Look, I’ll say this. Katherine may have said that she loved Damon because it would rattle Elena. But, what seems to confuse people is her behavior in 2x21-2x22 — in comination with these words. Hence, it’s very much a statement like, “I don’t get it! First, Katherine loves Stefan forever (and ever, amen!) and then she loves Damon. Katherine’s confusing!”
that tends to circulate around the fandom.
But, I’ll agree there.
She’s an enigma, and I don’t deny that.
That said, I think that what you’re pointing out is actually pretty simple, and just wasn’t told to you throughout the season…which brings me to my first point: people do not always mean what they say, or say what they mean. It’s a fact of life that television tends to neglect.
Katherine admitted, in the finale, that she didn’t let love get in the way. We can assume from that that Katherine knows what love is, and has to dodge away from caring about people. But why? My personal opinion is that years of running from Klaus and having her family killed forced her to have a stiff upper lip when it comes to people, and it’s spread to every relationship she has had at this point.
So, re-thinking that statement, it makes Stefan/Katherine look very…poorly written to say the least. One of the first things Kat said was that she came back to town for Stefan, which was a lie. By breaking up Stefan/Elena, she kept Elena away from the Salvatores, which - just theorizing here - might mean that she was less guarded, and more available to snatch up when she needed her.
, she tried to distract Stefan from figuring out what she was up to by declaring her undying love for him whenever he got close to a critical truth; this could, very well, have been a basic plan, in itself, to distract Stefan (and Damon) from her preparations for Klaus.
In BTLOTM, Katherine uses a dream to seduce Stefan. She ends it by saying she could stay down in the tomb for a while, if only to torture him/play with him a bit longer. The interesting part is that, at the end, Stefan challenges Katherine to prove that she loves him, and help him. She tells him to find Isobel — which is actually her way out of the tomb. It’s never mentioned again.
Stefan/Katherine has monster-sized holes.
And people don’t always mean what they say.
With Damon/Katherine, I tend to take the same approach. Katherine’s very into DK sex, but, when Damon gets down to feelings, Katherine pushes him away and tells him the most hurtful thing she can — the thing that will make him back off in a way Stefan already has. She never loved him. It was always Stefan. Katherine doesn’t let love get in the way, and that would be a prime example of that.
In 2x04, she warns Damon that messing with Mason will get him killed. I think this is partially to keep him out of her plans for Mason, but - even though I know it’s a shipper jump - I also think that she said it for his benefit.
, Katherine provokes Damon at a constant rate; with Stefan, she has to distract him with what will throw him off guard, but, with Damon, provoking him into a fight or a kiss is fun, and will distract Stefan all the same. Damon locks Katherine in the tomb, and she gets desperate. Her last words are, “You need me!”
The next important episode for them was 2x16, where Katherine spent a better portion of her time with Damon, rather than Stefan — who was actually a free agent that day/night (with Elena gone for a girl’s night).
Now, I’m yet again throwing out a theory here (which could very well be wrong), but it strikes me as odd the way Katherine approached the fact that she “knew Damon would die.” It’s about the only hole Damon/Katherine have as a ship, and it’s the most referred to when the prospect of the ship comes up.
Let me preface this with the fact that we actually have no evidence of this deal with Damon/Stefan except for Katherine’s word. Damon is pretty upset by the fact that Katherine knew he was going to die, which leads him to be suspect, and some very dynamic (awesome) scenes take place where Damon and Katherine banter and she tries to weedle information out of him.
Then comes the Luka (sp?) scene, where Katherine shouts for Damon and gets a stake through her stomach. Damon practically crashes into the wall, letting and leans down over her, whispering, “What happened?”
But Katherine is worried about the dagger coming out of Elijah. So, Damon burns Luka to a crisp.
After this, Damon stakes Katherine, and tells her to admit the whole truth. Katherine gives him the bit about knowing he was going to die/choosing Stefan. Damon walks off, visibly upset, and Katherine glances at his back with an odd expression on her face.
Here comes the theory: while Katherine could play it off that she didn’t know, Damon more than likely wouldn’t believe her. She could try and be sincere about not knowing, but that might lead to the fact that she cares. The best way to get over this situation without dealing with either scenario is to pretence she knew, and push him away with one final strike. Stefan. I’m not saying that it’s truth or every other theory is trash, but I do see it as an interesting way to explain the inconsistency, and Katherine’s odd behavior.
Then, we pretty much have 2x20 - 2x22, which entails Damon bringing her the vervain and being bitten, Katherine admitting she was wrong not to trust them, trying to explain herself to Damon, and generally acting concerned for him. Damon calls her out on her behavior, and Katherine says she didn’t let love get in the way. He then tells her that she’ll spend eternity alone, which seems to shake her. She also apologizes to him, which is the first time she’s ever apologized on this show. In 2x22, Damon dreams about Katherine, says no one forced him to love her, which resulted in many of his mistakes. Katherine brings him the cure.
Damon: You got free.
Katherine: Yep. Finally.
Damon: And you still came here?
Katherine: I owed you one.
…which is a throw back to Damon’s “You owe me.”
So, it’s not some random thing thrown in. It’s a twist, but it does make sense if you look beneath what a person says, and into how they act. For Katherine, particularly, I think this is necessary.