'The Vampire Diaries': Should Elena choose Damon or Stefan in the Season 3 finale?

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tvd-season-3-trio.jpgOkay, "Vampire Diaries" fans... in two short days we'll find out who Elena ( Nina Dobrev) chooses to be with -- at least for now. While we can promise that she does choose between the brothers, there's no telling, of course, how long the choice will "stick." This is television, and we may be having this same conversation in a year's time.

For now, though, our heroine is faced with the ultimate dilemma: a super-hot vampire who loves her, or a super-hot vampire who loves her. Don't you just hate when that happens?

Personally, here at Zap2it, we're rooting for Matt ( Zach Roerig), who could provide a nice quiet life free of blood-drinking and brother drama, but we're pretty sure Elena has other ideas. When it comes down to it, Damon ( Ian Somerhalder) and Stefan ( Paul Wesley) are both good for Elena and bad for Elena. Let's take a look.

tvd-ian-somerhalder-nina-dobrev-elena-feed.jpg Why Elena should choose Damon: It's hard to deny that Damon has been a source of emotional support for Elena through what was arguably her most traumatic year yet. Last summer, when Stefan left town, Damon was there for her to rely on while she angsted over Stefan's absence. He was arguably her best friend this year, despite a few setbacks. The passion between them is undeniable (in addition to that motel kiss... even the chaste hand-holding beforehand was hot).

There's also the curiosity factor -- we, as an audience, haven't had the chance to see Damon and Elena as a couple, and we're interested to see how it plays out. Elena's main reason for not choosing Damon is his tendency to lash out and vamp out when things don't go his way, but he's kept his killer urges under control these days. In fact, she still doesn't know that when she thought he was behaving badly at the Original Ball, he was actually saving Matt from a bone-crushing end. He even saved Bonnie's life last week, despite believing she screwed up their plan to let Alaric go. He's changing!

Right now, Damon and Elena can relate to each other more than ever, because they're both grieving the loss of "real" Alaric. If there's anyone she can talk to about that tragedy, it's him. Plus, after their building tension and her obvious reciprocation of his feelings this season, would it even be believable for her to set that aside and ignore it? Haven't we seen enough of the Elena-is-in-denial story for a lifetime?

Why Elena should not choose Damon: We know it's practically old news at this point, but the guy did snap her little brother's neck. If she decides he's her happily-ever-after, what impression will that give Jeremy? Damon's list of indiscretions is long and storied -- from his Season 1 abuse of Caroline and his treatment of Vicki to his much more recent creepy dalliances with Rebekah. Though she's clearly forgiven him for his previous failings, forgiving someone is different from, you know, dating them.

From a storytelling standpoint, there's also some concern as to whether Elena and Damon will actually be interesting as a legitimate couple. Seeing them sharing milkshakes at the Grill and exchanging morning-breath kisses just doesn't seem like them, you know? If you eliminate the pining and the longing, the story could reach an unfortunate plateau.

tvd-paul-wesley-nina-dobrev-murder-of.jpg Why Elena should choose Stefan: It's been a tough year, but now that Stefan has once again emerged from his Ripper fog, he's proven himself capable of being the stand-up man Elena fell in love with in Season 1. We've got to give him credit for not giving her an ultimatum -- in fact, his lack of questions about her trip to Denver with Damon shows a certain nobility and a respect for her decisions.

As Klaus made clear in "The Reckoning," the connection between Stefan and Elena is rare and powerful. He did fight compulsion for her, which means something in their supernatural world. There's also an argument to be made for the fact that Stefan hasn't so much as considered another woman (as anything other than a light snack) since he met Elena. She's still a teenager with normal human jealousies, so that carries considerable weight.

Stefan also impresses us with his compassion not only for Elena, but for the people who are important to her. He doesn't make fun of Jeremy or disregard the safety of Elena's friends, like Tyler. At the Decade Dance, he offered Bonnie a truly genuine apology for her unwilling involvement in their vampire drama. He's also shown regard for Caroline's pain, particularly last season. Elena has always taken her friends' opinions to heart, so their support for Stefan over Damon could be a powerful motivator.

Why Elena should not choose Stefan: It's hard to excuse the Wickery Bridge incident this year. Stefan forced Elena to revisit the scene of her darkest moment and even force-fed her his blood, threatening to turn her into a vampire -- all in the name of his quest for vengeance. Perhaps the most devastating thing about the ordeal was that he wasn't compelled or supernaturally swayed in any way; he was just being selfish.

Additionally, despite Stefan's general non-murderousness these days, it's impossible to ignore the potential for a Ripper relapse. He's spent the last century or more in a vicious cycle between slaughter and martyrdom, and there's no telling what might set him off next. Can Elena trust him not to lose control again for the rest of their lives together?

From an audience's point of view, revisiting the "Stelena"-centric story could possibly begin to feel repetitive. If she doesn't choose him, it may offer an opportunity for fresh stories -- for example, we're curious to see what Stefan might be like with a different love interest. We're also not sure if he'd really be able to forgive Elena her feelings for Damon if they did get back together. Wouldn't he always wonder if she was confident in her decision?

Which way do you think it's going to go? Drop a line in the comments below.


Photo/Video credit: The CW