Just because Stefan is returning from the dark side on The Vampire Diaries, that doesn't mean Damon is out of the running for Elena's heart.
After Damon (Ian Somerhalder) finally locked lips — for keeps, this time — with Elena (Nina Dobrev), he begrudgingly stepped aside once his brother Stefan (Paul Wesley) began to show emotion again. Despite Damon's insistence that he's better off as the bad guy, executive producer Julie Plec tells TVGuide.com that he has not given up.
On Saturday's red carpet before for the show's PaleyFest event, which was moderated by TV Guide Magazine's Debra Birnbaum, Plec dished on all things Damon-Elena-Stefan, Alaric's future and the Originals' next challenge. Plus: Find out why the upcoming season finale made her cry:
Can we expect reconciliation between Elena and Stefan soon?
Julie Plec: We can expect movement, we can expect breakthroughs, we can expect honest conversations and we can expect some frustration as they continue to try to rediscover if those feelings that were so strong in the beginning still exist. Did they go away and has Stefan ruined it forever? Or does Elena still have a willingness and an ability to love him? In the midst of all that, [we'll] confront the question of what exactly has evolved and transpired in the Damon and Elena friendship that's gotten so far this year. The rest of the season is going to be circling around those questions.
Damon made it very clear that he is much better at being the bad guy than Stefan is. Will he now give up on Elena? Will he turn bad again?
Plec: The beauty of Damon is he never really gives up. He acts out, he takes a stand, he has opinions, but when all is said and done, if brother's in a crisis, if girl's in a crisis, if the world is in a crisis, Damon inevitably can't help himself and he's got to find his way back in. This week's episode really shows that perfect balance of Damon being nasty and sarcastic and angry, and yet really illuminating at his core that he is a very heroic person. It's the constant Damon evolution.
Alaric (Matt Davis) was shot by Meredith (Torrey DeVitto) in the previous episode. What can you tease about his future?
Plec: Alaric, with his tragic and unfortunate luck with the ladies, has just found himself nearly murdered by a human. Had she aimed the gun one inch to the right, he probably would be dead right now. A little spoiler alert, but of the duh variety: We will actually see Alaric again and he'll find himself in this week's episode caught right smack in the center of this murder investigation. We'll start to get a lot of answers about what's going on, and who's behind what and who is going to take the fall for the serial killings that are going down in the town.
Now that it's been revealed there's another white oak tree, how will that change the direction of the rest of the season?
Plec: The discovery that there was another tree planted in absence of the original one that was burnt down, that definitely sets Rebekah (Claire Holt) and Klaus (Joseph Morgan) on edge a little. They just temporarily defeated their mother, who was trying to annihilate them, so they couldn't even enjoy that victory for a short minute before they learned that there's another weapon out there. That being said, right now they're the only ones who know that that weapon is out there. We'll see how long Rebekkah is able to hold onto that secret. The answer is probably not very long. We'll see what Damon does to get a hold of that information and to figure out what she's snooping around about and why.
Abby's transition obviously won't go as smoothly as Caroline's did. How will Caroline (Candice Accola) help Bonnie's mother through this?
Plec: The beauty of Caroline is that a control freak in her human life became a very, very, very well controlled vampire when all those things got magnified. Nobody else is blessed with that kind of obsessive, compulsive, dedication to perfection as Caroline. With Abby (Persia White), what we'll see is that a witch is connected to the Earth, and when you turn a witch into a vampire, she's no longer a witch, so it's losing a part of yourself. It's not just losing your humanity, it's losing what really connected your soul to God, if you want to get religious about it. It's not going to be easy for her or Bonnie (Katerina Graham), because there's no spell she can whip up to help. It's, "How do I help my mother here, who I don't know very well, who left me? We just barely got our relationship going, now how do I help her find her true self in all this tragedy?"
Elena's friends have made it clear that other people end up suffering so that she can be saved. Will that weigh on her heavily when the show returns?
Plec: Yeah, the biggest burden that Elena has to bear, frankly, is that she herself is an incredibly selfless person. She very much wants to take care of and protect the people that she loves, and yet, because ultimately she loves so deeply and so thoroughly, she has created a circle of friends who love that deeply right in return and are, in their own way, selfless and willing to sacrifice themselves for her. It's a little battle of, "Hey, wait a second! I was willing to jump off a cliff." "No, I was!" It all comes down to one of the big central themes in this show, which is loyalty and love and the friendship and bonds of family, and what you're willing to do for the people that are important to you. In a situation like this, with these kids in Mystic Falls where the stakes are high every day, there's a lot of ways that can go. Lately, it seems like it's been going in the disfavor of Elena's friends and she's going to have to deal with that.
Last year's finale had a huge element of danger. Is this one emotionally grounded or will there be more danger?
Plec: It hasn't been put on the page yet, but the finale this year is like a combo platter of the finales from Season 1 and Season 2 in that the mythology and the villain are going to continue to drive us to the end of the season, but emotionally, there's a lot going on in the characters' journeys. Just breaking this story I probably cried four or five times, got a few chills, got very excited, got nervous about how we're going to do it. There's a lot of story to tell and not a lot of time to tell it in. But fingers crossed on what I think is going to be really good.
The Vampire Diaries returns Thursday at 8/7c on The CW.