Aw, thank you!
And yeah, I get that they wanted to shock us all and that’s why the disconnect happened but it’s a shame people weren’t able to adjust their perspectives.
There really needs to be a tag for people who shipped Delena like burning up until either the sire bond or 509 but now have almost nothing positive to say about it. Like, I’m not going to be an asshole and tag it ‘Delena’ because there are people who are still into the ship. But then at the same time I’m not going to tag it ‘anti-Delena’ because it’s not as though I stopped loving the Delena that was and that tag is overrun by people propping Stelena with their Delena hate, which no.
Whoa, whoa, whoa, anon. Hold up. Let’s ask ourselves the following question:
Why is Damon heartbroken?
Because Damon, that’s why. He lied to Elena, went behind her back and murdered an innocent woman. Then when he thought there might actually be consequences for his behavior, he had a meltdown and killed a bunch of innocent people, including a friend of hers she’d specifically asked him not to hurt. Oh and he nearly got her brother killed. Not that he saw fit to mention this.
And when all of this is said and done and Elena is so clearly still in love with him and wishing there was a way he could, you know, not lie to her and murder people, so they could continue to have a relationship? Damon doesn’t resolve to try to be a better man or anything. He doesn’t say, ‘Hey you know what, I’m going to give this whole not murdering thing a go because I love you I respect you and I want you to be happy with me and I don’t want to crap all over your whole world view.’ All Damon does is angst about how wrong he is for her and basically force her to break up with him.
I would have thought that after all that he’d be pleasantly surprised that she still wanted to have a relationship with him.
Look, I’m not always opposed to these ‘all or nothing’ ultimatums in relationships. For some people being friends is too hard and it’s just pain they don’t need to put themselves through. But I usually require those people to be the injured party - you know, the one who’s been let down and lied to and ultimately let go because the other person would rather do that than actually up their fucking game. Or I at least require them to not be the injuring party.
If it was Elena who was telling Damon it was too painful for her to be friends at this point - that she didn’t want to see him or hear his voice - that I’d be okay with. But Damon? Are you kidding me?
After the way he’s treated Elena this season it’s too much for her to ask for him to even be a friend to her?
No, anon. Worlds of no.
Remember when one of my favorite things about Delena was that even after basically playing house with her and making out with her and being as much hers as she wanted him to be and being so desperately in love with her and alive with hope for the two of them, when Elena rejected Damon in a way he truly believed was final and got back together with Stefan……………. DAMON STUCK AROUND TO BE HER FRIEND BECAUSE HAVING ELENA IN HIS LIFE WAS MORE IMPORTANT TO HIM THAN ~HAVING HER?
Everyone has their own reasons for liking or disliking a character, so I won’t pretend to speak for people individually. But I’d say the hate for Neal more generally is down to two things, whether separately or in combination:
1. Some people didn’t understand that Neal didn’t have a choice in 206
2. A pretty pirate swaggered into Emma’s life in 206
As for the first, I’m really not sure whether I’d say that was a failure or storytelling or a failure of viewing comprehension. Normally when there is mass inability to understand a key point in a story I’d say it had to be the writers’ fault, but given how clearly their message came across to me, it’s hard to say what they should have done differently.
Perhaps the writers could have shown us more of Neal’s conversation with August; perhaps they could have included dialogue that set out plainly the impossibility of the situation; perhaps they could have had Neal explicitly state that though he doesn’t want to do as August says and isn’t sure he’s right, but the thing is that he just can’t risk Emma losing her shot at finding her family and her home and saving all those people.
They could have done all of that. But, I guess they expected the majority of their audience to do as I did: think about the situation some, have a modicum of good will toward Neal, and get it.
In expecting that I think they underestimated a few things. First of all I think they didn’t expect that a lot of people would be unable to fully connect Bae to Neal - to realize that despite a name change and a face change they were exactly the same person and needed to be judged as a whole. Although people understood this intellectually, the disconnect and the delay in finding this out made it that much easier for them to say to themselves that okay maybe that was him then, but this is him now. That meant they were able to treat Neal as an unknown quantity, rather than as a fundamentally good person, prone to sacrifice, who’d suffered terribly in his life without allowing his heart to be corrupted. I suspect this is part of the reason it was easy for some people to read negative motivations between the lines for Neal, when the writers wanted them to read positive motivations.
Another thing I think the writers didn’t realize was that having followed Emma on her journey from day 1, having bonded with her and understood her and felt her pain and rooted for her happiness… most of us were going to be disposed to think pretty badly of someone who made her feel the way Neal made her feel when he left. In order to forgive Neal for abandoning Emma - or rather to understand that he doesn’t really need forgiving in the first place and was as much a victim as she was - you have to really assert your objectivity over your emotions as a viewer. That’s hard. Some people can’t do it. Some people don’t want to, because that’s not what TV is about for them. So pain in Emma caused by Neal = Neal is a bastard. Mama Bear will hear no further evidence.
