Elena struggles to choose between fantasy and reality

The Vampire Diaries Season 6, Episode 7 (“Do You Remember the First Time?”)
Marco James and Ian Somerhalder, The Vampire Diaries

Since the beginning of the series Elena has struggled to figure out how to live her life. Her humanity has always been her defining characteristic but how do you live as a human in a supernatural world? She initially resisted being with Stefan because she didn’t think she could live her life in fear. Then as her doppelgänger identity became a driving force for the problems in her life, she knew she couldn’t stay out of it even if she wanted to. Then she became a vampire and had to completely redefine what was normal. During all of that she has tried to be as human as possible. But the truth is that in this world you can’t use human morality to judge anyone. For vampires, morality is a sliding scale. The line between good and bad is constantly moving. It usually comes down to protecting yourself and who you care about even if it means killing someone else. Elena’s large capacity for forgiveness has allowed her to make those adjustments as needed. She went from thinking Damon was a monster with no redeemable qualities to falling in love with him.

Forgetting the good she saw in Damon undoubtedly simplified her life. Not having to reconcile the things he did, and the things she did with him, with her morality has given her some of that humanity back. In some ways that is good, but it isn’t real. In this episode, Damon begins to see that she may actually be better off without him and is going to try to let her go (a noble idea but very unlikely to happen). But living in a fantasy isn’t better for anyone. Elena is still trying to live her fake life, but knowing that there is a whole part of her that she has forgotten is eating at her. Even her fake life is getting complicated. Liam won’t drop the miraculous recovery of the woman at the corn maze. He is also suspicious of Elena’s back from the dead ex-boyfriend. Elena should know by now that anytime a vampire tries to protect a human in their life by hiding the supernatural world from them, it doesn’t go well. They usually end up dead. Liam probably makes her feel human but in the long run it is never going to work. He is only a distraction from her real life.

Elena isn’t the only one having romantic troubles this season. Enzo outs Caroline’s feelings for Stefan and he responds… less than ideally. He claims to have had absolutely no idea and still doesn’t seem to realize that he returns those feelings. It is somewhat understandable but is one of those things that happens on TV that I am not sure happens much in real life. They have been friends for a while and grew very close when Elena broke up with him, but it wasn’t like Caroline was waiting around for Stefan to be single. She was with Tyler for a long time and dealing with her own morality-questioning connection with Klaus. Their feelings for each other grew so slowly over time, from a really close friendship to something more, that they didn’t realize it. But now it is out there and it only makes things between them worse.

So far this season Elena, and the others just outside of Mystic Falls, have had fairly little supernatural drama to worry about. But it is always just lurking around the corner and when they have another evil villain to deal with she isn’t going to so easily be able to pretend she is human. In this episode we get the revelation that Jo is Kai’s sister, the one whose spleen he cut out. Kai is going to eventually get out and when he does that family reunion is not likely to be sentimental. Back in the prison world Bonnie is still thwarting Kai’s attempts to escape. She would rather risk never getting out than setting him free. She puts her magic in Ms. Cuddles and sends her back as a signal that she is still alive. This combined with the connection between Jo and Kai means that the two major worlds this season are going to be colliding soon and I can’t wait for it.

Episode Grade: 8/10

Other Thoughts:

  • Liam had maybe the worst line in the series in this episode “You’re not just a liar, you’re a liar with secrets”. I always cringe when I hear him say that. Most liars have secrets, thats why they lie.
  • Matt is starting to get conflicted about what side he is on. He isn’t happy about the trouble that vampires bring but they are also his friends.
  • Damon says that if Alaric had died a vampire the compulsion would be lifted but because he is human it didn’t. I am pretty sure this is directly contradicted later in the series.
  • I think the show very quickly realized the problem they created with using the town line to cure vampirism so they threw that line that Jo has about it being perfect circumstances and unrepeatable.
  • Body Count: 1, Enzo turns Tripp before they return him to Mystic Falls so that he dies when he crosses the town line. If anyone deserved such a death it was him.

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