The Vampire Diaries season 6 saw Elena Gilbert choose to erase positive memories of Damon Salvatore – here’s how that decision was ultimately undone.
A heartbreaking development in The Vampire Diaries once saw Elena Gilbert (Nina Dobrev) choose to have her memories of Damon (Ian Somerhalder) erased. Here’s how she was, fortunately, able to regain them. Based on L.J. Smith’s popular series of books, the supernatural drama was developed for TV by Kevin Williamson and Julie Plec. Debuting in 2009 on The CW, The Vampire Diaries debuted to impressive numbers and ultimately ran for eight seasons and spawned two direct Vampire Diaries spin-offs, The Originals and Legacies.
Set in the fictional town of Mystic Falls, The Vampire Diaries followed a group of friends as they dealt with frequent supernatural threats, age-old mystical secrets, and complicated love lives. The bulk of the latter was focused on Elena Gilbert’s tangled relationships with the 162-year-old vampire Stefan Salvatore (Paul Wesley) and his unpredictable older brother and fellow vampire Damon. Despite initially choosing to be with the former, Elena ultimately fell in love with the latter when she herself became a vampire. Their path to a happily-ever-after was not a smooth one, however. That was especially true when it appeared that Damon and Bonnie had been killed in an apocalyptic event at the end of The Vampire Diaries season 5. Unable to cope with the grief, Elena turned to the newly turned original vampire, Alaric (Matt Davis), and asked that she be purged of knowing she ever loved Damon.
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In The Vampire Diaries season 6, episode 2, “Yellow Ledbetter,” he was able to facilitate her request. After a number of failed attempts, Elena confessed the truth: that she had fallen in love with Damon while technically still with Stefan. Erasing this moment of realization from Elena’s memory had a domino effect of removing every good memory she had of Damon. As a result, Elena once again viewed him as little more than a monster. Unfortunately, it soon emerged that Damon was actually alive and instead trapped in an empty prison world previously created for the villainous Kai Parker. Escaping, he was reunited with a newly amnesiac Elena. Still disliking Damon, she was at first unwilling to return to her previous status quo. After changing her mind, however, the option was taken out of her hands when Alaric was rendered human by the magical barrier surrounding Mystic Falls. In a last-ditch attempt, Elena crossed the barrier herself. Though this returned bits and pieces of her memories, it wasn’t enough to restore her full, true feelings.
How Elena Got Her Memories of Damon Back
With Bonnie Bennett’s own, separate escape from the prison world, however, came the reemergence of the cure for vampirism. After some setbacks, in The Vampire Diaries season 6, episode 20, “I’d Leave My Happy Home For You”, Elena was finally able to consume it. Alongside Damon, Elena got everything she had wished for since becoming a vampire. As well as rendering her human, the cure also had a bonus side effect. Similar to when a human becomes a vampire, the transition serves to break any and all past compulsions. As such, Alaric’s previous efforts were undone and Elena’s memories of Damon were restored — starting with the charmingly awkward official first date the two shared.
Over the course of The Vampire Diaries season 6, even without her memories, Elena had fallen in love with Damon all over again. She stated such right before taking the cure, with Damon vowing to take it with her. Still, the return of Elena’s memories (and the true depth of the love they shared) served as the icing on the cake of their relationship. It also served as a fitting parallel to the moment Elena became a vampire — when she learned of poignant moments with Damon that he’d previously compelled her to forget and which fueled her falling in love with him the first time. Though their romance would endure several more bumps going forward, including Damon not becoming human until the final episode, the restoration of Elena’s memories remained one of the many peak emotional moments in The Vampire Diaries’ central romance.
What Happened To Elena After The Vampire Diaries?
With two Vampire Diaries spinoff series, The Originals and Legacies, there’s the remaining question of whether Dobrev’s Elena will make a reappearance in the universe and what her character has been up to. So far, Elena hasn’t shown up in person for The Originals or Legacies, but her ultimate fate has been hinted at in both series. In The Originals season 5, episode 12, “The Tale of Two Wolves,” the window of a doctor’s office is seen with the name “Elena Salvatore, M.D.” written on it. This gives the audience two pieces of information about what happened to Elena: she became a doctor, and she’s married to Damon Salvatore. This is a great continuing narrative for the character, as it shows that she achieved her dreams and followed in her father’s footsteps as the town physician. Nina Dobrev’s Elena is referenced again in Legacies, season 1, episode 10, “There’s a World Where Your Dreams Came True.” The installment features an alternate timeline in which Damon and Elena have a daughter named Stefanie Salvatore. It’s clear that Elena’s presence in The Vampire Diaries had a lasting impact on the universe as a whole, and though she may not appear in the subsequent spinoffs, her story lives on.
Next: Vampire Diaries: Why Nina Dobrev Struggled Playing Katherine
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About The Author
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John Atkinson has been a news and feature writer for Screen Rant since late 2018. Before that, he had articles published across a number of different outlets. A graduate of the University of London, John was raised on a small island by television and movies. As such, he pursued a career in screenwriting and film journalism when it became apparent that actually becoming Spider-Man was impossible. John’s fondest wish is to one day produce a film of his own. Until then, he’s more than happy to spend countless hours just talking about them.
John’s love of film and television defies genre and sometimes even logic. Nothing is off-limits to his passion – be it Marvel, DC, Rian Johnson’s Star Wars, or Tommy Wiseau’s latest cinematic offering.
Away from screens, John can often be found in a park reading mystery and/or fantasy novels, jumping up and down at various music events, or thinking too deeply about Keanu Reeves’ career and why Edgar Wright doesn’t have an Oscar.
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