And last but not least………. the Hook effect. Having competition before you’ve even introduced yourself properly is never helpful, especially when that competition is a bad-boy with guylinered baby blues, and especially if you’re introducing yourself with ‘I swear, there’s a really good reason I broke your fave’s heart and let her go to jail.’ Hook was always going to be a popular character. Hook/Emma was always going to be something a section of the fanbase wanted very, very badly. But maybe if people had had a chance to get to know our humble and leather-pants-less Neal properly beforehand…
Basically I think that for the above reasons, alone or in combination, a lot of people wrote Neal off before they even allowed the dust to settle on Tallahassee. As for the level of hate for the character, I think that has to do with the fact that they knew the writers wouldn’t write him off, because he was Emma’s first love and Rumple’s son and Henry’s father. They knew he would always be there, hanging around and mattering to Emma whether they liked it or not. Pretty infuriating for them, I guess. I don’t think any Neal hater would ever in their wildest dreams have thought he would be killed off by mid-season 3!
I’m sure there are those who would say, ‘No way, I was willing to give Neal a chance, it was his behaviour in the second half of S2 that made me hate him!’ But the thing is that his behaviour in the second half of S2 was only seriously problematic to people who believed Neal was a cowardly asshole who deserved to suffer and grovel for what he did to Emma in 206. Those of us who saw things from his perspective - from the writers’ perspective, too - and who therefore believed he had tried to do the best thing for Emma and had been terribly hurt himself along the way - we didn’t mind a little snark. We didn’t mind a little shock and outrage that Emma wasn’t going to tell him about his son. We didn’t mind that he’d tried to comfort himself with another woman who came into his life when he was vulnerable and lonely. We didn’t mind that after all those years he’d been afraid to find Emma again and reopen old wounds.
The people who did mind? The people who hated him for it? They were already halfway there when they chose to believe the worst of him in 206.
I wish I could. I have never wanted to write for a show more, to be honest.
And hey this message is old, but it looks like you were right. Okay maybe Elena did mind about Aaron, and didn’t even get to know about Jer. But the important thing is that Delena sexytimes were prioritized over actual characterization!
2/2 Damon always choosing Elena is something that is never going to change whether they are together or not .He has done long before they got together and he would continue to do even if they remain broken up. And what bad thing did Elena do for Damon? Because I can’t remember any. Also, like you mentioned the writers want to tell us that Delena is the bad toxic couple who would do horrible thing to keep each other safe, while steroline is the good healthy couple who would never do such a thing
See I think Elena has accepted that Damon will protect her at all costs, but that doesn’t mean she’s 100% comfortable with the reality of it. I think it would have been great to have Delena’s conflict this season revolve around what Damon was willing to do to bring Bonnie back so Elena would be happy (eg. murder a bunch of innocent people) and then perhaps what Damon was willing to do to Bonnie so that Elena would be safe (perhaps send her back to the other side even after all the killing to get her back). This would have been consistent with Damon’s character, and would have brought up conflict between Damon and Elena that has been there at the heart of their relationship for many seasons. Because Elena, whilst understanding this to be who Damon is, would nevertheless be appalled by the carnage and callousness he is capable of dishing out in her name. This would have been a good reason for her to give him the speech she does at the end of 517. I would have understood and bought that she needed him to let her go, but I would also have been able to retain my respect for Damon as a character and my seasons-long understanding of what Delena is all about. Why oh why couldn’t we have had something like this isn’t of Aunt Sarah and the murder spree.
As for the bad thing Elena has supposedly done for Damon/because of Damon the only thing I can think of is her killing Jesse to save his life. Which is ridiculous as it’s something any of the other characters would have done to save someone they love, in a heartbeat, and the context was such that Elena really didn’t have any other choice unless she wanted to risk getting her own head and possibly Caroline’s head ripped off as well. However, since the writers saw fit to have Caroline judge the hell out of Elena for it, maybe not letting Damon die is what’s so wrong with loving him.
In all seriousness though, I don’t think that Elena has so much done bad things because she loves Damon as traded parts of herself for that love in ways that are really sad and disturbing to me. Elena is not cool with murder, and because the writers have insisted that it’s Damon’s fave weekend pass-time this season she’s basically been trying to pretend to herself that she is.
The juxtaposition of good!Steroline and bad!Delena is the absolute motherfucking worst and has left me enjoying neither ship.
I think it was unfathomably stupid. The sheer stupidity of it is what sent me into a state of paralysis with this show. I can barely watch, I certainly can’t recap. It’s futile to try to be intelligent about something so wholly unintelligent.
For a while there I was thinking the Jeremy thing must be the other shoe that’s gonna drop at some point - that Elena would forgive Damon for Aaron but find out about Jeremy and the fact that he concealed that from her and that would be the straw that broke the camel’s back. I still would have hated Damon/felt Damon was being written OOC, but the plot would at least have made some sense.
Alas, it would seem the writers are just ignoring the Jeremy thing.
As for thinking Damon was going to tell Elena everything… you and me both, anon. But brutal honesty is just one of the many hallmarks of the Delena relationship that the writers are grinding into the dirt this season.
There is nothing romantic about murdering innocent people because your girlfriend broke up with you because you murdered an innocent person. There is no romance for me in Delena post 509.
But like you say, it’s really just that Delena isn’t Delena post 509, because the way the writers are having the two of them be with each other this season hacks at the roots of what the ship even means to me.
I don’t even want Delena to be endgame anymore. How miserable is that?