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TAKE IT OFF Elena (Nina Dobrev) wanted to see Damon (Ian Somerhalder) shirtless -- and it really was life or death.
At the Salvatore house, Damon gave Elena the cure as her graduation present. When Elena wouldn't take it -- because then the Hunters would kill people -- Damon knew the sire bond hadn't resurfaced when she got her humanity back. Damon thought Jeremy would help him convince her, but Jeremy said it was her choice. He accepts Elena as a vampire now. That's nice. Elena then noticed Damon wincing in pain and told him to take off his shirt. "Elena, there are children present," he cracked. She saw the wound from Vaughn's wooden-bullet gun hadn't healed. Why? The bullet was laced with werewolf venom -- and the Hunters were dicks.
With Klaus in New Orleans, the only hope was for Damon to take the cure and become human so he didn't die. That's what Elena wanted. But Damon said he was so motivated by Elena's save-the-world speech, he wouldn't do it. He gave the cure to Vaughn and told him they were off to dig up Silas. I was confused, but it later made sense: Damon didn't want to become human, so if he was going to die, he'd at least distract Vaughn.
Stefan had heard Elena and Damon fighting over the cure and thought it was strange they weren't discussing the bigger issue: Without the sire bond and with her humanity, Elena now knows her true feelings. If Elena loved Damon, Stefan said he'd leave town and finally live his life. And if she said she loved him, well, he'd take her back in a heartbeat because she's the love of his life. (That was that "Welcome back" last week.)
Matt reminded Rebekah that he was wearing the Gilbert ring, so he thought if she detonated the bomb, maybe he wouldn't die. Rebekah thought he'd still be blown to pieces. But she made him think she was going along with it. "The first rule of truly living: Do the thing you're most afraid of," she said. And she kissed him. She did that so she could move onto the block and move him off of it. She can't be killed; Matt can't miss graduation. Off he went. She told Alexander she'd finally chosen one of the good ones, and then she moved and boom.
Back at the Salvatores, Elena was freaking out about Damon leaving until Stefan told her it was a stall tactic. He said the bullet was only laced with werewolf venom, so Damon had time. Jeremy made Elena go to graduation, because somehow, she was still in the mood. Bonnie and Caroline were already there when Matt showed up. Then Elena and Stefan followed. Caroline couldn't believe they'd all made it -- group hug! Bonnie teared up but still said nothing. She didn't even tell her father, who presented them with their diplomas, the truth. She just thanked him -- for everything. Eh, they were never that close.