Top: Annette Brown / The CW; Bottom: Bob Mahoney / The CW

On The Vampire Diaries, Damon Ain't Heavy: He's Stefan's Selfish But Ultimately Awesome Brother

For a selfish pig, Damon seems to care more than he admits.

We know the story: Stefan is the good brother (except when he's determined to eat people while in Ripper mode), and Damon is the bad brother. Damon's selfish. Damon rolls his eyes a lot. Damon would rather have a nice, stiff bourbon than waste his time making small talk with the mailman. That bastard! But this week, Damon proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that he kind of loves that damn kid brother of his. Just don't tell anyone.

It isn't a big reveal -- or, really, a reveal at all. It seems Damon wants to point to Elena as the one who makes him a big softy, but he's pretty much been a big softy for most of this series. He talks big snark, but he's always cooking up some crazy plan to rescue Stefan from the latest witch/serial killer/heretic/werewolf/whatever that rolls into town. It's not that Stefan doesn't do the same; it's that we're supposed to be surprised when Damon does it, because, you know, bad brother.

This week, though, it's pretty nice to see Damon trying to keep the currently human Stefan alive through 12-degree weather by confessing his "selfishness," asking Stefan to beat him up, and chatting amiably about how Stefan cheated at hide-and-go-seek as a kid.

Stefan, of course, loves the chance to play the ultimate victim. Yes, Damon backed out of his commitment to taking the mark, but hey, we heard what Rayna said! He'd die just as Elena was coming back. That would suck, and even Stefan has to admit that, doesn't he?

But Stefan does get the chance to tell Damon that he'd never find Stefan before face-planting into fresh snow. So cinematic! And ultimately completely wrong, since Damon finds him about a minute later. That damn Damon, stealing Stefan's dramatic human death from him!

Of course, Stefan has a ways to go before he can relax. There's the "getting his body back from a serial killer" problem; then deciding whether he's going to win Caroline back from Ric or stick with second choice Valerie; and there's probably the problem of Rayna to deal with, though I'm not sure what her problem could possibly be at this point. Maybe helping her choose a real career and pick community college classes.

The big issue for Stefan, of course, will have to be realizing that, even though he had previously washed his hands of Big Bad Selfish Awful Damon (and written very squeaky, teenage diary entries about him), he may want to rethink that. These two are so cute together, and they really do make excellent roommates. So what if they keep swapping girlfriends through the centuries? There's always tomorrow! And the next day, and the next day, ad infinitum. At least they're not skulking around high schools to pick up girls anymore.

I think, after that box of donuts made Stefan's day, he'll probably just suck it up and admits he loves his brother and that they'll be friends until something happens to give Damon a reason either to act like a dick or a hero (or both). But until then, this episode is one big, soggy bro-kiss through a cell phone connection.

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