The Vampire Diaries' Damon finally has his friend Bon Bon back, but what she brought with her was definitely more than he bargained for.

In the final moments of the last episode, Bonnie (Kat Graham) jumped into the arms of her prison world BFF Damon (Ian Somerhalder). But when she explained her little detour to 1903 -- and showed him footage she captured on an old camera -- Damon was left stunned by the sight of his mom, Lily (Annie Wersching), who was presumed dead for more than a century.

Mega Buzz: Is Bonnie's return to The Vampire Diaries a good thing?

But Thursday's episode, which begins with Damon searching (or should we say digging) for answers, isn't just the beginning of a new chapter for Damon, but also for Somerhalder, who, for the first time, stepped behind the camera to direct. We chatted with him about the challenges and surprises he found along the way and got scoop about some of his big scenes. Plus: Why does he compare his mother to Katherine (Nina Dobrev)? And will Damon and Elena's current happy state last? (Hint: Not likely.)

What surprised you the most about directing?
Ian Somerhalder:
The one thing I loved was the creative process of [beginning with] a blank canvas, which is a stage or set, and working with the incredible group of people. Michael Allowitz, who was one of our first assistant directors for the first four years, came on as a co-producer and helped me navigate the waters of this episode. It was a huge thing to have someone I'm so close to and who is such a great director on our show to be there with me and spend every day with us. You have your [assistant directors] and your director of photography and without those people it doesn't work. They guided me and I can only take credit for very little to be honest.

On the Set: Take a tour of The Vampire Diaries (Damon's bedroom included!)

Was there one scene in the episode you're especially excited for viewers to see? Somerhalder: We have a huge party in this episode, which was a lot of fun to shoot. Bonnie and Damon have a really great scene in this episode where Bonnie is just so fed up. She always gets hurt and is always the fall girl, and it's always so intense for her. She tries her hardest to help people and it always backfires on her. This experience in the prison world made her a woman, and she's no longer going to deal with this bulls---

They had the best reunion scene though!
Somerhalder: They really are happy to see each other. It's kind of cute to see the two of them together.

How is Damon handling the information about his mom? Is he in denial or is he searching for answers?
Somerhalder: I think that's the question. The two most important women in his life, Katherine and his mother, abandoned him and didn't love him. That's a gnarly thing. So, he's going to spend some time trying to find out what really happened. It's a brutal thing for him to go through and he's going to have to figure it out.

Things are finally good between Damon and Elena. Will that last?
Somerhalder:
I don't think that's absolutely going to happen, but I think they're trying. The situation is very intense and it's hard. But you definitely see [him putting in effort] and you don't always see that side of him. So, that's cool.

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

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Watch Julie Plec and Caroline Dries talk about Bonnie's return: