Imagine for a minute that 3x22 had ended with Elena choosing Damon. Think of how euphoric you would feel. Then picture this: right after the phone-call she makes to Stefan, in which she tells him that as much as she loves him, she has to give a relationship with Damon a shot, there is a flashback which re-writes everything about SE/DE you thought you knew, thus making Stelena MORE likely to be endgame. How would you feel then? Would you still be happy that Elena had chosen Damon, or would you wonder what exactly you had won?
I don't see how anybody who considers herself a true Stelena shipper could possibly be happy with the way Elena made her choice. Not after finding out that DE's flashback changed the history they shared, and had the potential to change the future. Not after realising that 3x22 is another reason for DE being endgame, while theirs became smaller and insignificant. An argument many a Stelena fan has been fond of citing as to why they should get endgame is because "Elena met Stefan first". "It was true love from the beginning", they claimed, "so it's only right for the show to end with Stelena too." What no-one knew at the time of course, was that Elena did NOT meet Stefan first. She met Damon first, and anyone can see from the flashback that there were definite sparks between them. It's not the order in which Elena meets the brothers that's important, it's what it tells us about the ship. If anything, the flashback in 3x22 gave us another reason to add to an already long list, for a DE endgame. www.fanpop.com/spots/damon-and-elena/articles/143282/t...ame
But sadly, it seems that an increasing number of TVD fans - including Delena's, I might add, are oblivious of this. As far as they're concerned, because Elena picked Stefan, then it means her decision is absolute and even though they don't buy the 'Stelena epic love' thing, or are happy about it, they feel they have no choice but to concede that SE must be JP & Co's favourite ship, and conclude that Delena really mean nothing after all. It makes me queasy. How can these fans - who I'm assuming are smart people - be so GULLIBLE? How can they believe that Stelena are 'THE love story' and Delena not, after the 3 seasons we've had and the story they've given us? In my opinion, the show has done nothing but prove the opposite: and confirm that Delena ARE 'THE love story' while Stelena just exist in the background for DE's story to play out to.
It seems to me that within the show, there is a subtext which can be traced right from the Pilot which points to Delena being the one true love story of the show. 3x22 tied it all together and showed how much attention and thought the writers have put into Delena's story, the beginnings of which we didn't even know until recently. This is not simply wishful thinking, or an elaborate picture the fans have built up using their imagination, or a distortion of the truth. This is what has been presented to us on the show as FACT.
The flashback in 3x22 explained a lot of things that happened in early Season 1. It explained why Damon lets slip that he knows Elena's name in the Pilot when he and Stefan run into each other for the first time in 15 years - even though DE don't 'officially' meet until 1x02, when he greets her with "You must be Elena." It explains why Damon isn't fazed by Elena's resemblance to Katherine, and why Bonnie touches her in the Pilot and sees "a crow, fog and a man" - because Elena had met Damon before, and somehow, Bonnie picked up on that. It also makes sense of the ending of 1x03, when Damon strokes Elena's cheek as she sleeps. That was a big moment for me. When I watched that scene, something just clicked into place. I realised then and there that they had to be together, and so in the light of 3x22, it has an even deeper meaning. Damon's not just looking at her, seeing Katherine. He's watching her sleep, remembering the night they met, knowing they had chemistry before she met and fell in love with Stefan. It makes the scene even more meaningful and special. The writers have put so much care into the origins of DE, and as the first three episodes demonstrate, they laid the groundwork for it before they had shown it to us on-screen. Moreover, the flashback showed us that prior to the accident, Elena and Damon were meant to be. He accurately sees what it is she wants, even though she herself doesn't know. However, the accident thwarts destiny. It changes Elena and the things she wants, thus the reason why she chooses Stefan in 3x22. Not because he's her Mr Right; but because he's her Mr 'Right Now'.
Just like the accident changed Elena's life and determines which Salvatore the brother she chose at the end of Season 3, so too will becoming a vampire re-define her, and I believe, shape her into the person she would have become had she not lost her parents in that fateful accident. Her relationship with Stefan has been defined by her need for safety, and by the gratitude she feels for him because she fell in love with him when her life felt empty. As a vampire, all that will change. It's darkly ironic that after she chooses Stefan because he is 'safe' and made her feel alive when she had lost her way, that he is partly responsible for her death. One of the few parallels SE have had, is that although Stefan saves Elena from the car accident her parents perished in, he is unable to save her life in 3x22 because he is driven to honour her wishes to save Matt first. We all know that if Damon had been there, he would have ignored her protests, saved her, then gone back to rescue Matt. If Matt had died, then Damon would have lived with Elena's fury. It would have made no difference. He would have saved her before Matt one hundred times over even if it meant Matt died and Elena hated him every time. "At the end of the day, I'll be the one to keep her alive," he told Stefan in 2x18. "I'll even let her hate me for it." Surely this comparison proves that Damon loves Elena much more than Stefan does?
It's also ironic that after Elena makes a life-changing choice, something happens which ultimately changes everything. DE fans have been wanting Elena to remember Damon's confession of love in 2x08 ever since the episode aired. There were even theories that she might not have been compelled because she had been drinking vervain in her tea, and that after coming back to life in 2x21 she would remember it - both which were incorrect. So much time had passed however, I think everyone had given up any hope of her someday remembering. And now? After deciding to be with Stefan, she becomes a vampire after he fails to save her from the car accident, which means she's going to remember not only Damon's "I love you Elena" confession and compulsion, but their first meeting, two incidents which have the potential to change her understanding of Damon forever. Remembering what Damon did in 2x08 and that he compelled her to forget the first time they met won't reverse her decision to be with Stefan by any means, but it WILL affect the way she sees Damon, just like hearing what he did to ease Rose's suffering in 3x19 did. It will open her eyes to how selfless he can be and how much he truly loves her, and will deepen her understanding and appreciation of him. It will only bring them closer together.
If Elena had delivered a tearful, emotional speech to Stefan in which she declared her undying love for him, and that she would always choose him because she knew she would never love anybody else - then I would be scared. However, this does not happen. Instead, Elena gives a tearful, heartbreaking speech to Damon about why she has to let him go, a scene which probably killed the hopes of a lot of fans. But doesn't it strike you as strange that we don't get two scenes in 3x22; a Stelena scene when they resolve their issues and Elena tells Stefan that it will always be him; and then a DE scene, in which she tells Damon of her choice? You might not think that's important, but I'm not so sure. It's almost as if the writers made the "I care about you which is why I have to let you go" scene as heartbreaking as possible because they want us to root for Damon and be devastated that Elena picks Stefan. If they didn't, then why didn't they script a big, romantic Stelena scene instead of, or as well as the DE phone-call? And isn't it also strange that the phone-call scene in which Elena cries and tells Damon she has to let him go is more emotional, and a bigger deal than her actual choice?
Elena's choice in 3x22 was not the result we wanted. However, I believe we may have received something even better. The flashback proved all the arguments against DE we hated were wrong. It showed that the writers have been planning DE's story for a very long time - even before we saw them meet for the 'first time' in 1X02. It undid every single theory SE'ers loved which assured them of their rightful entitlement to endgame, based on Elena falling in love with Stefan first, and never being able to love anybody else. It tore their "Damon is only an obstacle to Stelena's epic love" argument to shreds. There were many fans (including some of DE's), who absolutely believed that DE would never be anything, because the writers had set up the "SE love story" at the beginning, thus making it harder for Damon. But the writers fooled them. They always knew that the story began with Damon and Elena, NOT SE. Furthermore, you might have noticed that Stelena don't have anything like what DE have. In terms of their story, the way their relationship has developed, the scenes they are given, and even how they met - SE pales in comparison to Delena every time. If there's one thing we can take away from 3x22, its knowing that DE were always meant to be together. However, the accident on the bridge that night changed everything. If the Gilberts' car had not gone off the bridge, if Elena's parents had not died, then no doubt she would have chosen differently, and DE would be together now. Even though they're not, they will be, because the story is about them. To quote something I saw on YouTube, "It began with Damon and Elena and it will end with Damon and Elena." Just you wait and see.