of the way. Damon was right when he said Stefan wanted Elena free for himself but that doesn't change the fact that Elena is a slave to his will and would do anything to please him. After freeing Charlotte from being sired to him, would Damon want the same thing for Elena?
At eight episodes deep into the season, The Vampire Diaries should be starting to put together a compelling story but we are only getting a sense of that in Tyler Lockwood. Even while he is being manipulated by Hailey (and did the clichéd heart grab technique), Tyler has begun to lead an army of hybrids to destroy Klaus forever and free themselves from his control. Even with the "Kneel before Zod" moment near the end of the episode we can see a greater conflict looming just beyond the horizon and that is something to be excited for with his renewed determination. When the pining for Elena's affection has settled, maybe the other characters can join the action in next week's mid season finale, O Come, All Ye Faithful.