The Vampire Diaries hasn’t been shy about pulling a fast one on its viewers in the past. This show’s been all about the death fake-outs and miraculous resurrections for a while now. Season 7, however, seems to be the very epitome of that: ’tis the season of fast-ones.
Let’s stop short of calling it jumping the shark, though, admittedly, Caroline’s spell-induced pregnancy is treading dangerously close to shark-jumping waters.
In the past few episodes alone, in addition to the emergence of one heavily pregnant vampire, we have seen the demise of both Damon and Stefan, two main characters–only for each to resurrect less than one full episode later. Lily, their morally-grey and complicated mother, also died (except in her case, permanently, it appears). TVD is playing fast and loose with its deaths this season–faster and looser than ever before.
All these recent shocks have nothing on the “Wait, what?” moment that the writers pulled out near the end of last week’s “Things We Lost In The Fire”–Damon, under the hallucinatory influence of the Phoenix Stone post-resurrection, lit Elena’s sleeping-cursed body on fire. Just to really drive the point home, the show even computer-projected an image of sleeping Nina Dobrev among the flames!
But she can’t be dead, of course. After such an emotional farewell in the previous season’s finale, prominently featuring the promise of an eventual reunion, there is no way that Elena would be rendered permanently gone in some random mid-season episode. This is a CW show; things just don’t go down like that. Plus, Damon was definitely talking about her like she was going to wake up soon in the flash-forward from the season premiere.
Since, as you can see, we’re in heavy denial that Damon’s mistake actually cost him the love of his life (he was far too composed afterwards to have actually just killed Elena), we’re considering a few different ways that the show can undo this apparently-fatal moment.
Elena is Flame-Proof
Kai was a jerk, that’s for sure, but if he really wanted to torment Damon and the rest of the gang, he would ensure that Elena would be forced to live out the next 60-odd years unconscious. In some ways, that’s even crueler than her actually being dead. She’ll never see Bonnie or Matt again, for sure, but her friends can’t even properly grieve because she’s not actually dead.
A huge part of his plan also revolved around pitting Bonnie and Damon against one another. Much as Kai hated Damon, he arguably hated Bonnie that much more. By linking Elena’s sleep to Bonnie’s life, Kai assumed Damon would be constantly tormented by his desire to rip Bonnie’s head off and be reunited with his sleeping love ASAP.
Of course, the Damon we know and love has come a long way from his Season 1 self: he cares for Bonnie and actively chose not to kill her (or passively let her die) repeatedly. Prolonging this struggle for 60-odd years would’ve been a chief goal of Kai’s. If Elena were to die while asleep, that would’ve taken care of that; no internal struggle for Damon to actively resist not killing Bonnie. Ergo, flame-proof Elena courtesy of Kai.
Elena Wasn’t Actually In That Coffin At All
Tyler was entrusted with watching over Elena’s body. Tyler, for all his occasional doofusness, is not a total moron. And he did care about Elena, his long-time friend. Plus, Tyler specifically noted that he knew Damon was not right in the head after his Phoenix Stone hiatus. He knew Damon had had an episode before that. What are the chances that he would have taken Damon to Elena’s actual coffin? Sure, Damon thinks he saw Elena’s body in that coffin– but he also thought he saw Henry in the coffin right before that. Perhaps Tyler specifically arranged to have a decoy coffin all along, in the off-chance that Damon broke down and demanded to see her.
Long story short: Damon’s mind and perception aren’t exactly sound at the moment, and Tyler is smarter than we probably give him credit for.
Elena Will Find Another Body
OK, so maybe that really was Elena’s body in that coffin, and maybe she really did get toasted like a marshmallow. Perhaps taking a page from her doppelganger’s book, Elena and the gang can pull a Katherine Pierce and get Elena into a new body. This would also work well if for some reason Nina Dobrev wasn’t able to make it back for the series finale; a new body would mean a new actress. And wouldn’t that be the fastest fast-one of them all?
If they weren’t going to go a new-actress route, they could always employ an existing tried-and-true body. What did ever happen to Katherine’s corpse? We saw flames atop it while the Traveler’s spell to secure Katherine in Elena’s body took place, but we didn’t ever see the body actually burn. Maybe that body could somehow be used to bring Elena back.
Elena Gets Frankenstein’d
This one’s a long-shot: Bonnie, being all full of the magics and whatnot, clobbers together some kind of reanimation spell and creates a new body to replace the one Damon accidentally charred. Hey, weirder things have happened, right? (Looking at you, mystical vampire-surrogacy storyline.)
What do youthink? Is Elena actually gone, for real this time– burned to death at Damon’s hand? If not, how do you think she’ll eventually come back? Let us know by commenting below!
The Vampire Diariesairs on Fridays at 8 p.m. ET on The CW and CTV Two.
Caralynn is a freelance entertainment writer. She also writes about all things television for TV Fanatic, Tell-Tale TV, HelloGiggles, and New York Observer. In her spare time, when she's not writing about TV, she's tweeting about it over at @caralynn_marie.