Paul Wesley, Nina Dobrev

Although The Vampire Diaries star Paul Wesley has wanted to direct an episode for a very long time, he says it took him three seasons to summon the courage to ask.

"I decided I wanted to direct when I saw my first Stanley Kubrick film, so that was a very long time ago, but I knew I wanted to direct an episode of The Vampire Diaries from the minute I got one of the lead roles," Wesley tells TVGuide.com. "I just also knew it was presumptuous to ask any sooner than Season 4, so I asked at the beginning of Season 4 and I got to do it in Season 5."

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Although Wesley has been learning about the process for a while now, finally taking charge behind the camera didn't come without its challenges. The biggest surprise? How willing he had to be to compromise. "You read something and you have a good idealistic vision of what it should be and then you get [to location] and the set isn't exactly what you wanted it to look like or the actor has a different interpretation," Wesley says. "So there's an interesting compromise you have to make as a director. You have to be open to that and if you're not you can get yourself into a lot of trouble. You have to be open to change at any moment."

Fittingly, Wesley's episode features quite a few scenes between his character Stefan and his ex Elena (Nina Dobrev), and have a familiar feel to the freshman season. The hour specifically addresses the doppelganger prophecy when the two begin to have dreams about being together in another life. "I really enjoyed [those scenes] a lot," Wesley says. "It's always nice to do anything that is different and slows the train down. Season 1 was 20 mph and by the time we got to Season 5, we're flying and it's hard to keep up sometimes. So to slow down and do a throwback to Season 1 was really lovely." As to whether or not being confronted with their destiny gives Stefan hope for a rekindling, Wesley says, "Because they think it's a prophecy it takes away the romanticism of it like an arranged marriage."

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With Wesley downplaying the prospect of the two's reconciliation, it seems likely that his next significant other is Caroline (Candice Accola). The last time we checked in with both actors about the idea, they had conflicting views, but Wesley is still game for the pairing.

"They keep hinting at this thing between Caroline and Stefan, yet they don't quite do anything about it; it's funny," Wesley says. "I don't know what to make of it ... I don't know how to take it from best friends to romance, but it'll be interesting if and when they do it. I like when girls lighten [Stefan] up a bit."

Watch a clip from Thursday's episode:

The Vampire Diaries airs Thursdays at 8/7c on The CW.

(Full disclosure: TVGuide.com is owned by CBS, one of The CW's parent companies.)