The Vampire Diaries' flashback-filled May 10 season finale will introduce us to Elena's parents — and then kill 'em off. "One of the things we want to do in the finale is explore a time for Elena when life was simpler," says executive producer Julie Plec. "She had parents and no vampires in her life."
Along with happy family scenes (that also feature now-dead Aunt Jenna!), the episode includes the accident in which the family car veered off a bridge, killing Mr. and Mrs. Gilbert (played by Jason MacDonald and Erin Beute). Remember, says Plec, "Elena almost died with them but Stefan saved her."
"It's something I hopefully will never have to experience in real life — trying to survive underwater while trying to save other people," says Nina Dobrev, who got her scuba diving certification in Bora Bora before shooting these scenes 12 feet underwater in Atlanta. "It was quite intense and a little scary. I'm used to being underwater with a tank, but having to act without the tank is completely different. We were in the water two days for eight hours a day. By the end, I was exhausted and slept like a baby."