stefan and elena
"When it's real, you can't walk away."—Lexi, in reference to Stefan and Elena
It's hard to present a neat list of all the reasons why Stephen and Elena's commitment and love trump all other romantic relationships on the show. For this essay, I'm going to isolate a simple scene from "Unpleasantville"—one of those moments that some might deem forgettable. Elena begs Stefan to dance. He, being reserved as always, declines. Elena gives up on him, but then Stefan surprises her by spinning her around and showing her just how well he can dance. This moment was so poignant in the context of an episode fraught with danger, that these two could find joy in each other in the midst of that situation; that Stefan couldn't bear to see her disappointed and put aside his natural reserve to make her smile and laugh; the unfettered happiness and sense of ease between the two of them was beautiful. This is reflective of so much of their relationship: Stefan and Elena can find magic in the mundane, as long as they're together, it's a sort of alchemy, to take the dross that life gives you and spin it into treasured moments. This is why the relationship will persevere above all others. If you can weather the tough times together, if you can laugh and be joyful when life is at its bleakest, then everything else is cakewalk. (See also the Ferris wheel scene or the dance in Miss Mystic Falls to name a few examples.)
It's exciting to see a relationship in which both parties have the opportunity to be strong; to lift the other up when they fall; to support wherever needed; to break down when it all becomes too much without shame. We saw Elena fight for Stefan in "Blood Brothers," she saw the ugliest side of him, and she still didn't walk away. And again in "Kill or Be Killed." Elena was overwhelmed and depressed by everything in 2.02. Stefan gave her space as she asked, but still came to surprise her, and showed her he's there for her. That sort of honesty and support is amazing.
That final scene of 2.05 is one that resonated deeply with me as we saw the intensity of the connection between Stefan and Elena. It was undeniable. Firstly, Stefan was honest, brutally so about his needing human blood in order to be strong enough to defend himself and the people he cares for. And it was amazing to see Elena take a step to go through this process with him, accompany him through what will be a painful and difficult journey. That's love. Do I need to go into the symbolism of blood-letting/feeding? Honestly, they are bonded in a way that they never have been before and everything after will always come second to this moment.
For these reasons, I defy anyone to tell me that Stefan and Elena do not belong together.