I disagree with those E/D fans who have said to me that there has been no progress in the E/D relationship, and no growth, where Elena's feelings for Damon are concerned. Seriously, I want to ask if you're watching another show, but that would come off as a sneer, and I don't mean it as one. Elena's trust in Damon has grown exponentially. She accepts him plopping himself down in her bed for the night. When he kisses her, she kisses him back. When she confesses the kiss to Stefan, she doesn't place the blame on Damon, for initiating it. She owns her participation in the kiss. "I kissed Damon."
Elena cut Damon out of her plans in "Dangerous Liaisons," not because she didn't trust him, but because once she trusted him enough to tell him what she wanted to do, he acted as though he had the right and the ability to remove her agency. He acted like he could tell her, "No." He didn't even try to reason with her, or come up with a compromise. He took her invitation and said, "I'm going." That never works well, when dealing with Elena Gilbert, and Damon Salvatore, who forced his own blood on her, less than a year ago (even in show-time), damned well knows it. Elena was defiant. And I don't blame her. Now, I don't necessarily think she was wise, but neither was Damon wise in his response to her plan. And yes, I know Stefan went off the reservation, at the end of last season. I'm not comparing Damon to Stefan, here. I'm only looking at Damon and Elena's relationship. Stefan RIPS PEOPLE APART AND PUTS THEM BACK TOGETHER. Believe you, me, if I start thinking there is any imminent danger of a Stefan and Elena reunion, without some serious redemption and atonement from Stefan I will be shouting from the highest rooftops, and would be, even if Damon had never been on the show.
So, why do I think that this episode in no way spells the end for E/D? Well, I think it, because there's so much milk in that cow, and the writers haven't even filled up one cup, yet. If you had this dynamic pairing on your hand, would you kill it in the manger? Of course not. You would milk that sucker for all it's worth. I'm not pretending to know who is end game (although, since episode one, my bet would have been, and I'm sorry, Stefan and Elena). But this is a story about a love triangle. We haven't even gotten to see this third side, yet. Why in the world would the writers kill it off, before exploring it? Do I think you're going to end up with a white picket fence? No, I don't. Do I expect to go on a helluva Elena/Damon ride? I'd bet folding money on that.