TV & Movies

ATTN ‘Vampire Diaries’ Fans: Bonnie and Damon Should’ve Been Endgame

written by MELANIE CURRY
the vampire diaries"
the vampire diaries
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider

It’s hard to say when The Vampire Diaries started going downhill. Some point to Nina Dobrev’s exit in season six as the starting point, others say season four when Elena, the main protagonist, turns into a vampire. My answer is completely different, however. The Vampire Diaries ended its reign on teen television when it wasted one of its biggest plot points: Damon and Bonnie’s enemies to lovers romance.

Bonnie and Damon absolutely hate each other in the first few seasons, mostly because Bonnie has a strong moral compass and refuses to accept and tolerate a murderous vampire (re: Damon). The two have very few scenes together until the season five finale and the start of season six when they are trapped in a prison world together. There, we start to see their relationship blossom into something akin to friendship. Obviously, it’s not perfect because Damon is still a murderer, but things start to look upward as we watch the two bond over pancakes, loneliness, and bourbon.

From season six to season eight, we see more romantic subtlety in the characters, heightened by Ian Somerhalder and Kat Graham’s amazing chemistry. Since Dobrev left in season six, naturally, fans (hi, hello!) thought Bamon would be the new romantic centerpiece. But, the two never got together, even though Somerhalder advocated for it during filming. The reasons why are long and complicated, but TVD’s showrunner, Julie Plec, among others, had invested too much into Delena to throw it to the wayside.

I’d argue differently. Yes, seasons one through four developed Delena, but Bamon was always endgame—just look back at the earlier seasons, and you’ll see their romantic potential from day one. The two are made for each other, and I’ll prove it to you right now.

Bonnie made Damon want to be better

It’s an understatement to say Damon and Elena have a toxic relationship. The two were engaged in a cyclical pattern where they fight and then make up and then fight and make up. One of the challenging parts of their relationship is Damon’s inability to stop murdering or assaulting people and how Elena gets mad at his actions but always lets him off the hook. I mean, he murdered Aaron, an innocent bystander and her friend, but all she said was, “You screwed up Damon again. You put me in a position to defend you again. Where I have to bend my morals again. Where I have to go against every single thing I believe in again because I love you.” Like, huh?

Bonnie differs, as she sets expectations and boundaries for Damon and his behavior. Unlike Elena, she won’t compromise who she is and what she believes to keep him around. Elena wants him to be better, too, but she mothers him and makes excuses, whereas Bonnie holds him accountable.

I once saw a TikTok that said: Damon changed (temporarily) because Elena asked him to, while Damon changed permanently because Bonnie inspired him to. Ultimately, Elena was never a good match for Damon to be a better character and boyfriend because she loved him too much for who he was. With Bonnie, he grew into the potential he had all along.

They had a platonic relationship from the start

Damon is emotionally stunted. Being alive for almost 200 years with mommy issues, eldest child syndrome, and severe abandonment problems will do that. It’s why he doesn’t know the foundation of a healthy relationship, as most of his romances in The Vampire Dairies are based on sexual tension and chemistry rather than trust, honesty, and open communication. But all of these qualities can be found in Bamon’s platonic friendship.

The prison world in season six helped develop Bonnie and Damon into platonic soulmates. Partly because the duo were stuck alone in 1994 and had no choice but to rely on one another. A reliance soon turned into a genuine friendship in which both parties learned to take care of each other, a first in Damon’s long life.

Rarely did anyone see Damon past his devilish persona and allow him to be vulnerable sans Bonnie. It’s why he respected her and her opinion so much. Damon letting down his guard shows how much he trusted her and their relationship. And for Bonnie, Damon keeping his word is what made her stick around. Not just promising to be better but acting on it as well.

Damon chose Bonnie over Elena

In season six, episode nine, Damon says something so shocking that it remains one of the most iconic Bamon moments to this day. He tells Elena that he’s going back to the prison world to save Bonnie. “I am doing this for Bonnie, Elena. Not you.”

TVD fans know how obsessive Damon is with Elena and how he’ll go to bat for her over anything and anyone (literally speaking). So, for him to tell Elena how he chooses to save Bonnie despite being safe and sound in the real world, shows how much he loves and appreciates her. Even Elena takes note of this new-found development and makes consistent off-hand remarks throughout the season of the pair’s closeness.

Furthermore, in the season six finale where it’s revealed that as long as Bonnie lives, Elena will be in a sleep state, he decides to spend the rest of his days with Bonnie during her human lifetime. Old Damon would’ve “accidentally” murdered Bonnie if it meant Elena would be alive—he actually tells her that in season 2—but the new and improved Damon loved Bonnie so much that he would rather choose her over the love of his life, Elena.

The sexual tension was out of this world

Even if you’re not a Bamon fan, you have to admit their chemistry was insane. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a Bamon shipper through and through. One of the reasons why Damon and Bonnie had so few scenes together in the early seasons was because of Graham and Somerhalder’s chemistry. It was so powerful that producers decided to axe their scenes so the Delena setup wouldn’t be sidelined.

But if you look closely, you’ll notice that during Damon and Bonnie’s limited interactions, like in season two when they team up to find her mother, their I-hate-you banter is so enemies-to-lovers that it’s undeniable the two belong together.

When they become friends, though, that’s where we see the tension full and center. Damon is the first person Bonnie sees when she escapes the prison world. She’s cooking a pile of pancakes—their signature dish—when he walks in and sees her. They give each other the biggest hug with him cradling her face and stroking her hair while her legs are around his waist. You can’t fool me and say that’s a platonic reunion.

Season seven also gives us some intense chemistry moments, like when Bonnie is on her homicidal I-have-to-kill-all-vampires rampage, and Damon calms her down by affectionately holding her, rubbing her shoulders, and telling her how he loves her the same way he loves Elena. I’m not crying, you are.

Final Thoughts

The Vampire Diaries has a lot of missed potential ‘ships, but Bamon remains the top one, and I will die on this hill. You can love Elena and Damon—I do too sometimes— but ultimately, the right choice and the only choice was Bonnie. Anti-Bamon fans like to say Bonnie and Damon don’t make sense because of her integrity and how it doesn’t align with Damon’s character. And they’re right, to an extent. I don’t deny Damon’s early character, but let’s not forget that Bonnie’s friendship made him into a man she is proud of.