"He is not ready to hook up; let's be clear about that!" executive producer Caroline Dries tells us in the video above. "He is drinking and having a wild time, but he is wildly affected by the loss of Elena. He's never going to not be about Elena, so this first chapter is life after Elena. He's trying to struggle with, how do I do right by Elena and still be myself?"
As for keeping the spirit of Elena alive, Dries adds, "Even though Nina [Dobrev] is gone, Elena is in the ether and we have a way of including her in the story lines without actually including her." Hint: Someone has to keep those diary entries going!