by Ryan J. Downey
And before Damon and Rebekah (!) ripped each others' clothes off, there were huge dramatic developments in the show's central love triangle, a twisted Cinderella story for Caroline and the revelation of some magical matricide in the making. On Wednesday, executive producer and show-runner Julie Plec spilled much about what happened, what it all means and where it's going to Hollywood Crush and a handful of journalists immediately following a private screening at The CW in Burbank, California, which we can tell you about now.
For starters, what the heck is Elena going to say when she finds out about Damon's tryst with the sexy blonde Original who tried to kill her just a few scenes before? "I think Elena is going to be pissed on multiple levels but also understand that, in a way, she also sort of pulled the trigger on that," Julie explained. "The thing with Damon is, as we've seen, when he's hurt, he lashes out. And in a way this is both the most cruel way he could have lashed out but also shows a peculiar evolution in him as a character because rather than take it out on an innocent human in the middle of a road he's striking where it hurts most, probably, very specifically at Elena.
"By no means is it gentlemanly behavior but certainly it was fun to watch," she added.
Stefan's moment of vulnerability with Elena, Damon's confession of his true feelings (and subsequent rejection) and the ensuing emotional aftermath certainly present a major fork in the road for the three characters featured prominently on this week's Entertainment Weekly covers. "Obviously we're at a little bit of a crossroads with Elena and the boys as she's starting to understand Stefan's whole 'I'm filled with nothing but rage and anger and no love and no humanity' wall has crumbled and he's actually the only one preventing himself from truly letting his feelings back in and kind of becoming his old self. And of course Damon, who she's grown closer and closer to, she just put her foot in it, big time. A lot of what we're going to start to see is the question for Elena. [She's thinking:] ‘Here is this person that I loved, and still in my mind love so much, and here is this friend that I have made—this friendship that has grown complicated. And at the middle of it all, I’m still that girl who is not entirely sure that [I'm] supposed to be in love with any vampire, much less two.’
"We're really going to be exploring her point of view for the rest of the season," she added. "You’re not going to get through the season without all three of them understanding that a choice needs to be made, some way or the other.”
But of course Elena and the Salvatores weren't the only characters with major screen time this week. We got to see so much of the Originals (and learned so much more about the personalities of the ones we've only recently met) they seem ripe for a series of their own. "We love these characters so much and we have a lot of stories to tell for them," Julie admitted. But alas, green lighting shows isn't in her job description. "It's really more a matter of somebody else's desire to give them their own forum more than our desire to write for them."
Of course, for The CW to put a series on the air centered around the Mikaelsens, that would require their continued survival beyond next week's episode. "Dangerous Liaisons" set a situation in motion that could wipe out all of them in one spell. But would the show really do that? "Mass Original annihilation? I can't really say too much about that without sort of unveiling the plan for the whole season," Julie teased. "But I definitely think that if the villains in our show have proven anything it's that they have a durability that borders on supernatural. There's five Originals and an Original Mama and we'll see who comes out the other side of it all to tell the tale."
Will Esther succeed with her plan to reset the balance of nature by knocking off her own vampiric brood? If she's going to pull it off, she'll need a few more elements to fall into place. "The next episode takes place on a full moon and we'll learn that like most of the big, heavy-duty witch spells, there needs to be some sort of recurring celestial event or recurring element attached to it."
While young Miss Gilbert and the boys from the 19th century continually confused each other, Klaus was busy expressing a bit of a softer side. Julie has long maintained that they won't be pulling a Damon with the character, but that doesn't mean he's purely evil. "You can define villain in a lot of ways. Klaus certainly is and will continue to be the provider of much antagonism and some very, very extreme jeopardy for our heroes. But no one is singularly just evil, you know? He's got his own demons, his own wants, his own desires."
Watching Klaus pursue Caroline provided an opportunity to assess how far along Miss Mystic Falls has come over the course of the show. "At the beginning of the series before she was a vampire, [she] was just desperate to be chosen by anyone. And now the sort of king of all evil vampires has plucked her from obscurity and said, 'I bestow upon you my affection and my gifts and my flirtation.' And our girl, who has come so far, is sort of like, 'Talk to the hand, buddy.' To see her take that stance against him and also in defense of Tyler is a really big deal for her." (Speaking of Mr. Hybrid Lockwood, Julie said Tyler won't return from his "journey of self-discovery" until the spring.)
Niklaus wasn't the only Original to set his sights on a woman coveted by more noble guys. Elijah came to Elena's rescue when Rebekah attacked her and alternately, Elena showed not only a surprising amount of trust in him but even some concern for his fate.
"The whole character of Elijah has been such a glorious surprise to us as writers because it's really been as much Daniel Gillies and what he's brought to the character that has fed into what we want to give to the character," Julie explained. “We are about to play with that [chemistry with Elena] a little bit. Next week definitely is very much rooted in the foundation of this compassion that Elena has for Elijah and her concern that maybe in signing his death sentence, she's made a mistake.”
There's a lot left to explore when it comes to the Originals and their back stories ("as long as the Originals are alive, there are stories to tell about their pasts with each other and how they all ended up in those coffins. We'll have to wait and see how that works out") but let's not forget there's still plenty to learn about the Salvatores. How did one go from "Ripper" to saint while the other did the reverse?
Cassidy Freeman ("Smallville") will turn up as a vampire in the show's 16th episode, which will be called "1912," where we'll learn more about all of that, including her character's role in it. "It is time about a 100 years ago when, what I like to call, when Damon was still Damon that still walked out the door in a huff of disappointment and piousness when his brother was out of control in 1864. Somewhere between 1864 and the pilot episode, Damon became the Damon that we know and love. This episode kind of gives us a little glimpse into that and what this character, Sage—played by Cassidy—had to do with it. And she's ballsy and sexy and dynamic and it's a fun character.
When Julie mentioned 1912, Hollywood Crush suggested a crossover with the Golden Gloves winning World War I set PBS series "Downton Abbey," which produced the following revelation: "You know it's funny, when we were trying to pick the era for when we wanted to set this flashback and I had just been watching 'Downton Abbey' season one and season two in this obsessive marathon and I thought, 'Well, everyone looked so good in 1912. Dresses are so pretty, men are so handsome.'"
Speaking of classically handsome men: What will become of Matt, who appears to be one of the only non-supernatural people left in Mystic Falls? “Matt is in a wonderful situation right now where he finds himself right, smack in the epicenter of everybody else’s business. There he is, the guy that’s always kind of been on the periphery, now finding the fact that he’s the human, the good friend, the nice guy, the gentleman with the varsity jacket. He is a guy who is just trying to get through life, and maybe get out of this town one day.”
Will any of these folks ever make it out of this town alive? Only time will tell, but as always, Julie reminded us to never take a character's survival for granted on "The Vampire Diaries." “Many of our characters are going to come face to face with their maker before the season is over. The question of whether they meet, shake hands and get dragged away with the maker is another question. There’s going to be a lot of moments where we’re not really sure who is really safe and who is going to see it through.”
What did you think about last night's "Dangerous Liaisons"? Are you excited for "1912"? Tell us in the comments and on Twitter!